Tuesday, May 01, 2012


IT-BHU, my alma mater, has become an IIT. The day this decision gets the Presidential assent, it will start its new life under the name of IIT-BHU [*].

I presume the celebrations started at IIT-BHU yesterday, immediately after the Rajya Sabha passed the relevant Bill. I don't know how the students there celebrate these days; if it's anything like my days there (early 1980s), it would have involved bhang, and lots of it; in which case, the students are unlikely to be sober for several days to come ...

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It's a big day for the IT-BHU Global, the online community of alumni, which had invested a lot of time and effort into keeping track of the progress of this all-important Bill.

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This move will help IIT-BHU attract higher ranked JEE candidates. The IIT tag will also help attract graduate students in greater numbers.

In the long run, though, the biggest impact will be on the faculty. The funding levels should see a significant jump: new equipment, better campus infrastructure, bigger funds for maintenance and upkeep. Faculty have a lot of wonderful stuff to look forward to.

All in all, a tremendously positive change for everyone at IIT-BHU.

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For BHU, however, this change is a net loss [this concern was also the source of some last minute resistance that HRD Minister Kapil Sibal needed to overcome]. An important chunk of this great university -- one of India's very few "Real Universities" -- will get separated physically, and perhaps even intellectually, from its parent. If the IIT campus is going to be distinct from the rest of the university (but within the current BHU campus) with a wall in between, it will also mean a disfiguring of its beautiful, semi-circular campus. If its school of medicine -- IMS, which is at the other end of the campus -- also gets its wish to be elevated to an AIIMS, BHU will end up watching yet another high profile unit fly away from its control.

It'll be interesting to watch how BHU responds to this move.

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The state of Uttar Pradesh is now home to two IITs. Watch out for states like Kerala and Karnataka to renew their demand for an IIT with greater insistence.

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[*] The legislation meant for the conversion of IT-BHU into IIT-BHU was also one meant for ratifying the eight new IITs that started their operations (and academic sessions) in 2008 and 2009. The Bill needed several years to wind its way through the government ministries and was passed last year in the Lok Sabha. But it faced some last minute efforts (by politicians as well as some sections within BHU) to block it. It finally got the 'yes' vote in the Rajya Sabha yesterday.


  1. Anant said...

    Hey! Karnataka already has an (the) IISc. In fact, some years ago the Republic Day cutout for Karnataka was a replica of the main building.

  2. KRK said...

    Uttar Pradesh deserves to have two IITs. Eastern UP has untapped raw talent hidden in it.

    I hope that the Mecca of Metallurgy will have a resurgence

  3. Vikram said...

    Also, the population of UP is about four times that of Karnataka and seven times that of Kerala.