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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Mumbai: 16-year-old boy commits suicide by jumping off 8th floor from Mulund high-rise - Free Press Journal

— By FPJ Web Desk | Jul 07, 2018 11:35 am

Representational image

On Friday, a 16-year-old student allegedly committed suicide in Mulund. The 16-year-old boy, who was preparing for the IIT entrance exam, jumped from the 8th floor of a high-rise in Mulund.

According to Mid-Day, the incident took place on Friday between 8 am and 8.30 am. The boy went up to the 8th floor, a refuge area of the building, and jumped off. After the boy fell down, the residents of the building immediately rushed him to Fortis Hospital where he was declared dead. The boy’s father works in the UK, and during the incident, his mother had gone to gym and elder brother was out playing football.

A police officer from Mulund police station told the leading daily, “We have talked to the family and many people who knew him, but no one could tell us whether he was depressed or in trouble. Everybody is shocked. We are scanning his mobile phone records and social media accounts for clues.” The police have registered an Accidental Death Report and are trying to find the reason behind the suicide. No suicide note has been found yet.

A day in the life of A Gomathi, an aspiring medical student from Tamil Nadu state board - Indian Express

A second 17-yr-old has killed herself in TN after failing to clear NEET despite high marks in Class 12. Gomathi tries not to let this, the “unfair” system, and 20 hrs of 12 textbooks daily, kill her spirits

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Updated: July 7, 2018 

 Gomathi with her parents at her Chennai home. A big photo of Ambedkar and posters of star Ajith adorn the walls. (Arun Janardhanan)

The last show at INOX multiplex at Virugambakkam in Chennai ended around 1 am. Two hours later, on a narrow street behind it, A Gomathi, 17, begins her day. She doesn’t dream much while asleep, for around three hours every night, till 3 am. But her every waking moment is spent dreaming of only one thing: becoming a doctor.

Last year, Gomathi topped Class 12 at her Jaigopal Garodia Government Girls Higher Secondary School in Virugambakkam, scoring 93 per cent marks in the Biology-Mathematics stream. She had aced Class 10 too at her school, with 95 per cent marks. By now, she had hoped to be enrolled to become a doctor. However, she wasn’t among the successful candidates in the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to medical and dental courses, results for which came out on June 4 — among the many students in Tamil Nadu who failed, and who fear the CBSE-oriented test puts the nine lakh-plus students like them taking Class 12 exam from the state board every year at a disadvantage.

In September last year, S Anitha, 17, of the state’s Ariyalur district had committed suicide when she failed to clear NEET after having scored 98 per cent marks in Class 12. Recently, another 17-year-old, Pradeepa, who had scored 94 per cent in Class 12, killed herself, in Tiruvannamalai district, after NEET failure.

Gomathi tries not to think about this as she squats on the floor in her 400 sq ft, two-room house, beneath a large portrait of B R Ambedkar. The photograph was a gift at her wedding, smiles mother A Malathi. As Gomathi studies uninterrupted till 7.30 am, Malathi says she will keep her company, and “Ambedkar will be watching over her”.

Ambedkar shares space on that wall with half-a-dozen portraits of actor Ajith. All those belong to Gomathi’s elder brother A Manikandan, a B.Sc computer science student who is a fan of the actor.

For the next four-odd hours, in a sweltering room cooled by only a fan and lit by one bulb, as Gomathi fights sleep, tiredness and often boredom, her father R Anbazhagan, her grandmother and Manikandan sleep in a thatched-roof cottage next door.

Says Malathi, 42, “Gomathi has been following this routine since Class 10, except for 40 days of coaching provided by the state government in April.”

Anbazhagan works with a private TV showroom as a cleaner and earns around Rs 7,500 a month. “So we can’t afford to pay Rs 45,000 for NEET coaching,” Malathi says.

Parents of Tamil Nadu state board students like Malathi believe that because of this, their children can never breach the gap to NEET. Political parties in the state have questioned the decision to not take into account Class 12 results, as used to happen earlier in the state, but bank on just entrance tests for medical admissions, where children with coaching can score. With the introduction of NEET, the quota kept for Tamil Nadu in the state’s medical colleges — as well as a government quota in private medical colleges — has also ended.

At 22, Tamil Nadu has the most number of government medical colleges in the country.

At the peak of the anti-NEET protests in the state following Anitha’s suicide, the state government had announced NEET coaching centres for underprivileged students. A one-month programme was run in April this year as part of this, at nine centres. Around 3,000 students were part of these camps. Gomathi attended one such centre near Chennai, along with 400 students from 12 different districts.

In the days leading up to this year’s NEET, held on May 6, Gomathi knew there was something afoot — with protests, TV debates, and political discussions on. But, she says, she kept her mind focused on what she had to do. “I know that I may not clear NEET next year too, as I don’t have coaching. Still, I have to give it a try. Who else will try for me?” she says.
Around 7.30 am, Gomathi gets up from the floor, packs away her books and heads to the kitchen to help her mother with chores.

But the talk keeps returning to NEET. This year her score was 90 out of 720, six marks short of 96, the cut-off for Scheduled Caste students. The family is Adi Dravida. But that can’t be her benchmark, Gomathi says. “I won’t get a medical seat unless I score better.” Low marks would mean a seat only in high-paying private colleges — not an option for her.

However, she wonders, why the entrance exam asked her things she had “never learnt”. “I just cleared Class 12. You ask questions from what I learnt all these years,” Gomathi says.
Around 8.30 am, Anbazhagan leaves for work. He mostly skips breakfast so as to reach the shop as early as possible. Once in a while, when he has time and can rouse himself after a day’s work, Anbazhagan makes black coffee for Gomathi while she is studying.

As brother Manikandan leaves for his college, the private Meenakshi College of Engineering, around 9 am, Gomathi smiles wistfully, “He is lucky, he doesn’t want to become a doctor.”
Unlike him, Gomathi doesn’t have a favourite actor either. In fact, she says, while they stay next door to the multiplex, she has never been to a cinema theatre. Neither has she gone to malls or even Marina Beach. “I have seen the beach from the bus,” she says.

Her first visit to Chennai’s emerging neighbourhood, Anna Nagar, 6 km away, was when she went to write the NEET exam. Outside Chennai, she has gone to Mamallapuram, once, when in Class 5. She is not sure if she has ever seen the gates of IIT-Madras.

As the house grows quiet again, Gomathi goes back to studying. She will go on till evening, with just a lunch break in between. Most of her study material, stacked on a chair, deals with Biology. Physics and Chemistry make up the rest of the 12 textbooks.

The three-hour NEET exam has 180 questions, all multiple choice, including 90 from Biology, and 45 each from Physics and Chemistry. Gomathi says the NEET coaching provided by the government also focused on Biology. “But only 10 out of 180 questions from what we learnt at the centre came.”

Plus, she wonders, why the multiple choice questions. “Don’t writings and critical analysis help give an original answer? Shouldn’t they test that, ask my interest in becoming a doctor? Why is the government selecting MBBS students thus?” she asks.

Two students of her school who managed to clear NEET with the help of coaching also couldn’t get a medical seat, Gomathi adds. “Does all the rote learning and tricks that coaching teaches you for good scores in NEET help a doctor? Does it help a doctor do critical surgery? If the state board syllabus is at fault, why do CBSE students too need coaching?”

It’s 3 pm, and looking on at her daughter, Malathi says, “She never asks for jewels or costumes, anyway we couldn’t afford to….” Apart from the books, she adds, her daughter’s possessions include four sets of salwar-suits, two sets of school uniforms, and a new cellphone.

For the past five years, Gomathi had been getting an annual scholarship of Rs 1,800 from a private trust. “After Class 12, we decided to leave it to her to do what she wanted with it. She bought a phone. That is her only source to get information on admissions,” Malathi says.

Anbazhagan returns home late, as does Manikandan, after hanging out with friends. The TV is kept shut as Gomathi continues her studies. She says she will be up till midnight.
But she doesn’t grudge any of that, Gomathi says, nor the sleep of only three hours, nor “not having any other dreams except NEET”. What the 17-year-old wants is answers to a few more questions: “Why not provide us equal opportunity before forcing us to compete with CBSE, ICSE students? If the Prime Minister came, I would tell him, ‘I will prove myself but give us equal education before you make us write a common exam’.”

As posters of ‘toppers’ go up, another 80,000 enter race for NEET at Kota - Indian Express

The results are in, the posters of ‘toppers’ are up, and Kota is set to begin another year of preparing, praying. Till then, for a while, students can ‘relax’

Written by Deep Mukherjee | Updated: July 7, 2018 4:50:12 pm

            In queue at a Kota coaching centre. Express

It’s easy to spot the students in Kota. They walk in groups, clutching umbrellas bearing the names of coaching centres in the city as the mercury goes over 42 degrees. Others, much older, in their late 20s, zoom past on motorcycles, their T-shirts with the faded names of coaching institutes indicating a much longer stay. It’s also easy to spot the ‘successful’ students in Kota.

It’s the month of results of competitive medical and engineering entrance examinations, and at the entrances of the city’s coaching centres, to which aspirants from across the country flock, hang life-size pictures of the ‘toppers’, many of them flashing the victory sign. Down below, every available space along roads is covered with posters of yoga guru Baba Ramdev.

The JEE Advanced results, for admission to the coveted IITs, followed by other top engineering colleges, came 10 days ago. Of the estimated 1.5 lakh students enrolled at any time in the big and small 30-odd coaching centres in Kota, around 7,000 qualified this year. At least 60,000 qualified for counselling in the NEET (National Eligibility cum Entrance Test) exam for medical admissions, results for which were declared on June 4, a jump of at least 25,000 over the average of the past three years.

Between these numbers lies another ominous figure, of suicides, 12 so far this year by students. In order to stem the suicides, coaching centres have introduced a series of measures to help their students de-stress, but after falling from 20 in 2016 to seven last year, the suicide numbers are up again.

                Towered over by ‘toppers’. Express

But in Kota, life has already moved on, with many of those who failed to make it pitching their tents in for another year, and at least 80,000 new hopefuls flooding in. Coaching centres estimate that only half of those who don’t make it any year leave; the rest stay back to give the entrance exams another try.

Amidst the incessant commotion near Kota’s Rajiv Gandhi Nagar, 19-year-old Ranjit Kumar is fidgeting with his mobile phone outside a bank, checking for messages. “For some technical reasons, mobile alert messages about bank transactions and funds transfer have stopped, and this results in a lot of problems. I am here to solve this glitch as I will be staying here for another year,” says Kumar, a resident of Siwan in Bihar.
Kumar, who had appeared for NEET this year but couldn’t qualify, will soon join the students popularly known as ‘The Thirteens’ in the coaching hub.

“Thirteens are the students who stay for one more year after their Class 12 exams in order to take another chance at qualifying. The coaching centres have separate batches for them called the leaders’ batches,” explains Kumar.

The institutes also give a discount to students repeating a year, starting from 10 per cent. But Kumar says he is discussing with his family whether he can join a different centre this year, in the hope that it will help him qualify.

Piyush Singh, 18, has just arrived from hometown Korba in Chhattisgarh. Having failed to clear the JEE Advanced, Singh decided that his best shot was moving to Kota. “All the best coaching centres are here,” says Singh. Having come just two days ago, the 18-year-old is yet to find a place and is for now staying with a friend. Standard accommodation in Kota costs Rs 10,000-15,000 a month, including room charges and food, with electricity bill separate.

Navendu Jha, a resident of Patna, who has come to enrol his son Shubham, who wants to prepare for NEET, says, “At times we do get scared after hearing about student suicides, but it’s also true that one has a much better chance of qualifying for the competitive exams studying at institutes here.” Jha adds that he had to search for several days before he could find an accommodation where his son could study without “disturbance”.

Nitesh Sharma, the chief media and marketing officer of Allen Career Institute, Kota’s biggest coaching centre by far, says their student numbers have risen from last year. “Around 67,000 students have already taken admission and we are expecting the figure to cross 1 lakh by the end of this year,” he says.

Scattered around roadside eateries and mobile recharge shops, many students sitting with friends, earphones plugged in, are enjoying a break from their gruelling schedules. Suman Kumar Verma, who came to Kota a month ago to prepare for NEET, admits one thing unites all of them. “It is easier to study because everyone relates with the other owing to their same objectives.”

Still, as Nishant Ingole, 17, from Aurangabad, says, this period, after the results and with nearly a year to go for the next exam, is their best at Kota. “Every day, I have around seven hours of classes, but at this time, we have some time to listen to music, go out with friends to places such as Chambal Garden in the city, and relax.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The suicide narratives - Deccan Herald

The suicide narratives
Avijit Pathak, 
JUN 10 2018, 23:46PM IST UPDATED: JUN 10 2018, 23:59PM 

IST Violence is not merely physical; quite often, it is cultural, symbolic and psychic, and its consequences are devastating...

Read more at:

“Marks don’t matter”: Indian comics try to comfort students amid a suicide crisis - Quartz


“Marks don’t matter”: Indian comics try to comfort students amid a suicide crisis

Give the kids a break. (Danny Moloshok/Invision/AP)

Ananya Bhattacharya
June 11, 2018 
Quartz India

Every year, between March and June, millions of school students in India find themselves under the cosh.

A section goes delirious with joy, soaking in the accolades and attention after the results for the the annual class 10 and class 12 exams are released. Another group, having done reasonably well, simply moves on.

And those that fail sink into despair, not having met the expectations of parents and teachers, or securing college admissions. Often, this results in tragedy as the students, unable to bear the pressure of expectations,commit suicide. Every hour, one child in India takes his or her own life often due to failure, fear of failure, forced career choices, and the general stigma attached to mental distress.

So, for some time now, India’s new crop of comedians has tried soften the blow for this embattled group, mixing humour with some key life lessons.

Laughing it off

In 2015, standup comedian Zakir Khan pulled no punches. He took digs at all those, including the neighbourhood “uncle” with the creepy smile, who constantly remind students of the “boards,” a much-dreaded umbrella term for the class 10 or class 12 annual tests in India.

Many like Khan have hit close to home while making light of the pressure-cooker atmosphere in the run-up to the exam and admission season. Kenny Sebastian and Piyush Sharma have discussed the ridiculousness of obsessing over marks and the media’s fetish for “toppers.” Comedian Ssumier S Pasricha, in his avatar as the popular “Pammi Aunty,” offered his take on how marks have no bearing on real life.

All India Bakchod (AIB), one of the most popular comic groups, asked its viewers to share their experiences of not doing well in exams and still getting it right later in professional life.

These attempts often evoke positive responses.

Over 77,600 people liked AIB’s post, which also got more than 1,000 comments. “Scored 59 in my exams. Much less than everyone around me. But now I’m the youngest person in the world to be part of an elite expedition team researching Anacondas in the Amazon rainforest,” 17-year-old aspiring herpetologist Saish Solankar commented on AIB’s post. “Marks don’t matter. Exposure does.”

Back in 2016, Vir Das, the first Indian-origin comedian to bag a Netflix special, posted a heart-warming video to help students. The next year, he shared his own mark-sheet, with low grades, on Facebook.

This year, as Das’s old video sparked some negative responses, with a handful insisting that marks do matter, the standup artiste clapped back:

Vir Das

To every adult writing in saying "You're an idiot, marks DO matter!"

1. I am an idiot.
2. MOST of the kids haven't got the marks they want, Think about the message you're sending them today.

Put your selfish need to gloat about academics aside, and say something supportive.
11:48 PM - May 26, 2018
122 people are talking about this
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Mallika Dua, who shot to fame with her multi-character dubsmash appearances, also got candid about failing the first year of her degree course at Delhi University (DU). She was admitted to her graduation course based on her extra-curricular activities—up to 5% of DU’s seats are reserved for students who get in by demonstrating prowess across categories like dance, music, theatre, debate, and other fine arts. Eventually, she went abroad and “did really well” away from all the rote-learning.

“Yes, big companies consider pedigree important but I highly doubt a 93 percenter is an idiot and a 98 percenter some genius,” she wrote in a screenshot shared on Instagram. “The idea is to make the system realise it’s uselessness, not the children who have no choice but to abide by it.”

However, it is not easy to wish away the importance of marks among Indian students. Like a post on News18 said:

Like, good for you Mallika Dua but what about the students who cannot afford to go abroad? And failing in University would essentially mean repeating a year. There’s no short cut in here.
Why the stress

Indeed, there is no escaping marks and their implications in the Indian education system, partly because of the way it is structured.

With demand for seats in institutions of higher learning only rising, the cut-off thresholds for admission is often unreasonable. “At Lady Shri Ram College, an aspirant needs to have an aggregate score of 100.5% to get into the Psychology (H) course,” the Times of India newspaperreported in June 2015.

Then, there are the much sought-after professional courses—engineering, medicine, and others. At the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technlogy (IIT), for instance, the acceptance rate is a minuscule 2%. In 2017, nearly 12,00,000 students appeared for the exam to win the 11,000-odd seats in the IITs. Thus, the mad scramble and the early preparations by teachers, parents, and millions of students.

Under pressure, parents splurge thousands of rupees hourly on specialised tutorials. Over 70 million students—over a quarter of the country’s student population—are enrolled in this parallel education system. Data from industry association Assocham reveal that 87% of primary school children and 95% of high schoolers in metropolitan cities opt for private tuition.

And when after all that students are unable to “make it” by scoring well or even, at times, failing, everything comes down on them like a ton of bricks. What adds to their woes is a lack of a system to counsel them or suggest a plan B. It is here that media, internet celebrities, and even movies have come to play a constructive role. And India’s young comedians are chipping in.

“It increases awareness that we are all vulnerable. When these people come out and talk about how they failed but are still so successful, people can relate and think ‘I can still be successful, too’,” said Richa Singh, co-founder of online counselling platform YourDost. “It needs to happen more.”

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Unemployed IIT-Delhi Alumnus Allegedly Dies of Suicide on Campus - The Quint

A 31-year-old man allegedly committed suicide by jumping from the seventh floor of a building on the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi campus in southwest Delhi on Friday, 8 June, the police said.

Police said that the man was an IIT-Delhi alumnus and had been suffering from depression for the past five years. He had left his house after telling his mother that he was going to meet someone at IIT-Delhi on Friday morning.

No suicide note was found on him, police said.

According to the police, the deceased was identified as Anshum Gupta, who passed out of the institute in 2010.

He jumped from the seventh floor of the Industrial Research and Development building. He was rushed to a hospital where he was declared brought dead.

Also Read: Another TN Girl Commits Suicide After Failing to Clear NEET Exam

Following the incident, police informed the family members of the deceased. Initial investigation has revealed that Gupta was undergoing treatment for depression from the past five years and was unhappy with his professional life and kept changing his jobs frequently, the police added.

Police said the family stated that he had worked with a technology giant in the United States from 2012-15, after which he quit and returned home.

Gupta also worked in Noida for a while and quit the job a few months ago, they added. He was unemployed at the time of his death.

(The Quint is now on WhatsApp. To receive handpicked stories on topics you care about, subscribe to our WhatsApp services. Just go to and hit the Subscribe button.)

‘Had no idea he was going to IIT to commit suicide’: Family in shock, say Delhi graduate was unhappy with his career - Hindustan Times

The family of Anshum Gupta, the 31-year-old who jumped to his death on IIT-Delhi’s campus, say he was unhappy about his career growth and was undergoing treatment for depression.
DELHI Updated: Jun 09, 2018 16:29 Ist

Anvit Srivastava 
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Anshum Gupta graduated from the five-year integrated masters and bachelors course in Computer Science and engineering from IIT-Delhi.

Family members of 31-year-old Anshum Gupta, who committed suicide by jumping from a building on the IIT-Delhi campus, said the man was an all India topper of the All India Engineering Entrance Examination(AIEEE).

HT, however, could not verify this claim independently.
Gupta had reportedly quit his job around 5-6 months ago because he was not happy with his professional growth, a relative, who did not wish to be named, claimed.
“He was a brilliant student. He was the brightest student even at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya from where he passed out in 2005. He had secured an all India rank of 1 in AIEEE,” claimed another relative, a cousin who had come to Gupta’s house in Greater Kailash 1 to pay his respects to the family.  

Gupta graduated from IIT-Delhi in 2010 after studying a five-year combined BTech and MTech degree in Computer Science and engineering. He then secured a job at an American multinational technology company, a relative said. However, he had returned from the US in 2015 after working there for about two years, police said.

“He did not attend work regularly. He would often quit and then get another offer. For the past few months he had not been working. He probably was not happy at the way his career was growing,” the cousin said.

Police suspect he may have gone into depression while at work in the US.

Family members told police that Gupta had many friends at IIT-Delhi and would visited them regularly. Police, however, have not found anyone with whom Gupta met on the IIT campus before taking his life. Police are scanning his cell phone details and will look at his call records to get more details.

On Friday evening, family members initially refused to talk about Gupta’s death.

The two relatives who spoke to HT did so on the condition they would not be named. “He was being treated for depression. A doctor in CR Park had been treating him. He was also taking medicines. This morning, when he left home for IIT, we had no idea he was going there to end his life. We do not suspect any foul play,” said Gupta’s cousin.

Meanwhile, the Delhi police have launched a probe in the case and said they would visit the IIT campus again over the weekend to try and find eyewitnesses who may have seen Gupta climbing the Industrial Research and Development Unit building within the campus.

IIT-Delhi graduate returns to campus to commit suicide, jumps from seventh floor - Hindustan Times

Police said Anshum Gupta, a B.Tech student of 2010 batch, was found lying in a pool of blood around 11 am. He had left his home telling his family he was going to the IIT campus to meet a friend.

DELHI Updated: Jun 09, 2018 08:42 Ist

Anvit Srivastava 
Hindustan Times, New Delhi

        The IIT Campus, in New Delhi, India.(HT File Photo)

An Indian Institute of Technology alumnus killed himself on Friday by jumping off the seventh floor of a building at the IIT-Delhi campus.

Police did not find a suicide note near the body, but family members said the 31-year-old Anshum Gupta was under treatment for depression. Police are questioning his batch mates to find out why he had committed suicide at IIT-Delhi, from where he had finished his MTech in computer science and engineering eight years ago.

Police said that Gupta was formerly employed with an Internet major but had not been working for the last 5-6 months. An officer investigating the case said Gupta worked with the Internet major between 2012 and 2015 in the United States. In 2015 he had returned to India. He had reportedly slipped into depression and was being treated at a clinic in south Delhi’s Chittaranjan Park. Police suspect he may have gone into depression while at work in the US.

Deputy commissioner of police (south west) Milind Dumbere said it was not clear why Gupta had gone to the IIT campus on Friday. “He jumped off the 7th floor of the IRD building. He was rushed to the hospital where he was declared brought dead,” Dumbere said.

Police investigations revealed that Gupta entered the IIT campus at 10:40 am. He had told his family that he would be meeting some friends there. He had left his car at home. Police suspect he took an autorickshaw to reach the IIT campus. At around 10:50 am, a security guard and some other students saw him fall from the building. Family members said they were informed of Gupta’s death at around 11am.

Police do not suspect any foul play but have sought footage of CCTV cameras for more evidence. So far, police have not found any eyewitnesses who met Gupta before he jumped.

Gupta’s body was handed over to his family members after a post-mortem at the AIIMS Trauma centre. An alumnus of the Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, he had finished school in 2005.

“We do not blame anyone for this incident. The family is not in a state to talk about the incident. He was an IIT student but his death has nothing to do with the educational institute,” said a family member, asked not to be named.

“He was always on top in academics. This is a shock for the family. He had been switching jobs frequently and was also under medication for past some time. He had resigned from his latest job a few months ago,” the family member added. 

An IIT official said that Gupta had no association with the institute after graduating. “The student pursued a five-year combined BTech and MTech degree in Computer Science. He graduated in 2010. He has worked with Google in the past but right now we don’t have more information about him.”

Police said Gupta lost his father in 1995. His elder brother works in the United States.


Why the suicide of NEET aspirant Pradeepa is a sign of a larger problem - News Minite

Pradeepa was a brilliant student who cleared NEET in 2017. But she didn’t have the money for a management seat, and the disappointment in the exam this year was too much to take.

Pradeepa was a top scorer in her Class 10 exams in 2015 – she got 490 out of 500, and topped the Tindivanam education district in the government schools category. In Class 12, too, she scored brilliantly: A total of 1125 out of 1200. The young girl from a Dalit family had one dream: To become a doctor.
On Monday, June 4, Pradeepa killed herself in the Peruvallur village in Gingee taluk of Villupuram.

The 17-year-old had failed to clear the NEET exam, the results of which had been announced earlier that day.

Like Anitha last year, Pradeepa, too, shined in academics despite the odds being set against her. Her father Shanmugham is an agricultural labourer, and her mother Amritha is a homemaker. When her father had no means to support her education after Class 10, it was a private school which offered her free education for Class 11 and 12.

In fact, she managed to clear NEET in her first attempt in 2017 with a score of 155, and got admission to a naturopathy course under management quota. However, determined to pursue MBBS and unable to pay the exorbitant fee, she took a year off to prepare again.

But Pradeepa did not have access to any coaching institutes to help her out; even to avail coaching from the nearest government coaching centre was not an option for her, for it is at least 70 km from her village.

Critics of NEET have time and again pointed out how the exam favours those students who are privileged enough to attend coaching centres.

Journalist and anti-caste activist Kavin Malar says, “This is institutional murder. This is not a suicide. It's a NEET murder. Last year they did it to Anitha, this year to Pradeepa.”

“It is a known fact that you cannot clear NEET exams without the help of elite coaching centres which collect lakhs of rupees as fees,” says D Ravikumar, a writer, anti-caste activist, and member of VCK. “Structurally, this exam is against poor people, particularly those from villages. They do not have that much money to afford the coaching,” he says.

Further explaining how NEET discriminates against state board students, Ravikumar says, “There are various syllabi used in schools across the country, but NEET is based only on NCERT. How can you expect students studying in different streams to write an entrance exam of an entirely new stream?”

Kavin points out that the socio-economic background of students plays a huge role in who gets through entrance exams for streams like medicine. “When I was studying in my school, most of the students didn't even know the cut off mark. We have to consider the social discrimination here,” she says.
Activists say that they want NEET to go, and want states to be able to decide their own entrance exam and admission formula.
“In the last ten years when NEET was not there in Tamil Nadu, admissions were done on the basis of board marks alone. Ten or fifteen years back, Tamil Nadu did have entrance exams for medicine and engineering. That time admissions were based on both the entrance marks and the plus two board exam marks. But now, for admissions only NEET scores are considered,” Ravikumar explains.

“If entrance exams are to be conducted then the Plus 2 marks should also be considered. Students work hard for two years in Plus 1 and Plus 2 and they give the boards, but NEET completely ignores the board exam marks. What is the point of studying plus two?” he asks.

While in the aftermath of suicides, armchair commentators are quick to resort to ‘mental strength’ and ‘will power’ as arguments, in the case of Anitha and Pradeepa, the tone deaf commentary has also exposed caste privilege, say activists.
Student activist Iniyavan says, “People who comment on the Dalit-Bahujan students committing suicide don’t realise the routine life of a Dalit-Bahujan from a rural background. They put a lot of labour and effort in their everyday life. They go to work, come back; take care of their families, then study. In everyday life, they put a lot of effort. But these people commenting with a patronising tone of ‘try again’ don’t acknowledge their labour. This is what Brahminism does.”
“When they say try again – are these students getting any assurance that they will get 100% results in the next attempt? They don’t have the privilege of taking another chance. One year is huge for them. They are not rich and cannot venture into many fields, like joining IIT, then doing management studies and quitting everything to do photography. Dalit-Bahujans can’t afford such adventures,” Iniyavan says.

With inputs from Manasa Rao and Balakrishna Ganeshan.

IIT Delhi Ex-Student Commits Suicide By Jumping From 7th Floor On Campus - NDTV

IIT Delhi Ex-Student Commits Suicide By Jumping From 7th Floor On Campus

Anshuman Gupta, 31, was unemployed and lived with his family in Greater Kailash. No suicide note has been recovered.
Delhi | Indo-Asian News Service | Updated: June 09, 2018 10:19 IST

Police say unemployment could have led him to commit suicide. (Representational)

NEW DELHI:  A former student of the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi committed suicide on Friday by jumping from a building on the campus in south Delhi, police said.

Anshuman Gupta, 31, was unemployed and lived with his family in Greater Kailash. No suicide note has been recovered.

Police said Anshuman, a 2010 batch B.Tech student , was found lying in a pool of blood around 11 am after he jumped off the seventh floor of a campus building.

Anshuman was declared brought dead at a nearby hospital, Deputy Commissioner of Police Milind Mahadeo Dumbere said.

"He was unemployed and had left his house early morning after telling his family that he was going to meet a college friend," Mr Dumbere said.

"We are trying to ascertain the reason for his extreme step. Prima facie, it appears that he was disturbed over his job. We are questioning his family members," the officer added.

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IIT-Delhi grad returns to alma mater, commits suicide - India Today

IIT-Delhi grad returns to alma mater, commits suicide

                        Image for representation

A 31-year-old former student of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, today jumped off the seventh floor of the prestigious engineering college.

Anshuman Gupta, 31, was a BTech from IIT-Delhi, 2010 batch.

The police have found no suicide note from the incident. Preliminary investigations, however, suggest that his unemployment could be a reason that forced him to take the extreme step.

Gupta, a resident of Greater Kailash, left his home this morning, saying that he was going to meet a friend. He, however, did not specify which friend he was going to meet.

Delhi Police is talking to the family and friends of Gupta to find the cause behind his suicide.

Former IIT Delhi student commits suicide on campus - The Hindu

Former IIT Delhi student commits suicide on campus

NEW DELHI , JUNE 08, 2018 13:53 IST

A view of Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Anshum Gupta, 31, allegedly jumped from the seventh floor of a building

A 31-year-old former IIT Delhi student allegedly committed suicide on campus on Friday morning. No suicide note has been recovered so far, the police said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (South West) Milind Mahadeo Dumbere said that the deceased has been identified as Anshum Gupta, who pursued a Bachelors in Technology from 2007-10.
The police said that the PCR call was received around 11a.m. and it was revealed that Gupta jumped from the seventh floor of IRD Building on campus. "We are trying to ascertain what he was doing on campus and what led to the alleged jump," Mr. Dumbere said.

Gupta's body has been shifted to AIIMS Hospital for post mortem and inquest proceedings have been initiated.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

IITians to launch campaign to make Kota happiness city - Hindustan Times

Motivational, counselling and recreational activities will be held for students throughout the year to de-stress them.

JAIPUR Updated: Jun 03, 2018 22:20 Ist

Aabshar H Quazi 
Hindustan Times, Kota

The ‘Making Kota, Happiness City’ website being launched on Sunday. (HT PHOTO)

Cases of student suicides in Kota are common. This year alone, 10 students have committed suicide in Kota. To reverse this trend and to increase the ‘happiness index’ among coaching students, a group of 20 IIT students and entrepreneurs, with help of the Kota district administration, will launch the ‘Making Kota, Happiness City’ campaign in the first week of June.
Motivational, counselling and recreational activities will be held for students throughout the year to de-stress them.

Around 1.50 lakh coaching students from all over the country come to Kota, often known as India’s capital for educational coaching, for preparation of IIT-JEE, NEET and other medical and engineering entrance examinations.

The group, led by Aman Maheshwari, an engineer, decided to start the campaign for coaching students. Most of the other members of the group are IITians who have passed out in recent years from IIT Delhi, Bombay, Kanpur, Roorkee and others who have done B.Tech in recent years.

“The group will run campaigns to enhance the image of Kota as an education hub,” said Maheshwari.

Aman, who has completed B.Tech from the Dubai campus of BITS Pilani and post graduation from the United Kingdom, said, “Sports, motivational and wellness programmes and other recreational activities will be organised every month.”

The convener of the Happiness City campaign, Siddharth Jain, an IIT student, said that their group has prepared a comprehensive action plan for increasing the happiness index in Kota City. A website has also been launched.

“Apart from recreation, students will be also be informed about multiple career options so that they do not get disheartened in case they fail to clear engineering or medical entrance examinations,” Jain said.

“When I was studying in London, Kota was popular as an education city among students and they wanted to know why Kota attracts students,” said Maheshwari.

He said that India lags behind countries such as Sri Lanka and Burma in happiness surveys conducted by the World Health Organisation, so they started the campaigns.

Jain said that activities such as ‘students got talent’, motivational seminars by experts, Happiness Adda, painting and sports activities, tie-ups for mental health activities with hospitals and doctors, career and psychological counselling, online book bank facility and spreading happiness will remain the core of the campaign.

Though the Kota district administration, with help of coaching institutes, had organised ‘Fun Day’ recreational events in the past, they were not helpful as they were not organised frequently.

Psychiatrists work on new model for educational institutes as student suicides mount - New Indian Express

Growing number of suicides by students has prompted a group of psychiatrists to propose a model for students’ wellbeing in educational institutes.

Published: 03rd June 2018 04:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd June 2018 05:54 AM

          image used for representational purposes only.

NEW DELHI: Growing number of suicides by students has prompted a group of psychiatrists to propose a model for students’ wellbeing in educational institutes. According to the Ministry of Home Affairs data presented in Parliament, over 26,000 school and University level students have committed suicides in India between 2014-2016 and the figures are on an upward swing.

To put it the other way, one student commits suicide in the country every hour. In 2014, 8,068 students ended lives while this number rose to 8,934 in 2015, marking a rise of over 10 per cent. In 2016, the total number of students who took the extreme step stood at 9,474 — about 6 per cent more than the previous year. About 7,500 of these students did so because of failure in exams, while the rest had other academic or non-academic issues.

The worrying figures sent four mental health experts in Karnataka scrambling to devise a three-tier mechanism that can be emulated by schools and institutes of higher education. “The situation is really alarming and unless we do something really fast and serious, we are probably headed to a situation for which we are not prepared,” said M Kishor, a psychiatrist with J S S Medical College in Bengaluru, who is one of the four researchers behind the well-being model.

His fears seem justified as only last month, following the Class XII and X board results, at least 15 suicides were reported. The psychiatrists have proposed that all educational institutes should have a student-led and faculty supported well-being programme where trained students counsel their peers at least for two hours every week.

“Every educational institution at the induction of any batch of students will conduct one introductory session on student’s well-being, in which top academic issues of concern and non-academic issues of concern are discussed and framework of ‘Young Minds Students’ Well-being’ team is explained,” the
model proposes.

“In a ratio of 1:25, student volunteers are selected from every batch and they are trained by a senior teacher in association with psychiatrist from government hospitals or private hospitals and psychologists wherever available. Training of volunteer students is in “peer-to-peer” counseling (buddy system/friend for a friend).”

In the second level, trained faculties should spend time with students who are facing mental distress related to academic or non-academic issues and in third level students who have severe mental distress should be counselled by psychiatrists or clinical psychologists. The model has been published in the May issue of International Journal of Health and Allied Sciences.
“Some IITs have buddy system but in those cases there is not enough training imparted to students and that can result is burnout as not everyone can handle emotional issues on a regular basis,” Kishor stressed.

Abhay Tirke, a Pune-based child psychologist too pointed out that as there is an acute shortage of psychologists in the country, lack of awareness to seek counselling and not enough help available at school and university level for minors and young adults, the student suicide is rising.

“Sadly, parents instead of helping children, end up building more pressure for scoring well in examination and qualifying in competitive examination,” National Commission for Protection of Child Rights member (education) Priyank Kanoongo reckoned, that children should be taught that examinations do not determine the course of life and students should be trained in coping mechanism.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

IITG-ians depressed? Visit its ‘Saathi’, and smile- The SentinelAssam

IITG-ians depressed? Visit its ‘Saathi’, and smile

IIT-Guwahati has decided to launch an online portal to counsel
students suffering from depression and stress. The portal will help such students to seek counselling from experts without disclosing their identities

GUWAHATI, June 1: The immense stress to perform well in studies has been resulting in an increasing number of cases of depression among students in different parts of the country, including Assam. The development has also resulted in numerous cases of suicide among students in different educational institutes, and the IITs are not an exception.

Taking steps towards preventing such unfortunate incidents, IIT-Guwahati has decided to launch an online portal to counsel students suffering from depression and stress. The portal will help such students to seek counseling from experts without disclosing their identities.

Saathi, a counseling centre of IIT-G set up in 2010, has already signed a memorandum of understanding with a Bangalore-based mental health support company for launching the portal. The portal, which is expected to be launched in August this year, will be part of the IIT-G’s advanced facilities for mental and emotional support to its students.

Even though students can now walk into Saathi from Monday to Friday or call the helpline number (8486814024) at any time, many students do not call up the centre or visit in person to avoid showing their face or exposing their voice. But the portal will help students to seek counselling by logging into it and sharing their problems online without disclosing their identities.

The Saathi counseling centre has so far helped 6,000-plus students suffering from depression and stress since its launch. New students who take admission into the IIT and come from different parts of the country are provided compulsory counselling. Most of the students who visit the centre seeking counseling complain of depression when their cumulative grade point average score is low or when they suffer from homesickness.

A similar portal for anonymous counselling of students has proved useful at IIT-Bombay, IIT-Delhi and IIT-Kharagpur.

IIT-Guwahati is also following its counterparts in other parts of the country which have taken measures to tackle depression among students by setting up creative centres for students to dance, sing, and play musical instruments or by organizing tree hugging sessions, along with certified counselling centres.

Friday, May 25, 2018

IIT aspirant kills self in Kota - TNN

IIT aspirant kills self in Kota

 | Updated: May 22, 2018, 14:18 IST
Representative ImageRepresentative Image
KOTA: A seventeen-and-a-half-year-old boy, who was a native of Ballia district in Uttar Pradesh and was taking coaching classes in Kota for around two years, committed suicide in his room on Sunday. The student was a paying guest (PG) in Rangbadi area under Mahavir Nagar police station. The reason behind the suicide is yet to be ascertained as police have found no suicide note from his room.

The boy identified as Surya Pratap Singh, a resident of Bachhaipur area in Ballia district, committed suicide by hanging from the ceiling fan of his PG room, said Madan Lal Khateek, circle in-charge of Mahavir Nagar police station. The PG owner, on finding that Surya had locked himself in the room had not come for dinner on Sunday peeped into the room through the window at 9.30 pm and found him hanging. He immediately informed the police who rushed to the spot and took down the body.

The deceased boy was a Class XII student and had been attending classes at a coaching institute to crack entrance test for admission in IITs, the police official said. The body has been placed in the mortuary of Maharao Bhim Singh (MBS) Hospital for post-mortem to be carried out after arrival of his parents from Ballia.

This is the ninth suicide case this year by a coaching class student in Kota. Last year, a total of seven suicides by students was reported from the country’s coaching hub.