I have a Solution that will reduce pressure on IIT aspirants but do not know how to get this across to HRD Minister of India. Suggestions are welcome. - Ram Krishnaswamy

Search This Blog

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Powai suicide victim was depressed over performance in exams - The Hindu

MUMBAI, April 28, 2016


Had sent text messages to friends confiding fear of failure: police

A day after the daughter of a professor at IIT-Mumbai killed herself, the police have found out that she was under treatment for depression, and that she had sent text messages to her friends over the last few days that indicated she was under extreme stress over her performance in the final exams.

The victim, Saroja Nandyala, a Class XII student at the Kendriya Vidyalaya in the IIT campus, allegedly jumped off the terrace of the-14 storey building in the campus where she used to stay with her family. No suicide note was found on her person or in her house, the police said.

Mumbai Police spokesperson DCP Dhananjay Kulkarni, said: “We have found out from inquiries with Saroja’s parents that she had become extremely worried about her performance in the exams. She desperately wanted to secure admission to the JJ School of Arts. Her anxiety over her performance became so severe that she had to undergo treatment for depression, which had been going on for a month now.”

The investigating team, while checking Saroja’s cellphone, found several text messages she sent to her friends, expressing her anxiety. “All of the messages were negative in their tone, indicating a severely stressed and depressed frame of mind,” said an officer.

Her depression and anxiety is believed to have led her to take the extreme step, the officer added.

The Powai police have, for the time being, registered an accidental death report. Investigations so far have not thrown up any indications of foul play, the police said.

The Class XII student desperately wanted to secure admission to the JJ School of Arts

Mumbai girl’s suicide: Neighbours say she was tense over chemistry exam results - Indian Express

The incident occurred around 7:30 pm. The girl was rushed to an on-campus hospital where she was declared dead on arrival.

Written by Shweta Bhutada | Mumbai | Published:April 28, 2016 2:58 am

Saroja Hemchandra Nandyala loved sketching and wanted to make a career in designing. On Tuesday, the 17-year-old informed her father, IIT Professor N Hemchandra, that she was going out to buy sharpeners for her sketching pencils.

A little later, she was found dead on the ground floor of Shivalik building less than 130 metres from her residence. Saroja had jumped from the 14th floor. The incident occurred around 7:30 pm. The girl was rushed to an on-campus hospital where she was declared dead on arrival.

Professors at IIT, who have also been neighbours of the girl’s family for years, said she might have been under stress after her chemistry exam last month. “Ever since her chemistry exam did not go well, she had been tense about her results. She was so anxious and worried that her parents took her to the counsellor at the campus hospital about a month ago,” said a professor who did not wished to be named.

Saroja was the only child of the Nandyalas. A student of KV in Powai, she had completed her 12th grade board exams last month.

Mamata Bhattacharya, principal of KV, said, “She was done with school as the current session is over. We are all waiting for results. She was a quiet child and a decent student.”

Friends and neighbours said she was a quiet and well-behaved child. She had complete support from her family to pursue her own choice of career. Saroja had qualified for the interview for admission to the National Institute of Fashion Technology and had been preparing for it.

Another professor said she was never interested in science. She always wanted to pursue fine arts but since KV does not provide an option, she stuck to science. Powai police, probing the matter, have not yet recorded the statement of family members of the deceased.

- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/mumbai-girls-suicide-neighbours-say-she-was-tense-over-chemistry-exam-results-2773554/#sthash.rUfn657p.dpuf

IIT Powai professor’s daughter kills self on campus - Asian Age

The 17-year-old is said to have taken her life by jumping off a building in the campus.

A teenage daughter of an IIT Powai professor allegedly committed suicide on Tuesday evening. The 17-year-old is said to have taken her life by jumping off a building in the campus.

The teenager identified as Saroja Hemachandra Nandyala was studying is the 12 class of Kendriya Vidyalaya, IIT Powai. The girl is the daughter of N Hemchandra, Head of the Industrial Engineering department of IIT Powai.

The incident allegedly occurred on Tuesday when security personnel heard a loud thud and discovered the girl's body below Shivalik Building in the campus. Sources inform that the minor, who stayed with her parents in staff quarters, jumped off the 14th floor of the building. Powai police is still investigating the case.

The campus in January saw a similar case when the young son of an IIT professor allegedly committed suicide by slashing his wrists. The 20-year-old identified as Chaitanya Warekar had allegedly grown tired of the constant advice of his family members regarding his further education and employment. He had allegedly, spoken about committing suicide numerous times before taking the plunge, but his threats had not been taken seriously. Sources say the investigators suspect pressure regarding studies compelled Saroja to end her life.

Girl jumps to death from building at IIT Powai - Indian Express

According to the police, the deceased was believed to be the daughter of a professor in the industrial engineering department of the Indian Institute of Technology, Powai.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Published:April 27, 2016 2:02 am
A 17-year-old girl jumped off a highrise building inside the IIT campus on Tuesday and died, police said.

According to the police, the deceased was believed to be the daughter of a professor in the industrial engineering department of the Indian Institute of Technology, Powai.

“The girl committed suicide by jumping from the terrace of the 14th floor of one Shivalik building within the campus,” said A S Shaikh, Assistant Commissioner of Police (Saki Naka Division).
The incident occurred around 8 pm. The girl was rushed to Rajawadi hospital where she was declared dead on arrival.

She resided in one of the B-type bungalows in central area of the IIT campus and was a student of Class XII at the Kendriya Vidyalaya inside the campus. “We are investigating the matter. We are still unclear why she took her own life,” Shaikh added. No one from the IIT was available for comments.

- See more at: http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/girl-jumps-to-death-from-building-at-iit-powai-2771919/#sthash.QKcylFNB.dpuf

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Pros & Cons of Studying at Career Point University, Kota

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Pros & Cons of Studying at Career Point University, Kota

Career Point University's main campus is at Kota, Rajasthan, and this relatively young private university is promoted by the promoters of Career Point, one of the pioneers of Kota's entrance coaching business. With only weeks left for admission season to commence in India, Seasonal Magazine takes a look at how Career Point University fares in admissions for academic year 2016-17. 

Ex-IITian Pramod Maheshwari, who founded Career Point serves as the Chancellor of Career Point University (CPU), while noted educationalist Dr. Mithilesh Dixit serves as CPU's Vice-Chancellor.

CPU's home city of Kota in Rajasthan is most known for recording the highest temperature in the state at 41.5 degrees recently, and for recording the highest number of student suicides during the past year, due to the intense and inhuman competition among the entrance coaching institutes in this city.
While police records put teenage suicides in Kota during the past year at 24, unofficial tallies speak about 56 or more youngsters ending their lives in this remote tier-2 city, around 250 kms from Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur.

Once famous for its engineering and medical entrance coaching centres, today the city is infamous for student suicides due to the reckless pressure exerted by these coaching centres on the IIT and All India Medical aspirants.

Starting out in the 90s with just a couple of institutes, this laidback city has spawned over 300 institutes during the past two and a half decades on the lure of minting big time money on coaching lakhs of students from all over India with no respect for their aptitude for entering IITs or Medical Colleges.

However, the bulk or cream of the coaching business is cornered by the so-called Big-5 in the industry - Allen, Bansal, Career Point, Resonance, and Vibrant – which charge higher fee for better success rates. And there are no refunds in this business for those who drop out, unable to withstand the pressure.

While Career Point founded by ex-IITian Pramod Maheshwari, and Bansal were the pioneers in this unique business of Kota, more successful players like Allen have surpassed them in recent years.

Intense competition among all these big as well as smaller players has ensured that students are often put through grueling regimens lasting 18 hours a day or more.

While only the suicides in Kota grab the headlines, thousands of teenagers studying in Kota experience mental breakdowns and require months of treatment at psychiatrists and counseling centres to recover.

Due to the tiny number of seats in IITs and leading Government Medical Colleges, compared with the huge number of aspirants studying in Kota alone, many students – between 40-45% - end up repeating the coaching classes, bringing in repeat business for these institutes.

With billboards celebrating the success of each institute’s students adorning many vantage points in Kota, success in entrance becomes the only measure of success for both the institutes and students, and many institutes are known to shame and humiliate underperforming students, driving them to suicides or nervous breakdowns.

After last year’s student suicides in Kota broke all records, the Kota District Collector took some action, and forced these institutes to conduct a screening test. However, most institutes have turned it into a mockery with a policy that even those who fail in the test would be offered coaching.

When a promoter and an organization from this kind of coaching industry starts a private university, there are bound to be raised eyebrows.

But Pramod Maheshwari who also serves as Chancellor of Career Point University (CPU) has so far tried to steer clear of such controversies by keeping the University a separate entity, and by not allowing the coaching culture to seep in here.

However, when one takes a walkthrough in CPU’s brochures and publicity materials, one can’t help but feel some elements of the coaching culture. For instance, the university stresses on middle-school like values viz. "determining one to one contact" and "relentlessly monitors progress of every student".

Many private universities in Rajasthan are financially bleeding due to inadequate admissions. Career Point University, according to information published in its website, has implemented some unique policies - may be to fight this challenge - like early admission benefit, repetition of entrance test, and a special provision to apply for the entrance test even just two days in advance.

And unlike many of its peers, it accommodates engineering diploma holders in its BTech programs in a big way.

Career Point University offers courses in domains like engineering, management, law, agriculture etc. According to information published in its website, among its 70 faculty members, only 7 have doctorate level degrees. CPU is not accredited by NAAC.

Being a young university, CPU is only gradually coming up in the placements scene. While CPU claims to have achieved 79% placements in the past academic session, the quality of recruiters and quality of pay leave much to be desired.

As per the information published in CPU website, while many of India’s largest recruiters like TCS, Infosys, Cognizant, Accenture, IBM etc are missing, the list is dominated by second-rung or lower-rung companies, and many graduates and postgraduates have been recruited at very low CTCs ranging from Rs. 1.2 Lakhs Per Annum to Rs. 2.4 LPA.

Career Point University may come up gradually due to the education and experience of its Chancellor Pramod Maheshwari and Vice Chancellor Dr. Mithilesh Dixit, but for now, the university may appeal more to students native to Kota.

Monday, April 18, 2016

16-year-old IIT-JEE aspirant ends life in Kota, no suicide note found - Hindustan Times

16-year-old IIT-JEE aspirant ends life in Kota, no suicide note found

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Kota
  •  |  
  • Updated: Apr 17, 2016 18:04 IST
Kota, a premier coaching hub in Rajasthan, gained notoriety after a number of students committed suicide over the years due to alleged academic pressure. (Photo for representational purposes only)

An IIT-JEE aspirant committed suicide by slitting her veins in Kota on Sunday morning. The motive behind the action was not known because the girl, who had enrolled in a coaching institute here a few days ago, did not leave behind a suicide note.
Identifying the girl as 16-year-old Vaishnavi, daughter of one Gopal Tiberwal from Munger district in Bihar, police said she committed suicide in the bathroom of her hostel at New Rajiv Gandhi Nagar. Jawahar Nagar circle inspector Harish Bharti said police was informed about the incident around 2 am on Sunday morning.
“The student slit both her wrists, besides a vein in her neck, using a knife that is now in our possession,” Bharti said, adding that Vaishnavi was sharing her room with a cousin, Prachi. He said the girl committed suicide while Prachi — also a student — was asleep.
Kota, a coaching hub in Rajasthan, gained notoriety after a number of students committed suicide over the years due to alleged academic pressure. Police, however, said there have not been many cases of students slitting their wrists in the city; most commit suicide by hanging themselves.
Bharti said Vaishnavi, a Class 11 student preparing for the IIT-JEE examinations, had enrolled herself in the coaching institute on April 4. Attempts to get some information from the cousin and the deceased girl’s local guardian had gone in vain because they were both in a state of shock, he added.
The girl’s parents have been informed, and a post-mortem examination of the body will be conducted after their arrival at Kota.
This is the fourth student suicide to have occurred in Kota this year until now. The last such incident had occurred in the first week of March, when a 19-year-old student — Arvind Kushwaha — hanged himself in his rented room.
As many as 20 coaching students committed suicide in Kota last year. Hope Society, an NGO, runs a round-the-clock helpline that offers counselling and sustained assistance to suicidal students.
In December, the Kota district administration formulated several de-stressing measures — including the strict imposition of a weekly holiday, easy fees refund and joint parent-student counselling — in order to prevent students from taking the extreme step.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Why are India's housewives killing themselves?

Why are India's housewives killing themselves?

Soutik BiswasDelhi correspondent
  • 12 April 2016
  • From the section India

Image captionThere are very few studies on why Indian homemakers have been killing themselves

More than 20,000 housewives took their lives in India in 2014.
This was the year when 5,650 farmers killed themselves in the country. 
So the number of suicides by housewives was over 250% more than the farmers. They also comprised 47% of the total female victims.
Yet the high number of homemakers killing themselves doesn't make front page news in the way farmer suicides do, year after year.
In fact, more than 20,000 housewives have been killing themselves in India every year since 1997, the earliest year for which we have information compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau based on occupation of the victim. In 2009, the grim statistic peaked at 25,092 deaths.
Forget raw numbers. 
The rate of housewives taking their lives - more than 11 per 100,000 people - has been consistently higher than India's overall suicide rate since 1997. It dropped to 9.3 in 2014, yet suicide rate for housewives was more than twice those for farmers that year.

Little attention
Suicide rates of housewives vary from state to state. 
In 2011, for example, their rates - more than 20 per 100,000 people - were higher in states like Maharashtra, Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, West Bengal and Gujarat. Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar showed lower suicide rates.
Peter Mayer, who teaches politics at the University of Adelaide and has spent much time studying the sociology of suicide in India, wonders why suicide rates of housewives in India is so high, and why it gets so little attention in the media.
After all, as Mr Mayer says, research in western societies suggests that "marriage confers protection from suicide to married women". 
Therefore, married people are less likely to kill themselves - studies have found suicide rates for married people in the US and Australia, for example, are lower than others in the same age group.
India, clearly, is an outlier. 
Nearly 70% of people who took their lives in 2001, for example, were married - 70.6% of the men and 67% of the women.
Image copyrightAFP

Image captionSuicides of women do not get much coverage in the media
A study published in the medical journal The Lancet in 2012 found that the suicide rate in Indian women aged 15 years or older is more than two and a half times greater than it is in women of the same age in high-income countries, and nearly as high as in China. 
Married women are part of the cohort. Mr Mayer, author of Suicide and Society in India, and co-researcher Della Steen, found that the "risk of suicide is, on the whole, highest in what are probably the first or second decades of marriage, that is, for those aged between 30 and 45".
"We found that female literacy, the level of exposure to the media and smaller family size, all perhaps indicators of female empowerment, were correlated with higher suicide rates for women in these age groups."
Also, the researchers say that suicide rates among housewives are lowest in the most "traditional" states, where family sizes are big and extended families are common. Rates are higher in states where households are closer to nuclear families - Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. (Dowry-related deaths are treated as murders.)

'Changing expectations'
Mr Mayer told me that he believed the high rate of housewife suicides was linked to the "nature of the social transformation in the nature of the family, which is occurring in India".
"I suggest that a central explanatory factor is the importance of changing expectations concerning social roles, especially in marriage," he says.
There are conflicts with spouses and parents, and "relations between poorly educated mothers-in-law and better-educated, insubordinate daughters-in-law" are a source of tension. 
An educated daughter-in-law was more likely to "forge a strong alliance with her husband and persuade him to break off from his parents and set up a nuclear family on their own", according to one study by Joanne Moller.
Dr Vikram Patel, a leading Goa-based psychiatrist and professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, who co-authored the Lancet study, tells me that the high rate of housewife suicides in India can be attributed to a double whammy of "gender and discrimination".
"Many women face arranged marriages by force. They have dreams and aspirations, but they often do not get supportive spouses. Sometimes their parents don't support them either. They are trapped in a difficult system and social milieu," he says.

Image copyrightAFP

"The resulting lack of romantic, trusting and affectionate relationship with your spouse can lead to such tragedies."
Making things worse is the lack of counsellors and medical facilities for patients of depression. Then there's the social stigma associated with "mental illness". 
Next big question: why does the media ignore the rising rate of suicides among married women, when, say, farmer suicides, rightly, gets a lot of attention?

'Harassment for dowry'
Mr Mayer says on the "relatively rare occasion when the Indian media do cover the suicides of married women it is almost always framed in terms of mistreatment by in-laws and harassment for dowry". That is clearly only a part of the story.
Kalpana Sharma, a researcher and journalist, says the lack of coverage has to largely do with the "invisibility of gender" in the Indian media. 
"This, in some ways, is worse than misogyny. There is a lack of engagement with issues relating to women, and the media is not even aware of the problem," she says. 
The story of India's "desperate housewives", as Mr Mayer describes them, needs to be urgently researched and told. 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Jaipur: 17-year-old IIT aspirant hangs self TNN | Apr 7, 2016, 02.14 AM IST

Jaipur: 17-year-old IIT aspirant hangs self

TNN | Apr 7, 2016, 02.14 AM IST

In the suicide note, he sought apology from his parents and stated that he failed in his previous six attempts, but he would be successful this time. The police are verifying whether he was referring to attempts to commit suicide in the past or his failure to crack IIT entrance exams.

The student, Hanuman Sharma, was a resident of Kumher in Bharatpur. "He was staying at a rented accommodation in Rakadi area in Sodala and preparing for IIT entrance examinations. His cousins stay at a rented accommodation in the neighbourhood. When they didn't hear from him for 24 hours, one of them went to his room on Tuesday afternoon. The landlord told him that Hanuman hadn't come out of his room since Monday night," said a police officer.

On receiving no response from the room, they broke open the door and found Hanuman hanging. They informed the police.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Pratyusha Banerjee's Suicide: Rakhi Sawant Has Called For A Ban On Ceiling Fans

HuffPost India  |  By Suprateek Chatterjee

Posted: 05/04/2016 17:25 IST Updated: 32 minutes ago

Rakhi Sawant has taken the media and celebrity circus that we have all been witness to following Balika Vadhu actress Pratyusha Banerjee's tragic alleged suicide to a whole new level.
In a bizarre press conference held at a banquet hall in Mumbai's Oshiwara area, Sawant made two claims: one, that she was in possession of a video that would reveal that Banerjee's death wasn't a suicide, and two, that ceiling fans were indirectly responsible for the lives of thousands of young, fragile women across the country. "If a father and mother love their daughter, they should get rid of ceiling fans," said Sawant, dressed in a black velvet top, with a flex banner behind her that read 'Lautkar aa jao Pratyusha (come back, Pratyusha)'. "Use AC, use table fans," she added, brandishing a small white ceiling fan that she had brought along to the presser for added impact.
On being asked how the poor would cope with the heat, she said, "Table fans are not expensive. We are planning to go to slums and donate 5,000 fans to the poor ourselves. At least we're doing this. What are others doing for the country? What is the government doing?"

However, it must be said that Sawant's idea of getting rid of ceiling fans to prevent suicides, as crazy as it may sound, isn't new.

A number of journalists present there, including this writer, could barely resist from smirking. One reporter asked, "20 years ago, [actress] Divya Bharti had committed suicide by jumping off a building. Should we also ban buildings?"
Sawant replied: "Please don't make fun of this issue. Now if Smriti Irani said this, you would applaud her. Why? Because she's the education minister, that's why?"
At this point, a few irate journalists asked her to share details of the supposedly explosive video she had, which she claims was sent by Banerjee's producer boyfriend Rahul Raj Singh's ex-wife Saloni Sharma. "We have proof that it was not a suicide, but we've been told that we have to give it to the Crime Branch first," she said. "Some people from the Crime Branch were supposed to attend this press conference, but they backed out at the last minute."

However, it must be said that Sawant's idea of getting rid of ceiling fans to prevent suicides, as crazy as it may sound, isn't new. In 2010, a four-member team probing the suicide of a student at IIT Kanpur, one of India's premier engineering colleges, had recommended that the ceiling fans be replaced by pedestal fans.