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Merit

Merit

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Published by Vaibhav Wasnik

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Published by: Vaibhav Wasnik on Feb 08, 2011
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02/08/2011

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To those who feel its about competition.....
These statements like competition and merit are thrown around in such asbeing really big monoliths, without realizing how these concepts even reallypresent themselves in the real world. Let me start by giving examplesIn the last year of our job applications in IIT Mumbai, the most prized jobs were the one’s you got in American companies where the positions werebased in America. I remember yahoo.com etc hired people only from tehtop class, with people having GPAs higher than 8 points. Now, people fromlower ranking undergrad colleges in India names you might not even haveheard come for masters in American universities by paying tuition for theseuniversities and these guys then end up getting jobs in American companieslike yahoo. This was something I saw after graduating from IITs and spend-ing just 2 years in USA. Now these same guys if they were actually in IITsI dont think they would even make up a GPA of more than 6points. Whereis competition then.As far as entering these IITs, if you are doing a coaching in kota, urchances go up astronomically. In some coaching classes, entrance successrates are more than 50 percent. The intelligence we are talking is more of a manufactured intelligence produced through grounding in prized coachingcenters. I have a question to ask how many sc/sts are even present in thesecoaching centers. I remember when I gave that IIT entrance exam, most of the problems I just guessed the solutions to, because I didnt have specializedcoaching to go to. I remember one of my seniors from the general categorytold me that the erason he got in to IITs was because of the skill of memo-rization that he had, if he saw problem and a method he could produce thatin the exam. So it was memorized intelligence grounded in coaching centersthat helped him. He didnt go about guessing all the solutions in the examsand removing them straight out of his ass like I or most probably most of usdid.Face the facts, in a human population the intelligence spectrum fallswithin a Gaussian curve where majority of the population is within a coupleof standard deviations away from the center. Only about 2 percent aregifted. That is what we saw even in IITs, just about 2 percent or so hadthese extended information processing abilities and these were teh toppersor the studs as they were known, and the rest irrespective of how they gotin to that place, generally were just more or less similar, with spectrum of differences in abilities.1
 
But even with all these facts, what sc/st students have to go through is aprocess of labeling. Let me tell you a small story. The guy under whom I didmy PhD, was a postdoc under Ed Witten, the guy is considered teh smartestman in the world, is a fields medalist and is considered the Einstein of thisgeneration. His other boss was Frank Wilzeck, the nobel prize winner. Nowmy advisor told me that he used to get scared to ask witten any questionsbecause witten might think he is stupid. Now, my boss was no small guy,he was one of the pioneers of the revolution in extra dimensions research inthe 90s. Lot of this research becomes a staple for documentaries on BBC onquestions about the universe. Now even at that level of excellence doubts inone’s abilities creep up. I have talked to intelligent people and just a little bitof psychological evaluation shows you that when you prize something such asyour intellectual capabilities (you talking about competition does show thatis something that you prize too), fear of not measuring up presents itself inevery person. Respect for your abilities and recognition is what boosts thatfragile aspect of almost every human being. This respect and recognition issomething that comes from peers or your mentors etc.Now what about the status of sc/st’s in IITs. Ever since you come into that place, you are labelled as a dumbfuck. Not that your abilities areanyway less. Only thing is that you have not been grounded through rep-etitious excersising in problem solving that is the hallmark of students incoaching centers. This fragile self-confidence gets hampered not just directlyor indirectly by your peers, but also people that you may decide to look upto, the faculty members, who look down upon you. And why is that, justbecause of labelling.I had talked to PhD students at stanford in particle physics and theseguys are among the top 2 percent as I have talked about before. Thesepeople actually think and they dont see any difficulty in understanding myarguments. They see it too clearly that there is no way that a guy getting 90marks in one exam is more intelligent than a guy getting 70 marks. Especiallywhen constraints of manufactured intelligence are factored in.But then why do the faculties in IIT’s not comprehend this logic. Wellfor one, if they were like these stanford guys they wouldn’t be ending up inthe IITs which are not known for their research output in the first place, butwould be working for premier world institutions. But the other thing is theseIIT faculties may be intelligent enough to known that if you kill the soul of a human being, you kill the fighting spirit of the human being.Masters students through GATE did have a different grading scheme2

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