Mukesh Gupta chose to question Sushma Swaraj in a manner which is not reflective of an IITian | Wu Hong-Pool/Getty Images
File photo of Sushma Swaraj | Wu Hong-Pool/Getty Images
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It must be stated that the IIT value system doesn’t stand for this sort of behaviour, be it on any medium.

The recent trolling of external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj is a sad manifestation of the low level of discourse in social media. What’s more disturbing is how such vitriolic trolling is justified as freedom of expression.

The troll in this case is a Mukesh Gupta whose Twitter handle claims that he is a B.Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. If the description on the handle is indeed true then it is a slap in the face for all the values that IITs have stood for.

The IITs, till now, represented a fiercely competitive and academic ecosystem, and have created a niche for themselves.

Students from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds come to the IITs, with some later making it to institutions like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for their doctoral or post-doctoral research.

These exceptionally brilliant students have managed to build a brand name for the IITs through sheer hard work. And, that is why IITians are counted among the top names in global intelligentsia.

Mukesh Gupta’s one tweet now threatens to tarnish the brand image of the IITs – something that has taken years to build.

It must be stated that the IIT value system doesn’t stand for this sort of behaviour, be it on any medium. The IITs represent an inclusive space wherein diverse opinions and viewpoints can cohabit peacefully.

As a research fellow with the Humanities and Social Sciences Department of IIT Bombay and holding an ideological belief which is in minority here, I can tell you that I have never for a moment felt uncomfortable. Such is the nature of inclusiveness in this institute.

At an IIT, one can find people supporting the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) or the Left parties or the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). What you will not find here is an acrimonious and abusive discourse between students to prove their point. The quality of discussion is academic and fact-driven.

The atmosphere in an IIT is not just about imbibing knowledge but also about imbibing etiquettes and ethics to convey the same knowledge to anyone else.

In the Swaraj case, for instance, it is absolutely within the rights of a citizen to question the actions of a minister. Gupta, however, chose to question Swaraj in a manner which is not reflective of an educated person, much less an IITian.

I sincerely hope that Gupta is just faking that he is an IITian. If that is not the case, it is a matter of collective shame for the IIT community and calls for serious introspection.

Raghav Pandey is a Research Fellow with the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Bombay, Mumbai. He can be reached at raghav10089@gmail.com, Twitter: @raghavwrong

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34 Comments Share Your Views

34 COMMENTS

  1. Dear ThePrint

    Everybody has to be heard, everybody’s opinion matters, we are a democracy, after all.

    However, there has to be some kind of logic, modicum at the least. Equating one person’s tweet with no certainty that he actually passed out from IIT to colour entire community with the same brush is a bit far-fetched.

    And you going ahead to carry it on your platform will get you views, but at the lack of your credibility.

  2. Dear writer
    This is the stupidest article with the stupidest logic. How can a single person represent a whole of IIT (and there are multiple IITs). All the people studying/working in IITs does not mean they need to have same opinion. There is something called as difference of opinion. No two people are the same. And it is true for any other institution in the whole world (so please tomorrow don’t write such stupid articles targetting other institutions). So stop sensesationalising your boring articles by using such prestigious institution names
    A disclaimer : This comment is against this article and not in support of the trolls and the trollers.

  3. No comments on the trolls as u can’t stop them…why get affected. But as for IIT being a brand unfortunately…not any more! Diluted by too many of them. Too many reservations. Qualified gen candidate at the top of the list is left out and negative markers taken. Does this not defeat the purpose. After a tough entrance why this dilution. Are we at the end of the day getting quality students who will achieve something of global std or how many serve the country successfully.

  4. Just because he created a handle and bio mentioning iitd it does not mean iit was not able to teach him broader views. Please don’t try to correlate political statement s with educational institutions.

  5. You can’t do shit to the brand IIT by talking stuff… Only way it can be harmed is by making sure brilliant students don’t reach in.. Which is why you reserve seats.. IIT’s have nothing except for their students.. I repeat nothing

  6. What is the relevance of the title of the story to the event discussed in the story? If you blame entire IIT for one Mukesh Gupta, what is the count for usual trolling that happens against on many as a daily routine? So, according to your theory any person having some tag for example like IIT or IIM or more importantly having any caste surname can offer blame to the entire community or to the society that, the person is represented for, when involved in the act of trolling or making derogatory remarks. Therefore, corresponding to you it is not the individual conduct rather community shaped? If yes, can you give the configuration of entire HSS in IIT B?

    One last thing, The Print should have scrutinized this before it get published.

  7. There is nothing called brand value of IIT or IIM..

    I have seen and interacted with enough dumb and irritatingly myopic IITians in my professional life to see anything special with someone carrying a degree from thoes institutes.

  8. It’s an opinion and all individuals have some opinions ,so what he is an iitan why blaming an institution

    “It’s like tumhara how konsa hai waha sab pagan hai kya ?

  9. I can’t believe I have to give my hard earned money for these dimwit scholars who waste taxpayer money and come with such worthless shitty articles

  10. Something tells me that the author of this article is a RSS bhakt… Someone’s personal choice of words or political attire does not reflect one’s academic atmosphere… For sure being an IITian myself I can personally say that there are many students nowadays coming from so called ‘Hinduttya pariwar’ who are more aggressive and violent in nature, and their gesture, choice of words, etc. never showcases an ideal IITian persona. But still one cannot blame or shame IIT for that. They are all grown up individuals and have their own freedom of thought and speech.

  11. Your righteously indignant defence of IIT brand is very cute but hey Writer, are you a male? Try talking to some women in IIT (students, researchers, faculty) and ask them about the bigotry they have faced from males in your “esteemed” institution whether it be in the engineering side or the humanities side. No seriously, take the time to do this. I then look forward to your article on what really the IIT brand stands for.

  12. What goes around, comes around. That’s not to say it’s right. But what is more intriguing is the silence of BJP leaders on this issue. Rajnath Singh is the exception.

  13. As I understand Ms Swaraj transferred a passport officer without seeking his version of the events, relying entirely on the tweet of a couple. The claim to fame happened to be the lady was a Hindu converted herself to a Muslim, to marry a Muslim. The issue to me was the high-handed action of Ms. Swaraj, who misused her position as a minister. That is all. The rule of law and fairness demands that version of both sides should have been heard. The minister was wrong in doing what she did.

  14. @Raghav Pandey, As you r free to speak ur heart, so other IITians. IITs provide education (esp in technologies) and are not responsible how someone behaves outside.

    Ao if u have to troll someone, then troll the individual’s thinking and not the educational institute from where he/she graduated.

    Just for fun: Anand kumar is currently working with DRDO, and had graduated from IITD.

  15. Have you lost it? Exceptions can’t be examples.An individual does a mistake and u start to question the entire IIT fraternity for it.
    By this logic if a man commits some crime then will u question the entire nation for it and convict them!!!

  16. All muslims are not terrorists but one IITIAN represents the value system of “all IITs”. Seems logical enough. Atleast for a media outlet like ‘The Print’.

  17. It is not the fault of IIT…it’s the fault of this man’s upbringing…which is still there in his blood.. where he was not taught to respect either women or country.. Even if you go to the world’s best institution it can give you education..but it cannot change your mentality…now this type of people will psychopath in India..har har Modi.

  18. Though I personally condemn such act of misogynistic trolling by a man who happens to be a highly educated, but I fail to understand the sweeping generalization of the author that he undertakes by banking on his IITian status. Had he been a man from UP or Maharashtra, would you label all UPwale or Marathi as misogynistic?

    The ranting on IIT being this or that and how we look up to IITian fails the purpose and looks like a kind of deliberate superaddition. Let’s collectively condemn such trolling and not collectively be ashamed of such acts.

  19. Though I personally condemn such act of misogynistic trolling by a man who happens to be a highly educated man, I fail to understand the sweeping generalization of the author that he undertakes by banking on his IITian status. Had he been a man from UP or Maharashtra, would you label all UPwale or Marathi as misogynistic?

    The ranting on IIT being this or that and how we look up to IITian fails the purpose and looks like a kind of deliberate superaddition. Let’s collectively condemn such trolling and not collectively be ashamed of such acts.

  20. Firstly,do nit even day your IIT is a brand.where in India,you can fi d NITs and other top tier state and private unit’s are far better unit’s and a brand than you.you are actually a shame because IIT involved in media mongering and it is average institute.many NITians had gone to MIT and that holds good for other tier 1 unit’s ,incl many Univ reaching good unit’s.without coming and helping a lot,first improve your average performance and competence.your so low actually.Sushma swaraj does not even know this.such level of populrity

  21. Any Indian does anything, curse Indians. How can a single person’s opinion be realted to entire IIT?
    You will do anything for cheap popularity.

  22. I,absolutely , agree with the above arguement. this type of trolling should have been stopped in the beginning itself but they enjoyed it when it was done in case of others.It is rightly said” Jas Karni Tas vog ho Daata: Narak jaat kyon Pachhtata”. Hope this will be taken in right spirit .

    • Why public should not share their views and feelings. It you think this is trolling, then it should be. Shushma’s behavior in this passport episode is very very shameful. Instead of corrective measures, she choose the wrong way to justify her and work of her ministry. I think kind of her minset people should not govern the India.

  23. We In India tend to think our leaders as gods and tend to comment on each and every rubbish they involved in. Democracy must make the system strong & effective. India cannot change even by 2047 if we are our history.

  24. First, I do not understand how Sushma Swaraj can be blamed for something that a passport officer in Lucknow did. Maybe, people are blaming her as a member of BJP who are encouraging a toxic ideology among the people. Sushma Swaraj has everything right to feel hurt and the person who has trolled her is absolutely wrong.
    But, on the other hand, these 4 years have seen several right wing trolls make several threats to anyone who disagreed with them on social media. Sushma Swaraj remained mum all these years because she thought that despite being a cabinet minister in this great country, when her own supporters are supporting her and her part in a toxic manner and trolling opponents, she felt safe. She seems to have forgotten that trolling is a game that anyone can play at once they let go of their decency.
    I, myself, have been threatened on social media several times. I have simply challenged them to come for a fight. There is a saying in English “What goes around comes around.” Whether it in agreement or disagreement with your own idealogy, debates should keep their decency. Social media has been in existence since more than 10 years now. That decency has been thrown to the wind only after the BJP came to power at the centre is anyone’s conclusion. So, do not be surprised when someone on the other side have simply had enough of it and have decided to reply in kind.
    Also, what Sushma Swaraj is facing is very mild compared to what her supporters have done to other countrymen, the example of Priyanka Chaturvedi is the latest.

    • Sad that the poison is spreading to the elite technical instituitions. Why ? Whats responsible ? Can we do something about it.

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