Indian Institute of Technology aka I.I.T. The premiere engineering institutes of India established post independence to cater the needs of a nation which was on the verge of virtual breakdown after independence. Modeled upon the famous image of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the basic aim of IIT’s was to impart sound technical and practical knowledge to students from all the strata of the society. As years passed and when many more IIT’s were added to the list the productivity of the students became high. From what started as “Institutes of National Importance” as declared by the Parliament, the IIT’s went on to become the best institutes for engineering in India. They also held up India in high steer, when India was in slump when concerned to technology. IITians in the later years earned lots of name and fame and brought India lots of respect from foreign countries. They are in fact reckoned to be the titans among the undergrads/grads in India.


The name which Indians earned due to the IIT’ies is enormous. But all that name fame and fame for India stops there. The main purpose of starting these institutions has not been achieved, i.e. to cater the need of quality professionals for the purpose of the nation. But IIt’ians showed a different kind of treatment to India. They migrated away from India to far off lands in search for ‘Greener’ pastures hence forth in a way reducing or in a way terribly affecting the main purpose of creating IIT’ies.


As one can see, the total number of students graduated from the IIT’ies stands around approximately 1, 33,245. Out of that 31,900 students have settled abroad which is approximately around 24% percent of the total pass outs from the IIT’ies from their time of inception till March 2003.


Here another fact should be kept in mind. In the early 1960’ies there were only five completely furnished IIT’ies in India. One each at Kharaghpur, Mumbai, Chennai, Kanpur and Delhi. In the early sixties there very few opportunities for Indians abroad hence the migration rates were less i.e. the graduated students somehow if not all a greater percentage of them worked in Indian firms or let us say for India. But this scenario changed after the Silicon Valley Boom in America during the mid 1980’s where there was a great need for skilled professionals. Here the IIT’ians played a major role and filled the void with their academic as well as technical brilliance. It was then the actual image of IIT’ies began to develop. Many reputed firms and universities admired IIT’ies brilliance and gave innovative job offers to these well recognized IIT’ians. Thereby the subsequent batches of graduates too started opting for foreign offers because of the sole reason, a fatter pay cheque.
Well, laying out a small percentage off the 31,900 graduates settled abroad (a small percentage only because from the early fifties to the eighties there were no major drifting of the students mainly because due to the lack of demand and also because the IIT’ies didn’t have a image at that time and another important factor the intake of students was itself low till the end of the 60’s hence these students frame a minority amongthe total IIT alumini.). Hence, in this scenario it is visible that most of the migration has taken place in the past twenty five years viz. from 1980’s to the early 21st century. With approximate calculations, the rate of students who have settled abroad comes to an excess of 50%*. [*- Approximate value, gotten by laying out the percentage of students before the Silicon Valley boom].


Imagine, in an institution that produces of genii of a different character, more than 50% of the students leave the country which funds the institution and instead they work in foreign countries earning name and fame for that country in an equal proportion to the name they earn for India. Based on a loose survey, the IIT’ies spend about 11-12 lakh for the entire four years of an undergrads course and many crores are being spend on the infrastructure all for one purpose, so that the students serve the country. But the story is quite different here; India loses its brain power while the other countries, mainly America and Europe gain from it. And the rest 50% somehow or the other serve the country, but it is to be noted that the cream of the student communities only tend to get better prospects outside India, not the others. So India is mainly dependant on the leftovers in the institution it so painfully developed.


Ravi, one of the closest followers of my blogs, who is an IIT’ian, said that holding up IIT’ians responsible for the entire brain drain is not praiseworthy, by saying that the IIT’ies have significantly contributed to the nation’s growth by increasing the per capita income and also bringing the fame. He also said that, if not all IIT’ians there are some who still stay behind in the country and there is lack of infrastructure for enlightened minds here. This was how I defended myself from his firewall question, I said that, true, IIT’ians have earned considerable name and fame to India. But that is not all enough. What India needs is brain power. Quality brain power. Nothing in this world can replace brain power, No, not even money or awards. It is to be kept in mind that, the entire human civilization has been built upon brain power i.e. thought. American and other foreign nations have been benefited from this migration of brain power from India to their countries in turn enhancing their own state in the league of the other nations.


Another theory which Ravi put forward is that, every student no matter where he studies has the right to decide his future. Right, agreed. But the point is, there are times when there can be an exception. As in the case of IIT’ies or other prestigious institutes like NIT’ies or BITS where the colleges invest huge amounts on the students for the sake of the future, with the hopes that they would make their country a better place to live in. It is the right of every student to serve his country. Not everyone can be a soldier fighting on the border front. Not everyone can be a politician leading the nation ahead, but everyone can show their love towards the country, the so called patriotism by serving the country in their own possible means and put it in high stead where no other country can dare to be in.


Brain drain does not only exist in IIT’ies, I have chosen to revolve the entire article around it as I had accurate figures. Brain drain exists everywhere be it be in NIT’s ,BITS or even in the engineering colleges situated nearby in your cities. Every year a select top few students from every branch of engineering from every other lame college make it big in the admissions for foreign universities or even jobs abroad. But what is left for the country is sheer leftovers, this is where mediocrity seeps in thereby dwindling the quality of everything around. Engineers are the pillars of an industrial nation, if its foundation is weak, so is the nation’s economy and strength. Think again before you act.
I would like to conclude this article with a small statistical piece of information, which reflects brilliance and also the severity of the problem discussed in the above paragraphs.
“The true purpose of education is to lead the civilizations into new heights but not to satisfy ones selfish needs”
[Credits: To Ravi, who painfully listen and replied to my queries and answers and to IIT Kanpur site which provided me all the statistics]