What does it mean to be a NITian? Each year around 18000 of the best minds of this country take up higher studies into these premier institutes of higher learning known as the National Institute of Technology. Established in 2002 from the erstwhile REC’s, the purpose of these institutes was to “promote regional diversity and multi-cultural understanding in India while also transforming India into A Global Leader in the field of Technology and Entrepreneurship”. The law designates each NIT as an Institute of National Importance (INI).
But as we dawn on almost 6 decades of the inception of these institutes, we must ask ourselves, as NITians, how far have we come to achieve this goal?
There are without a doubt many fault and loopholes in the curriculum and administrative structure of every NIT, which needs attention but we must understand that each NIT is an autonomous body and to get any reform however major or minor within the administration is an extremely tedious affair and today I do not want to discuss about these things but rather focus on something that in my view is far more pivotal if we want to move forward in our journey to fulfill the vision with which the NIT’s were established. I am talking about the biggest capital of our Institutes. “Us” the NITians.
The mark of any successful organization is when it is recognized by it’s people rather than it’s people being recognized by it. And after a certain time we must rise to take the baton and proclaim that we form our institutes and It is up to us to ensure that our institutes reach the level of success that they deserve.
But as students and alumni, what can we contribute to these institutions? And a more logical question is that why would someone studying in NIT Kurukshetra would feel a sense of belonging to A student in NIT Silchar. That is the importance of the NIT Brand. Even while being diverse in it’s approach, each NIT has many common traits. Being a NITian is something that we all proud ourselves and deserving so. But is there anything substantial that we can be created out of this sense of collective belonging?
The World’s largest Alumni Association is the “Penn State Alumni Association” with membership of 6,58,000 members. They run a very effective campaign both online and offline with several benefits for it’s Alumni including Networking and even Worldwide discounts on Healthcare and even Holiday Vacations. Now I do not intend to sound patronizing by complaining our hardly half A century old institutions with A 170-year-old one but the point that I would suggest that I am making is that there is a lot that can and should be done in this regard.
Now imagine 18,000 students passing out every year with the numbers expected to grow even higher in the coming years, how much can we create even if we start from scratches. And we don’t even know our full potential yet. We have our alumni who are highly successful entrepreneurs and are a part of every major corporation in this world, and with proper networking, they too would be able to give back to their alma mater.
At this point of time the skeptic inside you must be wondering at the legitimacy of the case that I am trying to present. Is it not unrealistic to except students from such diverse institutes to come together and function as one big Organization all together? The Answer to this question is a defiant NO!
This Can be done and this has been done. In the form of PAN-IIT network which is highly vibrant and A registered body in more than 50 countries. And it is not the dearth of initiative among us, NIT Sparrow, PAN-NIT and many other similar programs had been running but couldn’t achieve it’s full potential.
So what has changed now? I will argue that the change is once again “us”. Since the last Six years, The NIT Conclave has provided a great stage for students of all the NITs to come together and discuss such creative ideas. One of them is the “NIT Intra Alumni Network” or the “NITian”. But any idea no matter how beautiful it is only worth something when it is drawn out on A Canvas and that is the need of the hour. For the NIT Community to come together as NITians and embrace our ability to create great things.
This may look like a long shot, But the pragmatic optimist in me believes that this is very much possible. With the 7th Edition of the NIT Conclave set to take place in NIT Silchar this year, there is a world of possibilities that look upon us to build upon the foundations of the previous years. And as a Clarion Call To every member of my community, I shall call out to them to engage openly about the challenges and success of this initiative that helps us to fulfill our vision of the NITs.