You may or may not be conscious of it, but your appetite for comparison and self-congratulation if not narcissism is colossal.
I understand that success in competitive examinations boosts one’s confidence and increases one’s pride in one’s abilities. If such a pride drives you to hone your intellectual abilities, technical capabilities and professional skills further — so you can be among the best in your game — then anyone can hardly have anything against it. It is good to be proud of oneself, for people who do not feel proud of themselves often feel miserable and easily give into self-hatred. Self-hatred is not only an inimical personal trait, it can hardly contribute anything meaningful to society. You must preserve the pride, at times even if it is misplaced, for it is not easy to feel proud in this country.
But for some of you, the success in a competition is nothing less than a certificate of being a superior life form: a certificate of that your thing is bigger than mine. This is irritating. The brand which you call ‘IITians’ and wear it like your last name is nothing less than a caste like Brahmin for it forms a caste-like hierarchy — based on merit than purity — and it makes you speak of yourself in superlatives.
My experiences in IIT Bombay tell me that as far as engineering is concerned, average among you is better than the average among us. And I concede that our jerks are bigger jerks than your jerks. But is it too hard to see, your IITian-ness, that your finest are nowhere near to our finest? You have not produced your equivalents or near-equivalents of a Bose, a Raman, a Saha, a Vishveshvarraya, an Andre Beteille, a Sainath, a Ramachardra Guha, an Irawati Karve, a Kalam , a CNR Rao. And if you are among those who prefer greenbacks over gray-cells (like most of us), then look at the number of richest people in India (you can refer to Forbes list). Compute the ratio or non-IITian and IITians. It must not be hard for you. You rule among the averages and we rule at the extremes at both ends. Moreover, we don’t look for friendly support from fellow caste members (IITians) to build a life for ourselves.
I hope you’ll give it a serious thought before you go around next time comparing your penis with mine. Have fun comparing with each others.
Wishing you a meaningful and productive life [abroad].