Skip to comments.Student in India engineering school commits suicide over grade.
Posted on 05/04/2006 12:58:16 AM PDT by HarmlessLovableFuzzball
KANPUR: A 23-year-old Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K) student, Shailesh Sharma, on Wednesday committed suicide by hanging himself in his hostel[dorm] room. A resident of Pande Mohal, Nariya in Varanasi, the deceased was a final year student of dualdegree programme at the chemical engineering department.
IIT-K officials claimed that the student might have taken the extreme step under depression after coming to know that he had failed in two courses advanced thermodynamics and advanced fluid-mechanics. The exams had got over only on Wednesday after which Shailesh had seen the F grading in the two subjects.
According to Shaileshs batchmates, he had failed in advanced thermodynamics for third time in a row and had shared his failure and acute distress with his classmates. "On Tuesday, he came to know about his failure and was quite depressed. Today he committed suicide after having lunch with us," said a student, who was with Shailesh minutes before he ended his life.
"Though we cant draw any conclusion, it is true that he had done badly in two courses. This might be the reason behind the incident," said dean of students affairs (DOSA) Prawaal Sinha. Sinha said that the body had been sent for postmortem and parents of the deceased had been informed about the incident.
The incident invited strong reaction from the students who claimed that authorities could have saved Shaileshs life by changing his course options. Hundreds of students assembled at Hall One where Shailesh used to live and demanded that the grading be made public. They also took to task Professor RB Chhabra of advanced thermo-dynamics who was present there. "We want to know whether Shailesh was intentionally being harassed by the authorities," said an enraged student.
On November 30, a similar case was witnessed when mechanical engineering second-year student Dharaskar Swapnil Chandrakant had committed suicide by jumping from the roof of the administrative block. The IIT-K authorities had then attributed stress as factor behind the incident. Shailesh is the fifth IIT-K student to have committed suicide.
Civil engineering student M Chowdhary had hanged himself in 1981 and third-year mechanical engineering student Yadapalli Venkat and another student Vimal Jha had taken the extreme step in 1987 and 1999 respectively.
So I think I'll need to watch for signs I push too hard. My eldest is taking advanced course for his grade, but we will never expect or push for him to skip a level. We recognize that emotional maturity is every bit as important as scholastic capability. He's going to stay with his friends and do Cub Scouts and play Yu-gi-oh like all his friends. I just pray that we can balance our efforts with his needs as a child.
This tragic loss is a lesson for parents and students alike.
He was telling the clerk that he was getting a divorce and had to sell everything fast. I scanned the counter and there it was; an Springfield Armory National Match M1A.
I picked it up and asked the guy "What's he offering you for this?"
"Four hundred dollars" was the rather morose reply.
I said: "I'll give you $500.00 for it right now."
He looked at me and said "Sold."
That was about 15 years ago and I still have that piece. It's the most accurate rifle in my collection. I can hit things with that at distances I won't even try with my bolt actions.
Now the shopkeeper wasn't all that happy with me, but I've been doing business with him since I was twelve. He grumbled a bit, but eventually he got over it.
BTW I've still got my Crossman 760. My son and I shoot it in the backyard when we're not messing around with his paintball or Airsoft guns.
Great pellet guns those Crossmans. I've had mine since I was 13. It did have to go back to the factory once, but they repaired it without the least hassle.
"Similar things have happened at MIT, for what it's worth."
Yep, and at a few other U.S. schools, too.
There was also that wacko at San Diego State who gunned down three of his profs because his engineering thesis wasn't coming together.
Life may not be fair, but to laugh and make jokes about an individual who takes life's responsibilities seriously is beyond the pale. If this were a story about a football player, a Hollywood celebrity or a rock star, collectively whose contributions to mankind are negative or at most zero, there would be few jokes like this.
Sharma, the surname is that of a high-caste Hindu and so is Chhabra. So your argument does not hold. There could have been a case of personal misgivings yes, but in 2 subjects?
Don't enforce the world's stereotype of a stupid American by commenting on things that you don't know enough about. There are plenty of well-read and knowledgeable Freepers here who wouldn't want to be clubbed in the same ignorant "class" as you.
"I expect a lot of my son, but I'm certainly not going to ride him so hard he feels the need to take his own life if he can't pass some classes."
Of course. I agree. But I think the case we're discussing is a fairly extreme example of the culture of hard work Asians expect from their kids. Overall, I'd say we could do with a bit more of that culture over here.
Laughing at peoples' problems is saving lives? I'll laugh like hell if one of your love ones dies.
"Laughing at peoples' problems is saving lives? I'll laugh like hell if one of your love ones dies."
So how long have you been a dweller of tragedies? It was a voluntary act of pure stupidity. And, we're suppose to feel sorry for this idiot? It's because people blubber with all those sympathetic emotions that cause people to feel suicide is acceptable... don't you get it? Attempted suicide is usually a cry for help. This dude was just not fit to pass his genes onto the next generation.
Transport II I can understand, but Thermo II? Fail that twice, and it's time to change majors.
its probably him in errr...disguise..yeah thats it.
I have not in any of my posts attempted to justify the student's action, but I have attempted to understand his actions and I have questioned those who choose to laugh at his actions. Understanding may provide insight in preventing future incidents more than your laughter.
You can't change Majors at IIT. Or any college in India. Gettinga course is tought enough as it is.
"It is possible that a higher caste professor might not cotton to a lower caste student for some reason."
Could also be this guy had other issues which he didn't deal with very successfully. People commit suicide in other countries as well.
My guess is that this kid's parents really reamed him.
Speaking as someone in medical school, I was around a lot of pre-meds in my undergrad years. Many of them had parents who not only placed unreasonable expectations upon them, but who punished them when they failed to achieve these unrealistic expectations.
I know a guy whose parents see him as a failure and will not even stay in the same hotel room as him because he is going to the University of California at Davis Med School instead of getting into UCSF or Stanford.
Asian parents are notorious for doing this to their kids, and many of them explode along the way. I'd say about 3/4 of the Asians in my undergrad were pre-med, and quite a few of them just couldn't cope with the stress.
There are a lot of kids who need more supportive parents in our society and plenty who could use a little extra shove and some stern talking to every now and then. But in my estimation, for many of these kids, this is something entirely different.
Laughter is the correct response. Too much "understanding" can result in other deaths.
Self-pitying weenies end their lives with the hope that ("finally") everyone will feel sorry for them. If people react by playing the blame game and feeling "so sad and betrayed", it only encourages another Pity Partier to do the same thing.
On the other hand, would he commit suicide if he knew that everyone would laugh at him? Probably not.
*Chuckle.* Maybe the "pressure" was too much...
I guess he couldn't take (or calculate) the pressure.
You beat me.
Not at all!
SOMEONE has to write grant proposals for Cost-Saving Hydrogen Energy systems, Free energy furnaces made from an old washing machine that uses hydrodynamic shear, carburetors that the Oil Cartels suppress because they produce 200 MPG, IPO's based on absurd power sources and ancient Tesla drawings, and all the other wonderful things that show up like a case of herpes every time energy prices rise!
Or maybe he couldn't face the reality that he wasn't smart enough to be an engineer.
And I'm certain your laughter will be heard by some individual in India contemplating suicide. Anyone contemplating suicide is so preoccupied with their perceived problems that they are immune to almost any appeal.
I am no bleeding heart and I firmly believe that most peoples' problems are of their owm making. Furthermore, most people blame their problems on others, but leaders and managers must recognize this human shortcoming and tailor their organizations to avoid the negative impact such incidents have on their organizations.
I wonder those trying to justify laughter i this case are trying to justify their boorish behavior. I can laugh as hard as any individual when someone succeeds in seeking the Darwin award, but this is not one of those cases.
You're right...These are not the most difficult courses on earth..They are not abstract. They are pure mathematics. Wonder what his problem really was?
Laughing at HIM at the time of his anguish would not be helpful, however, laughing at someone else who committed suicide WOULD help.
"There was also that wacko at San Diego State who gunned down three of his profs because his engineering thesis wasn't coming together."
Chinese guy at Berkeley did the same thing, unless we have the same story mixed up.
"...IPO's based on absurd power sources and ancient Tesla drawings,"
Tesla was sweet. And he DID invent the AC motor (not Marconi).
Quick! Somebody hack into the school's computer and give them all bad grades!
Ah, yes -- two of those courses that convince advanced chemistry students that, by comparison, all "liberal arts" courses are trivially easy time-wasters to occupy the mentally deficient... '-}
Why wouldn't they? Over there it has something to do with getting a good job. Over here schooling just provides some perverse form of entertainment while you watch the jobs outsourced to India.
Yeah! These sure do make shorter work of those matchbox cars!
Now, that I can identify with! [sic]
Those were two of the physical chemistry courses that pushed my math abilities so hard that the corresponding courses in the Math department were almost effortless by comparison...
Are you talking to me ? And what does what you say have anything to do with post 11 to which you are responding ?
I'm sorry...but is this supposed to be funny ? ~ Raj13008
I can't speak for him, but to me it's sad irony.
I am an engineer.
Yep, that's right. And family values over there are strong too. Asians still remember some of the stuff a lot of Americans have forgotten.
If a guy failed in a course 3 times, he would have gone through the gamut of professors who teach those courses.
Furthermore, this is India, where affirmative qaction has run amuch, and there are fixed Quotas for so called "Lower caste" students to be admitted to institutes like the IIT, where everyone else enters strictly on merit (admission rate of less than 0.1%!
If youre competing with the best minds in the country, and you yourself have come in on this "quota" or that "quota", well, you got in, thanks to government legislation, and not because you had what it takes.
But you cant pass your courses on quotas too, now can you??
You can indeed change majors at IIT... however, you have to be SMARTER than others, so you can upgrade the course youre in. IITs have seats for guys from lower ranked courses in second year to compensate for "wastage". I.e. students who failed to make the grade. you cant switch downwards though.
Have you been talking to my son? : )
In the five years I was at college (yes - five, and I didn't hang myself!) - each year we had a suicide - with grades being a large (all?) part of the reason. It was a top-notch engineering school (and small). The kids coming had all done great in High School. I remember one kid in my dorm was all upset the first time he got a "B"!
The one way to look at it was "C" for Credit and "D" for Diploma to keep yourself from getting too depressed!
When I was completing my engineering courses, there was a case of one of my classmates committing suicide...But he did not commit suicide on the college campus.. He went home during the holidays and hanged himself...There was speculation that he was HIV+ . You never know what happened and why??Only the person in the situation and 'Go#' knows it....Let's cut him some slack and those who wan to laugh go right ahread....He is dead anyway...
A young girl we know took her life last week over her marks.She left a letter.
"Of course this is India where 'classism' is rampant. It's hard to tell from the article but apparently some other students think this young man may have been treated unfairly somehow. It is possible that a higher caste professor might not cotton to a lower caste student for some reason"
The only problem is that the student is upper caste. And the professor might be lower caste... and is failing his caste nemesis constantly.
Its highly unfortunate that many of my own countrymen as well as foreigners automatically presume that we are an arrogant bunch.
It was more like all the geeks formed a group, all the cool guys another, then the unbearable over-achievers, professor's-a$s kissers, etc .
Apparently you can in the US.