IIT Spouses Are Women? Unbelievable!

September 27, 2008

PanIIT, an umbrella alumni organisation for all the seven IITs in the country organises a global conference every year, a "premier event that brings together an eclectic group of industry visionaries, thought leaders and IIT alumni from across the globe". This eclectic group, of course, are an extremely sensitive lot and cannot be faulted with having forgotten their spouses' entertainment while they debated on important topics such as "nation building" and "education". So what have you - a few sessions "Especially for Spouses".


The theme for the spouses' track in this year's PANIIT is "Sampoorna" - programs meant for the complete woman, who is able to perfectly balance her personal, professional and public personality. With this in mind we have a galaxy of presenters and performers who are bound to enlighten the IIT spouses.

This sucks! Coming from the alumni of a premier educational institute, it doubly sucks. There is just no other way to put. Unless of course I copy what a friend (who pointed me to this) had to say. I am so shocked that this comes from the group that is supposedly organising a "Global Conference" that I don't know what to say. Yes, I am totally outraged.

A short background:

Let's get this straight okay - spouse as per this assorted group's parlance means "wife". No, men do not qualify. You see, they are the IIT alumni. You got to be kidding me - women and IIT alumni! Of course not. The only way a woman can be associated with the premier educational institution of India is if she is married to one of the students. So, while the IITian "chooses to inspire, innovate and transform", an exclusive track is designed for the spouses (yes, yes, we mean wives) aimed at making them "Sampoorna" - "the complete woman, who is able to perfectly balance her personal (always first priority, isn't it?), professional and public personality".

Don't get angry yet. There is more. This track, it is said, is designed to "completely inform" and entertain the spouses. And how? First day you have sessions by the likes of Hema Malini (a complete woman? Excuse me!) on women's empowerment and Shilpa Shetty enlightening you on how to enrich your spiritual life. There are of course more knowledgeable sessions - "a mystic trail (in the campus)... through some of India's most well known practices such as Astrology, Palmistry, Gemology (and no not study of gems, but this), Nadi and Kili Josiyam..., giving the participants an opportunity to get a first hand experience of some of India's most occult practices and beliefs."

Wow! How wonderful, isn't it? They know exactly what the women are interested in - spirituality and mysticism. And no, it doesn't seem to strike them that the spouses would probably be interested in a tour of the campus, its labs etc. Remember the assumptions: spouses == women; and women are only interested in spiritualism and occult!

Or jewellery and clothes and weddings and food. Yes, your heard me right. There is a shopping trail - but only to jewellery, silk and handicraft stores (not books, not music, only gold). And yes, there are attractive offers and discounts as well.

And for the finale, you will be in the presence of a "very famous Sampoorna woman", who is - you bet - the "spouse of an IITian".

What utter nonsense. Why didn't the PanIIT group just point the spouses to this instead?

As a team lead at an IT firm in Hyderabad, I might seem to be treading the known path. But I have actually had a chequered career - alternating between being a research student to journalist to lecturer. I am passionate about books and music, and hope to make a living using these some day.
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IIT Spouses Are Women? Unbelievable!


Author: Emma


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Deepti Lamba
September 27, 2008
12:50 AM

Emma, and here is where I show 'Sampoorna' my middle finger!

September 27, 2008
01:24 AM

This does call for reservations in elitist IIT so we can have more diversity. Their definition of complete woman seems to include many things that feminists do not approve of. Renuka Chaudhary should monitor what kind of spouses these IITians are marrying, and reserve a small quota for feminists so little more sensitivity can be injected in this elite club.

BTW, I too showed them middle finger when I did not get admission in IIT.

September 27, 2008
12:50 PM

Nothing wrong with that. In this context, >90 % spouse == wife. You wont organize a soccer game for them, would you ? They chose to be practical over being politically correct. Maybe the demographics of IIT alumni will change after 20 years..

September 27, 2008
01:46 PM

Ithink it's because ... most women IIT alumni marries to IIT grads [:D] so they will be anyway attending conference as IIT alumnus ... but not true vice-versa... hence spouse are considered as women....

Deepti Lamba
September 27, 2008
02:10 PM

The IIT trophy wives? How cliched and unimaginative.

Here is what I propose

Free Foreign Film tickets at Cannes
Weekend Trip to either Venice or Greece (only for the wives)
Full Body Kerela massage
A Talk by Tom Cruise on Scientology or by Will Smith
Shopping vouchers for Designer Wear and last but not the least
Free saving sessions for all the women who think Sampoorna is what women desire.

September 27, 2008
03:32 PM

what women desire - sampoorna, which means having it all. They want it all, they all want it. They just go about it differently.

Some prefer to go at it alone, struggle singlehandedly on their own. They prize their independence and freedom so much they would not mind sacrificing everything that may get in their way including relationships or investing in their social infrastructure. Quest for having it all may end most of them as impoverished single moms or living off alimony or child support or government handouts, and in the end, ending up with no trophy rather than having it all.

Smart ones prefer a sure bet - they marry IITians. They instantly become Sampoorna. They have it all. Spending rest of their lives attending silly global conferences and making rest of women green with envy. On top of it, they get to mock what Samoorna woman is. How dare they?

Renuka Chaudhary and Arjun Singh should do something, perhaps outlaw IIT spouses and make it non-bailable felony - as it is, most of IIT graduates either end up abroad or end up serving foreign corporations, never giving back any return on investment to tax payers of India. Tax payers and their elected representatives should have a say in what kind of spouse programs PanIIT get to host. Its an outrage.

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