Its strange, but its true. The Indian Institute of Technology is just next door to the phenomenal growth that is being witnessed in the IT industry in Chennai. While entire stretches of roads are seeing the boom of buildings that house thousands of engineers and designers who are developing the next generation of technological advancements, IIT has had its own share of exploits in the same. But it might be dawning that the two will start to meet and greet each other in the hallway now.
An evening stroll from the newly constructed IIT Research Park, leads you right into Rajiv Gandhi Road which houses some of the well known landmarks of the IT Sector in Chennai. The walk while euphoric in ways – carrying the charm of greenery which is a signature of the IIT element, is also in a way baffling; because as soon as you reach the main roads, you realize that you are greeted by the hoards of professionals from the IT industry. Its probably the most simplest of realities, but it hits hard. Why? Because for the past four years, I’ve passed by these IT landmarks, seen these professionals on the road, and have carried myself with a certain bit of pride of not being part of the rat race. We have been rather proud to be house, protected and in a way isolated within the greeneries of the 600 acre land that is IIT Madras. Our visions have been different, our ideas, development, and the sheer philosophy has been different, and we have thrived in it. Suddenly it feels like we would have to explain the outside world what we have been upto. And might even have to include them, and learn a thing or two from them as well.
Buildings are powerful. Because they are symbols. The parliaments, the house of commons, and every building of authority carries with it the commitment that as long as the building stands, the goal for which it was initiated and established for, will continue forth. And thats the reason why the building of the Research Park is a phenomenal step forward in the history of the IITs. Have the IITs been too much drowned in their own “brand”? probably so. Some rightfully, some just gloat. But a symbol like this will push things in the right direction and elevate everything that has been good and give enormous propulsion to the various serious efforts that have been birthed out of these walls.
Buildings are a statement. And this is a statement being made as the walls are calling out for collaborate, to be invited to the dinner table, converse, and to create a new future together. And it gives me a kick to know that for once – and within our lifetime, we see the visions of our great leaders being crossed. While Nehru and the visions laid out for the formation of the IITs were foretold and defined decades ago, this is a new evolution, a new start and one whose future and destiny we will control, and grow for the better.
I am both saddened and happy by this new move. Slightly sad because our elitism has been ripped away now. While a few craved to be back on the corporate workfloor, and we got it, there are some of us who got our fix of ideologies by the lush green campus, and the life that thrives around it. But I am happy, cause this means inclusion, and a brand new future to look forward to – most of all, this means we are moving forward.