I met Deepak sir yesterday. He has recovered from chicken pox. He told me about his idea to start a Free Software Cell at NITC. For all the success of FOSSMeet, we really don’t have a free software community here. Deepak sir is very passionate about building a community. He feels that there is such a lot of potential in this campus that all it needs is a spark. He has given me the task of getting at least five to ten students for forming the body.

While I was with Deepak sir, Ramkumar sir came in and I got to know him better. Of course, he took Microprocessors and Microcontrollers for us last semester, but it’s difficult to get acquainted with a professor during a course, as the class strength is nearly ninty. Deepak sir asked him about the formalities involved in starting a new student club. Ramkumar sir did his BTech in the erstwhile REC during the eighties. He replied that in those days, all you needed was to get ten people together, find a staff advisor and submit a request letter to the Principal.

He talked about the active student groups and forums which had been flourishing then, and have since become extinct. Those where the days when politics was at its peak in our campus, and yet, he said, there were many active forums for discussing the issues of the day, entirely free from any political flavour. Debates are still held occasionally by the Literary and Debating Club, as competitions during culturals fests, but it is mostly debating for the sake of debating- and “soft skill” development.

I realize that the sort of campus Ramkumar sir talked of, no loger exists. When I look about me, I see mostly students glued to their laptops, engrossed in watching movies, unauthorized copies (the word “pirated” is unfair and inappropriate) of which are freely shared on our hostel networks and playing computer games which degrade your level of existence.

Another sad fact that is that there is practically no interaction between the faculty and the students except for the lectures and the labs. I personally feel that a free mingling of people of all ages is crucial to the health of a society. I know from my experience, that there is a lot to be learnt from elder people. I’ll write more about this later. This is a glaring deficiency in today’s campus.