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Campus placements come under a cloud

The Hindu | Mohamed Imranullah S |  Chennai , October 14, 2017 |

HC poses questions to six IT firms

The Madras High Court has called for details regarding placements in engineering colleges after suspecting that most campus interviews were conducted only with the aim of boosting the image of the colleges and gaining more admissions than getting the students placed in good companies. Passing interim orders in a related case, Justice N. Kirubakaran said: “This court cannot ignore the serious allegations of certain corrupt practices against some of the private colleges and companies and this court is of the view that a mechanism should be evolved even for conducting campus interviews for recruitment.” He later posed a set of seven questions to top six IT firms in the country and sought their reply by October 23. The questions thrown to them were: “How many campus interviews had been conducted from 2010 to 2017 in various engineering colleges in Tamil Nadu? How many colleges and what are the names of the colleges which were chosen for holding campus interviews by the private respondents? What is the yardstick followed by the private respondents while selecting the colleges for conducting such campus interviews?

“How many students have been selected in such campus interviews conducted from the year 2010 to 2017 and the list of those students? (year wise, college wise and company wise particulars to be furnished). Out of selected candidates, how many of them have been given placement orders? (year wise, college wise and company wise particulars to be furnished).  “Is it a fact that certain colleges are chosen for campus interviews only to boost the image of the concerned college and for admitting more students, as more than 500 colleges are located within Tamil Nadu? Whether Anna University is aware of this kind of allegations made against the multi national companies and the engineering colleges?” The judge also directed National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) to file a report from 2010 to 2017 on surveys conducted by it about the employability of engineering graduates and the opportunities available for them. – Courtesy

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Engineering a new future

The Hindu | Sci-Tech | Science |   Nahla Nainar |  October 13, 2017 | Opinion |

Engineering programmes that do nothing to address the challenges of globalisation will soon be irrelevant, says this India-born academic.

Dr S K Ramesh, Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), seen in his office.

It’s amazing where a love for solving problems can take you. For academic S K Ramesh, born in Madras and now based in California, United States, his early aptitude in working out mathematical and science problems has led him to specialise in fibre optic communication and beyond. “If there is one constant in engineering, it is change. The pace of change in Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) has been remarkable when you consider where we are today with ubiquitous connectivity that has changed the way we live and work all over the world,” writes Dr Ramesh, Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), in an email interview with The Hindu MetroPlus.

Dr Ramesh is also the director and lead principal investigator of ‘Bridging the Gap: Enhancing AIMS2 for Student Succes,’ a collaborative $6 million-project that involves improving overall graduation rates for all Hispanic and low-income students. Growing up in a family of bureaucrats and studying in schools all over Tamil Nadu in the 1970s, Dr Ramesh’s story has a link to Tiruchi too. Following his Pre-University course (PUC) in Loyola College, Madras, he was selected to attend Regional Engineering College (REC), Tiruchirapalli in 1976. The REC is now known as National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli (NITT), and its ECE Alumni Association recently hosted Dr Ramesh for its 50th anniversary celebrations. Dr Ramesh earned his BE (Honours) degree in ECE in 1981. Upon graduation he received a graduate assistantship to pursue his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, United States. He earned his Master’s degree in 1983 and continued his studies to earn his PhD degree from the same university in 1986. He taught at his alma mater (SIU Carbondale) as a Visiting Professor for a year before he was recruited by California State University, Sacramento where he began his academic career in 1987.

Excerpts from the interview:

Tell us a little about yourself

I was born in Madras and moved to United States to pursue graduate studies at the age of 21, soon after my BE. I was an only child. My father KA Sundaram, earned his Master’s degree in Mathematics and had a long and distinguished career in the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). He retired at the age of 58 as the head of the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) that was responsible for renewable energy technology. Many projects that he envisioned almost three decades ago in solar and wind energy are now fully operational. My mother Saroja Sundaram, an Economics graduate, was a homemaker. She was an accomplished singer but literally put that on hold while I was growing up. It was not until I left for the US that she returned to her music career – two decades later. She has rendered over 500 Thevaram concerts all over Tamil Nadu and received the Kalaimamani award from the Government of Tamil Nadu in recognition of her contributions. The timeless values that my parents taught me continue to help me every single day in my life. I met my wife Utpala in graduate school in Carbondale. She has a PhD in Biochemistry and is a research scientist for the California Air Resources Board. Our elder son Arvind (26) is an electrical engineer and works for Northrop Grumman Corporation, while the younger one Anjan (19) is in college studying Biology.

Why did you choose to study engineering?

I loved solving problems and I was doing well in my mathematics and science classes in school. That led me on the path to study engineering. Electronics and Communications engineering were fascinating fields of study. If there is one constant in engineering, it is change. The pace of change in ECE has been remarkable when you consider where we are today with ubiquitous connectivity that has changed the way we live and work all over the world. I was excited to be a part of this new and emerging field. My parents thought that I would follow the family tradition and sit for the IAS exam after my studies in the US. But I had no idea at that time that I would find my true calling as an educator here. In my first semester I was assigned to serve as a teaching assistant for an introductory programming course on PL/1. I was worried since I had to learn this new programming language and serve as a teaching assistant at the same time.

But as my department head told me at that time: “You will figure it out”! Indeed, that’s exactly what happened. That lesson has stayed with me to this day and launched me on the path to becoming an engineering educator. Optical Fibre Communications was coming of age in the early ’80s and gave me a chance to work on many exciting projects going back to my roots in Communications Engineering. The other defining moment for me as I look back on my career is my involvement with Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). I was one of the founding members of the IEEE student branch at REC Tiruchi in 1978 and continued my involvement when I came to the US. The IEEE is the world’s largest, professional, technical society with over 400,000 members worldwide.

Despite a boom in engineering education, many institutions are folding up (in India especially) due to factors like a lack of adequately trained faculty. What would be a good reset point for the subject?

I am aware of this challenge and have volunteered my time along with several colleagues to improve the quality of engineering education — particularly by supporting ongoing faculty professional development. It is vital that educational institutions work closely with employers and industry to keep their curricula relevant. While the fundamentals remain the same, there are remarkable developments taking place at the boundaries between traditional disciplines for instance between Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, leading to the field of Mechatronics. We have a number of global challenges in the world today: food security, clean air, clean water, energy, sustainability, healthcare, transportation, climate change, education, and so on. Engineers continue to find innovative solutions to these global challenges that confront society. Global education needs to be integrated into the engineering curriculum to achieve maximum impact on addressing societal needs. Programmes that do nothing to address the challenges of globalisation will soon be irrelevant.

What are some of the biggest takeaways from your days at REC?

I am incredibly proud of my education at REC Tiruchi. We had some truly outstanding faculty in the ECE department who cared about us as individuals. The late Professor AL Abdussattar, who was the Head of the department, Professor P Ramakrishna Rao, and Professor MJS Rangachar and not to forget our dynamic Principal the late Professor PS Manisundaram, left an indelible mark on all of us in their own inimitable ways. Teamwork and communications are much sought after in the workplace today. Thanks to living in the REC hostels, with batch mates who spoke different languages, we had a virtual melting pot of cultures, languages and traditions. Sure, there were differences and disagreements — but the lesson for all of us was that one could disagree without becoming disagreeable!

With the increased move towards artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, are the days of the human engineer numbered?

Hardly! As we advance technologically and come up with innovative solutions that employ heuristics, AI, and Robotics, now more than ever we need engineers who understand the humanistic values and the impact of their solutions on society. There will always be a need for engineers who can create that next generation of solutions that address the contemporary issues of their time. – Courtesy    /       Profile

Watch the Video: Think CSUN: If You Want to Change the World, Be an Engineer

Ailing engineering colleges get 3-year ‘lifeline’ to perform

The Times of India | Shoeb Khan | TNN | Oct 11, 2017 |

JAIPUR: In a major respite to poorly performing engineering colleges across India, the All India Council for Technical Education has relaxed its proposal of closing down such colleges which have an average of 30% and below enrolments in the last three years.  The new proposal, exclusively shared with TOI by AICTE member secretary Alok Prakash Mittal, says these colleges will now be observed for next three years and if their enrolments remain less than 30% in coming academic years too, they will be closed down. In Rajasthan, 50% of the colleges were falling in poor performer category.  “Our earlier proposal was subjected to extreme legal vetting. It was also realised that they (institutions) should be given time to perform for the next three academic sessions.Still, if they didn’t meet the benchmark of 30% enrol ments they will face closure.The new proposal will be formally discussed in the executive meeting to be held in this month. ,” said Mittal, while talking to TOI on the sidelines of his lecture in a private university in Jaipur on Tuesday.

He argued that they (poorly performing institutes) are not generating enough financial resources to meet the quality of education and to provi de facilities to students. “In the present academic session off 36 lakh seats in technical institutes, 20 lakh seats were filled leaving the rest vacant,” informed Mittal.   This year 122 engineering colleges have applied for progressive closure including 10 from Rajasthan. The revised proposal will give a new lease of life to the technical institutes facing a dearth of students in Rajasthan and in the country for atleast three years.   Elaborating on steps taken by the AICTE to promote technical education in the country, Mittal says that AICTE funded Smart India Hackathon event in 2017 providing a platform for students to provide IT solutions to the Central government ministries. “It had been a great success as many of the solutions suggested by the students has been executed successfully. It has instilled confidence among the students,” said Mittal, who announced that next season-2018 the AICTE will allow students provide hardware solutions to the ministries in Hackathon. “Our plan is also to add management solutions in the Hackathon to widen its reach,” said Mittal, who hinted that in the coming year’s states can also hold state departments specific Hackathons.  Keeping in the line with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to create an ecosystem for job creators, the secretary has informed that AICTE is revising the model curricula by adding `Startup’ policy in it. The curricula will be ready to be implemented from the next academic session. The secretary believes that every institute follows up 80% of their curricula and will promote the startups among students. “The AICTE also gives financial support to Start-Ups on the basis of the merit. A team of experts evaluate the startup’s feasibility before shortlisting them for support,” said Mittal.- Courtesy

UK University Birmingham launches language course for India’s future engineers

Birmingham launches language course for future engineers

Dr Tim Jackson, Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering

Engineering students around the globe have the opportunity to sign up for the University of Birmingham’s new online training that will help them improve their technical English language skills – free-of-charge. The University’s ‘Electrical Engineering: Sensing, Powering and Controlling’ course aims to support students for whom English is a second language in mastering many of the key terms and concepts in Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering. Birmingham’s new MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is based on real first-year modules at the University. Students can sign up for the free course at www.futurelearn.com/courses/electrical-engineering/1

The MOOC is aimed at direct entry students planning to attend Birmingham to study in the discipline of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering, but the content is helpful to any student planning to start in the first year of any engineering discipline. The three-week course runs from 13 November and has been developed by the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences. It is led by Dr Tim Jackson, Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering. Dr Jackson said: “This is a great opportunity for students whose first language is not English to brush up their language skills and get to grips with the key terms and concepts associated with engineering. “The course will be delivered in English to help students to gradually develop their language skills. Students can learn online at their own pace, and there are opportunities to discuss their work online with fellow students and lecturers.”

Topics covered will include:

• Overview of Electrical, Electronic and Systems Engineering
• Transducers and their purpose
• Electronic systems in context
• Solar power / batteries in space
• The Space Weather research group
• Electrical circuits
• Analogue and digital electrical engineering

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

• Investigate what is meant by electronic, electrical and systems engineering.
• Develop their skills in analysing and designing circuits and systems.
• Improve their confidence in communicating engineering ideas using English technical vocabulary.
• Assess how different electronic and electrical engineering systems are used in specific contexts.

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Tony Moran in the University of Birmingham press office on +44 (0)121 414 8254 / +44 (0)782 783 2312.

Notes to editors

• The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions, its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 5,000 international students from over 150 countries. –  Watch the Video

JAB decides 4,000 more students eligible for JEE Advanced 2018

The Indian Express | Express Web Desk | New Delhi |  October 10, 2017 |

JEE Advanced 2018: The 23 IITs across the country have about 10,998 seats. As per reports, this year, the number of unclaimed seats has grown to 121 even after seven rounds of counselling.

There is a reason for engineering aspirants to rejoice as in the Joint Engineering Examination (JEE) Advanced 2018, another 4,000 students will be eligible to sit. The Joint Admission Board (JAB) has recently taken a decision to increase the number of eligible candidates from 2.20 lakh to 2.24 lakh for JEE 2018. The number of seats and other details regarding the exam will be released later. The Indian Institute of Technology – Kanpur will conduct the Joint Engineering Examination (JEE) Advanced 2017 on May 20. In a notification posted on the official website of JEE Advanced – jeeadv.ac.in, it is written that “candidates should be among the top 2,24,000 (including all categories) by scoring positive marks in Paper-1 of JEE (Main) 2018.”

The 23 IITs across the country have about 10,998 seats. As per reports, this year, the number of unclaimed seats has grown to 121 even after seven rounds of counselling. Unlike last year, the entire JEE Advanced 2018 will be conducted in fully computer-based test mode. The examination consists of two papers, Paper 1 and Paper 2, each of three hours duration. The JEE is the gateway into all IITs, NITs, IIITs and ISM Dhanbad. Candidates seeking admissions in various engineering courses have to first appear for JEE Main (to be conducted by CBSE). Those who crack it will get a chance to sit for JEE Advanced. –  Courtesy

AICTE wants closed private institutes to restart operations

Deccan Herald | Prakash Kumar, DH News Service, New Delhi | Oct 9 2017 |

The AICTE has proposed the move to help speed up the Centre’s skill development programme.

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) wants owners of closed private technical institutes to restart their operations by forming smaller groups. The higher education regulator is preparing an action plan to bring such institutions on board so that infrastructure, including classrooms, laboratories and other facilities, created by them can be utilised in offering students “popular courses” in engineering and technology.

Skill development factor

The Centre’s renewed push for skill development to make the country’s youth employable and promote entrepreneurship is one of the major factors behind the AICTE’s move as availability of infrastructure for offering such courses is the key to the speedy implementation of the skill development ministry’s plans. “We are discussing the idea to see as to how such institutions can be brought on board. Many private technical institutes have been closed down because they failed to attract an adequate number of students required to run the institutes. But, they still have buildings and other infrastructure, which can be utilised if the owners come together and restart operations by forming smaller groups,” AICTE chairman Anil Sahasrabudhe told DH. He, however, clarified that the AICTE will not be a partner in such collaborations among the owners of the closed institutes. “They have to take a decision among themselves as to whether they should come together or not. We will only encourage them to forge such collaborations and bring in some provisions in our regulations to allow such collaborations,” he added. “If the owners of the closed institutes come together, they can start offering skill development programmes along with other technical courses that are in demand,” the AICTE chairman said. – Courtesy

Students voice dissent over sudden changes in competitive exams such as JEE-Mains

Hindustan Times | Shreya Bhandary | Oct 08, 2017 | Opinion |

One of the common complaints from students has been the limited time given to adapt to these sudden and radical changes.

This academic year has proven to be one of the toughest ones for class XII students, especially for those planning to appear for competitive examinations in 2018. Be it the decision by Joint Admission Board (JAB) of the Indian Institutes of Technology to conduct Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)-Mains only online from the next year or the decision of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to take the difficulty-level of Common Entrance Test (CET) for engineering admissions on par with JEE. One of the common complaints from students has been the limited time given to adapt to these sudden and radical changes. “The admission authority should know that any changes should be applicable only two years after its introduction, so that students get ample time to prepare themselves. We not only prepare for our class XII exams in these two years, but also for the various competitive exams,” said Natasha Borges, a class XII student. The decision to do away with the pen-and-paper format for JEE-Mains came in August and took many by surprise. The change was introducted despite popularity of the pen-and-paper format among students. In 2016, hardly 10% of the 13.5 lakh students opted for the online format.  “My friends and I have been trying our hands on mock tests online and every time we do that, errors creep up due to problems with the internet connection. Since the JEE has gone online, most of us are worried because there have been numerous instances wherein a student’s answer to questions has not been registered on the site due to technical glitch and nothing can be done after you submit your paper,” said Supreeth Baliga, a class XII student of RIMS International Junior College, Andheri.

One after another

Just when students got their heads around the fact that MH-CET will now be on par with JEE in terms of quality as well as difficulty-level, the state Directorate of Technical Education (DTE) last week released the final syllabus and break-up of marks applicable for MH-CET in May 2018 — which includes 20% weightage for Class XI syllabus of state board. “JEE is based on CBSE syllabus, whereas CET is based on state board syllabus. How can the two be at the same level when the syllabus itself is different? The DTE authorities have not made this clear, but are expecting us to be prepared for a difficult paper. That’s unfair,” said Sejal Shah, another class XII student. – Courtesy

When cooks get higher salaries than engineers: Bibek Debroy explains state of education

Financial Express | Bibek Debroy |  October 5, 2017 | Opinion |

We have been repeatedly warned against blindly believing everything we read or are forwarded. With that dash of sodium chloride, here is the gist of a message I was forwarded, not as a prospective job applicant, since I possess qualifications for neither.

A restaurant 89 km from Ankamaly (Angamaly) requires a full-time “porotta maker”, at a monthly salary of Rs 18,000-20,000. (Reuters)

We have been repeatedly warned against blindly believing everything we read or are forwarded. With that dash of sodium chloride, here is the gist of a message I was forwarded, not as a prospective job applicant, since I possess qualifications for neither. A restaurant 89 km from Ankamaly (Angamaly) requires a full-time “porotta maker”, at a monthly salary of Rs 18,000-20,000. A concern 60 km from Thrissur requires a full-time “civil engineering B.Tech or diploma holder”, at a monthly salary of Rs 6,000-7,000. These are two isolated advertisements from Kerala and don’t constitute a proper sample. However, some sample survey data are available on the Net, though sample sizes are small. For instance, salary for a cook (not a full-blown chef) is Rs 12,000 per month in Delhi and that for an engineering diploma (not degree) holder between Rs 10,000 and Rs 12,000 per month. That for a driver is Rs 14,000 per month. Therefore, correlation between education and salary isn’t quite what we might expect a priori. Let me throw in an anecdote from a colleague. His maid/cook is around 45 and has two sons, aged 18 and 20. These two exited school after Standard XII and sit at home, subsisting on their mother’s salary. When my colleague asked them, “Why don’t you work as a cook?” the response was, “That is work meant for girls.”

There is an anecdote that features in jokes about economists. I have seen it ascribed to many economists, in place of Kenneth Arrow. The only authentic source I know is attributed to Curt Monash, who studied in Harvard. “I was standing with Ken Arrow by a bank of elevators on the ground floor of William James Hall at Harvard. Three elevators passed us on our way to the basement. I foolishly said ‘I wonder why everybody in the basement wants to go upstairs.’ He responded, almost instantly: ‘You’re confusing supply with demand.’” The labour market is segmented, sectorally and geographically. However, regardless of sector and geography, principles of economics, supply and demand, do apply. There is a quote misattributed to Thomas Carlyle. “Teach a parrot the terms ‘supply and demand’ and you’ve got an economist.” It is misattributed in the sense there is no evidence Thomas Carlyle ever said or wrote anything like this. Parrot or not, prices of everything, labour included, are determined by intersection of supply and demand, unless institutional constraints get in the way of that clearing function. Let’s take the example of a cook’s wages being more than that of an engineering diploma holder. What we have observed is a market clearing wage. Purely on this basis, it is impossible to ascribe it to either purely supply or demand, since the outcome happens to be a combination of both. Because NSS (National Sample Survey) data on unemployment are dated, a lot of people use the BSE-CMIE data, with a fairly decent sample size. This is based on household surveys, a better indicator in a country like India than enterprise surveys. There has been discussion in media about what this shows on the unemployment rate, for all-India, as well as for states. For example, in September 2017, the urban unemployment rate is very high (more than 15%) in Goa and Haryana. The rural unemployment rate is very high (more than 10%) in Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir. On October 3, the all-India rate was 5.83% for urban and 3.75% for rural. While the unemployment rate and its trend merits discussion, as does the question of creation jobs, what’s the definition of “unemployment rate”? Before that, the survey has four categories—‘currently employed’, ‘not employed, but is willing to work and is actively looking for a job’, ‘not employed, is willing to work, but is not actively looking for a job’, and ‘not employed, is not willing to work and is not looking for a job’. “The unemployment rate is computed as the sum of number of persons not employed but willing to work and actively looking for a job as a per cent of the total labour force, where the total labour force is the sum of all those who are employed and those who are not employed but are willing and looking for a job.”

We should certainly have a discussion on the unemployment rate. However, given the example I started with, there is an aspect that is missing from the customary discussion. This is highlighted in a document known as Unemployment in India: A Statistical Profile, a separate product from the same survey. This has the standard unemployment rate, but also has something known as greater unemployment rate, that is, including those who are unemployed and willing to work, but inactive in seeking jobs. The gap between the two rates is highest in the 15-19 age-group, followed by the 20-24 age-group for males, while it is uniform across all age-groups for females. Going back to supply and demand curves for labour and their intersection, everything else remaining the same, wages drop/increase when either supply or demand curves, or both, shift. I think there is an issue of correlation between education and skills, or its lack. Some educational attainment may help acquisition of skills, but the correlation isn’t strong. For females, the gap is uniform across age. However, for younger males, the job-seeker’s perception may be of a stronger correlation than warranted. – Courtesy

Navy & Air Force officers join NDA BTech teaching cell

The Times of India | Sandip Dighe | TNN | Sep 25, 2017 | Pune |

PUNE: With the Union Public Service Commission-driven recruitment for qualified, full-time teaching faculty for its BTech course yet to be completed, the National Defence Academy (NDA) continues to rely on MTech qualified officers from the navy and air force to teach various subjects to the BTech cadets at the academy . At least nine naval officers and five air force officers have now joined NDA’s BTech cell, following an NDA request.  Prior to this, only one officer was tasked with teaching the first-year cadets alongside teachers from BSc and BCS courses. Based on the Integrated Defence Headquarters’ recommendation, the NDA had introduced the BTech course, with approvals from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU, which will be the degree-awarding institute) for its naval cadets from July 2016 and for air force cadets from January this year.

Engineering cadets who complete a three-year academic and military training at the NDA will get their degrees a year later following their finishing school training at the respective officers’ academy.This is to meet the four-year study requirement of an engineering degree course as laid down by the AICTE. A senior NDA officer told TOI, “All the new officers who have joined the BTech cell from the navy and the air force have expertise in various subjects and are also well-versed with the requirements of their respective services.These officers are not only teaching the course subjects but are also sharing their valuable experience.” The BTech has yet to be extended to the army cadets.”We have been informed that the army may give permission to induct only 30 cadets or fewer into the course. A decision to this effect is expected to come in the next few months, before beginning of the new course in March,” the officer added. – Courtesy

Inclusion of my book “Five Point Someone” in DU syllabus validates my work: Chetan Bhagat

The Free Press Journal | |

Chetan Bhagat

New Delhi: Author-film producer Chetan Bhagat, who has faced social media trolls over his stories and writing, says the fact that his book “Five Point Someone” will be a part of the English literature syllabus at the undergraduate level in Delhi University (DU) validates his work. “Five Point Someone” is in the popular fiction category and his book now shares exalted space with poet Louisa M. Alcott’s “Little Women”, Agatha Christie’s “Murder on the Orient Express” and J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, by being included in the DU syllabus. Asked about this, Bhagat told IANS in an e-mail from Mumbai: “It is obviously a huge honour, and validates my work’s value even in academia, something elitists have tried to deny me for long.”

“Five Point Someone” tells the tale of three friends and how they cope up with the pressures and monotony that come with being in an engineering college. The narrative was also translated to the screen with Aamir Khan’s hugely successful “3 Idiots”. “Dozens of PhDs have already happened on my books, and now it is great that DU will add my books to their popular fiction course,” said Bhagat, who was trolled on Twitter once the DU-related news had emerged earlier this year. Trolls do not affect him, said the author, who has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and an MBA egree from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. “I guess it shows you the biases that exist, and the mentality that wants to bring people down. It also shows that many who claim to be experts in literature have no idea what literature is meant to be. “If you are teaching popular fiction in India, wouldn’t you talk about the most popular books?” Nevertheless, he knows tackling criticism is important.

“When you are so widely read, there can be a section that doesn’t take to my writings as well. Some of the criticism may be genuine, but some of it is clearly elitist, snarky and rude — just like a lot of stuff on the internet,” he said. Bhagat believes in drawing positively from genuine criticism. “The trick is to take the genuine criticism, ignore the rest and focus on making those who love me happier. In life, it is better to focus on people who love you,” he added. Over the years, three more of Bhagat’s books — “The 3 Mistakes of My Life”, “2 States” and “Half Girlfriend” — have been made into films. “Half Girlfriend”, starring Arjun Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor, will be airing on &Pictures on Saturday. What kind of a response is he hoping for from the small screen for “Half Girlfriend”? “As a writer, it has been my dream to make my stories reach every Indian. Now with a TV screening, the film will literally reach every home. I’m very excited and hope people like the film,” he said. – Courtesy