THE PRESENT AS WE SEE IT!
The erstwhile coveted Delhi Institute of Technology (DIT) was renamed to Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (after the campus shifted to Dwarka) and has been attracting some of the sharpest minds across the nation since 1997. A relatively ‘young’ institute, as compared to the other stalwarts it is put with, NSIT has proved its mettle and eared its position as one of the premier engineering colleges in India. But we all know this, the newspapers validate it and the placement stats cement the reputation.
Sifted, handpicked and as ‘the chosen ones’, we enter NSIT amongst many a pats-on-our-backs. Though uncertain of our survival in its competitive environment, we silently bask in the glory of making it to NSIT. In the initial semesters, we embark on the journey of making new friends, seeking advice, learning the lingo, finding our foothold, accomplishing all-nighters before exams, photostating volumes of notes, in a nutshell, discovering ourselves. Come second year, we are suddenly made aware of being the youngest ‘seniors’. Zayca and Jeetos become our favourite haunts. Facebook statuses, Whatsapp chats, Snapchat selfies and Instagram posts become dear friends. Friend turn into partners in crime and accomplices in sufferings. We debate on petty matters, *tch-tch* on the falling standards, discuss about the scopes and ponder on what-the-future-holds. From dreamers to the do-ers, third year brings in the much needed zeal to ‘do something’. From projects to postgraduate entrance coaching classes to CV building – no stone is left unturned as life alternates between anxiety and procrastination. Fourth year comes and disappears in a haze of placements, preparations, planning and the surmounting sadness of drawing towards the end of college. We come in as self-contented dreamers; we leave as fighters and achievers. From ‘Rezonance’ to ‘Innovision’ to ‘Moksha’, NSIT makes it a journey of a lifetime.
Absorbed in the present, and forever ‘planning’ our future, it is time we look back. In the endless discussions on what-NSIT-should-be, it is seldom that we rake up what-NSIT-was. Though young, NSIT has a history from which there are lessons to be learned and examples to be followed. The Alliance digs into the sands of time to show you a brief history of NSIT. Put a pause on the present, as we rewind a decade back to replay the action. So hop onto the time machine because to understand the future we have to go back in time!
THE UNIMAGINABLE PAST!
The metro connectivity has been a boon for Delhi-NCR. The large chunk of day-scholars consider it to be the lifeline of Delhi and reaching the college has never been easier. A life without Rajiv Chowk is unimaginable.
Dwelling in an era of no metros, commuting to the college-a typically isolated temple of education, was made possible by the dilapidated non-CNG blue line buses. 764 was the holy number which could make one reach here, from almost all possible busy locations in South Delhi. The Dwarka Mor of today was Uttam Nagar, back then-the bus terminal from where one had to hitch a rickshaw or sometimes even walk to the college! In a time sans personal conveyance and metro, making it to NSIT was this one major issue.
Back then, there used to be a common entrance exam viz. Common Entrance Exams (CEE), admitting students to NSIT and erstwhile DCE, through a common counselling procedure considering applicants with ranks till around 760. ‘Common’ here implies that, if you are studying mathematical computation at DCE in the first semester, there was also the possibility that you could be upgraded to MPAE at NSIT in the subsequent semester. An exhaustive survey reveals that the college used to hold a reputation, such that out of the first 100 students, who had actually applied for counselling, 80-85 were more enthusiastic about NSIT over DCE.
Having acquired over 150 acres of barren wasteland in the sub-city, building a campus here at Dwarka was surely a major challenge for the administration. A rough and a ready structure had been constructed in the year 1998, when we shifted to the present campus from Kashmere Gate. The admin and Block VI stand as the oldest blocks, aging to almost 16 years now. All classes and labs used to be conducted in the present MPAE block itself, the others blocks being were under construction alongside. The library block and the sports complex, though, have been very recent developments.
Infrastructure-wise, NSIT was better-off than the DCE of those times; a newly built college, with huge funds for horticulture, possessing a beauty in its own way. It is believed, that the college was thronged by a beaming outside college crowd, visiting the campus to admire its unique splendour. The Nesci lawns and Moksha ground were frequented by families and love-birds, for picnics and weddings. That explains the story of the secluded bridge and altar in Nesci.
The library-the then most visited zone, was on the first floor of the admin, a small but more frequented place. So high was the number of books issued by students in those times that the issue-return process was done at a supersonic speed, by the librarian! There was a separate fund called the “Bookbank Fund” for the SC/ST, which has now been stopped and has led to a reduction in the number of books.
The Main Auditorium which has hardly 300 seats for a batch of around 800 students, was once big enough to accommodate the entire college. The convocation was a big rage then with the 4th years in their ceremonial attire. According to certain conjecture, the college still receives the convocation fund, but the tradition was abruptly stopped some years back.
The nomenclature of various places has changed, for instance the present Dwarka Mor was called the Kakrola Mor before, and the North Gate was the erstwhile Khokha Gate. Another college trivia- Khokha’s real name is “Saroj Confectioners”.
In a whole, despite having constructive advancements in the campus, critically, the college looked better ten years ago, as compared to the present.
- Studies and academic inclinations
A decade from now, ECE used to be the most favoured branch in NSIT (Professor RajSenani’s reputation preceded placements). IT however, was not preferred during admissions because of being a relatively new branch. “The students back then were very diligent, and engineers in the truest sense”, a lot of professors say. The library used to be chock full of engineers reading up on extra study material apart from the prescribed books. Despite all this, alumni tell us that projects under the professors were scarce, although they agree that competition was cut-throat. With the increase in intake of students every year the teacher to student ratio has deteriorated.
The concept of start-ups was almost nil back then. Lack of internet connections and passive online marketing were the leading causes for their dearth. So for interning, students largely depended upon the companies that came on campus.
The students who wished to continue further studies were very interest specific. Not everyone gave GRE and GMAT. CAT however was common among students even then.
- Hangouts/ Entertainment and Canteens
This was the time when Sector Chaar and Pacific Mall did not exist. For eating out, students had the choice between Dwarka Sector 6, Tilak Nagar and Janakpuri District Centre.
The canteens that you see now were not the same a few years ago. Instead of Mini Zayca there used to be a Nescafe outlet (hence the name Nesci lawns), and the Mic Mac that’s been closed down now, was a humble canteen with barely a tin shed for a roof(read shack); Main Zayca was more or less what it is now. Also, there used to be a stationery and a Mother Dairy outlet where the Shopping Complex is. The Khokha hasn’t changed over the years. With transport and no malls, the college canteens flourished.
Ever wondered why there are big boards of Pepsi advertisements hung behind the library? The reason is: the IIIT canteen. There used to be a canteen there with highly subsidised food. The gravelled area in front of it was a lawn where students sat down and ate along with some guitar playing. Some college feel that must have been!
- Hostel, Interaction and Ragging
Contrary to the present four huge hostels for boys, there existed just two boys’ hostels-the present BH-1, and the present GH-2 (yes girls it was once inhabited by beastly creatures called boys). Ever wondered about that BH sign next to the Shopping Complex?
Each hostel had students of two consecutive years residing. Later in 2008, IIIT Delhi started in our campus and their students shared the hostel.
Initially, courtesy the CEE process, their was a large intake in the first semester before reshuffling, and so to accommodate the surplus 1st year students, apart from the two hostels, students stayed temporarily in the Type-V Quarters (really close to the then GH).
For the girls, there was a single hostel, the present GH-1 near the nursery. The Girls Hostel started off with just 10 girls. The barricaded and closed off road in front of GH-1 was never that way. Once upon a time, lovers would bid there last goodbyes right in front of the hostel gates.
Pre 2005 Anti Ragging Act, the hostels were a different scene altogether. All the hostels had elaborate stories of “senior junior interactions”. These led to stricter rule and two GH wardens. In GH-1, the 1st semester juniors were assembled and ragged at a terrace, which now remains locked. Booze and herbs were in abundance in the GH back then! (Shocking or depressing, you decide)
No smartphones, laptops, and Wi-Fi meant more time with your hostel friends and hence crazier hostel stories. There is one from the BH where a supposed ‘iguana’ was found in one of the rooms.
The hostel timing for the girls hostels was not very different. It usually would be closing time for the girls at around 10, except a few times when it was extended to 12 during Moksha. The boys’ hostels timing was relaxed and there was no restriction on entry or exit.
Remember Orkut? Testimonials and scraps were the way to go when Facebook and WhatsApp were absent. Sports activities were as dormant as they are now. Devoid of technology, the hostellers’ menaced around the college all night on their bikes.
- Societies and Sports
10 years ago, the extracurricular scene of NSIT was a little different. The active societies back then were primarily Choreo, The Neighbourhood Project, and Spic Macay. The tech societies were IEEE and another society by the name of SAE. Theatre was sought after, with Ashwamedh being called Jaagriti then. In fact, a separate theatre week was organised for second years, such was the impact.
Collegespace and NSITonline never existed 10 years ago. What did was a website called NSITlounge. This was used not only for senior junior interaction, but also posted important events and exam schedules. It was the unofficial portal for and by the students of NSIT, and was a big stress buster.
Some quick facts about the Lounge (Link: www.nsitlounge.in, although the webpage is dead) :
• There were a total of 7,942 registered members, who had made a total of 136,988 posts.
• Student initiatives like C2N consulting group, Radio NSIT, NSIT Mentor program etc. were first mentioned on NSITLounge. A discussion followed and quite a few things materialized.
• Apart from NSIT (not anymore), DCE and BITS, no other top college has an internet forum.
• It offered you a personalised email id, which is mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the full answer on Quora
Sports was not very organised in the college because of the lack of proper football and basketball courts. Students however played wherever and whenever they got the chance. A lot of students could be seen practising their football skills on the Nesci lawns, but this hasn’t changed much, has it?
Fests were organised with equal zest and enthusiasm. The only difference was a greater participation by the admin and the professors. The professors were involved in the organising of events and also helped in judging them. It was not an all student affair back then.
Apart from the three existing fests there was another fest, as mentioned above- Natyarang. It was a much awaited theatre fest organised for the second years. It lasted one week and was an inter branch activity. Why it stopped is still a mystery. It has now been incorporated in Rezonance, as the two mega-events- Natyamanch and Rangmanch. Apart from this, there were a lot of interesting events during fests like dirt biking, go karting along with interesting celebrities like Hema Malini, KK and Mohit Chauhan visiting the campus.
Another intriguing fact was that a lot of weddings would be organised on the Sports Grounds. In one of the Mokshas, the wedding lasted later than the fest itself!
Snap! With that we end our sojourn in the past. We leave you contemplating whether things shaped up for the better or for the worse. One thing is certain; the brick walls of NSIT have witnessed a lot of stories and legends. In today’s rat race we have become so self-centred that we fail to acknowledge the greater impact of our actions. We are a reflection of our college and have an enriching legacy behind us and everything we do leaves behind a trail. Every trail has something to say and a meaning to convey.