Don’t let your IT job ruin your life, an IIT student warns friends in his suicide letter

Stressed out.
Stressed out.
Image: REUTERS/Adnan Abidi
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A student of the elite Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) committed suicide earlier this week, but not before sending out a stark warning to his friends about life in the IT sector.

IT me kaam karte karte apni life matt bhul jana. Live a little everyday. Ek hi zindagi mili hain (Don’t forget your life working in IT…There’s only one life),” Mark Andrew Charles wrote in the letter, The Times of India newspaper reported on July 3.

Charles, a twenty-year-old masters student of design, hanged himself in his hostel room on the campus in Hyderabad, the police said on July 2. “I am sorry I turned out to be such a waste,” he wrote in the eight-page letter addressing his Varanasi-based parents, according to TV news channel NDTV.

India’s IT professionals often work long hours and complain of a bad work culture. Students at premier engineering and science institutions in the country, therefore, have an added pressure to land a great job. Suicides at IIT have long captured public attention as a reflection of the excessive stress India’s high-performing students are put under.

Though Charles’s despair is apparent in his letter, he also mentioned the need for “all this positivity, the constant smiling, telling people that I’m ok even though I’m not,” the Times of India said. What pushed him to take the extreme step seem to be his low grades and the fact that he was about to graduate and did not have a job offer.

This is the second such incident at IIT Hyderabad alone this year. Anirudhya Mummaneni, a mechanical and aerospace engineering student in his fourth year, had jumped off a hostel building in February. 

“The decision to end my life is purely logical, based on my estimation of what the future contains,” Mummaneni wrote in an email to his friends before his death. “Life holds no intrigue anymore and the daily grind is becoming more difficult with time.”