Review: Suicide at IIT


By Ravi Kumar. Grade: B

In a small package, comes a large thought process embedded in an inconceivable plot (mostly because, you really couldn’t have imagined the author’s intent when you start with the book) call Suicide at IIT, a rather bold but unconvincing attempt.

Suicide at IIT

One of the first signs of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die. – Franz Kafka

The story of a young soul who dared to dream and whose patriotic passions were ignited only to be let down by the societal dynamics. A soul which places the love of motherland over its own body. An experiment which every Indian hopes will succeed.

Sidharth, a brilliant and promising student at IIT Kharagpur, is found dead by his best friend Andrew. He is found hanging from the fan, in his room with a caption ‘My Experiment With Death’ in blood on the wall. As the authorities, close the case as a suicide, a committee is set up to investigate the reason behind the suicide, given the alarming rate of suicides happening in the IITs. Judge Sahu is made the primary investigator and he goes talking to people who have know Sidharth to dig deeper into his past. Initially baffled by the lack of motive, Judge Sahu slowly figures out how and why Siddharth killed himself.

This book is what I would call a highly intrepid attempt. Opening with Franz Kafka’s words, the author invokes a revolution of a different kind, a coup to overthrow the existing woes of developing India, an uprising caused by a single mind. This is what is different about the book. The narration, though happening after Siddharth’s death, is filled with Siddharth’s memories and unfortunate experiences that lead him to his decision. At a mere 80+ pages, the author summarizes a rather explosive idea. I found the author’s language fluid and straight-forward.

What didn’t work was mainly because of the skeptic in me. The whole idea of one extraneous death causing the change in the fate of India seems implausible and highly questionable. Either the main character should have been dealt with more intricacy or the plot should have been developed more elaborately to acknowledge the reader’s hesitations and suspicions.

This novella is an honest attempt by the author but truth be told, a little too optimistic for my tastes.

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