It was easy, this time. Two days ago (May 26), the front page of the Hindustan Times carried an ad from one of these outfits, FIITJEE. The ad was a facsimile of a handwritten letter from the young man who topped the JEE this year, one Nitin Jain of Faridabad, with his photograph.
His letter was printed again in a full page ad on the front page of HT today (May 28), alongside one from one Prashanth V, who ranked #5.
Congratulations and such like to Nitin Jain and Prashanth V.
That out of the way, here are some lines from Nitin's letter:
"My result is the consequence of dedicated work of my teachers at FIITJEE, school, parents and my own hard work. ... I can say without hesitation that had I not joined FIITJEE and joined some other institute, it would have been difficult to get a rank in top 10. ... Don't confuse yourself with multiple programs. ... I had not joined any program of any other institute. I owe my AIR 1 to FIITJEE only."
Fulsome praise for FIITJEE, and that's only part of it.
Today's DNA also carries a full page front page ad about JEE results. This is from a rival institute, Aakash. "3617 Aakashians selected in IIT-JEE 2009", it says. First among those 3617 is, you guessed it, Nitin Jain. Complete with "AIR 1st Rank" and his photo, and his Aakash roll number.
The same Nitin Jain who wrote the FIITJEE letter. The same Nitin Jain who said "I had not joined any program of any other institute."
So what's going on, FIITJEE and Aakash and Nitin Jain? Whose student was this young man, really?
Something is going on, that's for sure. Recall I mentioned that Nitin's letter first appeared in HT on Tuesday, and was repeated today. The quotes above are from the Tuesday letter. I thought it was the same letter that got printed today, but it isn't. While it says essentially the same stuff, and has all that appeared on Tuesday, today's letter is a longer one, and in some respects an angrier one too. Here are some relevant lines from this more recent letter (most of which did not appear on Tuesday):
"I want to make it very clear that I had not joined any program of any other institute. Some institutes even go to extent of going to residences of students and give them some problem sets and programs for free and get them to fill forms and take photographs. I am writing this in order to ensure that no institute should claim any student's results without contributing significantly. Students must check the authenticity of the results of institutes as many unscrupulous institutes claim any student without any contribution. ... I owe my AIR 1 to FIITJEE only."
So again, what's going on? How is Nitin Jain's result claimed by two different institutes? If he claims via FIITJEE that "had not joined any program of any other institute", what is his photo, name, and roll number doing in Aakash's ad? What happened between Tuesday and Thursday?
Want to see all this stuff for yourself, do you?
OK: You will find Nitin's Thursday FIITJEE letter, as well as Prashanth's, on the FIITJEE website, here. Warning: Either increase the font size on your browser, or use a microscope. Sorry, for now I don't have Nitin's Tuesday letter.
The Aakash website has Nitin Jain's photo and rank prominently displayed on the left of the page. Clicking on it downloads a PDF (400+ KB) containing Nitin's Aakash "Admission Form", filled in his handwriting on 12/10/08, signed by him exactly as he signed the FIITJEE letters. Also in the PDF is his school-leaving marksheet and some other certificates.
What was that about "I had not joined any other program of any other institute"?
What is going on? Tell us, FIITJEE. Tell us, Aakash. Tell us, Nitin Jain, you who came first across this vast land, you who are about to enter one of our finest universities.
Are there questions to ask here about the way we educate our children? All kinds of questions? Tell me.
I wrote on much the same lines last year: Mine, Mine!.
On another note: the same Aakash ad in DNA also has small photographs of about 50 of the 100 top rankers in JEE. i.e. Aakash claims all these were its students. What's striking about these 50 mugshots is that, as far as I can tell, only two are girls.