Mumbai. Responding to a long pending demand of Engineers’ Rights activists (a disputed subset of Human Rights activists), Gmail has decided to ban the use of ‘iit’ in its usernames as the practice was seen discriminatory towards non-IIT engineers of India.
“There is a huge population of non-IIT engineers in India, in fact, they are in majority and they are also quite talented. But their Gmail usernames causes other people to become judgmental,” Vikkas Kapoor, one of the activists explained the “discrimination” due to ‘iit’ in Gmail usernames, “People take it for granted that firstname.lastname@example.org will be dumber than email@example.com!”
Vikkas claimed that last year a girl had accepted his chat request on Google Chat after he changed his username from firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com
“Such discriminations are being promoted by Google because they are allowing such characters in the username,” he complained.
While Google agreed that such problems exist, the search engine giant cited some other reasons too for their decision to ban ‘iit’ in usernames.
“Not just the IITs, the larger engineers’ community of India had started following the trend of using college names in their mail-id. This has led to creation of extra-long usernames because of the long and complicated names private engineering colleges. It was adding strain to our servers,” a Google official told Faking News.
“We believe that by barring the IITians, we might start a new trend where engineering college students start removing the name of their colleges in their Gmail usernames,” the official hoped.
The decision has got mixed response from different sections of the society. Majority of engineers and the Left parties have given it a thumbs up, calling it a giant step toward social equality.
However, it seems that Google’s move hasn’t been welcomed in their own backyard because of many IITians working in the company. Some market analyst even fear that Google may have to pay for this in their next recruitment drive at IIT campuses.
“I don’t think these are real issues of concern for Google. Leave aside the Gmail username, a guy will change his whole name to get that hefty pay package!” an analyst provided the counterview.
The decision by Google has also been mired in political controversy as a Congress leader alleged that Google was playing favoritism politics and was trying to gather the support of huge non-IIT population of country.
“IIT population was already poached by BJP or Team Anna and now the rest are being targeted by Google! There is a clear foreign hand behind it,” a Congress leader claimed as he requested Kapil Sibal to put more restriction on Google and the IITs.
Meanwhile Google has asked all Gmail users with ‘iit’ in their username to change their email ids as soon as possible, failing which the ‘iit’ in their email ids will automatically be replaced with ‘iipm’.
(Appurv Gupta is an Engineer turned Stand Up Comedian. His exclusive “report” on engineers of India is available here on YouTube)