Mark A. Charles, Indian student who hung himself
Mark A. Charles, Indian student who hung himself in hostel room Image Credit: Mark A. Charles/ Facebook

  • Mark Andrew Charles hung himself because of “poor grades” and “failure to secure a job”

Dubai: Yet another Indian student has killed himself because of “poor grades” and “failure to secure a job”. A final year master’s degree student from Hyderabad, India, left an emotional suicide note after he hung himself at his hostel.

What happened?

According to a report by Indian newspaper, The Times of India, Mark Andrew Charles, a student at the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IIT-H) left a moving suicide note for his friends and family in which he called himself a “loser” and apologised to parents for not being able to make the most of their sacrifices.

The newspaper had obtained a copy of his suicide note, in which the Varanasi youth said: “I don’t have a job, probably wouldn’t get one. No one hires a loser!.... It’s amazing to look at my grade sheet. A few more alphabets and it will look like an alphabet chart.”

He added: “I did have dreams, just like everyone. But now, it’s pretty empty. All this positivity, the constant smiling, telling people that I am okay, even though I am not.”

The news created uproar on social media and users were upset after reading what Charles had written and gone through.

Tweep @hemang_1 posted: “Constant pressure is killing many youth. Time to rethink our behaviour as a society.”

Indian journalist @ShreyaTeresita posted: “It was a bad day as an editor. I choked up at work while reading Mark Andrew Charles’ suicide note. I was scared.

“Hug a friend today - a friend, sibling, family member... someone who seems low, beaten down, stressed. Hug them and tell them, they are worthy.”

Charles requested his parents not to bury him but to hand his body for medical use as he would “make a good specimen cadaver to the future doctors of India”.

IIT-H responsible?

In another report by the same newspaper, a day after his death, Charles’ family blamed the professors of the institute and alleged that they had humiliated him.

The report quoted his mother Nirmanya, who said: “He was full of positivity. He was bright and believed in himself. However, two years in this institute broke him.”

She called her son a “bright kid” who was “reminded that he was not good enough and that led him to commit suicide”.

In his note, Charles advises a few of his friends not to “waste” their lives in the IT industry. He said: “Ankit, Rajjo, IT me kaam karte apni life matt bhul jana. Live a little every day. Ek hi zindagi mili hain” (while trying to make a career and work in the IT industry, don’t forget to live a little every day. We have been given only one life).

Nirmanya and her husband blamed IIT-H for their son’s death in their recorded statement to the police.

In the newspaper report, Sangareddy Deputy Superintendent of police P. Sridhar Reddy said: “Mark did not mention anything against the institute in his letter, but his parents are blaming the institute.

“They claimed that he complained about a few of the professors and narrated how he was humiliated for not being able to even handle a DSLR (camera). However, there are no proofs.”

Mark’s parents, who were in Hyderabad to take their son’s body back to Varanasi said that they spoke to Charles the day before he committed suicide and claimed that he was happy and didn’t seem depressed.

Indian education system

The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) is deemed to be the best institution in the country for engineering, education and research in terms of quality and standards, according to online website Inside Higher Ed. The IIT exam, known as the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), is a very competitive exam that very few people get through. In 2014, 1.3 million candidates appeared for JEE Main.

Over the years, the institute has been criticised for being too competitive and there are many cases of students ending their lives because they can not handle the acadeic pressure.

Twitter users blamed the Indian education system that puts too much pressure on students.

Tweep @raveend19173286 posted: “Mark Andrew Charles... an IITian commits suicide ... who is responsible? Our own hypocritical society! Society preaches something since childhood all in the name of education and throws just the opposite conditions to live in?”

Tweep @kmratishi: “Truly feel sorry for the parents who’ve to deal with the ugly aftermath where the community has no sympathy for the grieving parents. What’ll they do with those years of memories of watching their son grow into a human being? All that’ll be left are horrible images and a letter.”

And Twitter user @thesujay2010 posted: “Suicide in the premier institute like IITs… is a serious issue. Administration can’t avoid the responsibility. If a good student after cracking IIT, failed, [got] no job, then why are the concerned department/faculty not being questioned for his downfall?”

Not the first time

This is the second suicide report at the institute this year. In February 2019, a third-year student, Anirudhya Mummaneni jumped off the seven-storey hostel building at IIT-H.

Mummaneni, 21 years, was depressed when he took his life and had contemplated taking extreme steps to end his life the week before he died.

According to US-based online news publication international Business times, IIT Madras recorded two suicides in one month, at their campus. In September 2018, a 23-year-old committed suicide by hanging herself in her hostel room.

Do you think the Indian education system puts too much pressure on students? Do you know of anyone who went through something like this? Write to us at readers at