Why should I bother ?

Warning: This is a rant. Feel free to ignore

I love coding in Python, and in spite of some of the occasional issues it can cause, I feel that it lets one accomplish whatever one wants to do with the minimal amount of magic incantations. So naturally, I have been trying to convince my friends from college to try out Python, but after a few incidents I’m not so sure if I have been doing the right thing. Couple of events will explain the situation:

Scene I - Interview for positions in one of the “big four” Indian IT companies:
Friend of mine has Python listed under the skills sections in his CV
Interviewer: ওরে বাবা তুমি তো পাইথন জানো। (TRANS:Wow (in the sarcastic sense) - you seem to know Python)
Friend: হ্যাঁ (TRANS:Yes)
Interviewer: আচ্ছা Java জানো কি ? (TRANS:So, do you know Java)
Friend: যতটুকু কলেজে পড়িয়েছে, ওইটুকু, তার থেকে বেশী জানি নাহ (TRANS:Not much, just whatever they have taught in college) (the college course covers Java as an example of a Object Oriented language, so it does not go very deep)
Interviewer: আচ্ছা, এটা বল তো… (TRANS:All right then, answer this)
Interviewer: pretty convoluted question from Java - involving complicated API stuff and such
Friend: বলতে পারবো নাহ (TRANS:Sorry, I can’t answer this)
Interviewer: যা, এইটুকুই জানো না, আর পাইথন ফাইথন কী সব শিখে ফেলেছ ? (TRANS:Bah! You don’t know such basic stuff, and on the other hand, you have learn’t Python and whatnot!!)

Needless to say - the guy did not get selected, and got rid of Python from his CV.

Scene II - Yet another interview, this time for a “research” position in academia
Friend of mine has been learning PIL, PyGTK, etc and has Python listed in his CV
Interviewer: আচ্ছা, এই পাইথনটা কি ? (everyone in interview panel make weird facial expressions) (TRANS:So, what is this Python “thing”?)
Friend: \
**Interviewer:** আচ্ছা এটার এরকম বিচ্ছিরি নাম কেন ? (TRANS:So, why does this have such a weird sounding name?)
Friend: \
**Interviewer:** দেখো, আমরা তো এসব জানিনা, আমরা সাবজেক্ট জানি। তুমি বরং কি সাবজেক্ট জানো বল (TRANS:Look, we do not know these things, we know “subjects”. What “subjects do you know ?)
\<..and the interview continued with some very standard (and stupid, IMHO) questions (most of which, I believe are lifted from this particular book). My friend answered all of the questions, except for one.>

Friend later tells me: ওইরকম মুখ বানালো - ওই দেখেই বুঝলাম হবে নাহ্‌ । আমি আর কোথাও পাইথন জানি বলছি নাহ্‌ । (TRANS:From their expression on hearing the word Python, I knew I was not going to crack this interview. I’m not going to mention Python in any future interview.)

When the first incident happened, I thought it was a isolated case. But after the second one, I don’t think it is (and there has been at least one other similar case as well). In fact, when the campus recruitment started for our batch in college, a very senior and respected faculty member told me that my chances of getting placed from college was very slim. I did not appear for any of the recruitment programs (and almost got fined by the college authorities for being “absent”), so I did not get the chance to test out his theory - but that’s a different story altogether.
For the second incident, one may claim that the interviewers were perhaps looking for someone who had a good “theoretical understanding” or had “strong fundamentals”, but I have my doubts (primarily due to the generic crappy questions that were asked afterwards). The first incident on the other hand, points clearly towards something being very wrong with the interviewer.
The question that arises after all this is, why should I ask people to learn Python, or for that matter anything that is not covered by the officially sanctioned syllabus ? On one hand, our “progressive” political leaders and leaders of our various industries speak about nurturing and enhancing “talent” to build a better India, and what not. In the real world on the other hand, at the very ground level, the same institutions that the leaders are supposed to be the patrons and creators of, encourage nothing but mediocrity. End result: each year, thousands of bright young students get turned into zombies. What a terrible waste… what a terrible waste…

Minor update: I realize that many have mistakenly assume that the requirements in the first interview had something to do with Java. It did not. It was a fresher interview, conducted during campus placements, and the students were expected to have zero experience. Many of the students who were actually selected were either placed in testing, or in .Net (mostly building/maintaining/troubleshooting ASP.Net/C# sites)