IT BHU Chronicle: May'07 edition
Arun @ May 24, 2007

Published on May 20, 2007
The Chronicle May, 2007 issue.
Vol.2007 : Issue 0005
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From the editor’s desk
Arun @ May 24, 2007

We begin the issue with the sad demise of one of our former faculty, Dr. Rama N. Singh of Applied Physics dept. He was a great scientist and space-physicist. He was also the Director of our college. We all share the grief with his family and friends. The news and obituary were forwarded by Prof. B. N. Dwivedi of Applied Physics.

In this issue, we are publishing an interview about one of our most notable alumnus, a social worker and winner of international Magsaysay Award, Dr. Sandeep Pandey. What is striking is that most of his answers for the interview are coming straight from his heart.

There is a troubling sign about HRD ministry re-negotiating terms with state govts. for take-over of colleges for IIEST upgrade. Any deviation from Anandakrishnan Committee Report will certainly dilute the standard of IIESTs.
We need more news. Please send us news, events, articles, information, etc, at: chronicle[AT] Please indicate your branch/year.

Thanking you,
The Chronicle Team

Sad Demise of Prof. Rama N. Singh (Applied Physics dept.)
Arun @ May 24, 2007
profRNS1.jpgWe are sad to announce the demise of our beloved professor in Applied Physics dept., Prof. Rama N. Singh at Varanasi on April 23, 2007. Being an extremely talented person, he won many awards and held many important posts, including Director of IT-BHU. He wrote many papers about space science and technology in leading national and international Journals.

Below please find the obituary written by B.N. Dwivedi of Applied Physics dept. and one-time student of Prof. Singh. A copy of the obituary is also sent to Current Science Magazine (published jointly by Current Science Association and Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore) , which has published a number of research papers by Prof. Singh.

Prof. R. N. Singh was the counselor representing IT-BHU during the IIT-JEE interview at IIT-Bombay campus in 1972. IT-BHU joined with IITs in 1972 to admit students through IIT-JEE. A batch of about 300 students joined our college that year, and about 1/3 rd were from Bombay. Like me, many of my batch-mates credit Prof. Singh and his charming personality to convince us to join our college.

With the death of Prof. Singh, our nation has lost a great physicist and a great space-scientist. Our college has also lost a renowned professor and an able administrator.

He is survived by wife, two sons and three daughters. Among the sons, Prof. Ramesh P. Singh (E-mail: rpalka425[AT] is a Professor in Civil Engg. Dept., IIT-Kanpur; and Prof. Ravi P. Singh (Email: singh_ravi_p[AT] is Dean of Distance Education Department (with additional charge of the Academics Department) at Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, Punjab.

We are inviting tribute from students/faculty/administration/alumni/friends, etc. Please send your memoirs and tribute about Prof. Singh, latest by 15th June to chronicle[AT] All tributes will be published in June issue of chronicle.

May his soul rest in peace.

Yogesh K. Upadhyaya
Chemical 1977
For IT-BHU community

Obituary for Prof. Rama N. Singh
Arun @ May 24, 2007

(This obituary is written by B. N. Dwivedi (Applied Physics dept.), and a copy is forwarded to the Editor of Current Science Magazine, Bangalore.)

prof RNS.jpg
Rama N. Singh (1933-2007)
Rama N. Singh (retired Professor of Applied Physics, Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi) died at Varanasi on 23 April 2007.

Professor Rama N. Singh was born on 4 January 1933 at Dharwa, Ghazipur. He did his secondary education from U.P. College, Varanasi, and higher studies (B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D.) from Banaras Hindu University. He worked on a purely experimental investigations, preparing a radio transmitter and carried out experiments to measure the velocity and direction of ionospheric drift for his Ph.D. research, under able guidance of late Prof. S.R. Khastgir.

He was appointed as Lecturer in 1958 in Physics Dept., Faculty of Science, BHU, and joined as Reader in 1966 in the School of Applied Sciences at the Institute of Technology, BHU. In 1971 he became Professor and superannuated in January 1993 as Director, Institute of Technology, BHU. During his illustrious teaching and research career, he served in various capacities, such as In-charge of Applied Sciences, Head of Applied Physics Dept., Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Technology and finally Director, Institute of Technology, BHU.

Prof. Singh was regarded as an outstanding ambassador of academic excellence in the university environment: visited almost all the premier institutions around the globe as Visiting Professor/Scientist; guided 19 PhDs and many post-docs; published over 200 research papers (several of them in Nature), wrote the university level text book on ‘Electromagnetic Waves and Fields’; published by Tata McGraw Hill in 1991 as well as edited several symposia proceedings; organized and gave invited talks/papers in several national and international seminars/symposia/workshops in his broad field of specialization ‘space sciences’.

Prof. Singh also brought out a “Special Issue on Inner Planets” in Current Science (1994, vol. 66, Numbers 7&8). Starting with his prestigious PL-480 project in the 1970s, he successfully carried out several ISRO, IMAP, DST, UGC and CSIR sponsored research projects. He also served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York in 1961, and Institute of Geophysics, University of Alaska, USA in 1962; Visiting Professor, University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), California in 1985-86; Fellow of the Max-Planck Society at MPAE, Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany in 1989-90.

Prof. Singh shifted his interests after his Ph.D. to theoretical research work on modelling related with the Earth's magnetosphere formed by solar wind interaction. His research interest in planetary sciences continued with special emphasis on the study of Mars and other planets and published papers on all the planets of the Solar System. Realizing the global impact of space research, becoming highly dependent on rockets and satellites launching, he focused his investigations of lower ionospheric and tropospheric, stratospheric and ground based observations and theoretical researches.

He mostly distributed his time with self-study and research and collaborative projects with available opportunity. His main research interests included: ionospheric physics, magnetospheric physics, space physics, plasma physics, solid state electronics, remote sensing and exploration. While working at UCLA, Prof. Singh analyzed Pioneer-Venus data together with Prof. C. T. Russel and found the evidence for Lightning on Venus which was later confirmed from other satellite measurements. Prof. Singh also established a research group in Physics Dept., BHU and did pioneer studies related to the measurements of low-latitude whistler in Banaras

Prof. Singh received several recognitions which include:

  • Fulbright Award in 1962

  • Guest of Soviet Academy of Science in 1971

  • Chairman of Parallel Session

  • International Conference on Wave and Instabilities, Innsbruck, Austria, April 1973

  • Leader of the National Delegation to SCOSTEP General Assembly at COSPAR, Boulder, Colorado, USA in June 1976

  • Convener, Energy Coupling, International Conference on Sun Weather Physics, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA, July 1978

  • Member COSPAR, Working Group - II, Paris, .France, 1978-81, 1982-86

  • SCOSTEP Delegation. Innsbruck. Austria in June.1978

  • URSI Delegation, Helsinki, Finland, August 1978

  • Panel on Plasma Teaching, CITP, Trieste, Italy in 1981

  • CONACYT Federal Award, Mexico, 1995-96.

He was also a member of:

  • IEEE, U.S.A.

  • American Geophysical Union

  • Indian Physics Association

  • Study Group, Bangalore

  • Chairman, National Committee for STP. INSA. 1975-78

  • Editor Proc. National Academy of Sciences. (Earth and Planetary Science.) 1986-1990.

After his superannuation in 1993, Prof. Singh remained in the active mode until his last breath. As an Emeritus Scientist, CSIR, New Delhi from 1994 to 1997, and AICTE – Emeritus from 1999-2002, he did some original work in planetary sciences, and published them extensively. He was also the Founder Director, UNS Institute of Engineering and Technology, V.B.S. Purvanchal University, Jaunpur, 2000-2001.

One glorious thing about Prof. Singh is this: He published his paper this year too and several projects were still in progress. Only recently, Purvanchal University conferred onto him D.Sc. Honoris Causa.

With Prof. Singh’s demise we have lost an eminent space scientist. He is survived by his wife, two sons and three daughters.


Department of Applied Physics, Institute of Technology,
Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi-221005, India
E-mail: bholadwivedi[AT]

Chronicle in News: Chronicle in S. N. Bose blog
Arun @ May 24, 2007

(We are starting a new section called -Chronicle in news. It will include chronicle mentioned prominently in news media, blogs, etc.)

Chronicle in S. N. Bose blog

This was in reference to the article about Prof. S. N. Bose posted in our April 2007 issue.
(Go to and click on links)
New! - S N Bose and Bose Einstein Principle

The Bose-Einstein Condensation Principle statistically predicts the behaviour of gas atoms near absolute zero (0 degree K or -273.15 C). In simplified way, it states that near absolute zero temp., instead of individual Brownian type motion, gas particles moves in a group and behaves like a liquid. <read entire article>

Chronicle in News: CEO of Zuula website writes to Chronicle
Arun @ May 23, 2007

This was in reference to the article about Zuula (the meta-search engine website) in our April 2007 issue and the comment posted on Zuula blog by us.

Thank you, for your kind comment regarding Zuula. I am glad you find our site so useful, and we really appreciate the publicity you've provided us via your monthly news magazine. It's nice to hear such news while we're hard at work, adding to Zuula's capabilities while we also improve and debug its existing features.

Please feel free to continue spreading the news about Zuula. We're very committed to giving our users the best search tool possible, so it's rewarding when more and more people use the service. Any additional help you can lend in getting the word out about Zuula would be very much appreciated.

And, of course, we welcome any additional feedback, comments, or suggestions
you may have.


Zuula actually has a reasonably large group of users in India. I just did a
quick check, and India is sixth among all the countries with Zuula users, in
terms of the number of visits to Zuula during April. It ranks just after
Japan, and above countries such as Germany and Spain. It seems that you
have done a good job in getting the word out about Zuula!

All the best,


Boris Simkovich
Chief Executive Officer
Zuula LLC
Princeton, NJ 08540

Mumbai Alumni Meet-A Report
Arun @ May 23, 2007

(Report forwarded by Rohit Prasad, Chemical 1989)

The first alumni meet of Mumbai chapter was held on Saturday 28th April at SP Jain Institute of Management & Research Auditorium, Andheri (W) from 5 pm – 9 pm.

About 30 alumni attended the first alumni meet of ITBHU in Mumbai. The alumni were from batches of 1970 to 2006. Some members also attended the meet with their family. The members who attended were from varied fields like engineering, technology, government, business, self employed, finance, marketing, insurance and sales.

Videos of ITBHU life were shown to the members who remembered the golden days of their life at the institute. Also a short presentation on was shown to the members.

A number of alumni of ITBHU are organized batch wise in Mumbai. The members decided to increase the awareness of amongst their colleagues / friends and increase the registration numbers of Mumbai chapter. The members also discussed on the ways to take the Mumbai Chapter forward in the coming years.

The main points agreed to in the meet were –

  • Formation of Yahoo group or Google group for alumni in Mumbai
  • Increasing the registration at for alumni in Mumbai
  • Organizing lectures from senior alumni or organizing events to retain interest of alumni in the chapter
  • Initiate dialogue with banks for ITBHU co-branded credit card

The members enthusiastically supported the organizing team for the first alumni meet in Mumbai. The meeting ended with the members deciding to be in touch with each other and increasing the awareness of ITBHU Mumbai Chapter.

Mumbai Chapter Members

Rohit Prasad (9820895853) (rohit_a_prasad[AT]
Amit Kulshreshta (9920185166) (askullu[AT]
Suraj Goyal (9867640339) (suraj_goyal[AT]
Rajesh Kumar Singh (9819797568) (rajeshhimself[AT]
Nitin Jain (9819074247) (nitin_429[AT]

Some photos of the Mumbai Alumni Meet on 28 April, 2007.

alumni meet1.jpg
Alumni Meet2.jpg

Announcement-AIBA Meet at New Delhi on 26/05/2007
Arun @ May 23, 2007

(Forwarded by Puneet Bindlish, Mining 2002)

The announcement is also posted on website at

Association of IT BHU Alumni (AIBA) - Notice for 5th AGM

Dear Alumnus

You must have received the invitation to the 5th Annual General Body Meeting, to be followed by the IT BHU Alumni Award of Excellence by now. Please attend the AGM and the Award ceremony and make both a success.

The schedule for the evening is as given below.

Date: 26th May 2007 (Saturday)
Time : 1845 hours onwards
Venue : Jacaranda Hall, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi 110003


1845 -1915: Registration and Networking
1915 -2000 : 5th Annual General Body Meeting

  1. Welcome address by the President

  2. Adoption of the 4th AGM minutes of meeting

  3. Presentation of the Annual Report by the Secretary

  4. Presentation of the Financial Report by the Treasurer

  5. Vote of Thanks by the Vice President

NB: Only those members who have joined the association on or before 30.09.2006 would be eligible to vote in the AGM. All members who have joined after 30.09.2006 would be eligible to vote in all future General Body Meetings.
2015 -2100: 1st IT BHU Alumni Award of Excellence
Mr. Vinod Rai, Secretary - Finance and Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary - Dept of Sc and Tech and DG - CSIR have consented to grace the occassion. We are also expecting a confirmation from the Hon. Minister of Sc. and Technology, Mr. Kapil Sibal.
2100 onwards: Cocktails and dinner

The IT BHU Alumni Award of Excellence has been instituted to honour the contributions made by our alumni during the course of their career and professional life. To make this award ceremony successful, we seek your help in raising funds for the ceremony. We are trying to raise funds for the ceremony through sponsorships, and the more sponsors we are able to gather, the more would be the visibility of the Awards function and similarly, more would be the Association’s visibility. Please therefore help us in raising finances. The sponsorship appeal is attached for your reference and necessary action.

As every year, we are bringing out a souvenir this year also. The souvenir would contain, other than the member directory, write ups from our alumni and their family members. We require contributions from you so that the souvenir becomes a tool for interaction and sharing of thoughts within our alumni community. Help in the form of advertisements would also be welcome.

Look forward to your help, and presence at the AGM and the Awards ceremony.

With warm regards

For contributions or Sponsorship Opportunities. Please click the relevant link below:
Sponsorship Appeal ( download PDF )
Advertisement Appeal for Souvenir ( download PDF )

Alumni in News: The fascinating story of Ram Charan our alumnus, a world-class executive constantly on move.
Arun @ May 23, 2007

Mr. Ram Charan is an engineering graduate from our college. He graduated around 1960. (|635914506)

fortune banner.jpg

Excerpts from the 5-pages long article:

The strange existence of Ram Charan

What he does is hard to describe. But the most powerful CEOs love it enough to keep him on the road 24/7 and make him the most influential consultant alive. Fortune's David Whitford reports.

ram charan3.jpg
Charan at a Fortune roundtable in 1998.

Ram Charan has written or co-written 11 books since 1998.

ram charan2.jpg
Heading to another appointment in New York City.

Ram charan 1.jpg
Fortune's David Whitford talks with Ram Charan, who spends his life in hotels as he travels the world consulting for big companies.
Play video
David Whitford, Fortune writer April 24 2007: 9:12 AM EDT

(Fortune Magazine) -- The Al Manzil Hotel in Dubai has been open for business all of 18 days on the Saturday night in January that I show up with Ram Charan. The lobby is strangely quiet; there doesn't seem to be anybody else staying here. The surrounding neighborhood is called Old Town, but in fact it's a construction site from which are rising what will one day be the world's tallest skyscraper and the world's biggest mall. Soulless and kind of creepy, I'm thinking, but Charan's thoughts are elsewhere.

Already he has claimed an overstuffed chair in the center of the lobby and is talking on the phone. After 12 hours of isolation on the flight from J.F.K., Charan is back in business, deep in private conversation with a client in New York City. He looks tired, and no wonder. He began his day with a 4 A.M. Friday wake-up call in Richmond (he did a Squawk Box live remote on CNBC), and he has a head cold. But he is in no hurry to go to bed. Charan doesn't care what time it is. He doesn't care what day of the week it is.And the last thing he cares about is where he is. As long as Charan is with a client - or can get one on the phone - he's home.

Thirty years ago this month, Ram Charan (pronounced "Rahm Scha-RON") quit a tenured professorship at Boston University to devote himself full-time to consulting. Today he's alone at the top of his profession - not a consultant so much as a guru, a corporate sage, with unparalleled access to boardrooms across the globe and intimate, enduring relationships with an array of powerful CEOs.

Among them: Jack Welch, formerly of GE (Charts, Fortune 500), who says of Charan, "He has this rare ability to distill meaningful from meaningless and transfer it to others in a quiet, effective way without destroying confidences"; Dick Harrington of Thomson Corp. (Charts) ("He probably knows more about corporate America than anybody"); and Verizon's (Charts, Fortune 500) Ivan Seidenberg ("I love him. He's my secret weapon"). "He's like your conscience," says former Citicorp CEO John Reed. "Just when you sort of think you have everything done and you're feeling pretty good about yourself, he calls you up and says, 'Hey, Reed, did you do this and that and the other?'"

There's another aspect of Charan, not unrelated to his success, that sets him apart from his peers, if not the whole human race: what Jack Krol calls Charan's "strange existence." "When I was chairman and CEO of DuPont," says Krol, "he'd show up at the house Sunday morning at nine, and we might spend three or four hours, and all of a sudden he'd disappear. He would go anywhere at any time that you asked him to meet with you. Business is his whole life."

That sounds like an exaggeration, but it's not. Having uploaded himself into the global economy, Charan circulates, continuously, with something like the speed and efficiency of capital. Consider the itinerary he sketched at dinner one night a few months ago in New York. He had just agreed - for the first time in his career -to let a journalist travel with him and watch him work. "I should tell you where I've been the last few weeks," he began in heavily accented English. "I go to India on the Friday of the week before Thanksgiving. I am Sunday morning in Bombay. Monday morning I am in Delhi. Wednesday I'm in Bombay. Thursday I'm in Bangalore. Saturday I'm in Trivandrum. Wednesday I'm in Johannesburg. Friday morning, at seven, I am in New York. I have a two-hour meeting with a CEO who has flown in to see me. I have two more meetings and I fly out that night to Dubai. I am in Dubai on Sunday and Monday, then I come back here. On Thursday night I fly out to Jubail, Saudi Arabia. Then I come back here. Tuesday morning I have a whole-day schedule in New York. Tuesday night I go to Milwaukee. I came from Milwaukee last night. They diverted my plane so I had to stay in Pittsburgh. I had a meeting this morning in Philadelphia. I had three meetings here in the afternoon. And I'm here tomorrow, with GE. Then an hour-and-a-half phone call. Then I'm going out tomorrow night to West Palm Beach. Monday morning I have a breakfast meeting in New York. And then I'm flying out to Perth, Australia." At least he flies first-class.

Now consider what comes next: more of the same. Charan never stops. He sleeps in a hotel every night ("Professor Charan, welcome home," is how the doorman greets him at the Waldorf on Park Avenue), except when he's sleeping on a plane or, rarely, in someone's house, which can happen when a client takes pity on him. "I got in the habit of having him over for Christmas because he had no place to go," says Reed. "He was going to sit in a hotel room. That's hardly right."

“One by one, most of the older children left school to work in the family business. Charan was an exception. His teachers visited the shop to beg his parents to let him continue his education. At 15, he enrolled as an engineering student at the elite Banaras University in Varanasi, a 250-mile train ride away. He was two years younger than his classmates, a humble member of the trading caste surrounded by "students whose fathers were big business people." He kept quiet because he was self-conscious about his "lousy English." He excelled, graduating third in his class. "Oh, incredible growth!" is how he describes those years. "Incredible learning!"

After college Charan was invited to participate in a work exchange program in Australia. His grandmother pawned her jewelry to buy him a plane ticket. (Charan recorded that debt, together with every cent his family spent on his education, and paid it back within a year. "This is a return of capital," he wrote on the note accompanying final payment.) Charan ran into a problem at the passport office. The application asked for his first and last names. Like most provincial Indians, Charan didn't use a family name. So he split his one name in two, and Ramcharan became Ram Charan.”

(Forwarded by Sushant Kumar CER 2005)

Alumni in News: An article in written by by alumnus, Vish Mishra (Electrical 1967)
Arun @ May 23, 2007

Vish Mishra is a Senior Venture Partner with Clearstone, a top-tier technology fund

60,000 IT professionals in US return home

May 14, 2007 08:55 IST
Last Updated: May 14, 2007 08:55 IST

India's fast growing economy and leaping information technology sector is attracting home more and more Indian from the Silicon Valley and the Indus Entrepreneur Group estimates that around 60,000 may have returned in recent years, a media report said on Monday.

No region of the United States has been more affected by this trend than Silicon Valley. TIE had reported in 2003 that between 15,000 and 20,000 Indians have returned and Charter member of the organization Vish Mishra told San Jose Mercury News that the trend had continued and about 40,000 more had gone back in the last four years.

Mishra, who is a senior venture partner with Clearstone Ventures, said the flow of investment capital to India also has expanded, much of it from Silicon Valley VC firms.

Clearstone Venture Partners now has an office in Mumbai, as do many other firms that either are based in or originated in Silicon Valley.

During the 12-month period that ended in August 2006, Mishra told the paper, VC firms invested 2 billion dollars in early and late-stage companies. The report quotes a study released earlier this year by Anna-Lee Saxenian of the University of California-Berkeley and by Duke University, as saying Indians founded 15 per cent of all Silicon Valley start-ups.

The study also found that 53 per cent of the science and engineering workforce in the valley is foreign-born, and that one-quarter of immigrant-founded engineering and scientific companies set up in the United States during the past decade were by Indians. These companies rang up 52 billion dollars in sales and created 450,000 jobs. No wonder, notes the paper, some business and policy leaders are sounding alarm bells about American competitiveness in general and Silicon Valley's future as a technology leader in particular.

The Mercury News says there isn't a single major information-technology company in the United States that hasn't set up operations in India.

IT companies are attracted by low-cost, highly skilled workforce; 3.5 million white-collar US jobs, along with 151 billion dollars in wages, are expected to be outsourced by 2015, with India the top outsourcing destination, the paper says quoting a report by Forrester Research.

But these companies also see a market of potentially epic proportions, the paper says. Half of India's 1.2 billion people are younger than 25. That's 600 million people coming into their peak consuming years in an economy fueled primarily by exploding retail growth.

As Amar Babu of Intel India (where 15 per cent of the workforce is made up of Indians) who returned from the United States, explained, "Intel views India as a critical research and development site. At the same time, India is a consumption market for IT. A lot of future growth will come from these emerging markets".

Faculty in News: Prof. N. K. Mukhopadhyay selected as a FULL Professor of Physical Metallurgy
Arun @ May 23, 2007
prof Muk.png We are pleased to announce that Prof. N. K. Mukhopadhyay has been selected as a FULL Professor of Physical Metallurgy in the Department of Metallurgical Engineering. He took charge of the new position with effect from May 16, 2007.

He joined the department as a Reader in 1998.

On behalf of IT-BHU community, Chronicle sends best wishes to the professor for his new assignment.

Dr. N.K. Mukhopadhyay
Professor, Centre of Advanced Studies
Department of Metallurgical Engineering
Institute of Technology
Banaras Hindu University
Varanasi 221 005, INDIA

Phone: 0091-542-2369346, extn. 228 (o),
Fax: 0091-542-2369478/2368174/2368428
E-mail: mukho_nk[AT]

To view his profile, visit

An article in chronicle-‘Prof. N K Mukhopadhyay-A post card from Far East’

From the Institute: Conferring Degrees and Awards on 20th IT Convocation day
Arun @ May 23, 2007

The 89th Convocation of the Banaras Hindu University was held on the 9th of April, 2007. In this regard, the 20th IT Convocation took place on the 7th of April, 2007 for the passouts of 2006. With the Director, Prof. S.N. Upadhyay; the Dean, Prof. J.N.Sinha and the Academic Registrar in close attendance, the Convocation witnessed an impressive turnout considering the fact that the dates were a matter of much conjuncture till late March. In all, a total of 484 degrees were conferred at the Graduate, Post-Graduate, Masters and the Doctorate Level.

The Ceremony


Table-1: Degrees awarded by IT-BHU for the year 2006.
Computer Science & Engineering--1--37
Ceramic Engineering--1326
Chemical Engineering ----1741
Civil Engineering ----1430
Electrical Engineering ----16+3*45
Electronics Engineering 122347
Mechanical Engineering --110+1**55
Metallurgical Engineering --21226
Mining Engineering ----723
Bio-Chemical Engineering --15--
Bio-Medical Engineering ----3--
Materials Science & Technology----3--
Applied Chemistry--1----
* Systems Engineering ** Industrial Management

Prominent awardees along with the list of honors are as follows:

  1. Ankur Gupta
    • Late Shri Shyam Sunder Lal Razdan Memorial Gold Medal for securing highest percentage of marks in B.Tech. Part IV Examination, 2006.
    • Prof. Gopal Tripathi Memorial Gold Medal for securing highest marks at the B.Tech./ B.Pharm. Examination, 2006.
    • Smt. Arati Paul and Prof. Binod Bihari Paul Gold Medal for securing highest marks in IV-Year Examination among all the students of B.Tech./B.Pharm. Examination, 2006.
    • Shri Raj Kishore Kapoor Silver Medal for securing highest marks at the B.Tech./B.Pharm. Examination, 2006.
    • Dr. Annie Besant Prize for standing First among all the branches of Engineering in 2006.

  2. Shekhar Tewari

    • R.B.G Modi Medal for standing First at the B.Tech. Part-IV Level in Chemical Engineering Examination, 2006.
    • Manishi Sharma Memorial Gold Medal for securing First position at the B.Tech. Part-IV Level in Chemical Engineering Examination, 2006.
    • Dr. R.J. Rathi Financial Award Rs. 1000/- cash for standing first at the B-Tech. Part-IV Level in Chemical Engineering Examination, 2006.
  3. Vivek Verma

    • Rai Bahadur Taracharan Gue Memorial Award Rs.500/- cash for standing First at the B-Tech. Part-IV Level in Civil Engineering Examination, 2006
    • Late Prof. Manoranjan Sengupta Platinum Jubilee Merit Award Rs.1000/- cash for securing highest marks in B.Tech. Part-IV in Civil Engineering Examination, 2006.
  4. Kapil Malik
    • R.B.G Modi Medal for standing First at the B.Tech. Part-IV in Electrical Engineering Examination, 2006.

    • Himmat Narayan Singh Gold Medal for securing the First position and First division in B.Tech. Electrical Engineering Examination, 2006.

    • N.V.R Nageswar Iyer Prize for standing First in B.Tech. Part-IV in Electrical Engineering Examination, 2006.

    • Late Prof. Manoranjan Sengupta Platinum Jubilee Merit Award Rs. 1000/- cash for securing highest marks in the B. Tech. Part-IV in Electrical Engineering Examination, 2006.
  5. Sudeep Tandon
    • Lala Balak Ramji Kohinoor Gold Medal for securing highest marks at the B.Tech. Part-IV Examination, 2006 among the branches of Civil, Mechanical, Electrical & Electronics Engineering.

    • Late. Prof. Nagesh Chandra Vaidya Gold Medal for standing First at the B-Tech. Part-IV in Electronics Engineering Examination, 2006

    • Dr. (Late) Nandita Saha Roy Memorial Gold Medal for obtaining First position in B.Tech. Electronics Engineering Final Year Examination, 2006.

    • Prof. V.V. Chalam Prize for standing Second among all the branches of B.Tech Examination, 2006.

    • Dr. Ayyagiri Sambasiva Rao Prize Rs. 1000/- cash for securing First position at bthe B-Tech Part IV in Electronics Engineering Examination, 2006.

    • Late Prof. Manoranjan Sengupta Platinum Jubilee Merit Award Rs. 1000/- cash for securing highest marks in B-Tech Part IV in Electronics Engineering Examination, 2006.
  6. Manish Yadav
    • The Prince of Wales Medal for standing First at the B.Tech. Part-IV in Mechanical Engineering Examination, 2006.

    • Late Prof. Manoranjan Sengupta Platinum Jubilee Merit Award Rs. 1000/- cash for securing highest marks in B.Tech. Part-IV in Mechanical Engineering Examination, 2006.
  7. Nitin Rai
    • Aruna and Malviya Medal for standing First at the B.Pharm. Part-IV Examination, 2006.

    • Late Prof. G.P. Srivastava for standing First at the B.Pharm. Part- IV Examination, 2006.


Happy Graduates
Happy Graduates.JPG
Students caught in a light mood with Prof. S. K. Sharma
Students caught in a light mood with Prof. S. K. Sharma.JPG

From the Institute: Director asks for more alumni involvement as faculty calls for IT Convocation Day
Arun @ May 23, 2007

The Director of IT-BHU, Prof. S.N Upadhyay called on graduates to start a new channel of communication with the Institute so that the Institute could adapt and respond as per the requirements of this fast-paced world. In a free-wheeling chat with The Chronicle on the sidelines of the 20th IT Convocation, Prof Upadhyay stressed on the need for passouts and other alumni to keep in touch with the institute and respective departments and give suggestions (albeit critical) on the way forward for the institute. The Director felt that this process of self-evaluation and improvement through feedback could position IT-BHU in the ivy bracket. The Director was optimistic that even in the absence of the IIT tag as is the present scenario, IT-BHU could be in a league of its own through a concerted effort by all people concerned.

Advising engineering students to stay in their core/parent discipline, Prof. Upadhyay said that the services’ growth model was not a sustainable one and that it was only the enhancement of core studies that could take the country forward. The Director, while admitting that the IT Convocation was put together in a hurried and haphazard manner, said that he was pleased with the response. He went back in time when the Convocation used to be held in full decorum faculty-wise and called for the system to be restored. On being queried about the IT Convocation Day being formalized and held in full grandeur, the Director admitted that the framework didn’t permit that at this point of time. However, he felt that this exercise would be more fruitful if held in concert with the alumni reunions in December.

Concurring with the Director, Prof. S.K. Sharma, Head, Department of Mechanical Engineering asked for the IT Convocation to be advanced to the month of August so that students could attend in greater numbers without it interfering with further studies or workplace commitments. Labeling the Convocation as the most sacred ceremony of the IT calendar, Prof. Sharma, an expert in Industrial Management called for a leaner and more agile system that would facilitate the holding of the Convocation in August. His suggestions for implementing the same included outsourcing the preparation of academic rolls to the respective Departments rather than the Academic section as is the case now.

Even some graduates felt the need for the Institute to adopt a slightly more proactive role in the conduct of the Convocation. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, some pass outs attributed the response to the delay and uncertainty in the intimation of dates. Calling for a particular day in the academic calendar to be fixed for the Convocation, the ‘degree-holders’ called the moment a dream come true and reminisced their time at the Institute. However, some were more scathing in their attack of fellow batch mates and criticized their disillusionment and disinterest for not turning up.

(Forwarded by Varun Murli MEC 2008)

BHU in News: IMS-BHU to be upgraded to AIIMS level
Arun @ May 23, 2007

ims banner.jpg


There is good news about Institute of Medical Sciences of BHU. It will be upgraded to AIIMS level along with 12 other colleges in the country, at a cost of Rs. 120 crores. Read the govt. press release:

http://pib.nic. in/release/ release.asp? relid=27558


16:47 IST
Rajya Sabha

Under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY), it has been decided to set up six new AIIMS like Institutions, each in the States of Bihar (Patna), Chhatisgarh (Raipur), Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal), Orissa (Bhubaneswar), Rajasthan (Jodhpur) and Uttaranchal (Rishikesh). The estimated cost for setting up each institute is Rs. 332 crore based on CPWD plinth area rates.

Under PMSSY, it has also been decided to strengthen 13 existing Medical College Institutions in terms of infrastructure and equipments. List of institutions being upgraded can be seen in the Annexure. An outlay of Rs. 120 crore has been approved for upgradation of each medical college institution. Out of this, the Government of India is investing Rs. 100 crore for each institution and the State Government’s share is Rs. 20 crore and subsequent recurring, maintenance and manpower costs. In respect of SVIMS, Tirupati, the TTD trust is bearing half of the cost i.e. Rs. 60 crore and the GOI share is only Rs. 60 crore. Likewise, in respect of IMS (BHU) Varanasi, which is a GOI institution, Rs. 20 crore is being provided by Ministry of Human Resource Development.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Smt. Panabaka Lakshmi on 4th May, 2007 in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha.

KR/SK/50 – RS


Upgradation of 13 medical institutes under PMSSY

    The following 13 medical institutes have already been identified for upgradation under PMSSY: -
  1. Govt. Medical College, Jammu (J&K)
  2. Govt. Medical College, Srinagar (J&K)
  3. Kolkatta Medical College, Kolkatta (W.B.)
  4. Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow (U.P.)
  5. Institute of Medical Sciences, BHU, Varanasi (U.P.)
  6. Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad (A.P.)
  7. Sri Venkateshwara Institute of Medical Sciences, Tirupati (A.P.) (50% cost of upgradation will be borne by the TTD Trust)
  8. Govt. Medical College, Salem (T.N.)
  9. Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi (Jharkhand)
  10. B.J. Medical College, Ahmedabad (Gujarat)
  11. Bangalore Medical College, Bangalore (Karnataka)
  12. Grants Medical College & Sir J.J. Group of Hospitals, Mumbai (Maharashtra)*
  13. Government Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala)

N.B. * The upgradation is pending as the matter is subjudice in Nagpur Bench of Mumbai High Court on selection of this institution, instead of the Medical College at Nagpur.

BHU in News: BHU scientists develop aerogel
Arun @ May 23, 2007

DST funds aerogel research
10 May, 2007 l 0556 hrs IST l TIMES NEWS NETWORK

Prof. O. N. Srivastava
PUNE: Scientists at the University of Pune (UoP) have developed an ultra lightweight aerogel material. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has funded Rs 3 crore for a period of five years, to facilitate research on aerogel at the UoP in collaboration with the Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi.

Prof O.N. Srivastava and his team at the BHU synthesised the CNT, while the aerogel using the CNT was developed by Sulabha Kulkarni, coordinator of the DST unit on nano-science at the UoP’s department of physics, and her student, Supriya Pandhe.

Kulkarni is a noted Ph.D. guide, who has 200 research papers in international journals to her credit and has been working on this project for over six years. In the past, Kulkarni has worked on Defence Research and Development Organisation-commissioned research on silica aerogels that are transparent and heat insulated compared to the CNT aerogels.

She said a team at Pennsylvania University, US, came up with the most-recent aerogel variant, using CNT and polymer, in February.

The 15 mg aerogel could support 100 gm or 8,000 times more weight than its own body weight. In comparison, the aerogel developed at the UoP has much larger loadbearing capacity, she added.

According to Kulkarni, aerogel applications are as wide as in light-weight jackets for armed forces personnel and bridges in defence use, soundproof rooms, heat-retaining houses, foundries, packaging and electronic sensors.

The breakthrough gives a reason for the UoP to celebrate in terms of furthering varsity-level research. As it comes after a long gap, Jadhav conceded that the varsity doesn’t have much to show in terms of research breakthroughs.

Jadhav said the discovery can be seen as a beginning of UoP’s renewed thrust on research . "We will secure an independent certification for this material soon for the purpose of Indian patent and also try for publication in reputed international journals on nanotech," Jadhav said.

Developed way back in 1930, with silica and carbon being the content of the most common variant in use, research in aerogels got a push only after the international oil crisis of 1974 and the space programmes that developed subsequently.

BHU in News: HIV positive couple wed in Uttar Pradesh
Arun @ May 23, 2007

HIV positive couple wed in Uttar Pradesh

By Vipul Goel

Maharajganj (UP), Apr 22: Setting an example for those who think having a fatal disease is the end of the road, an HIV positive couple in Uttar Pradesh tied the knot in a path-breaking marriage.

The widely attended wedding, presided over by priests performing Hindu rites at a temple in Maharajganj, is considered to go a long way in creating awareness in a country where HIV is still a stigma and its victims socially ostracized and condemned.

Sunil Seth met his bride Suman, who lives in Maharajganj, at the Benaras Hindu University (BHU) Medical Institute when the cupid struck the two.

The couple said they hoped to live normal life despite being HIV positive.

"I met her in Varanasi where she had gone to BHU to get her tests done. From there on, we became friends and even our families came closer. Then we decided to get married," said Seth.

Almost all the families and relatives of the bride and groom were HIV positive, but among the guests were several NGO volunteers and government officials.

"We wish the couple best of luck. They have set an example of being positive. They have shown that being HIV positive is not the end of the world. With hope, and patience, the infected can lead a happy life. This is the state's first such marriage. I do not think it is any less popular than that of Bollywood stars Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai weeding," said Mukta Sharma, Assistant Director, Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society.

According to Government-run National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO), over 5.7 million Indians are infected with AIDS virus, and out of them 475,000 are in Uttar Pradesh.

The rising prevalence of HIV in the country showed that a decade of government efforts had not slowed the virus, which is now estimated to have infected 5.7 million Indians.

According to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, ten percent of the world's HIV-positive population is in India.

According to estimates by the UN Population Division, if trends continue, nearly 49.5 million Indians will die of the disease between 2015 and 2050.

Varanasi in News: Election campaign in Varanasi
Arun @ May 23, 2007

Auntie, make way for Jaitley Voters tire of ‘moms’, want younger stars to campaign



Celina Jaitley campaigns in
Varanasi. (PTI)
Lucknow, April 24: Dream Girl? To Ankit Patel, star BJP campaigner Hema Malini sounded like “mom”.

Jaya Bachchan touted herself — for the umpteenth time – as Allahabad’s “bahu” yesterday. The lukewarm reception suggested that the television-age voters saw her more as Aishwarya’s saas.

From the BJP and the Congress to the Samajwadi Party, they have all realised that veteran stars are no longer rousing the young voter, so crucial to an Uttar Pradesh election strewn with marginal seats.

So, they are looking to sign up the Bollywood young set.

The Congress has already got Celina Jaitley to hit the road and its Varanasi candidate, Mohammed Sheikh Shamim, claims he has used Mumbai leader Sanjay Nirupam’s contacts to strike a deal with Kareena Kapoor. “She is likely to campaign for me in Varanasi on April 26,” Shamim said.

The BJP is believed to have sent an SOS to its Mumbai leaders to draft in a few younger stars after Hema left the crowds cold and Shatrughan Sinha’s hackneyed, deep-throated “khamosh” failed to evoke even a polite murmur yesterday.

It could be smart thinking, if Ankit is to be believed. “See, we belong to the Dhoom generation. Jaya Bachchan and Hema Malini play ornamental roles in films. So when they speak about a party, we feel our mom is talking to us,” the first-year BCom student said.

Ronit Sharma, first-year student of political science at Benares Hindu University, agreed. “When we see ageing stars campaign, we feel they are here because they don’t have work in the industry. Stars of this generation can at least draw our attention.”

Celina made the right noises at the Congress office in Lucknow on Sunday by praising Rahul Gandhi, the GeNext leader. “He’s a dedicated Congress worker and sensitive, too,” she said before rushing off to Varanasi.

As Celina criss-crossed the temple town in an open jeep at the head of a 20-car convoy, the BJP’s Smriti “Tulsi” Irani was turning her Lucknow news conference into a yawn, repeating herself and mouthing trite, rehearsed comments.
BJP sources said the party was trying to see if Yukta Mookhey, Urmila Matondkar, Upen Patel and Kunal Khemu were available.

“The reason is obvious. Voters aged between 18 and 25 will play a crucial role, and they are yet to be politically committed. So all parties are wooing them, especially the Congress,” said Ramesh Dixit, professor of political science in Lucknow University.

“An election campaign is difficult business these days, especially in the cities with their multiplexes, computer games and other distractions,” a Bahujan Samaj Party leader rued in Lucknow.

Even Congress functionaries admit that Rahul Gandhi has been able to draw large crowds only in the rural areas.

The Samajwadi Party hasn’t reached out for young Bollywood actors to back up its two Jayas -- Bachchan and Prada. It has hired local stars, dancers, “comedy kings” and an array of Bhojpuri singers, led by Manjor Tiwari and Ravi Kishen.
Is the party expecting Abhishek and Aishwarya at some of its meetings at some point in the campaign? “No,” a leader said, “they will be busy honeymooning”.

IIEST updates: Tirade over upgrade
Arun @ May 23, 2007

A news item dated May 3, 2007



The West Bengal and Kerala governments have joined hands to retain control over two tech schools — Bengal Engineering and Science University (Besu) and Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) — which the Centre is considering for upgrade to Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology (IIEST).

Reasonable representation of students from the states, participation of the state governments in the administrative council and recurring grants for these two institutions — the Left-ruled states are chorusing on their demands before handing over the control of the institutes to the ministry of human resources development (HRD).

“How can there be a handover without even a discussion on these issues?” asked state higher education minister Sudarshan Roy Chaudhuri, echoing the concerns raised by his Kerala counterpart, M.A. Baby. In a letter, written on April 24, Roy Chaudhuri has sought an appointment with Union HRD minister Arjun Singh to discuss the issues.

While the Centre wants complete freedom from state control for these two institutes, the Kerala government, along with the West Bengal government, will suggest an alternative model for IIEST.

In a letter to state chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb on April 4, the HRD ministry secretary clearly spelt out the Centre’s demand, which is in line with the central guideline.

But the missive from Delhi has miffed the Writers’ Buildings bosses. “I had written to Arjun Singh earlier, the chief minister had written to the Prime Minister regarding the upgrade, but there was no response. Instead, there is a secretary-level letter asking the government to hand over the institute,” said Roy Chaudhuri.

The higher education minister met the members of the teachers’ union last week and explained the position of the state government on the upgrade issue.
But the Besu teachers’ association (Besuta) is not in agreement with the minister.

“Besu has never had any reservations or quotas in all the years that it has been under the state government. Why is the government insisting on a reservation now?” asked Manas Hira, Besuta member.

On the issue of mode of governance for IIEST, the teachers prefer the model that the Centre wants to follow over the one suggested by the state government.

A news item dated May 14, 2007

Besu upgrade talks - Delhi to consider state proposals


Bengal Engineering and
Science University, in
Shibpur. A Telegraph
The central and state governments will negotiate the upgrade of Bengal Engineering and Science University.

At a meeting held in New Delhi on Friday, Union human resources development minister Arjun Singh told the state government representatives that their submission on the mode of admission and governance at the proposed Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology (IIEST) would be considered. The Centre will “respond to the submissions adequately”, he said.

The ministry had agreed on principle to the upgrade of the university (Besu) to an Institute of National Importance (INI) in a letter to the state government on May 5 this year.

The Delhi meeting was also attended by Kerala education minister M.A. Baby, representatives of the Andhra Pradesh government and Brinda Karat. Apart from Besu, institutes from the two states are among those recommended for upgrade by the Anandakrishnan Committee.

On being asked when the negotiations will take place, the joint secretary of the Union department, Ravi Mathur, stated: “We are awaiting submissions from the Andhra government. We will have to take a comprehensive approach.”

The draft NIT Bill is now in the Lok Sabha, after being passed by the Rajya Sabha.

The secretary of the Union department, Rameshwar Pal Agarwal, had written to state chief secretary Amit Kiran Deb: “In order to convert this institute into an INI to be called IIEST, Shibpur, legislation will have to be brought in Parliament. After passage of such a legislation, the management of the institute along with its assets and liabilities would be transferred to the central government. The state government will have to agree to such an arrangement.”

State higher education minister Sudarshan Roy Choudhury, who met Singh on Friday, said: “I told him that such a decision cannot be taken before our submission on admissions and governance has been considered.”

According to sources, Roy Choudhury is miffed at secretary-level correspondence from the central government over a policy decision.
From the above news media articles, it appears that central govt. is ready to soften its stand about central control over IIESTs, and ready to re-negotiate the deal with respective state govts.

We do not know what the outcome of discussion will be. However, any move for joint (central and state govts.) control over IIESTs, admission quota for students within the state and admission through multiple entrance exam systems will certainly dilute the quality of IIESTs.

IIEST Update: Report on Science and Technology Education
Arun @ May 23, 2007

Here is a report prepared by HRD Ministry on the course of Science and Technology Education in India. This 23 page report is very informative, complete with facts and figures and govt. plan to achieve the goal.

(Link provided by Bengal Engineering College Alumni Webmaster)

Page 4 (section 4.2.2) discusses upgradation of seven institutes to the level of IITs.


4.2.2 Upgradation of seven Institutes roughly to the level of IITs: -

Pursuant to the announcement made by the then Prime Minister in his Independence Day speech in 2003 regarding upgradation of five promising institutions to IITs, the Ministry of Human Resource Development, in November, 2003, constituted a Committee under the Chairmanship of Prof. S.K. Joshi, former Director-General, CSIR, to identify prominent institutions having potential for such upgradation. The Committee identified seven academic institutions of repute to be upgraded to the level of IITs. These institutes are given below:-

  1. Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.
  2. University College of Engineering combined with the University College of Technology, both belonging to Osmania University, Hyderabad.
  3. Bengal Engineering College, Howrah.
  4. Jadavpur University’s Engineering and Technology Departments
  5. Zakir Hussain College of Engineering and Technology, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh
  6. Andhra University College of Engineering, Visakhapatnam and,
  7. Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin.

After the receipt of report of Prof. S. K. Joshi Committee, the Central Government constituted another Committee under Prof. Anandakrishnan to work out the details of the process of upgradation of the Institutes. However, both the Prof. Joshi Committee and Prof. Anandakrishnan Committee were of the view that the seven identified institutes can not measure upto the standards of the existing IITs in terms of various parameters used for evaluating Institutes. It was, therefore, recommended that it may not be correct to position these colleges straightaway alongside the IITs. Prof. Anandakrishnan Committee proposed that five of the seven identified Institutes, namely, Bengal Engineering & Science University; Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University; Cochin University of Science and Technology; Andhra University College of Engineering; and Osmania University College of Engineering and University College of Technology may be established as Indian Institutes of Engineering Science & Technology (IIEST) as Institutes of National Importance (INI’s) through an Act of Parliament.
Total de-linking of the remaining two Institutes from their parent universities, was found to be virtually impossible and, therefore, these were recommended for one time support only for their upgradation.

An amount of Rs.61 crores was released to these seven institutions during 2006-07 to start the process of upgradation. Letters have been written to the concerned State Governments in respect of those Institutes proposed to be established as IIESTs as Institutes of National Importance through an Act of Parliament, to convey their willingness for transferring their assets and liabilities to the Central Government. Replies of the State Governments of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh are awaited.

A plan outlay of Rs.75 crores has been proposed during the financial year 2007-08 for the scheme of upgradation of seven Institutes.

IIEST Updates: Orissa will get an IIT
Arun @ May 23, 2007

Orissa to have an IIT: Navin Patnaik
16 May, 2007 l 0127 hrs IST l PTI

NEW DELHI: Orissa Chief Minister Navin Patnaik on Wednesday asked the Centre to set up an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in the state as it did not have a single institution of national excellence.

"I met Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh and demanded setting up of an IIT in Orissa as it was a long standing demand of the people of the state," Patnaik said.

He said he had asked Singh to consider setting up an IIT in the coastal state during the 11th Plan period.

The HRD Minister has assured that the demand of the state would be considered while finalising the proposals of his ministry for the current Five Year Plan, he said.
(Chronicle adds: After a public protest in Orissa over past several weeks, then central govt. has agreed for an IIT in Orissa. It is basically re-starting of original proposal by IIT-Kharagpur to open a satellite campus at Bhubaneswar, capital of Orissa. After few years, the campus will be converted into an independent IIT.)

Profile: Passion for social work-An interview with Magsaysay Award winner Dr. Sandeep Pandey (Mechanical 1986)
Arun @ May 23, 2007
Sandeep Pandey (Mechanical 1986) is one of the most illustrated alumni produced by our institute. He founded Asha organization; and he is involved in social services since then. He was presented with the most prestigious Ramon Magsaysay award (considered as equivalent to Asian Nobel Prize) in 2002 in the 'Emergent Leadership Category' for his work 'towards the upliftment of the poor and the underprivileged in India'.

Chronicle takes an opportunity to talk to him. Here is the text of e-mail interview by Yogesh Upadhyaya with Sandeep Pandey:

Q-1 Sandeepji, it is nice to know about the great work done by you for the upliftment of the poor in our country. What made you to leave a promising career and go for social service work?

It was the inspiration of Mahatma Gandhi. After going through his autobiography 'my experiments with truth' completely while as a student at BHU, I took the decision that I would like to live my life in a manner similar to what he did. The aspect about his life which impressed me most was how he de-classed himself and was able to work with and for the common citizens. I’m doing what I’m doing today is because this is what makes me happy. I would not have been satisfied in an engineering career. I don’t look at leaving a middle class career option as a sacrifice. I moved from what was an uncomfortable situation for me to a more stable situation.

Q-2 Please tell us more about Asha organization.

It is a non-hierarchical, volunteer based organization with no office and no staff. Volunteers run this organization. Some of them work full time, most are part time. We raise resources from among the people rather than seek government or institutional funding for our work. Sometimes, villagers contribute in terms of food grains. We are increasingly becoming a people's organization. All decisions are taken in open meetings. Asha was formed with Deepak Gupta, now a faculty member at IIT-K, and V.J.P. Srivastava, a Ph.D. from TIFR, who is no more. The objective was to work for the education of underprivileged children of India initially.

Q-3 In what fields of social work are you actively involved with?

Now, in addition to education we work for communal harmony, RTI (Right To Information), right to food, employment guarantee scheme, right of common people over natural resources, fighting against privatization of our resources and lives, defending human rights, strengthening democracy at the grassroots, building peace and friendship at the people to people level between citizens of India and Pakistan, working towards a visa free and peaceful south Asia, for nuclear disarmament and global peace, etc.

Q-4 March 22nd is celebrated as United Nations’ World Water Day. What actions are needed to preserve the water source of the planet?

As you know, the world is facing a shortage of water - already the shortage has taken crisis proportions in some parts of the world. In India too, various parts face the crisis. And yet, in many parts the government continues to allow powerful interests to pollute water. In Varanasi, for example, Coca Cola is dumping toxic chemicals to pollute rivers and water tables. And the government takes no action. Similarly in Plachimada, in Kerala, water around the plant has become contaminated. These companies are also depleting the water table by excessive withdrawal of water. And now with the water contaminated, water and water supply is being privatized. Companies will be paid to get us clean water. That is ironic since companies polluted our water streams in the first place. These large companies are, in fact, bribing governments to privatize water and get contracts as RTI exposed in Delhi. Water is a public resource - all people around the world share water. We should have the right over water - it cannot be given to corporations. It cannot be made a good over which people can make profit. All privatization of water must end.

Q-5 What are your views on current education system in India? What must be needed to improve it?

The education system is creating more problems than solving. It is creating more selfish, corrupt, communal individuals who loose the sensitivity towards fellow human beings in the process of competition based education. Such individuals cannot form the basis for a just and humane society. We need an education which will instill the right kind of values so that we become more sensitive human beings and should impart us skills so that we may earn our livelihood by being part of the production economy. We must immediately do away with the system of competitive examination. It distorts human personality (there have been 4 suicides at IIT-K in the last 2 years). Quality of life can be ensured only in human relationships based on trust. No amount of material prosperity acquired by engaging in competition can ensure a quality of life, just like no amount of arms can ensure security.

Even in the very narrow definition of skill development, the education system is failing. It only serves to provide skills to a small fraction of the population. For most others, it provides no skills by which people may develop livelihoods and sustain themselves.

Q-6 You are also active in upliftment of Lalpur Village near Lucknow. What steps are being taken by your organization in this regard?

We are working for the empowerment of people at the grassroots. People are organizing themselves under the banner of Asha Parivar to solve their problems. More specifically they are demanding more transparency and accountability from the administrative and political system so that the benefits meant for them through various government schemes reach them. The ashram activities are not just limited to Lalpur village only. Our area of influence covers two blocks of Hardoi district extensively – Bharawan and Sandila. Now we have begun to reach out to 3 more blocks – Kothawan and Bhehender of Hardoi district and Miyaganj of neighbouring Unnao district. In addition two of our volunteers, Keshav Chand and Jaishankar, after being in Lalpur or 2-3 years have begun to develop two more areas of mass base – Deoria + Kushinagar and Chandauli, respectively. A volunteer from Deoria, Mahendra Yadav, would soon be moving to Patna to take charge of the RTI campaign there.

Q-7 A section of press is not happy with you and they find objection with your stand on naxalites, minorities, Indo-Pak disarmament, etc.

Problems like naxalism and terrorism can be eliminated only when there is justice in society. In our society human rights of a number of people are trampled upon which gives rise to anger and violence. I definitely don't support this violence but can understand why some people have to take up arms to defend their dignity. If you want naxalites or terrorists to integrate with the society you'll have to redress their grievances. As a peace activist I’m a staunch supporter of not just nuclear disarmament but all disarmament. Arms don't provide security. Human relationships based on trust do. The best way to eliminate your enemy is to make friends with him. Spreading hatred and animosity like the right wing groups (who abuse religion for their political gains) will not solve any problems. Such groups have done more damage to India than any naxalites or terrorist organization.

Naxalism and terrorism are in fact symptoms and yet the government attempts to address them as if they are the root cause - that is where it fails. In Orissa, for example (or in Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh), thousands of very poor people, mostly tribals, are being displaced from their lands and are losing their livelihoods owing to government policies. They live in a democracy (supposedly) have no voice in the policies of the government. When they present their concerns (and they usually do this non-violently), they are beaten up, fired upon, tortured, booked under false cases. When they are unable to express their concerns in human, democratic ways, and their existence is at threat, what options do they have?

In the north east, numerous groups are non-violently expressing their concerns. You must have heard of Sharmila Irom. Such groups are being beaten up and put in jail. The government only seems to engage with groups that have taken to violence. Our work has a theme - that communities, nations, regions must be based on trust. When it is based on violence, power factions emerge and numerous people are oppressed.

We oppose violence in all forms in all parts of society. Our demand for a nuclear free and peaceful south Asia is based on that. While our government spends 30-50% of our budget on arms, and on nuclear development, we have among the worst social indices in the world. Even sub-Saharan Africa is doing better than India - and we claim to be on the verge of becoming a superpower? Probably more people and children have died of hunger, malnutrition, farmers have committed suicides and citizens of India have been killed in fake encounters by our own security agencies than have been killed by our enemies in wars. The weapons and armies are there only to protect the interest of the ruling class, which is miniscule compared to the masses, who do not feel secure because of the government policies. I would like to make a relevant quote here provided to me by my friend Sanat Mohanty - ’I cannot hope to work towards equality and justice, towards non violence, till I stop dominating other opinions, other voices.’

Q-8 Please tell us about your days at IT-BHU.

I could never generate an interest in the subject. There were very few interesting professors. I can only recall prof. N. K.Das Talukdar who made an effort to make his subject interesting. I developed interest in engineering only at the masters' level at Syracuse University (New York state) because of which I went on to finish a Ph. D. but I did not want to do engineering all my life and hence quit 1.5 years after my Ph. D. BHU was an educational experience in life.

I learned more outside the classrooms than inside. Long hours of sipping tea outside De hotel at Bechu's or at Mochu's (he is still there - I saw him the other day when I had gone to Varanasi) and discussing all subjects under the sun was the most enlightening experience. There were very few good human beings among the professors. I can only remember S.K. Kak, who was my warden. I had contested the election of IT Councillor in my final year. I won but subsequently got disillusioned with politics and escaped to the US to gain some respite only to find that life there was worse than in India; hence decided to return as soon as I finished my Ph. D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1992.

Q-9 What advice will you give to some one who wants to give up his promising career and plunge into the social service work?

Listen to your heart. Do what would make you happy, but as citizens, esp. educated ones, it is our duty to work for a better society. My definition of a better society is one which will be free of all artificial divisions created between human beings in the name of caste, race, religion, nation, gender, class, etc. We have to work for a society in which every human family can live and earn their livelihood with dignity. Actually, the best way to ensure that you're on the right track is to use Gandhi's talisman - find out if what you're doing is going to help the last person of society. If it is, then your decision is right.

Q-10 What is Magsaysay award about?

It is named after a former president of Philippines but entirely funded by Rockefeller and Ford foundations of the US. It has somehow become a prestigious award. I returned the cash component of it because the Magsaysay foundation was not very happy with my decision to protest outside the US embassy and the fact that I had called the US state as terrorist in the official press conference of the Magsaysay foundation.

A day after the award ceremony in an unrelated event, some activists had decided to protest against the impending US attack on Iraq. I participated in this protest. Next day, a newspaper challenged me to return the $50,000 if ‘I was the principled man that I wanted them to believe.’ I returned it. I did not return the award because Magsaysay is like Nehru of Philippines. It would have hurt the sentiments of ordinary citizens there. Besides, the award has earlier gone to some people whom I consider my ideals - Vinoba Bhave, Jaiprakash Narayan, and Baba Amte. It would have meant disrespect to them too. But I have told the Magsaysay foundation that if they ever feel too embarrassed because of my activities they can tell me and I’ll return their award too.

Sandeepji, it was nice talking to you. Thank you very much for taking the time to respond to our questions.

(Mr. Sanat Mohanty helped Sandeepji to prepare the interview draft.)

Chronicle adds: All views expressed, including political, are the personal views of Dr Sandeep Pandey. It is Chronicle’s policy not to take sides.

For further reading:

  1. Asha for education
  2. Rediff. interview with Sandeep Pandey
  3. Home page of Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation
  4. The Southasian,org-magazine
  5. Profile of Sandeep Pandey on the
  6. Lucknow lessons in university reform-a column by Sandeep Pandey
  7. Sharmila Irom, a Living Icon of Liberty Famished Indians
  8. Delhi police arrest Irom Sharmila
  9. Wikipedia about Sandeep Pandey

Students Corner: Selection of Institute and subject by students
Arun @ May 23, 2007

An article in Telegraph India about selection of institute and subject by students

Tough choice: institute or subject?

students.jpg Picking a reputed institute is more important, if you’ve cracked the engineering entrance exam. Tessy Koshy explains why at a time when scores of students are busy preparing for engineering entrance exams, the quintessential dilemma they face is what’s more important –– the field of study or the reputation of the institute. How do they decide between textile engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and computer engineering at a state-level engineering college? Or, for that matter, between mechanical engineering and electrical engineering at IIT.

Ideally, the decision should depend on the student’s aptitude and interest but in reality, it is usually determined by peer pressure and market forces. “Unfortunately, in most cases, the choice of a subject stream is determined by the student’s rank in the entrance exam,” points out R.K. Thareja, dean, academic affairs, IIT Kanpur.

According to industry experts, the reputation of the institute should be the primary determinant. “Students should pick a good institute over a subject specialisation. So if you are getting admission in metallurgy engineering at one of the IITs and computer engineering at a state- level college, I would advise you to opt for one of the IITs,” says Praveen Tyagi, director, Quest Tutorials, a Delhi-based coaching institute. Tyagi himself is an alumnus of IIT, Roorkee.

But if you have the option of choosing between two subject streams at an IIT then it is advisable to pick the subject that interests you. The reason is evident. For each engineering aspirant, the final goal is a well-paying career at the end of those four years. And unlike a lesser known college, a reputed institute would guarantee good placements. “We always advise students to go by their aptitude and interest, but the reality is that your first job is crucial to jump-start your career,” says Praveen Sheikh, head psychologist at Young Buzz India Ltd, Mumbai.

At a reputed institute, the placement season sees top companies making a beeline to recruit students. In such cases, it does not matter if you are a student of computer engineering or textile engineering as students get a fair chance to prove themselves.

In fact, employers are flexible about specialisation areas if the candidate is from a good institute. Besides rewarding placement opportunities, a good institute also offers its students exposure to research activities and practical projects, along with the benefits of a well-versed faculty. Students can also take up projects in other subjects or do minor courses in related fields. This would help them gain an understanding of various subjects. Also, with a good score in the first year, the student gets a chance to change streams.

But if you don’t manage to get into a well-known institute, keep an eye on some crucial parameters before choosing a college. Says Dipan Ghosh, professor of physics at IIT, Mumbai, “You should take into consideration the location of the institute, its placement record and faculty profile. Also, speak with the alumni.” It makes sense to opt for a sought-after subject stream.

Unfortunately, most students decide on subject specialisations under societal pressure and are often ill-informed. For instance, students think that they need biology to study biotech engineering, or that aerospace engineering may lead to a life in space or that chemical engineering involves the study of chemistry. “The truth is that you don’t really need prior knowledge of biology to study biotech engineering. There is no study of inorganic chemistry in chemical engineering and aerospace engineering is the study of aerodynamics and aerospace structures and does not guarantee a career as an astronaut,” says Tyagi.

On the specialisation front, the current sought-after streams are computer engineering, electrical and electronic engineering. Mechanical and chemical engineering remain evergreen options. “The most popular option today is software engineering and electronic engineering as it is easier to get a job in these sectors. The best companies with the lucrative packages continue to chase students from these streams,” says Tanmaya Mathur, fourth year student of chemical engineering at IIT, Roorkee. At Roorkee this year, Microsoft offered a package of Rs 11.32 lakh to 12 students while Shell Technologies offered a salary package of Rs 12.6 lakh to 26 students.

In fact, so lucrative is the software industry that students from other subject streams also eventually land jobs in software companies. “Even students from mechanical, automation, electrical and telecommunications engineering end up working at software companies. The difference in salary is huge. While other companies offer annual salary packages of Rs 3-4 lakh, IT companies offer about Rs 12 lakh,” says R.P. Singh, director, Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology in Delhi.

Now that you are well-informed and equipped to make a choice, weigh your options and go for what suits you best.

Students Corner: Supreme Court banns ragging in colleges
Arun @ May 23, 2007

An article in Telegraph India about Supreme Court banning ragging on campus

Spare ragging rod, spoil flow of cash

May 16: Colleges can no longer wash their hands of ragging — the campus rite of passage that has lost its innocence — and among the first beneficiaries could be a student in Bengal.

The Supreme Court today made it incumbent upon educational institutions to file a first information report with police if an incident of harassment is brought to their notice.

Other than imposing “personal liability” on institute heads, the court asked the government to consider withdrawing aid to those failing to check ragging.
Under normal circumstances, lodging an FIR is the responsibility of the victims or their representatives, such as parents.

Many institutes, wary of either a backlash from other students or a possible blot on their reputation, choose to sweep complaints of ragging under the carpet.
But the court today said the onus lies on the institutes to activate the process of law if the parents are not satisfied with the action taken internally.

Bengal could become the first state where the order will be put to test. Relatives of Sarojit Biswas, a polytechnic student who fled his institute in Birbhum because of ragging, said they would visit the college tomorrow to file a complaint against the six students who harassed him.

The college has been saying that an FIR would be lodged only if an internal probe panel found the suspects guilty. However, after today’s court ruling that kicks in immediately, the institute will have to file an FIR if the relatives insist.
The institutes’ FIR will be in addition to the disciplinary and other deterrent actions taken by the educational institutions and previous reports lodged by them.

Heads of institutions or wardens would not be absolved of their liabilities even if the victim or parents had already filed an FIR, the court clarified.

“Any failure or delay in lodging an FIR will be construed as culpable negligence on the part of institutional authorities,’’ a bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat said.

The directives were based on the recommendations of a government-appointed committee headed by former CBI chief R.K. Raghavan.

Calling for exemplary punishment, the court said institutes should expel a guilty student while other schools should refuse admission to prevent recurrence. In the case of criminal complaints, courts should deal with the matter on a priority basis.

However, ragging does not figure on the list of offences under the Indian Penal Code. Each incident of ragging is treated as a specific form of violence such as attempt to murder, grievous hurt, hurt, outraging modesty and other sexual offences.

The Raghavan committee had recommended amendments to the governing laws and suggested making ragging a separate offence.

Another proposal is to ensure that the burden of proof lies on the perpetrator. Normally, an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty by the complainant.

Another important article about Supreme Court order for banning ragging in colleges:

Treat ragging as crime: Panel
17 May, 2007 l 0211 hrs IST l TIMES NEWS NETWORK

NEW DELHI: Former CBI director R K Raghavan, who headed the anti-ragging committee, gave as many as 50 recommendations to the Supreme Court on ways and means to deal with the menace in educational institutions.

"It is time for tough measures," the committee said, convinced that softer options of reprimand and expulsions have failed to yield results.

Refusing to make a distinction between criminals and those indulging in ragging, the committee said, "Times have changed since SC's caution of not treating those indulging in ragging as criminals and advising restraint in the use of police force."

The court on Wednesday passed several directions taking into account some of its recommendations. The other important recommendations are:

Burden of proof must lie on the perpetrator and not on the victim to prove that ragging did not take place (making it akin to rape case where the onus is on the accused to prove that he did not commit the crime). Comprehensive definition of 'ragging' and a new section on this should be introduced in IPC on the lines of the anti-dowry provision.

Concept of collective fine needs to be implemented vigorously to penalise those who did not speak against the crime. UGC should be made responsible for coordinating and monitoring the anti-ragging movement across the country.

UGC should fund a toll-free helpline for students in distress due to ragging. The committee recommends ban on ragging scenes in films to be enforced by the Censor Board.

No ban on mobile phones in campus, except in classrooms, as these could be an important tool to make distress calls by a victim. Corporal punishment be banned in schools as this legitimises ideas of power abuse, harassment, violation of dignity and privacy in students and prepares them for ragging others at higher levels of education.

School leaving certificates should mention if the student showed any aggressive behaviour or desire to harm others.
Each state should create a pool of professional counsellors who would visit schools to prepare students to respect human rights.

Events like 'freshers day celebrations' should be concluded within the first two weeks of the beginning of academic session. Police to keep a watch on private student hostels to prevent ragging.

Students Corner: A write-up about college leaving experience by Ravish Mishra [EEE 04]
Arun @ May 23, 2007

In his Utkarsha blog, Ravish Mishra (Electrical 2004) has published a nice write-up about his college leaving experience. The write-up is inter-mixed with poetries.
A portion of the write-up including poetry, is published here.


Those were the best days of my life….

Everybody wanted to stay for some more time but one by one people were moving out. The hostel rooms which were always filled with vigor and enthusiasm were all empty. Nobody was playing cricket in the hostel lobby, music was not being played in any of the rooms. I was one of the boys who left the hostel when approximately 90% of the people had already left after the completion of the final year. I was sitting in the lobby, watching the sun set and remembering the good old days.

“Raah dekhi thi is din ki kabse
aage ke sapne saja rakhe the na jane kab se
bade utavle the yahaan se jaane ko
zindagi ka agla padaav paane ko
par naa jane kyon, dil mein aaj kuch aur aata hai
waqt ko rokne ka jee chahta hai”

Yes, I really wanted the time to stop so that I could live there for some more days. We used to crib for everything we had. The teachers, the labs, the library, the facilities, everything was bad. But now when I think the opportunities the college gave me it makes me feel proud. How fortunate I am to be a student of this college.

Students Corner: Boys v/s Girls - India’s school girls: Our unlamented children
Arun @ May 23, 2007

The article in Merinews ( discusses the reasons behind low percentage of girls in higher education, despite having successes in High School Board exams. A lot has been discussed about this topic in news media and blogs, but no one has been able to analyse in such fineness as the author Shantanu Dutta.

The full article:

India’s school girls: Our unlamented children

Shantanu Dutta
20 May 2007, Sunday
The ISC/ICSE examination results once again show that girls have done better than boys. Despite battling limitations on innumerable fronts, how girls manage to excel in the board examinations year after year remains a mystery.

THE ISC/ICSE examination results have been just announced and the results show that girls have done much better than the boys. In a month or so, the CBSE results will be declared and the likelihood is that the same trends will be observed there too. At least, such has been the case for the last many years that I have been tracking them.

This is an interesting social phenomenon for every one in India knows that boys are in general the privileged class and gender. Girls are unlikely to be getting special opportunities in terms of coaching, tuitions and personalized attention at the cost of their male siblings. On the contrary, in most homes, grown up girls of the age that appear in class X and XII examinations are typically expected to help out with domestic chores in the home and studies are something they would need to make time for after fulfilling these duties.

Data from several studies show that 7 out of 10 Indian women are anemic; their priority in the household budget for food, clothing, health care and practically everything is rock bottom. Besides this, the generally unsafe social environment in our towns and villages also ensure that girls have far less mobility – be it to attend school, attend tuitions or simply study together with friends. In spite of battling limitations on innumerable fronts, how girls can mange to do better in these board examinations year after year is a mystery to me. Is it that girls are more aware of the privilege and opportunity for an education that has come their way and make the best of it?

In contrast, boys are a favored lot. Their examinations, the progress they make and their preparation for it are tracked at home by parents as meticulously as the BSE Sensex. Their food, sleep, play and recreation all get monitored and regulated. Tutors – one or many as the need may be are appointed. No money is spared for boys to enroll in coaching classes for IIT or medicine or whatever. Boys have a lot more opportunity to study, as they are not usually expected to help out in household work and they are not house bound the way the girls are often forced to be which means that they have a lot more flexibility with what they do with their time.

Though girls are consistently doing better academically, society has not taken much note of it. The prospects available to them to match their academic feats are not proportionate. Decades ago, girls were educated only to increase their worth in the marriage market. We may have moved on from there today as a country but not too many doors have opened and we have still not arrived anywhere yet in utilizing for the nation’s good, all these bright girls that the examination system is telling us exist. This is indeed a pity. Every one knows the situation in which most girls pursue their education in India, without frills and trappings. If in spite of all this, the results are so tilted in favour of the girls, then by not providing those with the right environment for them to nurture their gifts; we as a nation are losing out.

On the contrary, we are taking retrogressive steps. For instance, look at the Karnataka government’s decision to ban night shifts for women (since withdrawn under pressure). In a really perverse act, instead of trying to clean up the security situation in the state, they say that that women should be back home by so and so time, much like a college hostel warden. Or the recent report published in the CNN-IBN web site, which says that the Army after an internal study has suggested to the Defense Ministry that the policy to offer short service commissions or extended short service commissions to women should be revisited as women do not fit into the overall masculine culture of the army and that their role should remain restricted to those of doctors and nurses. Clearly the picture on the wall is clear. India might produce a Kalpana Chawla or a Indira Nooyi here and there once in a while but for the rest of the time, India’s bright girls will remain mere statistic in the CBSE filing cabinets and computers. And that is a pity and a gross injustice.

Students Corner: Leonardo Fibonacci, Italian Mathematician (1175 to 1250 A.D.)
Arun @ May 23, 2007
leonardo.jpg Fibonacci was probably the greatest genius of number theory during the past 2000 years.

Fibonacci, also known as Leonardo of Pisa, was born in Pisa, Italy, home of the famous leaning tower (inclined at an angle of 16.5 degrees to the vertical).

He was a great mathematician, philosopher, botanist and astronomer. He had love for mathematics developed by India. He introduced the concept of zero and Indian algebra to the western world. We will discuss some of his accomplishments here.

  1. Fibonacci series

    The sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, ...,

    defined by F(1) = 1, F(2) = 1, and F(n) = F(n-1) + F(n-2) for n = 3, 4, 5, ...

    is named the Fibonacci sequence.

    (Sunflower head displaying florets in spirals of 34 and 55 around the outside)

    While counting the number of petals growing in a flower, he found a peculiar pattern. He noticed that initially, a flower has 1 petal, then 2, 3, 5, 8, etc. Thus he found that flower adds the last two numbers of petals to make a new set of petals (e.g. 13 = 5 + 8). This is because, a plant being a primitive living organism, can do only addition/subtraction, but not multiplication/division.

    Fibonacci used his series to solve other mathematical problems, such as number of rabbit pairs produced by a pair of rabbits.rabbit.jpg
  2. Golden ratio defined

    After closely studying his series, Fibonacci observed that dividing each number in the series by the one which precedes it produces a ratio which stabilizes around 1.618034.

    golden.jpgFor example: 2/1 = 2; 3/2 = 1.5; 5/3 =1.666; 8/5 = 1.6; 13/8 = 1.625; 987/610 = 1.618034
    He observed that any structure made with this ratio will be most pleasant to the human eye. Hence most famous buildings and structure are made keeping this golden ratio in mind. The length of width to height of a building or picture is called aspect ratio.facade.jpg
    (The Parthenon's facade showing an interpretation of golden rectangles in its proportions.)
    (Raj Kumar and Sadhna in 1965 Hindi movie “Waqt”)
    For TV, the aspect ratio is 4:3 (same as that of movies during 1950’s) and for HDTV it is 16:9. Most of the movies today have an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 to 1.85:1, and for wide-screen movies up to 2.40:1.
  3. Astronomy

    Fibonacci was convinced that God does not gamble and the golden ratio has special significance in astronomy also. He calculated ratio of distance of consecutive planets from sun and found that the ratio was close to the golden ratio.jupiter.jpg
    table.jpgRelative planetary distances average to Phi (golden ratio) The average of the mean orbital distances of each successive planet in relation to the one before it approximates phi.

For further reading:

  1. About Fibonacci
  2. From University of New England
  3. About Fibonacci number
  4. Puzzles by Fibonacci-an interesting collection of mathematical puzzles
  5. About Aspect ratio (image)
  6. The life and numbers of Fibonacci
  7. Fibonacci series in nature

Chronicle Extra: Who will man the additional IITs?
Arun @ May 23, 2007

The article “Who will man the additional IITs?” was published in Times of India. The excellent article was written by Prof. M. A. Pai, ex-professor of IIT-Kanpur, and currently professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept. of University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. His bio-data is provided at the end.

The author discusses several issues facing the engineering education in India and offers some suggestions. They include, increasing the number of engineering doctorates produced in our country, upgrading several reputed colleges such as our college (IT-BHU) to the level of IITs, increasing the enrollment of undergraduate students, etc.

Who will man the additional IITs?
4 May, 2007 l 1530 hrs IST l M A Pai

In recent months at least two new institutes named as Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) modelled after IISc have been inaugurated. This is justifiable since science education and research badly needs a good boost as the country produces enough PhDs in sciences to staff these new institutions.

In addition, an equally important decision has been taken in recent years, namely to open three more IITs with plans to create 20 more in the next 5-year plan. With regards to this decision, however, several questions need to be raised. Specifically, do we have enough trained and qualified manpower to staff these new IITs as well as the requisite infrastructure in new facilities and services?

In a resource-constrained country like ours, we need to optimise our resources and be effective especially in technical education, an issue addressed in this article.

It is well known from the U R Rao committee report, which unfortunately is still not widely known to the public, that there is a tremendous shortage of PhD’s in engineering to man the existing engineering institutions.

There are more than 1,000 of them in both the public and the private sector. All the seven IITs have PhDs in their faculty in the ranks of Asst Professor and above. The extension of the retirement age in IITs seems to have come at the right time to relieve the teaching load crunch.

Starting a new IIT, from acquiring land to having a full fledged teaching and research institution, however, takes anywhere from 4-6 years. Additionally, recruiting faculty with PhDs in adequate numbers will be a challenging problem in itself. The production of PhDs in engineering in the country is about 900 per year in all disciplines with perhaps the lowest in Computer Science, a scant 50.

With these constraints and challenges in mind, herein is proposed a dual strategy that is called for to deal with the problem of IIT expansion.

The first priority should be for the existing IITs to step up the production of PhD’s in same way as China does. The present student to faculty ratio of about 10 in IITs is very small, and even if we account for about for 20% of Math, Physics, Chemistry and Humanities faculty for the service courses in engineering, the figure is still about 13, which is well below the 20+ figure in a public university in the US.

There is a case for pruning unnecessary courses to optimize faculty time, including the use of internet to be used effectively to communicate with students about problem assignments, solutions, etc. The practice of having tutorials, if it still exists should be done away with. The released time here can be devoted to research and the training of more post-graduate students with proper accountability. There are numerous ways of increasing post graduate enrolment.

In terms of addressing the lack of residential facilities to accommodate an increase in numbers, students must be asked to share rooms up to the level of PhD. The released space can be used to admit more students. The author has always felt from IITK days that space utilization i.e., classrooms, labs, etc., has been consistently very poor.

Since coursewise promotion is the norm more students can be admitted with multiple class sections and also students can be admitted even at the UG level in both semesters. This assures us that classes are run in the morning as well as in the afternoons till 4 PM, which is the norm in all US public universities. Without mentioning any institutions by name one can walk through buildings in the afternoons and find the classrooms empty!

Secondly, elevate selected institutions, such as BHU, Indian School of Mines (both of which admit students via JEE), VJTI, Jadavpur University, Anna University (Guindy campus), etc., and a few NITs to IIT status, along with a reform in their curricula just as University of Roorkee was upgraded with no committee work.

Many of these schools have earned a right to be in the same league as the IITs by sheer quality of their undergraduates. It appears some of them wish to retain their regional identity to serve needs of the state in which case others can be given the IIT status. At least 50% of the faculty must have a PhD and all future faculty members must have PhDs.

As has been argued earlier, this upgrade increases the admission base to IITs by perhaps four to five folds, something that will automatically solve the perennial quota problem by widening the pool of qualified applicants. At the end of the day, one must recognize that that engineering disciplines require hard work in math, chemistry and physics-oriented disciplines, and merit should be the only consideration.

Another aspect to consider is the constitutionally mandated SC/ST student quota that needs to be addressed separately. Over the years, there has been much hype about the IIT brand just as there is hype in this country about the Ivy League schools. The biggest benefit of such brand name schools is networking, and it has worked through the alumni system of investing money in their schools, etc. In a country of over a billion people, there are many things to be done beyond networking such as having more quality schools. Good students and an equally good track record in research is what counts. The tremendous success of ISRO as well as AEC with perhaps a marginal involvement of IITs and no Mandal effect has shown the country how pockets of excellence can be created.

Before we draw grandiose plans in a resource-scarce country like India, let us think of simple solutions at hand first. Money is needed for education at primary level in a big way. Much as we wish, the private sector is not going to enter into the education business on a large scale and perhaps for the right reasons.

(The author is Professor Emeritus of electrical and computer engineering at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign and was on the Faculty of IIT Kanpur 1963-81.)

Chronicle provides following information about the author:

prof pai.jpgMangalore A. Pai
Professor Emeritus
345 Foellinger Auditorium
709 S. Mathews
Urbana, Illinois 61801
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

PhD - Electrical Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, 1961

    Research Interests:
  • Power System Stability Dynamic Security of Power Systems Model Reduction in Power Systems Iterative Solver Techniques in Power System Computations Voltage Stability Robust Stability
  • Power System computation
  • Impact of Distributed Generation in Power systems
    Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements:
  • Associate, Center for Advanced Study, University of Illinois, Spring 1993
  • Fellow, Nation Academy of Engineering (India) 1991
  • Fellow, IEEE - 1986 Life Fellow 1996
  • Fellow, Indian National Science Academy 1979
  • Fellow, Institution of Engineers (India) 1977
  • Bhatnagar Award for Engineering Research in 1974 in India (Highest award by Government of India)
    Honors, Recognition, and Outstanding Achievements for Research:

  • S. S. Bhatnagar award in 1974 in India for engineering research (Highest award by Govt. of India)

Chronicle Extra: An article from the Harvard Crimson - Access for all
Arun @ May 23, 2007

There is an excellent article in the student’s magazine “Harvard Crimson” published by Harvard University students. This magazine is published daily since 1873 and it has produced many Pulitzer Prize winning writers.

The article is also important for doctorate students in our country, who have to pay high price for access to international scientific journals. The authors point out that at the same time, journals get articles free of charge from college professors and doctorate students.

harvard banner.jpg

Access For All

Published On Friday, April 27, 2007 12:19 AM

Our professors do the research. They write the papers and proofread them. They even do the peer review. Then they sign the copyright over to publishers, who don’t pay them a dime—they’re paid by grants and salary, our taxes, and tuition.

Harvard then pays again for the journals—many of them over $10,000 each—and most of us feel personally the bite each term when we buy our sourcebooks. Many of these cost upwards of $100 not because they’re on paper rather than online (printing costs pennies a page), but because of the fees charged by publishers like Elsevier (1,387 journals ranging across academia) and Wiley (348 journals), some higher than $1 per page.

That’s three ways we pay for the same research, writing, proofreading, and peer review. Even Harvard has found the cost too high, and has cut down on its subscriptions.

This same issue of access to scholarship hits even harder on people outside of our well-funded elite universities. Most universities cannot begin to afford the journal prices for which even Harvard strains to pay. Individuals seeking to navigate with their loved ones the bewildering complexity of treatments for serious disease are shut out from the sources their doctors read, and those looking to learn about public-policy issues like global warming are denied access to critical research. Most urgently, for researchers and policymakers in the developing world, access to knowledge can mean life or death for millions suffering from AIDS and other diseases.

Change is slow, however, because this situation perpetuates itself. Young researchers shooting for tenure must publish their best work in the most prestigious journals, and a journal’s prestige depends in turn on the research it publishes. The resulting chicken-and-egg problem for any new journal creates a powerful barrier to entry that enables publishers of established journals like Theoretical Computer Science or Gene to charge oligopoly prices out of all proportion to the work they actually perform.

If this situation sounds ridiculous to you, you’re not alone. Leading academics in fields as diverse as biology, computer science, and law have spoken out and taken action for “open access” which includes novel publishing models that do not set up barriers to access, models where neither Wiley nor Elsevier nor even the American Chemical Society restricts the dissemination of academic research.

In 2003, Donald Knuth, a laureate of computer science’s highest honor, the Turing Award, wrote a long letter to his colleagues on the editorial board of Elsevier’s Journal of Algorithms in protest of climbing prices and restrictions on access. After consultation, they followed a dozen other journals’ editors before them by resigning en masse and forming a new open-access journal with a friendlier publisher. Similarly, the Open Access Law Program has 34 law journals (and counting), pledged to making the legal scholarship they publish freely available.

Other researchers, in fields from philosophy to biology, have gone further still, setting up new peer-reviewed journals founded on open access. Among these are top journals in some fields, including the Journal of Machine Learning Research founded at MIT and flagship journals PLoS Biology and PLoS Medicine of the Public Library of Science led by Nobel laureate and former National Institute of Health director Harold Varmus. A handful (like the PLoS journals) are funded from their authors’ research grants; the rest operate on minimal university or foundation subsidies or even on no budget at all—after all, at any journal the real work is done by unpaid authors, editors, and reviewers.

Many physicists and mathematicians now go furthest of all, resolving the access question on their own: Even before submitting to a journal, they make all of their work freely available at the repository, providing inestimable benefits to the rapid communication of one result and advancement to the next. Similarly, computer scientists almost universally put their papers on their personal, school-based websites. Peer review is as important as ever—nobody gets credit for work that doesn’t pass that scrutiny—but as these scientists have discovered, it doesn’t have to get in the way of open access.

Students can make several big contributions to this movement. Members of Congress need to hear from their constituents in support of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA), a bipartisan bill to make taxpayer-funded published research—most scientific work in the U.S.—freely available. Students can explain to their professors why they should publish in open access journals when available, and better yet why the University should establish a freely-available repository for all Harvard researchers’ work. Best of all, seniors can set an example now by making their theses available to the world at Each of us can show politicians, faculty members, and present and future colleagues that we value open access to academic research. It’s up to us to say it: Knowledge is for everyone.

Gregory N. Price ’06-’07 is a mathematics concentrator in Mather House. Elizabeth M. Stark is a third-year at Harvard Law School. The authors are the founding members of Harvard College Free Culture.

Chronicle Extra: Researching the Past - Editorial written by Prof. P. Balaram
Arun @ May 23, 2007

prof balram.JPG
Prof. P. Balaram
There is the editorial written by Prof. P. Balaram in Current Science magazine. The magazine is jointly published by Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and Indian Academy of Sciences. Prof. P. Balaram is the Director of IISc.

The author states that it is good practice to keep reference of any magazine (such as documents, info about the authors, copies of earlier editions, photos, etc.) so that it can be used at a later date. He describes the problems faced by him when he wanted to know more information about the early years (in early 1930’s) of Current Science magazine.

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Current Issue
Vol. 92 No. 6
25 March 2007

(Excerpts from the editorial)

Why have I begun this column with Dalrymple and his book,
surely a topic as far removed as can be from the concerns of
readers of this journal? The answer lies in the nature of the two
tasks that I have been confronted with in recent months; tasks
that would be well accomplished if I had the benefit of a carefully
catalogued written record. The first is the job of writing
about the early years of this journal, which is now in its 75th year
of publication. The second is the formidable job of building a
permanent archive at the Indian Institute of Science, which is
rapidly approaching its Centenary Year. In both tasks I have
been astounded by the absence of catalogued records in the organizations
themselves; a clear sign that an historical record is
not a matter of grave importance.

The careful maintenance of a written record and the building
up of archives and repositories of documents is, undoubtedly, a
Western practice. Oral history is more popular in India, with
every story embellished in the retelling. Organizations which
retain every file in dusty and disorganized disarray, usually discard
them by the truckload in periodic cleaning operations.
There is no resident archivist, who sifts through the piles of paper
looking for the bits that may help a future chronicler to
piece together an authentic and interesting story. I felt the absence
of a written record, files of correspondence and photographs,
most acutely when confronted with the self-imposed
task of writing on the early years of Current Science. It seemed
appropriate to mark the anniversary by tracing the roots of the
journal and discovering the personal stories of its founders. To
the hard-nosed reader of a scientific journal, pragmatic and focused,
history will undoubtedly be of little more than passing
interest. But, as the journal’s present custodian, it did seem important
to look back at the extraordinary achievements of my
predecessors, especially those who midwifed Current Science
into existence.

Starting the journal must have been a formidable task; sustaining
it in the early years even more demanding. The need for
a journal, interdisciplinary in content and modelled on the great
scientific periodicals of the time, Nature, Science and Die
Naturwissenschaften would have been easy to articulate. Indeed,
the available record shows that an Indian Science journal was
conceived in discussions at the Science Congress and its birth
hastened by the positive responses received to a questionnaire,
circulated in 1931 by Martin Forster, then Director of the Indian
Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. I would have loved to see
this questionnaire and read some of the responses, for it is
really these little bits of correspondence that provide a true
glimpse of the times. Unfortunately, no records are traceable.
The daunting task of producing, delivering and nurturing the
journal was left to a very small band of intrepid editors operating
out of Central College and IISc in Bangalore. Seventy five
years later I can only imagine the difficulties they would have

Photo Gallery
Arun @ May 21, 2007

(Chronicle is pleased to announce a new section called ‘Photo Gallery”. We shall publish photos and videos taken by our faculty/students/alumni/others for IT-BHU/BHU or Varanasi. The readers may also submit photos taken for other visiting places/tourist destinations, important campus events, alumni meets, etc.

Please submit your material, along with title/description to chronicle[AT] )

In this issue we are publishing some photos taken by Sai Santosh (Chemical 2008) for BHU campus and Varanasi. One remarkable photo is about “ MalaviyaJi looking at his creation.”

Malviyaji looking at his creation MalviyaJi_Looking_at_hisCreation.jpg VT Out of nowhere VT_OutOfNoWhere.jpg
G14 Road G14Road.jpg G14 at night G14 at night.jpg
Morning Morning.jpg Boat Boat.jpg
An afternoon at hostel An_Afternoon_AtHostel.jpg Holi Hai Holi_students.jpg
VT Vertical VT_vertical.jpg Pooliya k neeche PooliyaKeNiche.jpg

Photos submitted by:

Sai Santosh B V (Chemical 2008)
Email: sai.santosh.che08[AT]

Readers Feedback
Arun @ May 21, 2007

Pavan Raina (Chemical 1976) seeking 1976 batch-mates:

I was surfing the net and visiting BHU org site gave me new Oxygen to breath.

I have been BHUIT student, passed out in the year 1976 in Chemical engineering. I am not in contact with any of my class mates and was trying to locate some but could not find.
Gopal Tripathi / C B Prakash were the heads of my department of Chemical Technology in my time. K. L Shrimali was VC.

I don’t remember the names of professors unfortunately but do remember Chemistry professor. He was a gem of a human being. People don’t know how they transmit the knowledge to the world. Teaching the subject is only the part but the value comes by the method and the human dealing which can not be found in the books and a in debt for the professors who have been responsible in generating the awareness on human values.

I am working in private company which deals with turnkey project on water and waste water treatment internationally. I am heading R & D department in this company by the name of Aquatech Systems (Asia) Pvt. Ltd, situated in Pune.

To my credit on the work front (Not describing other companies that I went through):

  1. In my previous company I was the pioneer in introducing electro-dialysis membrane technology for water purification in India.
  2. In the present one we are working on membrane based water purification products. I have 2 US patent in record on this technology till now.
  3. Off the official work I am a philosopher in mind and have got one book published by the title "The Evolving Human and the Future World" published by MD Publication N Delhi. The book can be seen in their web site

I would be grateful to hear about some of my colleague of 1976 chemical engineering batch if available.

Pavan Raina, Chemical 1976
E-mail: pavan_raina[AT]

Chronicle adds:

Dear Readers, if you are from 1976 batch or if you know some one from that batch, please contact Pavan Raina at the above email address.

The chemistry professor he is talking about in chemical engineering dept. was Prof. B. N. Trivedi, who expired many years ago.

The book published by Pavan Raina is listed on publisher’s website as follows:
8175330961 The Evolving Human And The Future World Pawan Raina 2006 History & Culture)

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