Published on December 30, 2007
The Chronicle December, 2007 issue.
Vol.2007 : Issue 0012
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This issue includes many important articles and special reports.
The highlight of this issue is the interview with Prof. Pankaj Chandra (Mining 1983) who has been appointed as Director of IIM Bangalore; and Sathyu Sarangi (M. Tech. Metallurgy 1980) who has devoted his life to serve the poor victims of Bhopal gas tragedy.
The issue contains special reports about Crusade India movement by K. C. Agrawal (Electrical 1973); and about Metallo seminar organized at IIT-Kanpur.
We need more news. Please send us news, events, articles, information, etc, at: chronicle [AT] itbhuglobal.org. Please indicate your branch/year and college (if other than IT-BHU).
For specific information, contact Yogesh Upadhyaya at: Yogesh@optonline.net
Or Anshuman Singh at: Anshuman@gmail.com
The Chronicle Team
The Chronicle Team wishes our readers a very Happy and Prosperous New Year. We appreciate your cooperation in publishing the magazine and hope to serve you for a long time to come.
Tribute by Kapil Hari Dwivedi (Chemical 2007):
It is very sad news for all of us (especially for Chemical alumni) that Dr. Surendra Kumar (known as SK with love among his students) is no more. He passed away on the morning of 31st December 2007. He was undergoing treatment for Blood Cancer.
He joined the department in 1976 and had specialization in Air Pollution Control (Environmental Engineering). He was one of the most students-friendly teachers of the department. He always supported students, and played a major role for many years as Training & Placement in-charge of Chemical engineering department in arranging summer internships/trainings.
He used to take the distillation part of Mass Transfer course beside Pollution Control and some other courses. For more than a decade he was teaching the distillation part, and people have relied a lot upon his section to get through. His style of teaching was very unique and he used to present very complex concepts in a very lucid manner. His approach in laboratories was also very good, and based upon concepts.
He has shown a great affection to all of us. He accompanied and guided us during our industrial tour, and we shared a lot of very good and light moments with him. His classes used to be filled with concept and a lot of light moments. Also at the end of our studies, the portion of chemical engineering that each one of my batch still remembers is the one he taught.
He was the first department faculty member with whom I interacted. It was the first day of first year, when due to ragging I went to seek an advice. Since his room was just after the stairs on 1st floor (and he was the only one left in the dept.) I asked him for his advice. He only said one thing, "Man, just go ahead. Keep your cool. You should not be disturbed with such small things. What matters is the bigger goal." And I am following his advice till now.
He was not well at the time of our farewell photo session. But we never thought that he will leave us so soon. We are and we will remain grateful to him throughout our lives.
He was a very humble person, a very knowledgeable and very helpful. He always remained down-to-earth and simple. He is survived by his wife, a daughter and a son.
Let us all pray God to give rest to his soul and support to his family.
Kapil Hari Dwivedi (Chemical 2007)
India to take leadership role in pharma development
(Chronicle note: Professor Krishna Kumar Srivastava is an IT-BHU alumnus (B Pharm 1972/M. Pharm 1974). He obtained the degree of Ph. D. in Pharmaceutics, Biopharmaceutics and Pharmacokinetics from Otago University, Dunedin, New Zealand.
He is working as Professor in the dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences at School of Pharmacy, Howard University, Washington DC, USA. )
|Indian Pharmaceutical Congress (IPC), one of India's biggest pharma events moves to Varanasi this year. Dr Krishna Kumar, Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC), IPC, reveals more to Sachin Jagdale|
The 59th IPC is being celebrated in conjunction with the 75th anniversary celebration of pharmacy education of India. Pharmacy education started at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) 75 years ago. This year the Indian Pharmaceutical Congress is being celebrated under the leadership of Association of Pharmacy Teachers of India (APTI) who have generously decided to celebrate this event at Varanasi, the birth place of APTI.
What is the profile of speakers invited/expected at the conference and the target audience? What has been the response so far, compared to last year?
We have been able to attract speakers from all aspects of pharmacy, pharmaceutical industry, academia and professional practice, pharmacy graduates, research scientists, and healthcare professionals, from all over the world. The meeting will attract leaders from India, US, Europe, Asia and as far as New Zealand who will present their work in form of symposia, plenary lectures, invited guest lectures, podium and poster presentations.
We have received over 2,000 peer reviewed abstracts that will be presented in a new format. The meeting is being held on the grounds of BHU, a premium institution of learning that was started by none other than Pundit Madan Mohan Malviya. His vision was so futuristic that even today few campuses can compare with the planning and outlay at BHU.
The university is led by Honourable Vice Chancellor, Professor Punjab Singh, who has taken a keen personal interest in the organisation of this event, including travelling abroad to encourage alumni to actively participate in this event. The participants are in for a treat and we hope that every one will have a wonderful time. The event will have inaugural session, award banquets, alumni meetings, exposition, sponsored seminars, wonderful entertainment, including a night with the gazal maestro Jagjit Singh and many more events to suit every palate.
Some notable speakers include top scientists, Presidents and CEOs of Indian pharma, CEOs and leaders from United States Pharmacopeia, Pfizer Global Research, American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists, European experts, to name a few, who will present cutting edge research.
Some of the topics covered are drug discovery, preclinical and clinical research, formulation and drug delivery, alternative medicine and pharmacy practice. Every topic will be explored in terms of our visionary theme of Pharma Vision 2020 and as Indian pharma comes of age there are many exciting opportunities for every one in every aspect of pharmacy. India is destined to take the leadership role in pharmaceutical development.
What are the challenges in organising such exhibitions?
We truly have a global team. When you have the Chief Operating Officer in Bangalore, Chief Financial Officer in Pune, President in Mumbai, Organising Secretary in Varanasi, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in New Delhi and Chairman, LOC, in Washington, the world really becomes small and flat. We had our ups and downs but in the end it was all worth it.
What are the salient features of the chosen theme 'Pharma Vision 2020'?
Indian economic growth has been tremendous in the past few years. As India grows as an economic power the pillars of our theme "Product Patient and Pharmacy Practice" become very relevant. The theme was first initiated by our president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam at the 55th Indian Pharmaceutical Congress in Chennai in 2003.
India has made giant leaps in developing products but due to other priorities as a developing nation the other two facets of our theme had been neglected. The time has come to focus on the patient as a recipient of healthcare and the practice of pharmacy as pharmacists become leaders in the healthcare delivery team.
What kind of discussions should delegates expect?
Challenges facing India in 2020 in terms infrastructure needs for healthcare delivery, practice standards and disparity issues will be featured. The meeting will debate such issues in the president's symposium. In addition, consumer perceptions regarding prescription medicine and quality of medicines produced in India will be debated with expert panels including the Drug Controller General of India and other industry experts.
Besides the theme, what will be the new features planned for the 59th IPC?
In addition to traditional plenary lectures, this year we will have theme based symposia that include world and Indian experts who will present their views on a particular topic, followed by a discussion with an expert panel. The whole meeting will be held at one venue with all the facilities within walking distance. This will make it possible for participants to explore all facets of the Congress with ease. This feature is noteworthy as it is difficult to achieve this in main stream cities.
IPC is perhaps the biggest technical event that Varanasi is going to witness. From the social, cultural and commercial point of view, what will be the gains for Varanasi from this event?
The event will bring about 8,000-10,000 people to the city and will be good for the economy. It will also give local students a chance to meet prospective employers and do some networking. It will give our city an exposure apart from the one we already have. As it is, there is no place on earth like Varanasi. It's a plus whichever way you look at it.
Which are the countries participating in IPC? Where will be the next IPC held?
India, US, UK, Netherlands, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, Japan and New Zealand, to name a few, are participating this year. Next year’s IPC will be held in Delhi.
- Additional Links
- IPC info:
- For bio-data of Prof. Krishna Kumar, please click here
- A technological pilgrimage
The 59th IPC promises to add yet another dimension to the pilgrim city of Varanasi
- Four-day pharma meet begins at BHU
Unlike the previous Indian Pharmaceutical Congresses (IPC), the 59th IPC at Varanasi will strongly talk about the issues like pharmacy practices and patient care. Dr H P Tipnis, President, 59th IPC, analyses more in an exclusive interview with Sachin Jagdale
Why do patient care and pharmacy practices have a longer gestation period, when on the other hand pharma industry is climbing new heights?
Patient care and pharmacy practice have indeed lagged behind because of the attitude of our retail drug store owners and pharmacists. The medicines were treated as a commodity and the business was based on trading. Only recently this attitude is changing.
What needs to be done in order to boost these two sectors (patient care and pharmacy practices)?
There has to be some education provided to the chemists and druggists. The new generation is receptive to this. A welcome effort is being made by Maharashtra State Pharmacy Council to run refresher courses on Saturdays and Sundays and it is getting a very good response.
In what way can IPC at Varanasi give momentum to the development of the above mentioned sectors?
For the first time at Varanasi this issue is brought to the forefront. So far, the issues at IPC were only pharma industry oriented and were projecting only their interest. The highlighting of the issue will certainly give it a momentum.
What is the rationale behind choosing the current theme of IPC?
The current theme, "Pharma Vision 2020—product, patient and pratice", is a part of the Pharma Vision 2020 declaration that we had at Chennai in 2003, at the hands of the then President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. Since then, IPCA is taking parts of that 10 point declaration in every congress. Last year in Mumbai we concentrated on "roles, resources and responsibilites" of pharamacists in India. This year we are going a step further and focusing on "products, patient and practices".
The 59th IPC is quite focused on pharmacy education. Why so?
Naturally this is the 75th year of the first pharmacy college of India, which was founded at BHU, Varanasi. From here, the pharmacy education in India started, spread and proliferated. Today we have over 400 pharmacy colleges offering degrees and diplomas in pharmacy.
Don't you think pharmacy education in India needs to be revamped as the pharma industry is changing rapidly with each passing day?
Yes indeed, but let me say that whatever pharmacy education that we offered was industry oriented, and it did indeed serve the needs of pharma industry. The growth of this industry that you see today is brought by the hard work of pharmacy graduates who slogged in their factories. If the education would not have been good, the industry would not have progressed. Albeit, the pharmacy graduates learned a lot on the job, but even then their learning was based on the sound foundation of industrial pharmacy course that they underwent.
What kind of changes you would suggest in the current format of pharmacy education?
The changes that are needed are at the specialised levels of pharmacy education. There have to be courses in biotechnology that can be applied to the making of biotech drugs, bio informaties as applied to drug discovery programmes, regulatory affairs courses for penetration in regulated markets, clinical trials courses for CRO work in India etc. But the base for all this has to be an industrial pharmacy oriented B Pharm course. On the other side there should be a clinical pharmacy oriented course which will be patient and practice oriented. There should be a choice given to the next generation to go either for industry (product) oriented course or clinical (patient) oriented course.
What challenges do you face presiding over the 59th IPC?
Challenges for the President of any IPC are always to take the decisions that we take at the Congress to the Government bodies, to regulatory bodies and even to our own professional organisations to act.
Is Varanasi the right location to arrange such a grand event? If yes, please justify.
Yes indeed. The last Congress that was held in Varanasi was in 1982. After nearly 25 long years, Varanasi is getting the honour of hosting the Congress. It is also the 75th year of the foundation of the first pharmacy college in India. So it really deserves this honour.
The 59th IPC promises to add yet another dimension to the pilgrim city of Varanasi
Varanasi has always lived with two avatars—a centre of religious fervour and a seat of learning since ancient times. Pilgrims from across the country and the world, come for a purifying dip in the holy Ganges, while scholars make a beeline for universities like the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) for intellectual guidance. As the venue of the 59th Indian Pharmaceutical Congress (IPC), Varanasi gears up for the twentieth century version of information sharing—a 'Techno mela', encompassing conferences, exhibitions and much more.
Varanasi has a rich educational heritage and it is one of the rare places for oriental learning with three world class public universities—BHU, along with Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth and Sampurnanand Sanskrit University. BHU is among the top three largest residential universities in the world, having more than 128 independent teaching departments. BHU is the first Indian institution that started pharmacy education, making it the perfect venue for the 59th IPC, as this year marks the 75th anniversary of BHU's pharmacy college and of pharmacy education in India.
While the 58th IPC at Mumbai focused on the three Rs—resource, responsibility and role; this year's IPC will target three the Ps—patient, product and practice. Varanasi will see a conclave of CEOs, industry stalwarts and scientists from different countries. IPC's main sponsor is the Indian Pharmaceutical Congress Association (IPCA). The five constituents of IPCA are Indian Pharmaceutical Association (IPA), Indian Pharmacy Graduates Association (IPGA), Indian Hospital Pharmacist's Association (IHPA), Association of Pharmaceutical Teachers of India (APTI) and All India Drugs Control Officers Confederation (AIDCOC).
It is called Fattebaz ( www.fattebaz.com ). It was started in November 2007.
In the “About Us” section, the site says: “Fattebaz.com is place to express yourself.. Those who like creative skills, writing, reading, poetry, photographs, articles, short stories, essays, or prose comment are welcome here.”
The website features movie reviews, news and tips about MBA programs, poetries, short stories, opinion polls, etc. It has some regular sections, for which Abhishek explains:
“We want to tell you about fattebaz.com , ours is a multifunctional website basically for the students, college people, writers, bloggers, etc. Besides other small features, we have few major features.
Eduwiki- Tell the world about your projects, your new ideas, anything wacky in your head, anything and everything on which you want to share your knowledge and no one will delete your posts.
Fagzine- Our eMagzine, which is up and running, where me and my friends write. People are also invited to contribute any of the articles, opinions, reviews, photos-anything they like, and we will publish them on our eMagzine with your name and blog link.
Flogger Awards for best blogs, nominated by people, and decided by some of our jury members. http://www.fattebaz.com/floggerawards.html
Hope to read you soon and yeah don’t forget to try your grey cells on our easiest yet most difficult puzzle http://www.fattebaz.com-a.googlepages.com/hints “
For more info, please email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abhishek Khanna can be contacted at email@example.com
(Forwarded by Anshuman Singh, Electrical 1998)
|Umesh Singhal(CSE-93), Vishal Lal (EEE-98) and Anshuman Purushottam (MIN-99) along with Jyotirmoy Chakravorthy(Assam Engineering College) and Giridhar Shanbagh(University of Mysore) have launched a start-up , UBONA Technologies, based out of Bangalore .
Ubona is a Speech Recognition Technology based start-up that was founded 8 months ago . Ubona has launched its first "Speak and Connect" – Foodies Hotline service in Bangalore. Using this service , user can call a hotline number (+91 80 40700000), speak the name of the restaurant and get directly connected to the restaurant. Right now it's only for all Wine and Dine places in Bangalore but soon it'll be available for other domains as well, including Entertainment, Hospitality, Personal Care, Finance & Banking, Automobiles etc across all major cities in India.
Ubona's charter is to create a new medium that will be able to understand what people say and trigger appropriate actions to service what has been said. Ubona's vision is to make the contact simple and help build the association between consumers and businesses in the real world.
(Team members, from left to right: Umesh, Giri, Vishal, Jyotirmoy, Anshuman)
The live wire of Ubona's service is its state of the art speech recognition platform. The speech recognition platform is completely in-house developed and uses a paradigm different from the prevailing methodologies. At Ubona, speech recognition is performed using their own architecture and algorithms.
You can check them out @ http://www.ubona.com and send your feedback at feedback(at)ubona(dot)com
- Additional Links
- Ubona news on Livemint.com
THE BANARAS Hindu University (BHU) has constituted an 'international cell' to provide interface of the university with other universities of the world.
As per a Press release, Vice-Chancellor of BHU Prof Panjab Singh has appointed Prof Mallikarjun Joshi of the Department of Geology, Faculty of Science, BHU as the chairman of international cell.
Reader at School of Material Science and Technology, Institute of Technology, BHU, Dr P Maiti and senior lecturer of Mahila Mahavidyalya BHU, Dr Kavita Singh have been appointed as members of the cell. The cell will focus on matters related to international collaboration in areas of research and education, activities pertaining to academic collaboration and exchange programme for faculty and students.
Besides, the cell will process and finalise proposals for entering into the memorandum of understanding or other relevant activities for promoting international interfacing of the Banaras Hindu University.
It may be mentioned that the executive council of BHU had already approved the formation of the cell of the university, in a meeting held on the Rajiv Gandhi South Campus in Barkachcha in Mirzapur district.
THE BANARAS Hindu University (BHU) will soon have a centre for food science and technology (FST) to start a master’s and doctoral programme in food science.
As per a Press release issued on Monday, an expert committee from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Central Government, comprising chairman of farmers' right authority, professor of plant molecular biology at Delhi University, Dr JP Khurana and advisor, department of biotechnology visited BHU recently.
The DBT committee desired to have a world-class programme in BHU for promoting and strengthening this area of food science. The team members held discussions with director, Institute of Agricultural Sciences (IAS), Dr SR Singh, Emeritus Professor, Dr RM Singh and dean, faculty of IAS, Dr RP Singh.
They also discussed the salient features of the programme with faculty members of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences and Institute of Technology at BHU.
They approved an outlay of Rs 1,500 crore for phase 1 of the programme for the next five years with a focus on dairy products processing and vegetable technology.
The funds will be available for pilot plant facility for milk and vegetable processing, equipment, class rooms, laboratories, computerisation, networking, 11 new faculty positions (consisting of one professor, three readers and seven lecturers).
Important feature of the programmes will include fellowship to all M Sc and Ph D students. There will be two adjunct faculty from abroad and two adjunct faculty from India for guiding and developing the centre in its initial growth phase.
Funds will also be available for guest faculty from various academic institutions and industrial organisations.
Managing director Danisco Ingredients Ltd (a multinational from Denmark), Neil Prasad has offered to sponsor studies of two top ranking, students of this programme with training at their research and development centre in Singapore or Denmark.
In their deliberations with vice-chancellor of BHU Prof Panjab Singh, the committee members expressed a desire that the new centre should grow in the next five years into a world-class institution as they wanted it to be a unique institution in the eastern region of the country. Singh thanked the DBT in supporting this new programme.
Coordinator of the programme Dr Alok Jha said the BHU would launch the programme from July next year.
The Rector of our University, Prof. S. Lele has resigned from the position. He is former director of our institute. His last day of working as Rector was January 5th, 2008.
Earn while you learn at BHU
Express news service
Posted online: Thursday, January 10, 2008 at 12:00:00
Updated: Wednesday, January 09, 2008 at 10:16:11
Varanasi, January 9 On the lines of US universities, the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) plans to introduce a ‘earn while you learn’ system for students.
At a meeting, chaired by Vice-Chancellor Panjab Singh on Monday, it was decided that a blueprint will be prepared to introduce the Students Assistantship Scheme.
“Students are here not only to learn but also earn by successfully applying that knowledge in the university,” said Singh during his first interaction with newly constituted Student Council on Tuesday.
“I have asked officials and Student Council members, including secretary Jahnvi Jalan, to identify the areas and students for the programme,” he added.
“Just like in US universities, after classes students can work at the university, which will fetch them between Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 each month. It will also provide them vital practical experience,” said the V-C.
Singh further added that, “If the system clicks jobs which were earlier taken care of by contractual employees, can be done by undergraduate, post-graduate students as well as researcher scholars.”
Spokesperson Rajesh Singh said: “At least five spheres, the library, laboratory, hospital, teaching and security, have been identified for student services.”
“The varsity is also identifying other areas and completing the required technicalities for the initiative,” he added.
Earlier, library science students had undertaken the task of cataloguing books during the vacations for a stipend but it seems such tasks will be a permanent affair now.
|Madan Mohan Malaviya is today known more as the founder of the Banaras Hindu University rather than the multi-faceted personality he was. However, his first priority was to obtain India’s independence.
Malaviya joined the Indian National Congress in 1886 and was the only leader to be the Congress President for a record four times. He attended the second Round Table Conference in 1931 along with Mahatma Gandhi and others. He was a member of the Provincial Legislative Council during 1903-1918, the Central Council during 1910-1920, and was an elected member of the Indian Legislative Assembly during 1924-1930, not to mention a member of the Industrial Commission during 1916-1918.
During the freedom struggle, Malaviya was midway between the Liberals and the Nationalists, the Moderates and the Extremists, as the followers of Gokhale and Tilak were respectively called.
Malaviya brought dignity and honour to every task he undertook. He excelled as a teacher, a lawyer, a journalist, a freedom fighter, a social worker, a cultural giant, a dharmic proponent, the doyen of the movement for a national language for India, and as an educationist par excellence. But, in the words of K.M. Munshi, “he himself was greater than the greatest of his achievements”. Malaviya was born on December 25, 1861, at Prayag, in a family of Kathavachaks (narrator of stories from the Bhagwat Gita). After initial training in Sanskrit, he passed his BA from Muir Central College, Allahabad, in 1884.
Circumstances forced him to join the Government School as a teacher and he could pursue his education only from 1889, passing the LLB course in 1891. Initially, he practised in the district court and then in the High Court from 1893. He gave up his practice when he was 50 to serve the country.
Malaviya’s constant prayer was that Lord Vishwanath should give him darshan in the shape of a Kashi Hindu Vishva Vidyalaya. A few weeks before his death on November 12, 1946, Malaviya was not too well but did not want to miss the function in a village outside Kashi.
He was scheduled to address the religious gathering, when he told his friends that he should not be rushed to Kashi in case he became seriously ill on the way. The reason was that he did not wish to die in the holy town and attain moksha so early. He wanted to be reborn to complete his unfinished work at the university.
(Dharmapal Maini is Editor, Manav Moolya Vishwakosh, and Director, Institute of National Human Value, Gurgaon)
Ankita Gupta’s painting portrayed a woman’s life. (TOI Photo)
|This exhibition organised at the Rashtriya Lalit Kala Akademi with art pieces like patchwork on walls was titled Art patch '07. The art effects of the 5 artistes from the Banaras Hindu University, floored the chief guests, MP Virendra Bhatia and Yogendra Nath Yogi, who inaugurated the show by lighting the lamp. |
Later Awani Kant Deo also joined in the inaugural function. The artists stood beside their works and explained their creations. Durga Charan Das painted about life in red light areas. Ankita Gupta’s women series threw light on the fairer sex’s endeavour for existence.
The time came for some reflection with the paintings of Gajraj Verma who tried to show different faces of man in search of his identity while Shiva Kumar painted the facts of life with its complexities and paradoxes. Pramod Rai too drew succour for his creations from life itself which portrayed the different avatars of women in their homes.
|Prof. Vijay Garg (Civil 1960) published his latest book "Wireless Communications and Networking" in June 2007. The book was published by Morgan Kaufmann (Elsevier Publisher). This is the sixth book of Dr. Garg in wireless communications. Several of his wireless communication books have been translated in other languages. Earlier books of Dr. Garg include "Advanced Dynamics" published by Prentice Hall and "Dynamics of Railway Vehicle" published by Academic Press.
Vijay Garg Ph.D., P.E. Fellow ASCE, ASME and Sr. Member IEEE
He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
|Amazon has published his book on Wireless Communications and Networking in June 2007.|
Bio of Dr. Vijay K. Garg
Dr. Garg is a Professor of the Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in wireless communications and wireless networking. Prior to joining university of Illinois, he was a Distinguished Member of Technical Staff at the Lucent Bell Labs in Naperville, Illinois where he worked from 1985 to 2001. He received his Ph.D., degree from Illinois Institute of Technologies, Chicago, IL in 1973 and MS degree from the University of California, at Berkeley, CA in 1966. He has coauthored eight technical books including six in wireless communications area and one in Railway Vehicle Dynamics. Several of his books have been translated in Japanese, Chinese and Russian languages. Dr. Garg is a fellow of ASCE and ASME, and a Senior Member of IEEE. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in the states of Maine and Illinois, as well as an Academic member of the Russian Academy of Transport. He has served on several technical committees of IEEE, ASME and ASCE. Dr. Garg was an Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch during 2006 and was a visiting Distinguished Professor at Chung-Ang University, Seoul in 2005.
by Julian Crandall Hollick
http://www.npr. org/templates/ story/story. php?storyId= 16889596
Martine Crandall Hollick
An evening offering on the banks of the river Ganges in the village of Singhberpur.
|Weekend Edition Sunday, December 9, 2007 · For millions of Hindus, the 250-mile stretch of Ganges River between the cities of Kanpur and Varanasi is one of the most sacred parts of the northern plains of India.
This stretch of the Ganges serves as the setting of the great epic The Ramayana, which tells the story of an Indian prince who becomes a god. Despite the river's massive pollution, Hindus come from all over the country to bathe, worship and honor dead relatives in the holy waters.
Martine Crandall Hollick
Buffaloes bathe in the Ganges River in the city of Varanasi.
|In the third of a six-part series, independent producer Julian Crandall Hollick visits villages along the Ganges to learn about Hindu traditions. In the village of Singhberpur, Hollick takes a dip in the water, a ritual that his host says will cleanse him of his sins. In The Ramayana, Singhberpur is featured as the place where the epic's central characters — Ram, Sita and Laxman — cross the Ganges on their way into exile.|
Lindsay Mangum, NPR
The Ganges River is 1,500 miles long from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal. The river's water is the lifeblood for more than 600 million people in India and Bangladesh.
|At the city of Allahabad, midway between Kanpur and Varanasi, the Ganges merges with the Yamuna River and the mythical Saraswati. Together they form the Sangam. Hindus believe that if they take a dip in the Sangam or cast the ashes of dead relatives into the water, their next life can only be better.
Varanasi, at the end of this portion of Hollick's journey, is where all the Hindu gods live. Much of daily life in Varanasi takes place on its 84 ghats — stone steps that descend steeply down to the river and stretch two miles northward in a gentle crescent.
Hollick speaks with a civil servant and a tailor who have come to wash away their sins and seek salvation. He also finds locals who seek more immediate blessings — success in exams, better health and help kicking addiction.
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- April 4, 2007
Starting this academic year, IIT Bombay has reduced the total number of mandatory credits that a student has to complete to successfully graduate.
Excerpts from the article:
Mumbai: In an effort to produce more well-rounded graduates with diverse interests, the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) are trying to get students out of the classroom.
Three IITs—Bombay, Delhi and Roorkee—have reduced the minimum number of credits that a student needs to graduate, while at least two other IITs—Kharagpur and Madras—are considering offering their students the same flexibility. IIT Guwahati and Kanpur say they have no plans to change.
The overhaul at most of the premier government-run institutes reflects a significant change: to break out of the rigidity of courses and curriculum, to ensure graduates are prepared for the demands of a new global economy and, in some ways, to ensure IITs still attract and retain India’s brightest students who might be wooed by foreign universities and more open educational philosophies.
“The B. Tech (bachelor of technology, the graduate degree awarded by IITs) education has so far been quite straitjacketed, but now we are making efforts to address that,” said Deepak Phatak, a senior faculty member at IIT Bombay. “This change in the course format will provide students some flexibility and freedom to structure their education,” he added.
Starting this academic year (2007-08), IIT Bombay has reduced the total number of mandatory credits that a student has to complete to successfully graduate, from 350 in four years to 250 in four years. Students who opt to do the full 350 credits in their chosen fields will be awarded an honours degree when they graduate. But those students who wish to use the extra time to pursue research or study another area of interest now have the freedom to do so; they will get a degree that reflects the major specialization as well the minor studies.
Students can also use their time to participate in organizing events hosted by the institute, such as campus festivals.
Mumbai: A group of 30-40 students from the elite Indian Institute of Technology - Bombay (IIT-B) has designed a satellite that could be the first of its kind in the country to be launched into orbit.
The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has shown "its willingness" to launch the 10 kg satellite into low Earth orbit (low orbit is 800 km-1000 km above the Earth's surface), IIT-B sources confirmed.
With ISRO supporting the project, the mood at the institute is upbeat. When approached in Bangalore, ISRO officials said they support student satellite projects as it encourages young blood to be a part of the space programme.
"We are already evaluating a micro-satellite project prepared by students of the Anna University in Chennai. Both satellites would be launched with ISRO's highly proven PSLV," an ISRO official said.
IIT-B students are expecting their satellite to be ready by the end of next year.
Head of IIT Bombay's Aerospace Engineering Department, K Sudhakar said, "Students are eager on taking up issues that affect the nation rather than broad global matters. This will not be another ISRO satellite with a very broad scope. This is going to look at more locally relevant issues."
Sudhakar said this was the first time the institute was working on a satellite project, which, according to him, was being "carried forward by the tremendous enthusiasm of students from all departments.
"It is an ambitious project considering that this is the golden jubilee year of IIT-Bombay and I am extremely optimistic that our students will succeed", he added.
The IIT-B micro satellite will function in the following areas:
- Studying high-energy particles in space
- Studying the Greenhouse Effect
- Studying the Ionosphere
- Measuring transmission / polarization of atmosphere
- Biomedical Experimentation
- Ham Repeater for receiving weak signals and retransmitting as stronger signals.
Students from the aerospace, electrical, mechanical, computer science & engineering and physics departments are working on the satellite.
Saptarshi Banerjee, an IIT-B student, said that they were preparing a prototype version, which they hoped to deliver to ISRO in May 2008 for evaluation. After this, work on the actual flight model would start.
8 Dec 2007, 0303 hrs IST.Hemali Chhapia.TNN
MUMBAI: For lakhs of aspirants who don’t make it to the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), here’s something to cheer about. After earlier putting the IIT open courseware online, IIT-Bombay is going one step further and opening its classrooms to the world. Starting January 2008 it will broadcast its lectures live through Edusat, the satellite which caters exclusively to the educational sector.
Students of any engineering institute will now not only have real-time access to IIT-B tutoring, but can also interact with resident faculty at Powai.
IIT-B and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have signed a memorandum of understanding to transmit the lectures to any of the 1,500 engineering colleges across India which are keen to avail of the service. In fact, even institutions in Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and parts of Pakistan which are covered by the Edusat footprint can view the lectures by tuning in to the same frequency.
The concept of long-distance technical education has been in the making for a while. Under a special HRD ministry programme, the seven IITs and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, have already prepared open courseware and uploaded it online. Globally, too, developing and maintaining free open courseware is a popular concept among universities and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology OpenCourseware offers 1,800 courses to reach out to students beyond the campus classrooms.
However, the IIT-B and ISRO programme offers live lectures and will be the first in the field involving an elite technical institution.
|Mr. K.C. Agrawal, an electrical engineer from IT-BHU and senior member of IEEE, USA, has had more than 33 years of experience in different capacities - in Academics, Public Sector Undertakings, Multinationals like Crompton Greaves and NGEF (a unit of AEG, West Germany) and then running his own industry, ECS (P) Ltd. for 24 years manufacturing switchgears.
He has also authored Shaping India of Our Dreams and books on Electrical Engineering (sort of mini-encyclopedias and greatly acclaimed worldwide) titled Industrial Power Engineering and Applications Handbook published by Butterworth Heinemann (a unit of Elsevier Science, USA/UK) and its enhanced and upgraded edition Electrical Power Engineering Reference & Applications Handbook.
Some 18 years ago, greatly moved by the country's highly deplorable condition and the sight of poverty stricken people, he pledged to do something for the nation and steer the people out from their present somber plight to a glorious future. Crusade India is a result of his dedication towards this cause and the first step towards realizing these dreams.
(A Mission to prosperity of India and the impoverished masses)
“The roots of our failure lie in the ignorance of our system”, says Mr. Agrawal. He has intensely researched the maladies ailing the nation and has provided thought provoking solutions to the same. According to him, all this is possible, if we are able to make optimum use of our resources and do rural development religiously. All blue prints and road maps to accomplish this are deciphered in his book ‘Crusade India’. For his ideas about Selectorial Democracy, please click here
According to him as the head of the family is responsible to upbring his children and make them worthy human beings, similarly the leader of the nation is responsible to inculcate good traits in the people and make them worthy citizens. A prudent leader according to him shall take care of the last man on the road and provide him means to a dignified living. Snatching bread from one and giving it to another in the name of quotas or reservations is a mean act and a prudent guardian shall never resort to that. To overcome these maladies, he propounds for a Presidential System run through professionals and experts on the basis of selection like a large corporate house. All management charts to govern the nation are provided in the book. His Society also with the name ‘Crusade India’ is planning to move a PIL for the required amendment in the Constitution.
Presently ignorants elect ignorants to run the country ignorantly. Instead of an overall development of the country and creating natural means to dignified earning for its people it has led our guardians resort to different kinds of reliefs, charities and handouts like, mid-day meals and 100 days National Rural Employment Guarantee Schemes (NREGS). Our guardians have also divided the communities and societies on lines of caste, region and religion. This has dragged our large masses (86% or 98.9 crores) to deprivation, illiteracy, ignorance and backwardness. It is a matter of shame for any society or nation.
According to Mr. Agrawal, the present ‘Feel Good’ and ‘India Shining’ scenario is only outside of the balloon and benefits hardly 14% of our society, while the remaining (86% or 98.9 crores) still languish in the same hardship and deprivation. Since bulk of the masses live in villages, he also advocates for the Gandhian philosophy to uplift the rural areas. He has pronounced a unique idea of City Centers by clubbing about 50 to 60 villages into a large city centre to habitat about 10 lac people and to have about 1000 city centers of this kind in the whole country to habitat around 100 crores and remaining living in the cities. The cities shall also be revamped to one day place the whole nation amongst the most prosperous and shining nations in the world. The city centers shall not be ordinary cities but amongst the most advanced cities. They shall be in total conceptual contrast to Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and retail chains, which benefit only the affluent few constituting hardly 9-14% of the population. City Centers shall be constructed with a holistic planning of the nation and will ensure upliftment of the 86% (98.9 crore) under privileged naturally.
Mr. Agrawal has also discussed development of the North–Eastern states and solution to Kashmir problem through unification. For details one can refer the book ‘Crusade India’.
One shall find that Crusade India is a crusade for unlocking rural India’s growth potential, through infrastructure creation and optimum utilization of India’s rich, vast, natural and national resources. According to Mr. Agrawal developing world too is faced with similar problems and this deeply researched Crusade India can prove a great reference for all such societies also. This piece of work has all the ingredients that can mean a lot in alleviating the sufferings of the deprived, disadvantaged and under- privileged multitudes thronging the third world. The book not only India, is relevant to the problems of the developing world in particular and rest of the world in general.
Mr. Agrawal is based at Noida (New Delhi) and is devoting most of his time towards social work and mission to change India.
He can be contacted at: komal[AT]ndb.vsnl.net.in
|On the night of Dec. 2nd and 3rd, 1984, a Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, began leaking 27 tons of the deadly gas methyl isocyanate, which spread throughout the city of Bhopal. Half a million people were exposed to the gas and 20,000 have died to date as a result of their exposure. More than 120,000 people still suffer from ailments caused by the accident and the subsequent pollution at the plant site.|
Feeling the pain of slum-dwellers and poor people, Mr. Sathyu Sarangi launched a campaign to provide medical help to the needy and to fight for their right for just compensation. He has travelled throughout the world and given lectures to leading universities to create awareness for the Bhopal gas tragedy and the suffering of under privileged class resulting from it. He has written a number of scholarly articles about the tragedy and its tragic effect on the sufferers.
Sathyu is an IT-BHU alumnus (M. Tech. Metallurgy 1980). He is founder of Sambhavna Trust, Bhopal.
For Chronicle, Yogesh K. Upadhyaya talks with Sathyu Sarangi to learn more about the tragedy and the social service provided by his organization.
For biography of Sathyu Sarangi, please click here
This interview of about 3,600 words is condensed from the original full-length interview of about 5,400 words to match chronicle format. The original interview contains much more interesting details about Sathyu’s work for the service to Bhopal tragedy victims and other subjects, etc. To view the original interview, please click here
Q-1: Sathyuji, please tell us about yourself.
I was born in Chakradharpur, a small town in what is now Jharkhand. My father worked for the central government and he used to get transferred to a new place almost every year. My childhood was spent in small towns and a few big cities in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. Because of my father’s transfers I went to 10 schools in 12 years. I was the youngest in the family and my elder brothers and sister went to boarding schools. Our family stayed in a place for too short a time for me to have friends so I had books as my best friends. A voracious reader of classics, travelogues, biographies and mystery novels I had little time for text books. But I always came first in the exams.
I joined Science College in BHU. There were troubles in the science and other colleges almost immediately after joining. Armed and vicious constables of the PAC raided our hostels and many students were badly thrashed. I joined the street battles on the days following this attack and went home when the University was closed “sine die”. I realized soon that the troubles were indeed engineered by political parties trying to get a hold on the students. I found that metallurgical engineering was as close to physical chemistry as one could get and planned my escape from Science College. I wrote the JEE and got in to BHU IT to study metallurgical engineering.
Except for Dr Khastagir who was an excellent teacher of physics there was little that was remarkable in the first two years. Being in the department of metallurgical engineering, once I was in my third year opened a whole new world of curiosity and learning. Here there were professors who worked hard, some times for hours, preparing for their lectures, labs where people worked all night and a library that remained open till late in to the night.
In my fourth year an article in an old metallurgy journal about steel making by indigenous communities in Jharkhand gripped my imagination. I was able to actually reproduce the four and half feet tall “blast furnace” the indigenous people used and managed to produce an impressive lump of steel from iron ore powder, charcoal and lime stone.
By the time I reached my fifth year I was convinced that I did not want to join a company and did not wish to go abroad. I joined M Tech to carry on with the work I had done on indigenous steel making which in its essence was steel making through low temperature solid state reduction with carbon being supplied by charcoal. I was able to produce more quantities of “indigenous” steel and to my great surprise found that the little pieces I used for testing strength and hardness did not get rusted even after being in the open for months. Scanning Electron Microscopy showed that there was a glassy (silicates?) coating all over the steel pieces.
In my M Tech dissertation I presented indigenous steel making as the technology that was most cost and energy efficient and the one that made the most environmental sense when compared to even the latest steel making technologies. I decided to continue doing more focused work on this after I passed M Tech and registered for PhD with Professor Gupta as my supervisor. By the time I dropped out of PhD I had worked for more than six years on a project that started from reading an article (the author one Moni Roy) in an old journal meant to be sold away for recycling.
Q-2: Why did you decide to work for the social cause and justice?
As I said above, the sixties were the years of my growth. During those years you had to be utterly dumb or insensitive not to be radically oriented. One of my earliest memories is that of participating in a celebration of the people from indigenous communities (adivaasi) who had recaptured land (after armed battles with the Bihar Military Police) that had been taken over by the British for commercial forestry more than 150 years back. The recaptured land was distributed to all descendents of the original settlers whose names and genealogies had been preserved in the songs of the ‘medicine men’.
In my third year in IT-BHU I started going out of the University campus in the east. I found the disparity between the world inside the campus and the world right outside of its perimeter to be outrageous. Most stark was the condition of the agricultural workers of low caste who were bonded to upper caste landlords. The first village on the way out from the University is the birth place of Ravidas, a well known rebel saint who was a low caste person.
I was quite impressed with the work of Brazilian educationist Paulo Freire, and along with a friend from mechanical engineering we stated running “adult education” classes in those villages. Every day after classes, we used cycle down to the harijan hamlets of Nayapura and Narottampur to hold these classes. We formed an organization called Society of Social Workers (SSW).We used run a tea stall during the annual “Kashi Yatra” festivals and ran our organizations and a magazine with the money we made from the stall. In late ‘70s there was a massive flood in Varanasi city and many villages around. The harijan hamlets were all destroyed by these floods. We gave a call to the students at IT-BHU and were happily surprised to find as many as 150 students volunteering for flood relief work.
We submitted our findings to the district administration but found that the people most deserving of government help were being denied assistance while the landlords were cornering all the government help for themselves. When communication with district officials failed to elicit any response we decided to march in a procession to the district collector’s office. This got us arrested and jailed. Thankfully, our professors visited us in jail and through their efforts we were released. As volunteers of SSW we continued to work till 1982 when the group was disbanded.
Q-3: Please explain the Bhopal gas tragedy and its after-effect to our readers.
On the night of 2nd - 3rd December 1984, during routine maintenance operations in the Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) plant, starting at about 10 p.m. a large quantity of water entered storage tank no. 610, containing over 60 tones of MIC. This triggered off a runaway reaction resulting in a tremendous increase of temperature and pressure in the tank and nearly 40 tones of MIC along with Hydrogen Cyanide and other reaction products burst past the rupture disc and in to the night air of Bhopal at around 12:30 a.m. Safety systems were grossly under designed and inoperative. Senior factory officials knew of the lethal build up in the tank at least one hour before the leakage, yet the siren to warn neighborhood communities was sounded more than one hour after the leak started. By then the poisons had enveloped an area of 40 Sq. Kms killing thousands of people in its immediate wake. Over 8000 people died in the first three days and over 500 thousand people suffered from acute breathlessness, burning in eyes and vomiting as they ran in panic to get away from the poison clouds that hung close to the ground for more than four hours.
There is ample evidence of "double standards" being followed by the American multinational, Bhopal's sister plant in West Virginia being far superior in storage, production and safety systems. There are enough documents to show that Union Carbide and its senior most officials knew that the factory in Bhopal was a ticking time bomb and did nothing because they did not want to spend money on a plant that was yet to yield big bucks. It was a directive from the head quarters of the company, in Danbury, Connecticut, USA that resulted in the retrenchment of workers and shutting down of safety systems.
A survey carried out by the International Medical Commission on Bhopal (IMCB), composed of 14 medical specialists from 11 different countries reported significant multi-organ symptoms persistent among the exposed population 10 years after the disaster. Clinical examination carried out by members of the Commission have shown significant lung impairment, marked reduction in control over limb movements, reduced memory function and a range of neuro-toxic injuries not studied by the ICMR.
Over 25,000 people, the majority of them gas victims, are routinely ingesting toxic chemicals as a result of the poisoning of drinking water sources in 16 communities. Union Carbide Corporation, USA who was in control of the factory when these toxic chemicals were recklessly dumped, is yet to pay for containing the toxic groundwater, rehabilitating the degraded land or make arrangements for alternate supply of drinking water. Dow Chemical the current owner of Union Carbide refuses to accept Bhopal’s environmental liabilities. Recently, Dow Chemical has offered to clean up the contaminated soil on the condition that it is not made legally liable.
Q-4: What was the aftermath of the tragedy? Why the victims are still not compensated?
The immediate response of Union Carbide Corporation was to deny its responsibility for the disaster. The corporation first blamed a fictitious Sikh terrorist group and then a worker as the saboteur who deliberately caused the disaster. It actually employed a consultancy firm Arthur D Little to fabricate a technical report along these lines. It withheld, and continues to do so, the information on the medical effects of MIC (which no other agency had) lest this information increase its legal liability. In court the corporation used a range of dilatory tactics and announced that it would cross examine every one of the half a million claimants – that would take 1, 500 years. The corporations also hired top PR firms such as Burson-Mosteller to peddle its lies on the Bhopal disaster and Brown and Nelson to set up a web site www.bhopal.com.
Ever since the disaster, the Indian government, irrespective of the political party in power, has always protected the interests of Union Carbide and Dow Chemical over that of its victims. While the victims of Bhopal have had to fight for medical care and rehabilitation, the Indian government has played down the health and environmental damages and death counts. The collusion of the Indian Government with Union Carbide is most glaringly evident in the settlement of 1989 when the government on behalf of the victims accepted to absolve Union Carbide of all past present and future liabilities in exchange of a paltry sum of 470 million USD. Earlier, the same government had sought compensation of over 3.3 billion USD. Recently, letters from the Prime Minister’s office obtained by us through the Right to Information Act, show that the cabinet secretariat is actively considering letting Dow Chemical walk of its Bhopal liabilities in consideration of the company’s proposed investment of 1 billion USD in India.
Q-5: Please elaborate the services provided by Sambhavna Trust and other social service organizations.
In the context of utter neglect by Union Carbide and the Indian Government towards the health of the exposed population, the Sambhavna Clinic opened its doors on September 2, 1996. The Clinic, run by the Sambhavna Trust (an independent, community-based, non-governmental medical initiative concerned with the long-term welfare of the survivors) offers an innovative blend of modern and traditional therapies free of cost to the survivors.
The Clinic is located in the middle of communities that were most severely affected by the December ’84 gas disaster. Being 400 meters south of the Union Carbide factory, the Clinic is also close to the communities next to the factory whose chemical wastes have contaminated their groundwater. The Clinic is built on a 2 acre plot including a herbal garden. The building incorporates rain water harvesting, solar energy, waste water recycling, solar medical waste disposal, non-toxic construction material and other eco-sensitive features.
Sambhavna's allopathic care team consists of two general physicians, a gynecologist and three consultants in psychiatry, ophthalmic care and pathology. Their work is supported by our in-house laboratory with facilities for biochemical, cytological and microbiological investigations. In providing care through modern medicine we adhere to the policy of "first do no harm" by screening out potentially harmful drugs.
More than 100 species of medicinal plants are grown on a one acre garden next to the clinic building. The garden provides fresh herbs for preparation of medicines and inspires people to start medicine gardens in their communities or grow at home. More than forty different kinds of Ayurvedic powders, oils, decoctions and pills are manufactured at the medicine making unit in Sambhavna.
Research on the health consequences of exposure to Carbide's poisons was wound up in 1994 by the Indian Council of Medical Research, and most of the findings remain unpublished till date. Sambhavna has made significant contributions to the scientific knowledge on the long-term health consequences of the disaster and medical interventions towards ameliorating these consequences despite its constraints of human and financial resources. Several of Sambhavna's research studies have been published in national and international journals including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Sambhavna maintains what is probably the most comprehensive collection of original source material related to the Bhopal disaster at the library in the Clinic. The library is frequently used by researchers, journalists, activists, survivors and Sambhavna staff.
Sambhavna's Community Health Workers identify people in need of care every day, follow-up on a thousand people receiving care at the clinic each month, and collect information on health in the community. They educate people about common health issues and their solutions, run a very successful TB control program, organize community based screening for cervical cancer, train people to be community health leaders, set up voluntary health committees in different communities, and help people organize to address local health threats like contaminated water.
The 41 staff members at the Clinic, 24 of who are survivors of the disaster, include doctors, therapists, data processors, laboratory technicians, gardeners, community health workers, researchers, drug dispensers, sanitary workers, security guards and others. The staff includes 18 female and 23 male members with an average age of 33 years. 25 of the staff members are graduates in medicine, science, arts, commerce and other subjects with 17 among them having post graduate qualifications. Volunteers from around the world contribute significantly to the clinic’s work.
The Sambhavna Clinic is run by a 8-member Board of Trustees who are scientists, doctors, editors and activists who have long been involved with medical and other aspects of the disaster. A Steering Committee elected by staff and a Coordinator look after the day to day running of the clinic. Decision-making, evaluation, planning and review of clinic activities is based on equality, full participation, and consensus at the weekly staff meetings. Complaints and suggestions are actively sought from the people coming for care at the clinic. A five-member International Advisory Group consisting of doctors, researchers, writers and activists from different countries provides support to the Trust.
Sambhavna does not accept money from governments or corporations. All funds required to run the Sambhavna Trust Clinic come from individual donations and from the royalties of the book, “It was five past midnight in Bhopal”, by Dominique Lapierre and Javier Moro. A large part of Sambhavna’s funds come from over 10, 000 individuals in UK who respond to advertisements placed by the Bhopal Medical Appeal in British newspapers. Our contributors include people from all walks of life - school children, workers, lecturers, professionals, artists, writers and parents. Accounts of the Sambhavna Trust are audited annually and are open to public scrutiny.
Q-6: Please describe how you try to educate people about the Bhopal gas tragedy? How you manage your work?
In the last 23 years I have talked to various groups of people about the Bhopal gas disaster and its aftermath. I have modified my presentations depending on whether my audience consists of children, workers, communities affected by industrial pollution, academics, students, doctors, engineers or others. Most often I talk about the immediate and far reaching causes of the disaster, its ongoing social and medical impact and what individuals can do to ensure that justice is done in Bhopal and the victims have a life of dignity. I have also screened films, distributed pamphlets and exhibited posters in my educational campaigns on Bhopal. I have presented scientific papers on health impact and engineering issues and addressed national and international conferences. I have found that the story of the Bhopal tragedy is a very effective eye-opener to corporate crime and also a great inspiration to fight against injustice and apathy.
Except for one year, I have not held a salaried job in the last 23 years. Till Sambhavna was set up in 1995, I depended on friends and family for economic support. At Sambhavna I currently receive a monthly honorarium of Rs. 6, 500/- which is sufficient for me as I have no family.
I think that getting in to social work is hardly ever a cold calculated decision. You get in to such work because you are moved by things around you; and you have different life priorities than what you were taught to have at school or in your family. You see your achievements in a different light, not in terms of your bank balance or the make of the car you drive but in terms of the difference you have made in the lives of people around you. As we say jokingly, in this career, the pay is less and there are no perks, but job satisfaction is total.
Q-7: Please tell us about your days at IT-BHU.
I consider my days at IT – BHU to be the best years of my life. I have such vivid memories, so many stories to tell that I do not know where to begin. I remember the wild Holi celebrations, the long cycle trips to Wyndham Falls and beyond, the last minute cramming for the exams, early morning trips on the Ganga, late night music festivals at Sankat Mochan, all India “educational” trips with the entire class, fighting against the goons who terrorized IT students, Lavanglatas at a shop run by a man called Pehelwan and so many other colourful, eventful, soulful stuff.
I remember having an unthinkably active schedule – long jogs in the morning, cycle rides to the village after class and then late night music or gup-shup sessions when there were no exams to write the next day. I was part of gang that distinguished itself in playing pranks on other class mates. I am told that a class mate, who is now a corporate executive, whom we scared with ghost noises and a skull (we got it from the medical college students) in our fourth year still has to have the light on in his bedroom at night. I continue to be in touch with many of my class mates and several of our professors. After a successful 25-year reunion we are now planning to hold a 30-year reunion in Varanasi.
Q-8: Please tell us about your personal life.
My wife, an ex-IT-BHUe, and I split two years after our marriage. We continue to see each other as friends. We had no children and my parents died twenty years back. My brothers and sister have long forgiven my straying away from a professional career and are rather supportive. I am fortunate to have many friends. I usually work seven days a week for eight to ten hours a day. I like to fill my leisure hours with books. I also enjoy writing and one of my books for children “Anarko ke aath din” published by Rajkamal Prakashan is still doing well. I like playing table tennis and usually take an annual vacation when I visit the mountains or the sea.
Q-9: Thank you very much, Sir. It was nice talking to you.
Contrary to its projection in mainstream media the disaster in Bhopal is not an isolated event. There are slow and silent Bhopals occurring in a routine manner in almost every part of the world. Corporate crimes that lead to death and ill health of hundreds of thousands of workers and community people go unpunished as business goes “as usual”. This has become more institutionalized, more legitimate and more intense with the advent of globalization. If the agencies and individuals responsible for the worst industrial massacre are allowed to go unscathed the world [and in particular countries of the South] is that much unsafe.
www.bhopal.org, www.bhopal.net, www.studentsforbhopal.org, www.thetruthaboutdow.org
You may contact Sathyu Sarangi at: sathyu[AT]gmail.com
The Sambhavna Trust Clinic
Address: Bafna Colony, Berasia Road, Bhopal 462 001
Madhya Pradesh, India
Telephone: + 91 (0)755-2730914 / 2743157
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Wins Fourth Margaret Mead Centennial Award
The Bhopal People’s Health and Documentation Clinic, also known as "Sambhavna Clinic" or just "Sambhavna" is named for the Sanskrit/Hindi word meaning both "possibility" and "similar feelings” or “compassion.” This free clinic is run by doctors, scientists, social workers, researchers and volunteers who combine alternative therapies with Western medicine to treat people who are still suffering from the effects of the Union Carbide gas leak of December 2-3,1984, that killed 16,000 people in Bhopal.
Sathyu Sarangi, an engineer turned activist who helped found the clinic and currently serves as its managing trustee, originally came to Bhopal the day after the disaster. He immediately got involved with relief efforts. Later, recognizing that the need for sustained care was not being met after public attention to the disaster ebbed, he found common cause with organizations of survivors fighting for justice (punishment of the corporate culprits) and for a better deal for survivors: adequate medical care; and economic, social and environmental rehabilitation of the affected communities and individuals.
|Prof. Pankaj Chandra (Mining 1983) was selected by the Human Resources Development Ministry as the Director of Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore in November 2007. Prior to that, he was a professor at IIM, Ahmedabad. With PhD from Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania in 1989, he has a distinguished career in management.|
For chronicle, Yogesh K. Upadhyaya discusses with Prof. Chandra about his academic career and his latest assignment as the Director of IIM-B.
Thank you. It is indeed a very challenging opportunity and I carry with me a very deep sense of responsibility. IIM Bangalore is a terrific institution with excellent faculty, very energetic students and committed alumni. It will be my endeavour to deepen the trajectory of growth that the Institute has chalked out for itself and make it sit at the head table to management schools globally.
Q-2: Please tell us about yourself.
I grew up in Allahabad in a household of academics. I did my schooling at St. Joseph’s College in the city. After finishing my B.Tech I went to USA. I did my PhD at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and then took up a faculty position at McGill University in Montreal where I was tenured. I returned back to India in 1994 and worked at IIM Ahmedabad since then till I came to IIM Bangalore. In between, I went for a year as the Associate Dean at ISB (Indian School of Business), Hyderabad and helped them set up the school and the academic programme in 2001 when it was founded. I have also been a Visiting Professor at several Universities around the world – Cornell University, Renmin University (Beijing), International University of Japan, University of Geneva etc. I have always been drawn towards institution building – I led a team at McGill to design a joint programme between the Management and Engineering Schools, was the Chair of the Doctoral programme at IIM-A and was also part of a team that helped found the Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship and served as its Chair. I worked briefly with the Industry Dept of the World Bank.
To be an academic one needs to have basic curiosity, rigorous training in methodology to analyze a curious observation, a passion for an academic discipline and openness of mind – to learn from anyone. Excelling in academia, like any other discipline, requires hard work & focus, a passion to contribute and caring for your constituency.
I have also been very lucky to have come in contact and learn from excellent teachers – Mrs. Nilakshi Jatar developed the love for language in school, Professors RN Singh (of Physics), Rupainwar (Chemistry), BB Dhar, Ravindra Nath, DP Singh (in Mining), Sukumar Badhopadhyay (in Alaska now- was a key mentor) and my thesis advisor at Wharton, Professor Marshall Fisher (who is one of the most well known academics in OR/OM in the world) were all perfectionists – they demanded excellence and taught one to give your best. They were also compassionate human beings – a characteristic which is very necessary in a teacher. I would also be amiss that I had great fellow students both in school, at BHU and at Wharton – one learns a lot albeit silently.
So you see, one imbibes a variety of attributes when you come in contact with bright and caring people – and I have indeed gained a lot from such associations.
Q-3: We would like to know more about your academic career.
My work has been in the areas of manufacturing management, coordinating supply chains and lately in issues related to technology networks and entrepreneurship. Much of my work is applied in nature and has been focused on solving specific managerial/operational problem mostly large in scale. I have been using Operation Research and Game Theory to address operational issues in management. Lately, I have started to do empirical work and use statistical methods to answer some questions. Managerial regime in India is changing quite dramatically and this is very exciting times for management researchers, who can collect data, develop hypothesis and answer specific questions related to productivity or growth. I have also been doing research to study the interface of technology with various managerial decisions like quality and price. Some of the sectors that I have looked at are textiles, auto-components, and semiconductors.
I have also been involved quite extensively with industrial consultancy in manufacturing and supply chain management and in executive education globally. My applied work allows me to bring much of my research into the classroom – whether it is for executives or MBAs. I have developed several electives that explore boundaries of various functional disciplines and used to teach the core Operations Management course at McGill and at IIM-A. I have enjoyed considerably my teaching of and work with doctoral students. In the last eight years, I have also worked on issues of higher education, especially in the area of governance, in India along with a few colleagues. This, I would say, formed the foundation of my institution building efforts.
Q-4: Please tell us about IIM-Bangalore and your plan to make it a world-class management institution.
IIM Bangalore is a premier management education institution in Asia. It started its teaching programmes in 1973 and unequivocally has the best set of international linkages amongst Institutions in India. We have about 82 full time faculty and about 15 visiting faculty. The Institute runs four long duration programmes – the doctoral programme (which is also known as the Fellow Programme), the PG (Post Graduate) programme, a PG programme for Software Enterprise Management and a PG programme in Public Management (a programme for those involved in management of public systems and policy). In addition, we do a very large number of short duration executive education programmes, programmes for various specialized constituents like teachers, and consultancy for government, private industry and international agencies. IIM-B is a very active place for a researcher with regular research seminar series where researchers globally come and present their research, research workshops and research projects.
IIM-B has a 100 acre lush green campus with a very unique architecture and academic ambience. We hope to become the campus of the world with more international students and faculty coming to IIM-B to study and teach. Our research trajectory and international linkages have only been growing and we hope to raise and put in more funds to make us sit at the head table of management schools globally. In that direction, the biggest challenge is to attract and retain best faculty from around the world. Once we address that aspect, we can also grow in size.
Q-5: Please tell us about your IT-BHU and Wharton days.
BHU was an experience of a lifetime. As they say, if you have not gone to BHU, you have not seen the world! It provided the space and opportunity to experiment – and as underdogs, we tried harder – that attitude has stayed with all of us. I had trudged up to Banaras with two of my other pals – Rohit Bhatnagar and Krishna Parolia. It was great times – I lived in Morvi (first year), Raman (second year) and Dhanrajgiri (the rest of the three years). Sanjay Singh (who is now in Thailand) was my room-mate in the first year. We brought out a college magazine (and I will not name it here – we still get pulled for pushing it on all of our batch-mates who really indulged us gracefully with an occasional “gaali”), started Kashi Yatra, participated in the Technical festival and built models, enjoyed our summer training (I went out in my first summer to Salgaocar in Goa and it was just great – I had a great senior there in Mr. Dakshinamurthy who made sure we did not miss Goa!), met with students from Arts & Science faculty (and that was special about BHU), participated in elections, worked hard to keep the GPA high enough - in other words, BHU was preparing us to be wholesome! We went through the joy of sharing together and grieved together when we lost one of our classmates, Ashish Kumar in the last year. I did my final thesis under Professor BB Dhar on finite element analysis of an underground opening – the motivation was the chance to use the new mainframe that had been installed in the campus. Strange are the motivations to work in life, I guess! Banaras was a teacher of life – one saw life unfolding on the streets. It was harsh and gentle at the same time.
Wharton was a blast in the face of another kind. Suddenly, everyone was concerned about career and contribution. The seriousness was palpable and the need of the hour was to focus. And focus I did – suddenly, I had to change gears and immerse myself in a new field of OR and subsequently OM – developing rigour and ability to think deeply were the new requirements. Forged new friendships, developed a perspective in life, started to enjoy academics even more and came across wonderful researchers as teachers. One came across top academics from various fields on the campus and observed how they thought and approached issues. Most other activities went on the back burner. This phase was special as it taught me the value of reflection, the value of merit, as well as the need to appreciate the work of others. This time was special as I got married to an old friend during my stay at Wharton. Several of my old BHU pals would pass by Philadelphia and we had a great time – Devesh Kapur was at Princeton, HS Krishnan at Chicago, Abbas Faiq and V. Lakshminaraynan would come down from Michigan, Umar Mohideen from Columbia (and he would make great pizza) - Vineet Agarwal/Jaya and Utpal Gupta (from our junior batches) were just a call away – such were the bonds of BHU – I made friends for life and still cherish them!
Q-6: Please tell us about your family
I come from a family of academics – my parents taught at Allahabad University. My wife is an MD, PhD and heads the New Drug Discovery group (known as Discovery Biology) at Torrent Pharma’s R&D in Ahmedabad. She did her medicine studies in Jodhpur and her doctoral work in Montreal. We have a son who is eleven and half years old and studies in Grade 7. Our family is a dog lover and we have a small Spitz.
On reflection, life has been very kind to me – it has given me immense opportunities, gave me affection of wonderful people many of whom became long life friends, and gave me unlimited blessings of elders. I guess that equips me to take on this new responsibility!
Q-7: It was nice talking to you. Thank you, Sir, for providing us with info about you and your institute.
Thank you for your gracious interview and Best wishes.
Prof. Pankaj Chandra can be contacted at: chandra[AT]iimb.ernet.in
- Additional Links
- Profile of Prof. Pankaj Chandra on IIM-A website:
- Complete CV (15 pages, PDF file) of Prof. Chandra:
Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore
Opulence: Unleashing Creative Extravagance (18-20 January, 2008)
(Forwarded by Ankit Khanna, Applied Physics 2010)
Opulence is IT-BHU’s annual national management fest conceptualized with the aim of developing managerial and entrepreneurial abilities among students, through relevant competitions like business plan writing, case study analysis, strategy forecasting etc; seminars and workshops. As IT-BHU eagerly awaits the 4th edition of Opulence In 2008, it is undoubtedly established that so far opulence has been successful in its mission.
From a modest beginning in 2005 Opulence has come a long way. Its history is brief but illustrious. When it started off in 2005 Opulence looked to be big in a small way. But in subsequent years, the brand has been well established. Opulence has been one among the rare college fests which facilitates the development of analytical and critical reasoning, communication and other interpersonal skills amongst the technocrats of tomorrow.
Being one of its kinds, Opulence attracts monumental outside participation from various professional colleges of engineering and management, including the IIMs, IITs and NITs from all parts of the country which makes it a truly national festival. Needless to say Opulence is also very popular amongst IT students.
Celebrities and Industry bigwigs like Mr. Pralahd Kakkar, among India’s finest ad-makers; Mr. Bharat Dabholkar, another maverick ad-man and film star; Mr. LC Singh, CEO Nihilent Technologies and producer of the movie Banaras; Mr. Kavi Kumar, president (brokerage) Indiabulls; Ms. Ananya Dutt, model and actress and many more have graced the event and inspired students.
Mr. Kavi Kumar during Opulence 2007 said that he had never seen such a well organized fest.
The industry too, has begun to appreciate the brand value of Opulence and it has been reflected in the support extended by it. State Bank of India, Infosys, Maruti Suzuki, Maini Group, NVidia, De Shaw are among the many that have benefited opulently due to their association with the fest. If you or your organization would like to partner our endeavors please email us at opulence[AT]itbhu.ac.in .
The competitive events at Opulence are a mix of the old classics and novel innovations. The tried and tested events like business plan writing, business paper presentation, case study analysis and ad making contests have been well supplemented by newer events like strategy forecasting, marketing game etc. The best of the participants at Opulence face off in a final event Czar of the war. The prize money of all events especially Czar of the War is grand like the fest itself. The last Czar of the War walked away with fifty thousand rupees!
Opulence 2008 is even more interactive than the previous editions due to Pragyan, a year long workshop series building up to the event.
The highlights of Opulence 2008 will be an Advertising Workshop by Mr.. Abhijit Avasthy, Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather and a workshop “Break Free” conducted by Prof. Debashis Chatterji, internationally acknowledged leadership guru and acclaimed author (Break Free: Discover Your Leadership Signature; Pub: Penguin, ISBN No: 0143100475). Prof. Chatterji has designed this workshop exclusively for the top engineering students in India and in January will be conducting a national tour covering only the IITs and IT-BHU. We also look forward to host some top-notch CEOs and reputed business experts besides getting student participation from the length and breadth of the country.
The success of Opulence is the outcome of the able mentorship of the IIPC (the Industry Institute Partnership Cell of IT-BHU), the dedicated support of our alumni and the sincere efforts of students. As all of these are only getting stronger it is exciting to think of the heights Opulence 2008 can scale.
If you would like to know more about Opulence please email us at opulence[AT]itbhu.ac.in or visit our website: www.itbhu.ac.in/opulence .
(Note: The list shows the upcoming events at our campus in next few months. It is compiled from the announcement on our institute’s website, www.itbhu.ac.in).
|Jan, 18-20||Comet’ 08 Conference||Conference on Mechanical Engineering and Technology||Mechanical||http://www.itbhu.ac.in/comet/home.html|
|Jan, 18-20||Opulence 2008||Management festival||IT-BHU||http://www.itbhu.ac.in/opulence/|
|Jan, 24-27||Kashi Yatra ‘08||Cultural event||IT-BHU||http://www.itbhu.ac.in/kashiyatra/|
|Feb||Technex ‘08||Technical extravaganza||IT-BHU||http://www.itbhu.ac.in/technex/home.php|
|March, 7-8||ROMIE-08 Seminar||National Seminar on Rock - Machine Interaction in Excavations (ROMIE-08)||Mining||http://www.itbhu.ac.in/min/conferences/romie/romie.htm|
|March, 7-9||Seminar||National Seminar on Fertilizer Technology 21st Century Challenges and Options||Chemical||http://www.itbhu.ac.in/fts/|
METALS AND ALLOYS:
Past, Present and Future
December 07 – 10, 2007
(To view the full report with additional photos, please click here.)
A four day international conference on the theme of metals and alloys, METALLO 2007, was organized by the Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering, IIT Kanpur and the Kanpur Chapter of the Indian Institute of Metals. The main theme of focus of the conference was the past, present and future of metals and alloys and their applications in diverse engineering fields. The conference showcased the latest global trends in metals and alloys research, education and industry. The conference was held at the newly-built Outreach Centre at IIT Kanpur, from the seventh to the tenth of December, 2007.
The conference honored Professor T.R. Anantharaman, whose eightieth birthday is being celebrated in the year 2007. The conference was supported by the organizations in which Professor Anantharaman was closely associated: Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore; Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi; Thapar University, Patiala and National Physical Laboratory, New Delhi. A citation of honor was read out for Professor Anantharaman during the Inauguration Function. Professor Anantharaman could not attend the conference due to ill health.
The highlights of the conference are outlined in this brief report. The important events of METALLO 2007 are briefly described.
The registration for the conference took place on the evening of the seventh of December, followed by a welcome dinner.
The conference was inaugurated formally on the morning of the eighth of December. The chief guest of the Inauguration Function was Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Science and Technology. Professor R. Balasubramaniam of MME Department, the convener of the conference, welcomed the audience and invited the distinguished guests on to the stage. This was followed by the traditional lighting of the lamp by the distinguished guests, reciting of invocation and rendering of Kulgeet. Dr. Anish Upadhyaya, the co-convener of the conference, of the MME department briefed on the background of the conference. Prof. S.G. Dhande, the Director of IIT Kanpur and the chief patron of the conference, in his inaugural remarks emphasized the importance of materials and ever-changing role of engineering materials in in modern technology, by pointing out an interesting comparison with that of a snake shedding its skin. He also stressed the importance of people and organizations coming together in collaborative activities, like in the case of four organizations supporting METALLO 2007. The activities of the Kanpur Chapter of IIM were highlighted by Prof. Dipak Mazumdar, Chairman of the chapter, while that of IIM was briefed by Mr. Pughazhenthy, Vice-President of IIM. He was representing Dr. S. Banerjee, President of IIM, whose arrival at Kanpur was slightly delayed. Professor Subhash Mahajan, Director of the School of Materials at Arizona State University read out the citation in honor of Prof. Anantharaman. This was followed by release of a book on Prof. T.R Anantharaman. The Head of MME Department, Prof. Rajiv Shekhar, highlighted the research activities of the department and introduced Dr. Ramasami before delivering his Inaugural Address. Dr. Ramasami delivered a scintillating lecture on “An insight into the world of metals and alloys”. He emphasized the important role that metals and alloys will play in the coming years for India’s overall development. Dr. Bikramjit Basu, the co-convener of the conference, proposed the vote of thanks.
Immediately after, the distinguished guests inaugurated the exhibition stalls, the poster session and a full-scale fiber-reinforced plastic replica of the Delhi Iron Pillar. The model was fabricated at the Nehru Science Center, Mumbai, under the National Council of Science Museum, Government of India. The model was erected at IIT Kanpur on the occasion of METALLO 2007.
The highlights of the conference is described in the attached Full Report (PDF file), taking into account the activities on the three days.
|Lamp lighting at the Inaugural Function by Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary, DST. Also in the picture (from left) are Prof. S.G. Dhande, Mr. L. Pughazhenthy, Prof. Subhash Mahajan and Prof. R. Balasubramaniam|
|A special book on Professor T. R. Anantharaman was released during the Inaugural Function by Dr. T. Ramasami, Secretary, DST.|
|Group photograph of the participants of METALLO 2007|
|View of the Hall of Fame during poster session|
R. Balasubramaniam (Convener), Anish Upadhyaya (Co-Convener) and Bikramjit Basu (Co-Convener)
Department of Materials and Metallurgical Engineering
IIT Kanpur, Kanpur 208 016.
For further information:
Email: bala[AT]iitk.ac.in, anishu[AT]iitk.ac.in, bikram[AT]iitk.ac.in
HRD Ministry allays fears over IIESTs
Monday December 10 2007 13:06 IST
Express News Service
KOCHI: In a fresh development having bearing on Cusat’s conversion into an IIEST, the Union Ministry of Human Resources Development has conveyed to a team from Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU), Shibpur, that the spirit of the Anandakrishnan Committee report will not be diluted when it is converted into an IIEST.
The BESU team led by its Vice-Chancellor met the Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh the other day to air its apprehensions over the university’s conversion into an IIEST.
The team was assured that a separate schedule for the list of IIESTs and IIEST Council will be incorporated in the NIT Act and the Act will be renamed IIEST-NIT Act.
This will ensure separate identity for IIESTs, said sources. In due course a separate IIEST Act will be enacted, the team was told.
A Bill for the conversion of five institutions into IIESTs was to be moved in the winter session of Parliament.
However, this didn’t happen and now the HRD Ministry is thinking on the lines of issuing an order for the conversion of BESU and Cusat into IIESTs so as to start admission on the new pattern from the 2008 academic year, said the sources.
UP adopts Bill, 2-yr jail term for ragging
7 Dec 2007, 0044 hrs IST , Arvind Singh Bisht , TNN
LUCKNOW: In a significant move to curb ragging in educational institutions, the Mayawati government on Thursday adopted a Bill in the state assembly making provisions for two-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000 for offenders.
The Bill was tabled in the House by parliamentary affairs minister Lalji Verma and passed by a voice vote without any debate. Another important provision made in the bill - UP Ban On Ragging In Educational Institutions Bill, 2007 - is that the offenders would not be able to get admission in any institution for a period of five years.
It, however, gives an opportunity to the students to appeal within 30 days against their expulsion before a commissioner, whose decision in the matter would be final.
The Bill also says in case of written complaints by students, their parents or guardians and teachers, the head of the institution should probe the charges within a week. It authorises the institution head to expel the offenders, if found guilty, within a week and file a complaint with the police. The head of the institution could be punished if he fails to take any action.
The Bill underlines the government's concern over the increasing incidents of ragging in different institutions in UP in the recent past.
A Yahoo group for the graduates of 2008 is re-activated.
The link to subscribe to the yahoo group is - itbhu08-subscribe[AT]yahoogroups.com
The group was formed in September 2005 by Vikalp Agrawal (Civil 2008), who is the owner-moderator of the group. The group has currently 10 members. The group is a closed one, and the membership is only for the class of 2008.
To join the group, students are requested to send an email at the above address mentioning their branch. Moderators from each branch will then approve such requests.
As Vikalp states,” The idea is to get one representative from each branch, give them the moderator status and then request them to invite/approve members from their branch. Hopefully, we will get the group running in full swing, once we all are back at the college for our 'Final Semester' ”.
Vikalp Agarwal (Civil 2008)
(By Yogesh K. Upadhyaya)
I was prompted to write this report after I received unsolicited, mischievous invitational emails from some of the social networking websites.
Some sample invitations:
Mr. XYZ added you as a friend on Facebook. We need you to confirm that you are, in fact, friends with XYZ.
To confirm this friend request, follow the link below:
The Facebook Team
Mr. XYZ wants you to join Yaari!
Is XYZ your friend?
Please respond or XYZ might think you said no :(
The Yaari Team
Subject: Do we like the same books?
I just joined Shelfari to connect with other book lovers. Come see the books I love and see if we have any in common. Then pick my next book so I can keep on reading.
Click below to join my group of friends on Shelfari!
The internet spam can be classified into two categories. The first one is simple or one-way spam, which can be easily deleted. The examples include, daily bombardment of marketing emails from drugs sellers, adult sites, letter from a gentleman from an African country (stating that you have won 20 million dollars, but only need to send $20,000 to claim the prize), etc.
The other one is tricky one, and it will force you to allow complete access to your email address book, which will be used to invite your contacts, even without your knowledge. These are the emails sent by respected social networking websites (such as Facebook, www.facebook.com) and not so respected websites (such as Yaari, www.yaari.com and Shelfari, www.shelfari.com).
How do they spam?
The spam starts during the registration process. After the initial username/password step, users are asked to select online account from which to invite friends. The screen opens like this:
You probably have friends on Shelfari.
Search your address book to see who's here
Once you select the account, the site will ask for your email address and password. Although it says it does not store login information, it will send emails to your contacts on that particular link (example, Gmail address book) to send an invitation to join them. Thus hundreds of your friends and relatives, including your office colleagues and boss, on your Gmail contact list will receive an invitation from your behalf (but without your knowledge).
Why the websites indulge into such practices? There are several reasons:
- The websites can add more members quickly. This will temporarily increase their page rankings on web traffic monitoring sites such as Alexa (www.alexa.com) or Quantcast (www.quantcast.com), resulting in more advertisementss and more ad revenue per page.
- The information, reading and shopping habits of the online surfers can be collected and compiled using cookies. This information can be used for direct marketing purpose or can be sold to third parties.
- Some questionable new start up networking sites can simply collect personal info (name/address, etc.) and sell the mailing list to mass marketers at the market rate of $1 per person in USA.
Many sites are vague about their Private Policy statement on their website.
How to avoid such spam?
Never respond blindly to the email invitation. If it is from your friend, please check with him directly whether he has written the invitation. Check more info and stories about the particular website by conducting Google search and view what other respected blogs say about the website. If you are interested, never give account name and password of your Gmail (or AOL, Yahoo, etc.) account. If you have given it by mistake, immediately change your account name or password on that account. The sites send spam invitations from your contact list 7-10 days after registration.
After lots of public complaints, protest by respected online blogs and threat of legal actions, many of the social networking sites have improved their methodology. For example, Shelfari used to give only 15 seconds for the newcomer during registration process to declare his online account (with username and password). Now it is optional. Facebook has now added Unsubscribe button at the end of its email. Many sites have now complete contact info with phone number. Sites such as LinkedIn, Orkut, Plaxo, etc. are trusted sites and they do not send invitation without member’s express permission.
However, Yaari has not changed its policy. This website, started by Indians is a poor carbon copy of another popular adult website hotornot (www.hotornot.com). It openly states on the registration page:
- Boycott yaari.com - "Spam 2.0"
- How to survive Facebook, Beacon, and avoid Facebook spam
- More on Shelfari's spam invites
(Chronicle Note: Please send your feedback to chronicle[AT]itbhuglobal.org or Yogesh[AT]optonline.net)
Thanks again for all your kind support and help in getting the message of METALLO 2007 conference across to the ITBHU community. Looks like your site is really great to meet old friends. I found the sad information about Amit Bajpai's death in the same issue. Plus I found the email id of my dear friend Hariharan who was also close to Amit. I should keep visiting the site more regularly. Incidentally, the BHUMET 1984 batch can be contacted on the email id bhumet84[AT]yahoogroups.com. The 1984 batch is planning to meet in Banaras in 2009 January to celebrate our 25 years reunion. Please share this information with as many 1984 batch people as possible.
R. Balasubramaniam (Metallurgy 1984)
Dated: December 18, 2007
|Fortune Magazine Value Driven by Geoff Colvin|
King Abudallah of Saudi Arabia.
|December 4 2007: 9:29 AM EST
The global fight for top talent
From the United States to Saudi Arabia, countries are finally recognizing that human capital is crucial.
By Geoff Colvin, senior editor at large
(Fortune Magazine) -- Three scenes from the new battle for global economic supremacy:
- King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the country that sits on 25% of the planet's oil, knows that oil is not his country's future. That's why he's spending $12.5 billion to found a graduate research university, which he'll endow with $10 billion - as big an endowment on day one as MIT has built in 142 years. The point of this project, on a grand scale even by Saudi standards: to attract the best researchers in science and technology.
- The European Union has proposed new rules to attract the world's most highly skilled workers. If they can show that they're well educated and hold an offer of a lucrative job in Europe, they can get a two-year renewable permit to live there. The problem Europe is trying to solve: 85% of emigrating unskilled workers from developing countries go to Europe, but only 5% of skilled workers do so.
- HCL Technologies, an Indian infotech services firm, has noticed a major change in its best young employees. Until two or three years ago, few of them would work for it unless they were promised an overseas assignment. Now it's just the opposite: They see India as the most compelling source of excitement and opportunity, and they don't want to be sent away.
We've known for a long time that this day was coming, and now it's here: Countries are finally realizing that their future prosperity depends not on natural resources or even on financial capital, but on human capital. Companies have been battling for years to attract and keep the best people. Now countries are engaging in the same fight.
It wasn't much of a scrap until recently. Only the United States, Western Europe, and Japan - for a while - were even contenders. They didn't beat up on one another too badly vying for the best talent because there was enough to go around. Their economies weren't sufficiently info-based to make talent as critical an advantage as it has become, and the economy wasn't sufficiently global for human-capital supremacy to be crucial. Now all those factors have changed; many countries are in the hunt, and they're all after the same thing.
Since this is a fundamentally new fight, no one is sure what will win it. But we can already identify some fairly deep and difficult questions the fight raises. How countries answer them will help determine national wealth and power.
How long will any country tolerate Info Age protectionism? Notice that Europe's new proposal to attract highly skilled workers is pretty pathetic. It doesn't really offer any attractions; it just scales back rules that keep those workers out.
We have similar rules in the United States, such as our skinflint distribution of H-1B visas and immigration rules that favor family connections over skills. Why do such rules exist at all? In the Industrial Age we protected manufacturing workers with tariffs and quotas, but we can't put duties on bits and bytes, so in the Info Age we protect knowledge workers by restricting immigration.
No country can have world-class workers if it continually protects them from world-class competition. Cisco CEO John Chambers, who is passionate on this subject, says, "Anyone with a college degree should be welcome to come to our country, with appropriate security checks."
The U.S. may be rich, but we hardly have the best education system
Why isn't the United States more serious about the key competitive advantage of the Info Age, education? How to make human capital more valuable is no mystery, yet the world's richest country still has nowhere near the world's best education system. That means trouble that will only get worse.
Stephen Roach, former chief economist of Morgan Stanley and now head of the firm's Asian operations, says, "In the U.S. we've squandered our advantage by not investing in educational reform."
What, ultimately, is a national economy? Is it good for a country if its companies prosper by offshoring high-value intellectual work? What if a nation's high-value employees are working in that nation for other nations' companies? Or if highly skilled immigrants perform high-value work and send their earnings home? The answers aren't obvious, but they are important.
This international fight for talent will get much more serious. With luck, it will lead to something new: a free market in brainpower. That may not come to pass- but wise nations will prepare for it.
(Note: India opposed the abolition of death penalty.)
DEBATING DEATH PENALTY: The resolution passed with a vote of 104 in favour versus 54 against with 29 abstentions.
|UN Assembly calls for moratorium on death penalty|
Tue Dec 18, 2007 2:39pm EST
By Daniel Bases
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 18 (Reuters) - The U.N. General Assembly passed a nonbinding resolution on Tuesday calling for a moratorium on the death penalty, overcoming protests from a bloc of states that said it undermined their sovereignty.
The resolution, which calls for "a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty," was passed by a 104 to 54 vote, with 29 abstentions.
"The resolution is not an interference, but we call on each member state of the United Nations to implement the resolution and also to open a debate on the death penalty," Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said after the vote.
"The moratorium is an important opportunity for international debate," he told reporters. Italy, speaking on behalf of the EU, was a strong proponent of the resolution.
Two similar moves in the 1990s failed in the assembly. The resolution's text stops short of an outright demand for immediate abolition; it carries no legal force but backers say it has powerful moral authority.
Among nations who voted against were Egypt, Iran, Singapore, the United States and a bloc of Caribbean states.
Eighty-seven countries -- including the 27 European Union states, more than a dozen Latin American countries and eight African states -- jointly introduced the resolution, though opponents singled out the EU as the driving force.
The resolution picked up several extra votes in the General Assembly since it was passed by a U.N. human rights committee last month by a vote of 99-52 with 33 abstentions.
Barbados, one of the most vocal opponents of the measure, said sponsors were trying to impose their will on other countries and that it had been threatened with the withdrawal of aid over the issue.
"Capital punishment remains legal under international law and Barbados wishes to exercise its sovereign right to use it as a deterrent to the most serious crimes," Mohammed Degia, first secretary for Barbados, said just prior to the vote.
"Beyond all of this is the simple fact that the question of the death penalty is basically one of criminal justice as enforced and upheld within national legal systems," he said, noting that Barbados had not carried out an execution in decades but still retained the right to do so.
The United States voted against but kept a low profile throughout the resolution's progress to a vote.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokeswoman Michele Montas said Ban welcomed the vote.
"Today's vote represents a bold step by the international community," Montas quoted Ban as saying in a statement. "This is further evidence of a trend towards ultimately abolishing the death penalty."
According to rights group Amnesty International, 133 countries have abolished the death penalty in law or in practice. Opponents of the moratorium, however, said more than 100 countries retained capital punishment on their statutes, even if they did not all use it.
China, Iran, Iraq, the United States, Pakistan and Sudan account for about 90 percent of all executions worldwide, according to Amnesty.
- About death penalty on Wikipedia
- Descriptions of Execution Methods
- Electrocution protocol questioned
- New Jersey Abolishes Death Penalty
India, China downsized in global economic sweepstakes
19 Dec 2007, 0241 hrs IST , CHIDANAND RAJGHATTA , TNN
WASHINGTON/NEW DELHI: The World Bank says China and India are not what they are pumped up to be. The Bank has "downsized" the economies of the two Asian giants by nearly 40% under new metrics, which it says are more reliable and accurate than previous estimates.
The International Comparison Program (ICP) data, released by the World Bank on Monday, lists new estimates of purchasing power parities (PPPs) for 100 countries benchmarked to the year 2005. According to the new data, India's GDP in PPP terms was $2.34 trillion in 2005 and in nominal dollar terms was $778.7 billion.
Prior to the revision, India's GDP in PP terms was $3.8 trillion in 2005 and had grown to over $4 trillion in the current year. As a result of the revisions, India's share in global GDP in 2005 — which has also been revised downwards from more than $68 trillion in the earlier estimates to just under $55 trillion — came down sharply from 6.2% to 4.3%.
This would make India the world's fifth largest economy in 2005 behind the US (which accounted for 22.5% of the global GDP), China (9.7 %), Japan (7.0%) and Germany (4.6%).
In the earlier estimates, India was a comfortable fourth, well ahead of Germany and close behind Japan. Even under the revised PPP figures, India is likely to have overtaken Germany this year, having grown at about 9% for two successive years.
PPP is an apples-to-apples comparison of buying power in different countries taking into account price differences. The Bank said the new data was based on a study in which India participated for the first time since 1985 and China for the first time ever. The earlier estimates were therefore based on data that was outdated or incomplete or both.
For the new study, which the Bank said was the most extensive and thorough effort ever to measure PPPs across countries, teams in each region identified characteristic goods and services to be priced. Surveys conducted during 2005 collected prices for more than 1,000 goods and services to arrive at the new numbers. All previous PPP estimates were extrapolated from other figures, the Bank said.
The revised estimates also downsized China's economy, although it remained the second largest economy behind the US. China's economy under the new metrics was $5.3 trillion in PPP in 2005 terms against the $8.8 trillion estimated earlier. It share of world GDP came down from 14.5% in the earlier estimates to 9.7% in the latest figures.
One interesting fall-out of the revised estimates is that they dilute India's and China's demand for increased voting weight at the World Bank and IMF based on their economic size under the old PPP figures. Although there has been a consensus in the Bank-Fund that PPP should be taken into account to determine voting muscle, the latest results are a setback for the Asian giants in terms of potential voting clout.
The revised estimates show that between them the US, China, Japan, Germany and India — the five largest economies — account for nearly half of the world's GDP as measured by PPPs. The BRIC countries — Brazil, Russia, China and India — now account for almost exactly 20% of global GDP against the earlier estimate of close to 26%.
The revised figures mean that per capita GDP in PPP terms in India is down to $2,126 just over half the figure of $4,091 for China. Brazil has a per capita PPP GDP that is more than twice that of China at $8,605 and Russia's number is $11,866 showing the very wide range of levels of affluence within the BRIC countries.
These are by far the poorest among the 10 biggest economies, with even sixth ranked Italy having a per capita GDP in terms of PPP of almost $28,000 and the US at $41,670 heading the list within these 10.
By EDUARDO PORTER
Published: December 9, 2007
Few people noticed, but China got smaller the other day. According to new estimates, the colossal Chinese economy that has been making marketers salivate and giving others an inferiority complex may be roughly 40 percent smaller than previously thought: worth $6 trillion rather than $10 trillion. That means it lost a chunk roughly the size of Japan’s output.
What happened was a large statistical glitch. When comparing the size of economies, economists mostly avoid using the standard currency exchange rates seen in bank windows.
These fluctuate too much, driven by housing woes, trade deficits or presidential popularity.
Economists prefer to use what is known as “purchasing power parity” — or P.P.P. — a rate that adjusts for price differences between countries.
Take a 40 yuan serving of noodles at an eatery in Beijing. If the same dish cost $4 at a comparable restaurant in New York, the noodle P.P.P. would be 10 yuan to the dollar.
Calculated using a large basket of goods and services, this ratio allows for a more consistent comparison of economies.
The problem is that the World Bank’s measure of China’s rate, everybody’s benchmark, had been based on a 1980s survey of Chinese prices. This year, the World Bank did its own survey to update the measure. While the bank has not published it yet, Albert Keidel of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace extrapolated the figure from another set of exchange rates published by the Asian Development Bank.
It turns out that things in China are more expensive. It’s as though we discovered that the real price of the noodles in Beijing was 50 yuan, yielding a P.P.P. of 12.5 yuan to the dollar rather than 10. That means the Chinese are relatively poorer and China’s economy is smaller than everybody thought.
This is not a mere technicality. Suddenly the number of Chinese who live below the World Bank’s poverty line of a dollar a day jumped from about 100 million to 300 million, roughly the size of the United States population. And if you thought China’s energy consumption was dismally inefficient, consider that it still uses the same amount of energy to produce 40 percent less stuff. The reassessment does not just involve China. India is also likely to be downsized.
And, by the way, global growth has very likely been slower than we thought.
I don’t think China’s leaders have said anything about the recalibration. But they should be pretty pleased. China has been known to enjoy throwing its weight around, but being big also exacts a cost. If a country is that wealthy, others can demand that it start pulling its weight and play more by the international rules. If China is less wealthy, and less a rival, maybe some members of the United States Congress will not press it so hard to revalue its exchange rate.
Using the earlier estimate, China’s economy was due to surpass the $13 trillion American economy in about five years. At $6 trillion, it may look somewhat less scary.
Monkeys and college students equal at mental math?
Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:52am EST
|By Julie Steenhuysen
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Monkeys performed about as well as college students at mental addition, U.S. researchers said on Monday in a finding that suggests nonverbal math skills are not unique to humans.
The research from Duke University follows the finding by Japanese researchers earlier this month that young chimpanzees performed better than human adults at a memory game.
Prior studies have found non-human primates can match numbers of objects, compare numbers and choose the larger number of two sets of objects.
"This is the first study that looked at whether or not they could make explicit decisions that were based on mathematical types of calculations," said Jessica Cantlon, a cognitive neuroscience researcher at Duke, whose work appeared in the Public Library of Science journal PLoS Biology (www.plosbiology.org).
"It shows when you take language away from a human, they end up looking just like monkeys in terms of their performance," Cantlon said in a telephone interview.
Her study pitted the monkey math team of Boxer and Feinstein -- two female macaque monkeys named for U.S. senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein of California -- with 14 Duke University students.
"We had them do math on the fly," Cantlon said.
The task was to mentally add two sets of dots that were briefly flashed on a computer screen. The teams were asked to pick the correct answer from two choices on a different screen.
The humans were not allowed to count or verbalize as they worked, and they were told to answer as quickly as possible. Both monkeys and humans typically answered within 1 second.
And both groups fared about the same.
Cantlon said the study was not designed to show up Duke University students. "I think of this more as using non-human primates as a tool for discovering where the sophisticated human mind comes from," she said.
The researchers said the findings shed light on the shared mathematical abilities in humans and non-human primates and shows the importance of language -- which allows for counting and more advanced calculations -- in the evolution of math in humans.
"I don't think language is the only thing that differentiates humans from non-human primates, but in terms of math tasks, it is probably the big one," she said.
As for the teams, both were paid. Boxer and Feinstein got their favorite reward: a sip of Kool-Aid soft drink. As for the students, they got $10 each -- enough for a beer or two.
Chimps prove to have better memories than college students
|Honda's Asimo robot can now charge itself
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
|The first step towards robot emancipation has been taken by the child-sized automaton Asimo.
Telegraph TV: Honda's Asimo developments
The humanoid Asimo (Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility) was born in 1986 and has since developed the ability to walk, talk, run, recognises faces, shake hands, bow in a traditional Japanese greeting, turn on light switches, carry objects and push carts.
|Today, the Honda Motor Company unveiled a range of improvements which include the ability for Asimo to take charge of topping up its battery: when he is getting low, he is able to figure out the closest charging station and connect himself in, marking another step towards giving robots their independence.
"The back is slightly modified so he can plug himself into a charger," said William De Braekeleer of Honda Motor, Europe.
Asimo serves drinks at Honda's Aoyama Headquarters
"The great news is that we have also developed software to allow Asimo to work in a real environment and share tasks."
The cutting-edge artificial intelligence will enable Asimo to operate autonomously with people and the company has now built a twin with similar capabilities, so the two Asimos can work together too, each working out the most efficient way to help the other when they dash back and forth to a kitchen to help ply visitors with drinks.
Among other developments, the humanoid robot can avoid obstructions. He can choose between stepping back and yielding the right-of-way, or continuing to walk based on the predicted movement of someone who is walking towards him. "It will anticipates where people will go," said De Braekeleer.
And to show that robots are becoming closer to the kind of vision raised by science fiction films such as I Robot, the Asimos will greet business guests at the second floor lobby of Honda's Aoyama Headquarters from tomorrow until the end of January. "They will welcome visitors, guide them to the meeting room and take orders for drinks," said De Braekeleer.
During this time Honda will study how well the little robots can guide visitors, each of which will brandish a card to tell Asimo who they are. A computer will ensure the two Asimos work efficiently together to keep visitors refreshed.
According to Satoshi Shigemi, the leader of the team developing Asimo, the ultimate aim is to integrate robots into human society, so they are able to work hand-in-plastic-manipulator: "Honda is aiming to create a humanoid robot that can live together with people".
While many in Europe regard robots as impersonal at best and sinister at worst, most Japanese regard them as benign, even lovable, and is no coincidence that the country's Shinto religion suggests a living spirit can inhabit anything.
Humanoid robots also fit with Japan's cult of kawaii, a word usually translated as "cuteness".
And the Japanese are more familiar. From Atom Boy to Astroboy, Japanese popular culture has featured friendly robots as toys and cartoon characters for more than half a century.
ASIMO on YouTube:
At 71, Physics Professor Is a Web Star
Erik Jacobs for The New York Times
Excerpts from the article:
Prof. Walter H. G. Lewin, No. 1 on the most downloaded list at iTunes U for a while, with objects he uses for his physics lessons.
By SARA RIMER
Published: December 19, 2007
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Walter H. G. Lewin, 71, a physics professor, has long had a cult following at M.I.T. And he has now emerged as an international Internet guru, thanks to the global classroom the institute created to spread knowledge through cyberspace.
Here are links to some of Professor Lewin's online physics lectures.
- A Demonstration of Electrostatics
- Trajectories of Objects in Freefall
- How a Rocket Lifts Off
- A Lecture on Pendulums
|Courtesy Markos Hankin and M.I.T. Professor Lewin demonstrates physics of pendulums. Professor Lewin’s videotaped physics lectures, free online on the OpenCourseWare of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, have won him devotees across the country and beyond who stuff his e-mail in-box with praise.|
“Through your inspiring video lectures i have managed to see just how BEAUTIFUL Physics is, both astounding and simple,” a 17-year-old from India e-mailed recently.
Steve Boigon, 62, a florist from San Diego, wrote, “I walk with a new spring in my step and I look at life through physics-colored eyes.”
Professor Lewin delivers his lectures with the panache of Julia Child bringing French cooking to amateurs and the zany theatricality of YouTube’s greatest hits. He is part of a new generation of academic stars who hold forth in cyberspace on their college Web sites and even, without charge, on iTunes U, which went up in May on Apple’s iTunes Store.
In his lectures at ocw.mit.edu, Professor Lewin beats a student with cat fur to demonstrate electrostatics. Wearing shorts, sandals with socks and a pith helmet — nerd safari garb — he fires a cannon loaded with a golf ball at a stuffed monkey wearing a bulletproof vest to demonstrate the trajectories of objects in free fall.
He rides a fire-extinguisher-propelled tricycle across his classroom to show how a rocket lifts off.
He was No. 1 on the most downloaded list at iTunes U for a while, but that lineup constantly evolves. The stars this week included Hubert Dreyfus, a philosophy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and Leonard Susskind, a professor of quantum mechanics at Stanford.
Last week, Yale put some of its most popular undergraduate courses and professors online free. The list includes Controversies in Astrophysics with Charles Bailyn, Modern Poetry with Langdon Hammer and Introduction to the Old Testament with Christine Hayes.
M.I.T. recently expanded its online classes by opening a site aimed at high school students and teachers. Judging from his fan e-mail, Professor Lewin, who is among those featured on the new site, appeals to students of all ages.
Some of his correspondents compare him to Richard Feynman, the free-spirited, bongo-playing Nobel laureate who popularized physics through his books, lectures and television appearances.
With his wiry grayish-brown hair, his tortoiseshell glasses and his intensity, Professor Lewin is the iconic brilliant scientist. But like Julia Child, he is at once larger than life and totally accessible.
“We have here the mother of all pendulums!” he declares, hoisting his 6-foot-2, 170-pound self on a 30-pound steel ball attached to a pendulum hanging from the ceiling. He swings across the stage, holding himself nearly horizontal as his hair blows in the breeze he created.
The point: that a period of a pendulum is independent of the mass — the steel ball, plus one professor — hanging from it.
“Physics works!” Professor Lewin shouts, as the classroom explodes in cheers.
Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama greets people as he arrives for a three-day teaching event in Milan. (Reuters Photo)
Robots for Japan's largest industrial robot maker Yasukawa Electric, beat a drum at the International Robot Exhibition in Tokyo. Some 200 companies and more than 50 organisations from Japan and abroad are taking part in the 2007 International Robot Exhibition. (AFP Photo)
All six participating cricket teams of the Indian Cricket League on the eve of ICL Twenty 20 tournament, at Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkkula. on November 29, 2007. (PTI Photo)
Narain Karthikeyan, the winner, is flanked by Jonny Reid (left), the runner-up, and Adrian Zaugg, who finished third.
(Forwarded by Anup Bagla, chemical 1977)
This is a PowerPoint presentation about the wisdom for living well. There are 8 slides with beautiful background music.
Click on the following link:
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