Welcome to the IITBHU Chronicle, March 2013 Edition.
In This Issue
Campus View
Alumni World
Chronicle Extras
Front Page
Prof. Rajeev Sangal appointed as Director of IIT (BHU), Varanasi
@ Mar 30, 2013
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 (Prof. Rajeev Sangal)

We are pleased to announce that Prof. Rajeev Sangal, the former director of IIIT Hyderabad, has been appointed as director of IIT (BHU) Varanasi. He informed Chronicle that he will take over charge from Prof. Dhananjai Pandey as the Director of our institute from April 16, 2013.

We wish Prof. Sangal the very best, and look forward to working with him for the better of our alma mater.


To know more about Prof. Sangal, please visit his current homepage at: http://www.iiit.ac.in/~sangal/

1. Overview

I work on processing of human languages in Computational Paninian Grammar (CPG) framework, particularly applied to Indian languages. Our team is building machine translation systems among Indian languages and from English to Indian languages. I also work on knowledge representation, information extraction, search engines. I have authored 3 books, and a number of research papers in NLP and AI. 

I have been fortunate to be able to play a major role in shaping a new research university, namely IIIT Hyderabad. It has research centres but not departments. It focuses on research, while at the same time looking to applicability of technologies developed. It promotes research through its unique environment of experimentation and openness. I have developed and successfully implemented a radical new curriculum in Computer Science and Engg., that promotes research and project work starting from an early stage at the undergraduate level.

I have helped make human values course a regular part of the academic curriculum at IIIT-H, where it is playing a major role in shaping the atmosphere, and relating to larger human and societal concerns.


List of Directors for IT-BHU

(Source: office of the IT-Directorate. Date format: 1.10.86 means 1 October, 1986)

1. Gopal Tripathi 1968-71

2. S. S. Saluja 1971-81

3. T. R. Anantharaman 1981-86

4. V, V, Challam 1.10.86-30.4.88

5. S. L. Malhotra 1.5.88-31.3.92

6. V. S. Subbarao 1.4.92-31.7.92

7. R. N. Singh 1.8.92-31.1.93

8. R. B. Singh 1.2.93-31.3.94

9. N. K. D. Talukdar 1.4.94-31.10.96

10. M. Bhattacharya 1.11.96-26.4.99

11. P. M. Prasad 27.4.99-31.3.2001

12. G. S. Raju 1.4.2001-30.6.2001

13. B. N. Roy 1.7.2001-20.7.2002

14. S. Lele 20.7.2002-31.1.2005

15. S. N. Upadhyay 1.2.2005-31.1.2010

16. K. P. Singh 1.2.2010-31.1.2012

17. J N Sinha 1.2.2012-5.7.2012

18. Prof. Dhanajai Pandey 10.7.12-15.04.2013 (first director of IIT 9BHU)

19. Prof. Rajeev Sangal 16.04.2013-


Website of the institute


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Global meet announcement
@ Mar 30, 2013
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 1) IIT BHU Global Alumni meet at Bangalore on June 29, 2013.

International IIT BHU Global Alumni Mega Meet

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Kalinga Hall, Lalit Ashok Hotel, Bangalore, India

Registration is now open.

Dear Alumni:

We at the IIT BHU Global Alumni Association (IBGAA) are delighted to host our first ever IIT BHU Global Alumni Mega Meet in India on Saturday, June 29 2013 at the Kalinga Hall, Lalit Ashok Hotel in Bangalore. This will be a great reunion with trips down memory lane with several influential alumni and our honorable Director IITBHU and Chairman BOG IITBHU (VC of BHU) as special guests

Further details about the meet are being put up at the site http://bangalore2013.iitb huglobal.org/ .

Register and book now to avail the Early Bird Discounted rate

We look forward to welcome you at the Global Meet on June 29, 2013.


*Vish Narayanan (Electrical 1983)

President, IIT BHU Global Alumni Association

Email: vish.narayanan@gmail. com

Phone: 248-318-3548

*Sumit Dey (Electrical 2004)

Chair, Bangalore Global Meet

Email: sumitkrdey@gmail.com

Phone: 080-50088661

*Ajit Agrawal (Mech 1972)

Co-Chair, Bangalore Global Meet

Email: Ajit_Agarwal@hotmail. com

Phone: 98452 85917

 *Manish Gupta (Mech 1994)

Chair, Bangalore Global Meet

Email manish@indegene.com

Phone 080 4098777




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Chronicle needs news
@ Mar 30, 2013
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 The Chronicle is the voice of our IIT-BHU community. We need more news, reports, photos, etc. from students, faculty and alumni. Please send your news at: chronicle@itbhuglobal.org.

Deadline for submitting articles is 15th of each month.

Since we plan to publish chronicle issue by the end of each month, we request our readers to send articles latest by 15th. Articles received later than that date will be published only if time permits. Please add “for chronicle” in the subject line.

Chronicle needs volunteers

Chronicle needs volunteers (students/alumni) who can help us in publishing the Chronicle magazine.


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BHU distinguished alumnus award
@ Mar 30, 2013
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 We are pleased to state that 3 of our alumni were conferred with BHU Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Banaras Hindu University on December 25, 2012 at a function organized on campus during BHU International Alumni Meet. Among the award recipients, Prof. Pankaj Chandra received the award in person. Total 13 awards were given to alumni from different faculties by the University.

Two of the awardees (Prof. P. M. Ajayan and Shirish Sathaye) were already awarded with Distinguished Alumnus Award by our alumni association (IIT BHU Global Alumni Association) during our Global meet at Santa Clara, California on September 22, 2012.


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Prof. Pankaj Chandra

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Prof. P. M. Ajayan

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Shirish Sathaye


Prof. Pankaj Chandra (Mining 1983)

Prof. Pankaj Chandra, is the Director of the renowned Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore (IIMB) and a Professor in Production and Operation Management. He holds a Bachelor of Technology (first division with Honors) from Banaras Hindu University and a PhD from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA.

Before joining IIM Bangalore, Prof Chandra was a Professor of IIM Ahmedabad. His area of specialization is Supply Chain Coordination, Manufacturing Management, Technology Networks and Building Technological Capabilities in Manufacturing.

Prof. Chandra grew up in Allahabad in a household of academics. He did my schooling at St. Joseph’s College in the city. After finishing B. Tech at IIT-BHU, he went to USA. He 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 he was tenured. He returned back to India in 1994 and worked at IIM Ahmedabad since then till he came to IIM Bangalore. In between, he 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. He has also been a Visiting Professor at several Universities around the world – Cornell University, Renmin University (Beijing), International University of Japan, University of Geneva etc. He has always been drawn towards institution building – he 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. He worked briefly with the Industry Dept of the World Bank.

Ph. D., The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, USA, 1989

B. Tech. Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University, India, 1983

Email: chandra@iimb.ernet.in

Additional links:

*Profile of Prof. Pankaj Chandra on IIM-Bangalore website:


*Interview of Pankaj Chandra with Chronicle:



Prof. P. M. Ajayan (Metallurgy 1985)

Prof.  P. M. Ajayan (Pulickel Madhavapanicker Ajayan) is Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor of Engineering in the Department of Mechanical Engineering & Material Science at Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA. He is among the most distinguished research scientist among the alumni of our institute. He and Prof. Sumio Iijima of Japan are considered as fathers of nano-technology.

Professor Ajayan earned his B. Tech in metallurgical engineering from Banaras Hindu University in 1985 and Ph.D. in materials science and engineering from Northwestern University in 1989. After three years of post-doctoral experience at NEC Corporation in Japan, he spent two years as a research scientist at the Laboratoire de Physique des Solides, Orsay in France and nearly a year and a half as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Max-Planck-Institut fur Metallforschung, Stuttgart in Germany.

In 1997, he joined the materials science and engineering faculty at Rensselaer as an Assistant Professor and was the Henri Burlage chair Professor in Engineering until he left RPI in 2007. He joined the mechanical engineering and materials science department of Rice university, as the Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor in Engineering from July 2007. Professor Ajayan's research interests include synthesis and structure-property relations of nanostructures and nanocomposites, materials science and applications of nanomaterials, energy storage, and phase stability in nanoscale systems.

He is one of the pioneers in the field of carbon nanotubes and was involved in the early work on the topic along with the NEC group. He has published one book and 370 journal papers with more than 32,000 citations and an h-index of 89. He has given more than 250 invited talks including several keynote and plenary lectures in several countries. Ajayan has received several awards including the Senior Humboldt Prize, MRS medal, Scientific American 50 recognition, RPI senior research award, the Burton award from the microscopic society of America and the Hadfield medal for the outstanding student metallurgist in India. He has been elected as a fellow of AAAS, to the Mexican Academy of Sciences and has been elected honarary member of MRS India.

He is distinguished Guest Professor in the school of Materials Sciences at Tsinghua University, China and distinguished Visiting Professor of Shinshu University, Japan. He was also visiting professor at ISIS, University of Louis Pasteur in 2003. He is on the advisory editorial board of several materials science and nanotechnology journals and on the boards of several nanotech companies. He has been part of two Guiness Book of World records, one for the creation of the smallest brush and the other for creating the darkest material.

B. TECH Metallurgy (1985) IIT (BHU), Varanasi.

PH.D. (1989) Northwestern University,  Evanston, Illinois, USA.

Email: ajayan@rice.edu

Additional links:

*Home page of Ajayan on the Rice University website:


*Profile of Prof. Ajayan on the Rice University website


*Interview of Prof. P. M. Ajayan with Yogesh K. Upadhyaya on rediff.com

'Nanotech holds key to the future'


* Prof. P. M. Ajayan (Metallurgy 1985) designs nano-sized batteries



Shirish Sathaye (Electronics 1984)

Shirish Sathaye is venture capitalist and serial entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, California.

Shirish has a passion for building technology businesses. Earlier in his career, he held leadership roles in a number of start-ups, including FORE Systems (NASDAQ:FORE) and Alteon WebSystems (NASDAQ:ATON), where he was the vice president of engineering and chief technology officer. He comes to Khosla Ventures from Matrix Partners, where he spent a decade as a general partner investing in companies as diverse as Aruba Networks (NASDAQ:ARUN), Tigo Energy, Grandis, Inc.(acquired by Samsung), and Solidcore Systems.

Shirish’s love for physics is at the root of his love of technology businesses. When Shirish was 10, he visited an oil tanker docked near Mumbai, India, where he grew up. He peppered the crew with questions, such as how an enormous ship could float on water even when fully loaded. Shirish’s cousin, a submarine commander, later took him on a tour of a sub. Those two incidents prompted Shirish to learn about Archimedes’ principle of buoyancy. From there, Shirish was hooked on studying physics. “I was always curious about the way things worked,” he says. “Physics allows me to understand the world around me.”

He attended the Institute of Technology in Varanasi, where he studied electrical engineering and interned at Siemens AG, one of the world’s largest engineering conglomerates. After graduation, Shirish flew to the U.S. with the dream of becoming an entrepreneur. He arrived on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1984. Shirish obtained a master’s degree in engineering in 1986 and later joined Digital Equipment Corporation. Four years later, while still working at DEC, Shirish began his doctorate in electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon, finishing the PhD program in less than three years. He worked at DEC for a total of eight years, earning experience in networking ASICs, network protocols, and routing software.

Shirish moved on to FORE Systems, where he ran the ATM switch group, the largest part of FORE’s product line. FORE Systems went public in 1994 and was the market leader in ATM networking for several years. In 1997, Shirish noticed a fundamental shift: Ethernet connections were gaining speed, eclipsing ATM. He left FORE to join Alteon WebSystems, a young Ethernet switch maker backed by Matrix Partners. He started as the company’s vice president of engineering and later became its chief technology officer. As the promise of the Web unfolded, Alteon began to load-balance Web servers for Internet companies. Alteon went public in 1999 and the next year was bought by Nortel for $7.8 billion. After this huge exit, Alteon’s lead investor, Matrix Partners, hired Shirish as a general partner in 2001.

Shirish’s first investment at Matrix was a wireless enterprise networking company called Aruba Networks, which he helped incubate in Matrix Partners’ Silicon Valley office during the last economic down turn. The company went public in March 2007 and has a market cap of around $2 billion (NASDAQ:ARUN). In almost a decade as a general partner at Matrix, Shirish has invested in networking, storage, software, clean-tech, and semiconductor companies. He was heavily involved in recruiting partners and fund-raising to form Matrix India, Matrix Partners’ first international fund.

As a venture capitalist, Shirish works closely with entrepreneurs to develop and refine concepts and strategies and assemble strong teams. In some cases, as with Aruba Networks and Panzura, Inc., Shirish will get involved early, before the idea for the company has been fully formed.

Today Shirish is a general partner at Khosla Ventures, looking for exciting new opportunities brought forth by other physics-obsessed engineers just like him. He can be reached at shirish@khoslaventures.com.

B. Tech in Electronics Engineering from IIT (BHU), Varanasi, in 1984.

M. S. Electrical Engineering from Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia in 1986

Ph. D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1993

Additional links:

*Shirish Sathaye’s profile on khosla Ventures website


*Shirish Sathaye in top 100 among 2009 Midas List by Forbes magazine




Banaras Hindu University alumni meet concludes


TNN | Dec 25, 2012, 06.12 AM IST

VARANASI: The two-day international alumni meet of Banaras Hindu University (BHU) concluded in the presence of many distinguished alumni at Swatantrata Bhawan, BHU on Monday.

 As many as 13 alumni, including governor of Nepal, Dr Janki Ballabh Patnaik, judge of Supreme Court, justice BS Chauhan, director, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhopal, Prof Vinod Singh, director, Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore, Prof Pankaj Chandra, national professor under Indian Council for Agricultural Research ( ICAR) and several others were felicitated on the occasion.

 Apart from going down the memory lane with their batchmates, the alumni also participated in a two-day seminar on 'Mahamana's Vision of Nation Building' that was organised on the occasion



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IIT-BHU distinguished alumnus awards
@ Mar 30, 2013
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We are pleased to state that Prof. S. N. Upadhyay and Mr. S. P Shukla (Chgemical 1979) were presented with Distinguished Alumnus Award by our institute. . The prize included a plaque, a framed citation, a shawl and a memento. The full citation was read by the Dean, Faculty Affairs, IIT (BHU). Acting Director Prof. S K Tewari (Director Prof. Dhananjai Pandey was abroad) presided over the function on March 16, 2013.


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Prof. S. N. Upadhyay

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S. P. Shukla









Prof. Siddh Nath Upadhyay (Prof. in the Dept. of Chemical Engineering and former Director of the institute)

Email: upadhyaysnu@rediffmail.com

Born in 1946, Prof. Upadhyay graduated from the Banaras Hindu University in 1964 and obtained his Ph.D. (Chem. Eng.) degree from the same university in 1969.  He joined the Department of Chemical Engineering & Tech., IT BHU in 1967 as Lecturer in Chem. Eng. and became Reader in 1979 and Professor in 1984.  Prof. Upadhyay has supervised Eighty (80) M. Tech. (Chem. Eng./Biochem. Eng./Civil Eng./ Mat. Sc. & Tech.) and M.Sc.(Biotech./Env. Science) dissertations/theses, and 30 Ph.D. (Chem. Eng./Biochemical Eng. Mat. Sc. & Tech.) theses. 

Professor Upadhyay has been the Head, Department of Chemical Engineering and Technology during Feb. 1990 to October 1990 and November 1991 to November 1994, Coordinator of the School of Biochemical Engineering during 1986 to 1994 and 1998 to 2001, Member, Executive Council of the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi during 1995-1998, and Professor Incharge, Training and Placement Office, I.T., B.H.U., Varanasi, during 2001-2003, Coordinator of the UGC Supported Special Assistance Programme in Chemical Engineering from March 1992 to January 2011, Coordinator of the Centre for Education Technology from July 1995 to January 2011, Coordinator, Malaviya Centre for Value Studies, Banaras Hindu University from September, 2004 to April 2010, Director, Institute of Technology, B.H.U., from February 01, 2005 to January, 31, 2010 and Director, Academic Staff College, BHU from May 2010 to January 2011.

Prof. Upadhyay has made significant contributions to the fields of heat and mass transfer in fixed and fluidized beds, non-Newtonian fluids, heterogeneous catalysis, industrial pollution control, waste utilization, etc.  He has authored/co-authored over 170 technical papers published in Indian and International journals and over 190 technical articles presented at various national/international seminars.  He has authored/edited over half a dozen books and monographs and contributed around two dozen chapters to standard reference books. 

He has been taking keen interest in the development of engineering education at B.H.U. and has been actively associated with the development of Schools of Bio-engineering, Biomedical Engineering and Biochemical Engineering in IT BHU, and School of Biotechnology, Faculty of Science, BHU.  He is member of several professional bodies such as Indian Soc. Heat and Mass Transfer, ISTE, Indian Soc. Bio-energy, Indian Assoc. Env. Management, etc. He is Fellow of the Academy of Forests and Environmental Sciences, Fellow of the Society of Conservators and Explorers of Natural Resources, Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India; Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering and Fellow of the Biotechnology Research Society of India and Fellow of the Institution of Engineers (India).

He is the recipient of several Awards and Honours.  He was awarded Anna University National Award for Outstanding Academic of Degree Level Technical Colleges by ISTE, New Delhi in 2003.   He was honoured with “UP Ratan Award” in 2005.  Ministry of Renewable Energy Sources awarded him the Second Prize (along with others) on the book entitled Jaiveeya Dravya : Ushma Rasayanik Guna Dharma (in Hindi).  The IES Group of Institutions, Bhopal has conferred on him Sir C.V. Raman Award 2009 for his outstanding contribution to the field of Engineering and Technology. Vijnan Parishad, Prayag, Allahabad honoured him with "Vijnan Parishad Centenary Award" 2012 for popularization of science and technology through Hindi

Professor Upadhyay was a member of the Research Council of RRL, Trivandrum during 2001-2003, Research Council of Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad during 2003-2005 and Research Council of UP Tech University, Lucknow 2003-2005.  He is a member of the Board of Governers of the Bundelkhand Institute of Technology, Jhansi, School of Management Sciences, Varanasi, etc.  He is on the Editorial Board of the J. Indian Association for Environmental Management, Our Earth, Indian Journal of Chemical Technology, etc.  He is also member of several committees of MRES, AICTE, UGC, etc.

Professor Upadhyay has widely traveled.  He has been to France, Germany, Nepal, Sweden, Singapore, USA, UK and Pakistan.

He is also associated with several social bodies and voluntary organizations such as Sankat Mochan Foundation, Swatcha Ganga Campaign, Sri Goswami Tulsidas Educational Society, Tulsi Vidya Niketan, Mahamana Malaviya Foundation, etc. as member and office bearer.


Citation for the Award for Prof. S. N. Upadhyay



Shri Prakash Shukla (Chemical 1979)

Email: shriprakash.shukla@Gmail.com

Shukla is a Member of the Group Executive Board at Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and as President is responsible for Group Strategy. He is also the Chief Brand Officer for the Mahindra Group.

 Shukla is an M.B.A. from the prestigious Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, where he received the Mahindra Industrial Scholarship for academic excellence in Marketing and Finance.  He is also a B. Tech from IIT BHU, Varanasi.

 He has over 30 years of rich and varied experience in managing large projects and operations. Shukla is a veteran top professional in the field of automotive tyres and telecom sectors in India. His earlier stints were with Dunlop India, Swisscom Essar (now Vodafone Essar) and most recently, the Reliance Group. Shukla is acknowledged as a pioneer in mobile telephony and has many industry-firsts to his credit in the areas of strategy, technology and marketing.

 Before joining Mahindra, Shukla served as the President & CEO, Reliance Infratel Ltd (RITL), a large infrastructure company with sizeable investments in telecom towers and optic fibre.



President – Group Strategy and Chief Brand Officer

Shukla is a Member of the Group Executive Board at Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. and as President is responsible for Group Strategy. He is also the Chief Brand Officer for the Mahindra Group.

 A B. Tech & MBA, he has over 31 years of rich & varied experience in managing large projects & operations. He is a top professional in the field of automotive tyres and Information & Communication Technology (ICT) sectors in India. Also, he is widely credited with taking mobile telephony to the masses by setting-up telecom infrastructure in the remotest parts of India.

 He serves on the boards of several Mahindra Group companies in different sectors such as Bristlecone (USA), Mahindra Retail, Mahindra First Choice Services Ltd.  Additionally, he is a member of the Investment Committee of Mahindra Partners which oversees the Group’s foray into new ventures such as Solar Energy, Retail, Logistics and our Yacht business.  

 He also oversees cultural outreach programmes such as the Mahindra Blues Festival, Mumbai, & Mahindra Excellence in Theatre Awards, New Delhi.  He is also Chairman of Mahindra Racing, Italy, and leads several such initiatives in the sports arena.


SP Shukla (Chemical 1979) appointed as President, Special Group Projects M&M





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Chronicle Feedback
@ Mar 30, 2013
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 1) Elections for the post of Board of Directors

The election process is going onfor the post of directors for IBGAA-Global and IBGAA-India. Our election team is going through the applications received. The final results are expected by April end. The results will be published in the April issue of Chronicle.

2) 2013 Student awards announced

We are pleased to announce 2013 Student Awards by our alumni association (IIT BHU Global Alumni Association). In all, there are 34 awards and total prize money of about $ 2,080 (Rs. 104,000) will be distributed.

We appreciate help from our student volunteers. A 9-member student committee was formed under the leadership of Karan Bajaj and Nitish Saxena to evaluate the applications. All the committee members were 2012 Student award recipients. We also thank our students who participated in our awards program.

The award details are provided on the Campus View page of this issue.

3) Sudhir Agarwal Scholarship for needy students

We are pleased to announce more scholarships for students in need of financial help. The latest one is sponsored by Sudhir Agarwal (CSE 2001). The scholarship is known as Mrs. Geeta Devi Agarwal and Mr Jugal Kishore Agarwal, late grandparents of Sudhir Agarwal.

Two students from first year will receive Rs. 10,000 each. Sudhir plans for introducing more scholarships in coming years to help students.

The details about the Scholarships are provided in the Alumni World page of this issue.

 4) IITBHU Alumni Silicon Valley Chapter Family Picnic – Saturday April 27, 2013

Location: Central Park 909 Kiely Boulevard, Santa Clara

(Between Homestead Road and Benton Street)


Time: 11 AM to 3 PM

Date: April 27, 2013

Food: Catered lunch (on-site tandoor!!), chai and snacks.

Charges: Adults - $25, Kids (age 5-12) -$15.

Games for adults and kids.

Evite Link (in case you did not get email):


for questions, email to solankia@gmail.com

Forwarded by: Abhijeet Solanki (Mechanical 1994).


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Sad demise of Prof. Veer Bhadra Mishra (1938-2013)-Champion of Clean Ganga Movement
@ Mar 30, 2013
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 (Chronicle note-Our Chronicle team shares the grief of Prof. Veer Bhadra Mishra’s demise with his family. May his soul rest in peace.

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(Prof. Veer Bhadra Mishra)

With profound grief, we announce the sad demise of Prof. Veer Bhadra Mishra, former professor and head of Department of Civil Engineering, IIT (BHU), Varanasi and a champion of Clean Ganga Movement. Prof Veer Bhadra Mishra passed away at Sir Sundarlal Hospital of Banaras Hindu University on Wednesday March 13, 2013. He was 75.

Below please find various news items about his life and work and tribute by Prof. Siddh Nath Upadhyay.



Dr. Veer Bhadra Mwashra(Mahantji) was the founding president of the Sankat Mochan Foundation. He was a former professor of Hydraulic engineering and former Head of the Civil Engineering Department at the Banaras Hindu University. He was also the Mahant (High Priest) of the Sankat Mochan Temple at Varanasi founded by poet-saint Goswami Tulsidas. Dr Mwashra was recognized on the United Nations Environmental Program's Global 500 Roll of Honour in 1992, and was a TIME Magazines "Hero of the Planet" recipient in 1999 for his work related to cleaning of Ganga through the Sankat Mochan Foundation.

His education has helped him understand threats to the Ganges, and since 1982 he had struggled to open the eyes of bureaucrats and the public. Supported in part by aid from the various individuals and some Govt. agencies of U.S. and Sweden, Mishra juggled his roles as priest and activist.

Motivated most of all by "respect and love for the river," Mishra, working with William Oswald, an engineering professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, proposed what was called an Advanced Integrated Wastewater oxidation Pond System (AIWPS). It would store sewage for 45 days, using bacteria and algae to eliminate waste and purify the water. Mishra expected the plan to be adopted but recalls past defeats. "My campaign has been like a game of snakes and ladders. When it has gained speed, a snake has swallowed it up," he said. "But one day I'll dodge all the snakes. Mother Ganges will help me to save her." That's another chant the followers of this modern mahant can truly believe in.


Noted environmentalist Veer Bhadra Mishra passes away


Binay Singh, TNN Mar 13, 2013, 07.20PM IST

VARANASI: Noted environmentalist and TIME Magazine's Hero of the Planet' in 1999 for his work related to cleaning of Ganga Prof Veer Bhadra Mishra passed away at Sir Sundarlal Hospital of Banaras Hindu University on Wednesday afternoon. He was 75.

According to family members, Mishra suffering from low blood pressure was admitted to the hospital 10 days back. He breathed his last around 3.30pm on Wednesday.

Mishra was the mahanth of famous Sankat Mochan Temple established by the poet-saint Goswami Tulsidas. He was a former professor of Hydraulic engineering and former Head of the Civil Engineering Department at the Institute of Technology (now Indian Institute of Technology, BHU.

Mishra was recognized on the United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) Global 500 Roll of Honour' in 1992. He was also one of the expert members of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA).

Dedicated his life to Ganga Mishra founded Sankat Mochan Foundation in 1982 as a non-profit, non-political organization with like minded people of Varanasi. The vision of the foundation is restoring the Ganga by alleviating its fast deteriorating environmental conditions, promoting education and health care programs for the less privileged, maintaining and encouraging the age-old cultural traditions of Varanasi in tune with the current environmental needs. The SMF has been is working as a catalytic agent to arouse people's interest in cleaning Ganga.


Mortal remains of Veer Bhadra Mishra consigned to flames


Binay Singh, TNN Mar 14, 2013, 05.59PM IST

VARANASI: The mortal remains of Prof. Veer Bhadra Mishra, eminent environmentalist and expert member of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) who had dedicated his life to 'Mother Ganga', were consigned to flames on the bank of the holy river at Harischandra Ghat on Wednesday. He died at Banaras Hindu University hospital on Tuesday.

People in large number joined the funeral procession and thronged the ghat to bid adieu to this brilliant son of the city, who had launched a crusade to clean the Ganga with a scientific and technical vision backed by spiritual temperament. "It is shocking and a huge loss to the nation as well as clean Ganga campaign," said Prof. BD Tripathi, another NRGBA members and environment scientist at BHU who had a long association with Mishra since 1975. "We had gone to Delhi together to attend the last meeting of NGRBA chaired by the Prime Minister in April last," he said.

Rich tributes were paid to the departed soul. In his message spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravishankar of Art of Living paid homage to Mishra. Besides the local citizens the leaders of various political parties also attended the funeral. The UP minister of state (independent charge) for alternative sources of energy Vijay Kumar Mishra, as a representative of the chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, paid homage to Mishra at his residence at Tulsi Ghat on Wednesday. The minister also met the family members of Mishra and conveyed the condolence message of the CM. He said that the CM is deeply hurt with the sad demise of Mishra. Describing Mishra as an eminent environmentalist and patron of Indian culture and tradition, the minister said that his contributions to the society as well as environment would be remembered for ever. The other political leaders including former MP Rajesh Mishra of Congress, Virendra Singh of BJP, and others attended the funeral.




Warrior for a river

March 16, 2013

Omar Rashid

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Photo: The Hindu Veer Bhadra Mishra (right)

With his passing, the holy city of Varanasi has lost an iconic figure. Perhaps, as importantly, the Ganga has lost a favourite guardian.

The noted environmentalist and mahant of the famous Sankatmochan temple, Professor Veer Bhadra Mishra, died on Wednesday at the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) hospital, where he was admitted on March 3 for a lung infection. He was 74.

He is survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters, and leaves behind a legacy of exemplary commitment and devotion towards the well-being of the Ganga. His last rites were performed on Thursday on the ghats of Varanasi.

Professor Mishra, who inherited the position of mahant at the age of 14 after the death of his father, was the founding president of Sankat Mochan Foundation, a non-profit, non-political organisation working for the cause of Ganga in Varanasi since 1982.

A former professor of hydraulic engineering, he had retired as the head of the civil engineering department at his alma mater, the Institute of Technology, BHU.

Though he was better known as a religious person, he joined his training with his spirituality, juggling the political, environmental and the holy into a practical crusade to free the river of pollution.

The Swacha Ganga (Clean Ganga) campaign was synonymous with Mahantji, as he was popularly known.

As an expert member of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA), he worked toward arresting the Ganga’s fast deteriorating condition, promoting education and health-care programmes for the underprivileged, and maintaining and encouraging age-old cultural traditions of Varanasi in tune with present day environmental needs.

His multifaceted and innovative measures won him recognition from the United Nations Environment Programme, which put him on its Global 500 Roll of Honour in 1992. Time magazine declared him the magazine’s “Hero of the Planet” (1999) for bringing the plight of the Ganga to the world’s attention and inspiring other river activists.

He was adept at explaining the issues concerning the river to both experts and laypersons. In his words, “When I talk to officials I show them reports on faecal coliform. When I talk to locals I tell them there is filth in the holy Ganges. It’s the same thing but I say it in different languages.”

For his commitment to the river, he rightly won the epithet “Ganga Putra (Son of the Ganga”). Varanasi will also remember him for his “Ganga-ethics” and his personal relationship with the river, which motivated him to say: “I am part of Ganga and Ganga is part of me.”

Each morning he would slowly and respectfully step into the waters at Tulsighat for prayer but not before he poured Ganga jal on his forehead.

The river was more for the mind and less for the body, he believed.

He also displayed a multi-talented character, from his pahalwani (wrestling) in the akhara, to being the upholder of Sanskritic values and education, and conservator of classical music. He also personified the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb, even in times of communal distress, especially during the 2006 Sankat Mochan attack.

Yet, just as he once said that he “can’t think beyond [the] Ganga,” it is difficult to think of him beyond his intimacy with the river. At Varanasi, considered the sacred heart of the Ganga, the river bends north towards the city as if to prove affinity with it. It was his dream to cleanse the Ganga from its sacred point and at the same time inspire the political world and society to work towards it. Though he considered the Ganga’s devotees a vanishing species, he remained hopeful to the end that one day, there would not be a drop of sewage in the river.



A tribute by Prof. Siddh Nath Upadhyay, former Director and Prof. of Dept. of Chemical Engineering

With heavy heart and deep sorrow I have to inform one and all that the noted environmentalist and the Time Magazine’s “Hero of the Planet” in 1999 for his Clean Ganga Movement our revered Prof Veer Bhadra Mishra Ji, popularly known as ‘Mahant Ji’ and ‘Guru Ji’, breathed his last on Wednesday, the March 13, 2013 in the afternoon at Sir Sundar Lal Hospital, Banaras Hindu University. Prof Mishra Ji was suffering from severe bronchial asthma and was in ICU of Sir Sunder Lal Hospital. He was of 75 years.

His absence and the resultant unaccountable loss will be felt by millions not only in India but also in several countries across the Globe by his students, admirers and others with whom he had interacted in his capacity as a teacher of Civil Engineering, head of Akhada Shri Goswami Tulasidas Ji and related organizations including Shri Sankat Mochan Hanuman Ji and above all as a world renowned environmentalist whose passion was to reduce and eliminate pollution from River Ganga  by the use of latest but appropriate technology and counseling of the masses.

With heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, relatives, friends and admirers and with deep sorrow I would like to express that I personally has lost a great friend, a caring and loving elder brother and a positively motivated mentor par excellence.

May his soul rest in peace in the arms of Shri Sankat Mochan Hanuman Ji.   

-Siddh Nath Upadhyay


Readers can pay the tribute to Mr. Vinod K. Shrivastava in the space provided below.


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