August 14, 2006
Volume 3, Issue 1
Page 1 of 8 www.scholarsavenue.org
The Scholars’ Avenue fortnightly yours, forthrightly yours. Pandora’s Box was never meant to be OPened According to Greek mythology, mankind once lived a life in a paradise, without worry. The Gods presented Pandora with a box into which each had put something harmful, and forbade her to ever open it. However, Pandora's curiosity got the better of her and she opened it, releasing all the misfortunes of mankind (plague, sorrow, poverty, crime, despair, greed, and many more). There are certain responsibilities associated with writing for the campus newspaper. Understanding the impact and consequence of our words on the community and on individuals of the community is most definitely one of them. Opening Pandora’s Box is an easy task which we could have executed with the utmost conviction, but the repercussions as illustrated can be severe. There are times when words can lead to a lot more than they are accountable for, and in such circumstances we must follow the old adage, “ignorance is bliss”. Our objective is, and always will be, to cover every issue and bring you the facts, but
there are times when truth can find itself to be a manifestation of Pandora’s Box. If by not dealing with a certain topic in our issue, we have strayed from our objective, we will in our self defense say that we are only being responsible. Pandora’s Box was never meant to be opened. Keeping Pandora’s Box tightly sealed, we wish you all a happy new academic year, which amongst other things, brings with it an all new issue of Scholars’ Avenue. The newspaper has continuously evolved since its inception, and this issue is no different. In addition to the news and our regulars, new sections which will cement their place make their debut this time – ‘Features Avenue’ & ‘Bhaat Avenue’. Scholars’ Avenue now has its own website as well: www.scholarsavenue.org. Special thanks to IndiaLinks for their support. We hope you enjoy this issue. It is our only reward. As always, we welcome your feedback, our only yardstick, and a catalyst to our evolution. Our new email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Reading!
Halls ka haal In the light of the ever increasing intake of students, the Scholars' Avenue team caught up with HMC Chairman, Prof. H. N. Mishra to find out about the HMC's plans and more. SA: Keeping in mind the recent surge in the intake of students and given that the hostels are already packed to capacity, what plans does the HMC have in mind to tackle the congestion issue? HNM: For the girls, there is a new hall, Rani Laxmibai Hall of Residence, for which the construction has been going on for a while now, and which is expected to be completed by December. We also plan to add another floor to MT Hall. For the boys, a 2000-strong capacity Hall named after Lal Bahadur Shastri
Inside... New Gymnasium A report on the new gym in campus. Page 2 52nd Convocation A first-hand report by the BC Roy Gold medalist Page 6 B. C. Roy Hospital Changes and improvements in the B. C. Roy Hospital. Page 7 Kgp & Reservations A report on participation by Kgpians in anti-reservation protests Page 6 Up close with Arun Sarin An interview with Chief Executive of Vodafone. Page 3 Arvind Kejriwal An interview with the Magsaysay award winning Kgp alumnus. Page 4 R.K. Hall renovation Page 4 Summer Internship Stories Pages 5 & 7
is in the pipeline. Occupancy will be on twin sharing basis. We recently advertised in the newspapers for an architect to design and plan the construction. If everything goes as planned, the Hall should be ready by the end of July 2007.
Bhaat Avenue A brand new section about nothing in general and everything in particular. Page 5
SA: This year, the first year hall allotment was done by IITJEE registration numbers, which has led to regional segregation of students. Does this warrant any further action in the eyes of the HMC?
TnP Update A chat with Prof Gautam Sinha on the new placement season Page 6
HNM: To be frank, we did not foresee this situation arising. All these years, the allotment has been random (we have special software for the purpose). Anyways, we’ve discussed this issue, and it's been decided that since the students are still settling down, they won’t be asked to shift right away. However, the room shifting can be conveniently done during the winter break. Students will be asked to vacate their rooms, and fresh allotments will be made.
(Continued on page 2)
Toon Avenue Page 6 Visit our website www.scholarsavenue.org to read and post your comments on any of the articles in this issue. Web hosting provided by IndiaLinks
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The Scholars’ Avenue
August 14, 2006
Halls ka haal (Continued from page1) SA: At the start of this semester, 5 mess workers from each hall have been moved to the MMM hall of residence. Won’t this lead to a shortage of staff in the other halls? HNM: I do not believe that there is any kind of shortage. When we introduced private security in hostels, the HMC security personnel were drafted in as mess workers, which led to an excess of labour. Transfer of mess workers from the halls to MMM is essentially a removal of the excess, which will not lead to mess operations being compromised. Moreover, we are also planning to mechanize the labour intensive jobs such as potato peeling, dough kneading and vegetable slicing (VS Hall already has one set of these machines). SA: Speaking of mechanization, very recently, one of these machines injured a m e s s w o r k e r i n R K H a l l . I s n ’t mechanization a potential risk for the staff? HNM: Well, the particular dough kneading machine in question was not designed to cater to a large hostel of 400 students. This led to certain operational improvisations on behalf of the mess workers which is what caused the injury. The machine was, in fact, not purchased by the institute but came in through a distinguished alumnus. In
the future, when we introduce such machines on a large scale, it would be ensured that they do not cause any safety concerns. SA: RK Hall has been receiving generous amounts of money from the alumni for its upgradation. Don't you think that the resulting gap between RK and the other hostels in terms of standard of living is an issue of concern? HNM: The institute, on its part, does not treat any hall in a preferential manner. However, if an alumnus decides to make a contribution to a particular hall, he or she is most welcome to do so, and we genuinely hope that the other alumni follow suit for their respective halls. I think that all the halls have their share of financially affluent alumni and potential contributors. To draw an analogy, alumni sometimes give projects to the departments from which they graduated, and this may not always lead to a fair distribution. SA: Of late, numerous cases of mobile phone and cash thefts in the hostels have been reported. Recently, a laptop was stolen from one of the rooms and the security guard didn’t even have as much as the phone number of the police station or the Institute security office. Do you believe private security are living up to their expectations?
HNM: My personal view is that private security, which was very effective in the initial days of implementation, has started slacking off. I guess even they have got accustomed to the IIT culture (laughs). Jokes apart, I have talked about this to the authorities (the Registrar and the ASO), and have proposed the installation of checkposts at the gates of all hostels (rather than inside the hall) equipped with a telephone and a check-in register. This should make security more effective. The institute is supportive of the view, and we await a speedy implementation.
In a related development, Scholars’ Avenue contacted the Director for his views on the matter. In the Director’s view, the institute is not obliged to provide every student accommodation. He cited the example of IITD where around 30% of the students live outside the campus. The Director also suggested a couple of things the institute could try out: firstly, the institute could buy buildings in GolB, PremB or Midnapore and keep students there or, secondly, leave it to students to find their own accommodation. In his words, “When you came to IIT Kgp for admission, if you were given the option of either getting admitted here and living outside the campus or not taking admission here at all, what would you have chosen?”
When technology ‘works out’ 65 lacs, good intentions, hard work and the campus gets an ultra-modern gymnasium. With a fee of Rs. 300 per annum for students and 400 for non-student campus residents the cost of membership can only be described as nominal. The gym is divided into two levels, the first floor meant to cater mainly to lighter workouts and the ground level for more serious toil. The ground floor, at least for the present, is again two sections, one purely for machines, the other for rods and dumbbells!
There are other more tangible problems associated with the new gym. Putting tonnes of machines in a 40 year old structure, in a room not originally meant for them could mean subjecting the
Most indicators in this respect point to a probable air-conditioning of the gym in a way similar to what you could expect to find in one in a metro. But this is surely the farthest we should fly on this flight of fancy. The space restrictions also mean smaller and more strictly enforced slots which have decreased from an hour to 45 minutes. To deter the occasional visitors, obtaining membership has been made a lengthy official procedure which includes obtaining one of the limited forms, depositing the fees at SBI and getting a medical certificate from B.C. Roy hospital. The rules also include a dress code, the most stifling of which could be carrying a pair of clean shoes to the gymnasium and a long
towel to place on any equipment before one starts using them. The coming of the new gym has also displaced the TT tables which had the ground floor base renovated for them to better suit the ping-pongers. As the ol’ gym adage goes: “Whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger”. With a bit of luck the new gym could just see it through.
? Chintan Thakkar ? Nitin Basant ? Sunny Somani ? Swati
? Aditya Marathe ? Anuj Dayal ? Arish Inam ? Biswajeet Guha ? Sheekha Verma ? Sreeja Nag ? Suvrat Bafna
Editorial Board ? Aneesh Jain ? Aravind R. S. ? Riti Mohapatra ? Rohit Shankar ? Saahil Bhanot ? Samya Mandal ? Shishir Dash ? Umang Jain
Jr. Reporting Team ? Anup Bishnoi ? Deepshikha ? Pranesh Kumar ? Vinayak Pathak
The Scholars’ Avenue Team
The gym expects a membership of 700. 3 assistants and one instructor have been brought under the gymkhana’s payroll to cater to the huge number. The changes though have their share of critics. Most gym regulars feel that the gym is more fitness oriented than meant for body building. In the words of one regular the gym is too “cuddly and cute” to be of any use to him.
building to exceptionable loads. Currently each slot is expected to afford 45 people on either floor. The space by the most accommodating of estimates could handle 30 along with the machines. The number drops even lower when you consider that the erstwhile TT Room used to get sultry with just 10 people.
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Up close with Arun Sarin Arun Sarin is the CEO of the Britain based global mobile telecom company Vodafone Group Plc. One of the most distinguished and successful alumni of IIT Kharagpur, he graduated in 1975 and went on to complete his MS and MBA from University of California, Berkeley.
word on the reservation issue. A lot has already been said about it. What is your opinion?
He was in campus last month as the Chief Guest of the 52nd Convocation ceremony. Apart from conferring degrees and committing a corpus of $500,000 for telecom research in the campus, he also found time to speak to Scholars' Avenue. Excerpts: SA. I gathered from your speech that this is your first visit to IIT Kgp since your graduation. Now you are back awarding degrees to hundreds of students. AS. It’s a great honour to be back here and I believe strongly that IIT has been an important place for me where I got a lot of my ideas from, and I am very happy to do something for it. If handing out degrees is a good thing to do, I am very happy to do it as well! SA. What was your own convocation like? AS. I wasn’t here for my convocation because it was held much later, during October. I had already gone to the United States by then but I remember that Mrs. Indira Gandhi was the Chief Guest that time. I got the B. C. Roy gold medal but I couldn’t come back to collect it. Hopefully, being here today will make up for that. SA. Any special memories of your stay in Kgp that you would like to share with us? AS. Oh lots of memories! I was very involved with sports when I was here. I was in the hockey team, I was in the gymnastics team and I also participated in the track and field events. I used to hang around with a group of guys, all of us from Azad. My favorite memories were with those guys doing silly stuff together. Once we were very upset with the election results, and we suspected that the results were rigged. So in protest me and a few of my friends decided to boycott the hockey matches that year for our hall. Not surprisingly, from being the champions we finished at the bottom. I can’t imagine how stupid we were! But we were growing up and
that was the exciting thing. Not only were we growing intellectually but we were also growing up as human beings. SA. You have had a very strong educational background. You studied at a very good army school, and then you were at IIT Kgp for 5 years. You went to the University of California, Berkeley for your MS and MBA degrees. Where does IIT Kgp stand for you in terms of importance and its value to your career? AS. Oh it was very very important to me. I had a very good schooling. Then I came here, then I went to Berkeley. Now even Berkeley is a very great institution. So I went from one great place to another great place. But I came here as a fifteen-and-ahalf year old kid. The formative years are very important and that’s what I remember the most, growing up with a bunch of guys and having a lot of fun. SA. What did you guys generally do in your leisure time? AS. I was very much into athletics. I was involved with some sport or the other almost every evening. In our time there weren’t a lot of eating places. I do remember hanging out at the Nayar’s and Ramdas who used to sell kulfis outside S. N. Hall. Chhedis was there but it was a long way off from Azad. So Ramdas served the dual purpose of quenching our thirsts and also giving us a nice spot to stop and observe all the girls go by! There were very few girls – 50 girls and 1500 boys. SA. On a slightly more serious note, a
AS. To tell you the truth, I am not very close to this issue. I live in UK and I go around the world. I’m not very sure about the exact recommendations, though it appears that they are hugely increasing the number of seats. (We inform him about the situation at hand, and the student unrest all over the country.) In a society there are many different forces at work. One of the great things about IIT is that it’s a purely merit based system. During my time, I remember there was a small amount of reservation, probably 10 or 15 % for SC/ST. There was a huge hullabaloo about this and yeh-kyaho-raha-hai. My view is that the government is trying to instill the social policy and as long as the institution is not affected negatively, it is fine. What I understand is numbers are being increased substantially and as a matter of principle that seems like a wrong thing. In some ways providing people facilities is a good idea but if the number is something like 50% then it is too much because that is not reflecting the diversity of the country. I do not want to take a political stand on the issue but there are many ways of protesting a point of view. You can do lots of things but you have to first think if your actions are going to diminish the brand. (We tell him about students planning to stage a protest and return their medals to the institute as a mark of protest.) You can make a big deal about it and return your medals, but you’ve earned the medals, so keep them. This is not to say that you shouldn’t voice your opinions, but you can do it in many ways. Find other ways. I am in favor of having dialogues regarding this. If there have to be reservations, they can’t be caste-based,they have to be means based. I’ll be very happy to carry this message to the Prime Minister as well. We need to find clever and more effective ways to do things. SA. A final message for the students. AS. All I have to say is, the kids here are very bright, but you have to be well rounded and think about what you want to do in life and how you want to face the world.
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“There is no democracy in our country” “In selecting Arvind Kejriwal to receive the 2006 Ramon Magsaysay Award for E m e r g e n t Leadership, the board of trustees recognizes his activating India’s right-to-information movement at the g r a s s r o o t s , empowering New D e l h i ’s p o o r e s t citizens to fight corruption by holding the government accountable to the people.” Mr. Arvind Kejriwal is an alumnus of IIT KGP-1989 batch, Mechanical Engineering, Nehru Hall. An Indian Revenue Service officer by profession, he recently quit his job to devote himself to ‘Parivartan’, a people’s movement founded by him to fight against corruption. He, with his team, has addressed several issues in Delhi and has successfully fought corruption at different administrative levels. Scholars Avenue spoke to Mr. Kejriwal…
Q) Sir, tell us something about your life in IIT Kharagpur. I enjoyed myself at IIT KGP. I did nothing exceptional, but I was very much involved in dramatics. I was the governor of HTDS and had also won prizes for the best director and best actor several times. Did you always want to join the Civil Services? I did not have any particular wish to join Civil Services when I was a student. I was placed in TISCO after my B.Tech, and it was there that I met people who had cleared the Civil Services examination. From them I learnt that as a Civil Servant, I could do more for the society. I worked in TISCO from 1989 to 1992. In 1992, I took the examination for the first time. I quit my job and worked with the Missionaries of Charity in the villages of Bodo land for some months before I got my interview call. I joined the IRS and in 1995 I was posted to Delhi. When did ‘Parivartan’ come into being? I have always been bothered by the level of corruption in India and wanted to make a change. Parivartan came into being in January 2000 as a people’s movement against corruption. After 11 months, I took
a 2 year leave to devote myself to the movement. I rejoined IRS in 2002 and recently, in February this year, I resigned to work in Parivartan. Right now we are a group of 10 people working full time. Parivartan is not an NGO; it is a people’s movement for reinforcement of democratic values. It runs on time, money and ideas contributed by the people. What were the major setbacks that you faced while fighting corruption? The foremost problem was to decide upon a strategy which would be effective in battling corruption. There was a lack of clarity initially and we were adopting different approaches to this issue. The next big setback was the existing cynicism in the society. Everyone seems to have agreed that nothing can be done to improve the situation in India and we had a tough time convincing people otherwise. Personally I feel that the Right to Information Act is a powerful tool in the hands of the people and they should put it to good use. The third problem was that of red- tapism; we had bureaucrats stalling our efforts at different stages. Another factor was the vested interests of a small group of people who meddled with the Public Distribution System. I received threat calls and my co-workers were also attacked at one time. I was very nervous at that point of time but we were able to handle the situation and all has been well ever since. What are your future plans? I would like to address the issue of Local Self Governance. Sadly, there is no democracy in our country. The only democratic right people enjoy is the right to cast a vote every five years. We would like to make the local governing body in urban areas responsible to the people, on the lines of the Panchayati Raj. Would you like to give any message to KGPians? I would like to encourage everyone to empower themselves with the Right to Information and seek answers. All of us want our country to improve and instead of sitting helplessly we can use this power to set things straight.
RK: Seeds of change Ex-SSM Aneesh Reddy writes on the renovation of RK Hall R.K. Hall is undergoing major upgradation of infrastructure, being overlooked and funded by Mr. Vinod Gupta, Chairman and CEO, infoUSA and an alumnus, R.K. Hall – batch of 1968. The process started off as a request for around Rs. 3 lakhs to renovate the hall library and was approved by him during his visit as the chief guest of the 51st Convocation. Subsequently, after a couple of visits by Maj. Gen. Narang, Director, Projects for Vinod Gupta Charitable Foundations, the proposal stood at 55 lakh Rupees, with a buffer of Rs. 5 lakh! Mehra construction, which has constructed VGSOM and SAM Hall, was awarded the contract for an overhaul of the mess and the toilets, renovation of the music room, common room, library, and building a tennis court, and a gymnasium. Roof repairs, painting of the entire hall, relaying of the floors, a new gate plus a mural and relaying all the lawns are also decided upon. Then came the daunting part - taking permissions from the Institute authorities. Luckily for us, the Registrar, Dr. Gunasekaran extended his full support, and entire process turned out to be very simple with the Dean (AAIR) and Chairman (HMC) also approving the proposal quickly. Finally the work started towards the end of April. As Mr. Gupta correctly pointed out, R.K. Hall should be the seed of change for IIT Kharagpur, a model hall, and hoped that looking at it, the other halls’ alumni will come forward for their respective halls, and thus bring up the quality of student life in IIT Kharagpur. Even for R.K. Hall this is just the beginning, we many plans which might take a couple of years to implement, but they will surely make R.K. a great place to learn and live. We had also tried to contact the other alumni of R.K. Hall, for renovating the rooms, and response was good, quite a few alumni came forward to get their rooms/wings renovated. But this plan had to be put on hold for various reasons, with a realization that such a mass mobilization in terms of the number of alumni involved per hall would mean more involvement from the Institute’s side, and greater coordination from all concerned. A final word of thanks, to Mr. Vinod Gupta, for envisioning R.K. Hall as the seed of change for the institute and also to the Registrar, for extending his v a l u a b l e support. to the entire process.
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Welcome to Bhaat Avenue, your fortnightly dose of nothing in general and everything in particular! “Well... whatever... nevermind.” - Almost Anonymous
THE SHAH-SHANK DAMNATION Two angry young men take time out from their busy schedule to answer seemingly innocuous questions. Of course, they’ve got all the answers.
- The creator of the Nike swoosh symbol (Carolyn Davidson) was paid only $35 for it!
Q. All my friends eat at Harry's on Friday nights, but the only place I like is Park. Does this say something about me? A. As a matter of fact, yes. Where you eat on Friday/Saturday night has a large influence on what you're likely to end up as. See the box ? Q. I see that taking an oath is the in-thing these days. I want to take one myself but I can't think of a good cause to pledge myself to. Any suggestions?
Weekend hangout Vegies Park, bar LS, bar Park, family LS, family Cheddis Harry's Billoo's
Your Destiny Page 3 Socialite Wine Taster Liver Patient Homemaker Interior designer/Art critic Nihilist Communist Obesity
A. Dispensing oaths to readers is something we've been doing for a while now. Here's a good one – “I resolve to devote 22.5% of my time to academics and sports, 27% to personality development and the remaining amount of time in finding ways to further divide my time.”
- India is the country with the largest number of universities!
Funda ‘BYTES’ Computer tips from our in-house geek Make DC++ to start in low priority.
Running DC++ in low priority usually prevents your computer from freezing up much during uploads. But doing that the regular way is a chore... every time you start DC++, you have to go to the Task Manager (Ctrl+Alt+Del) > Processes, right-click DCPlusPlus.exe, Set Priority > Low. Wouldn't it be great if you can tell DC++ to start in low priority with just one click? You can do that with a simple batch file. Read on:
Q. I'm a first year. Academics is not my cup of tea. I'm not really interested in sports and I just don't understand the concept of social and cultural events. Technology events bore me. Surf It Up Can you think of Songfacts.com: If you've ever wanted to know more about a any other useful Open Notepad, and type in the following: way for me to song you love (or any song for that matter), then this is the site start /LOW DCPlusPlus.exe. Save this file in the DC++ directory as invest my time? for you. From possible interpretations to useless bits of trivia, this site is a searchable database of information compiled by "launch.bat. Right-click the shortcut you use to launch DC++, click "Properties", and in the "Target" field, change the " radio professionals, music enthusiasts, and visitors. Surf It Up! A. Illu DCPlusPlus.exe" to "launch.bat". Now every time you click that Uncyclopedia.org: This website claims to be a content-free Q. No one shortcut, DC++ will automatically start in Low priority! encyclopedia that anyone can edit. What it does not claim understands us to be but most certainly is, is a mind-blowing You may find that the shortcut has now lost it's icon. To get it unfortunate second hilarious, cynical parody of everything you've back, go to the shortcut properties again, click "Change years. Hath not a second year ever believed in. Just like its more useful icon...", browse, select the DCPlusPlus.exe file, and then eyes, organs, dimensions, senses, counterpart Wikipedia, articles can be choose the first icon in the list. affections, passions? If they prick us, do edited by users, as long as they we not bleed? If they tickle us, do we not laugh? follow the editing policy, You have probably figured out that any program, not just I don't want to be shunned anymore, help me! which is method of DC++, can be made to run in low priority this way. You enforcing that no article can also make it run in high priority, by replacing /LOW A. We’re terribly sorry but we cannot answer this question. contains anything useful with /HIGH or even /REALTIME. The "start" command Interaction with 2nd years is not allowed. (Bhaat Ave, anyone?) has many more options - to explore them all, type " Please send in your questions, comments, marriage proposals, hate mail Surf It Up! start /?" in the command prompt.
and credit card numbers to email@example.com. We’re listening!
I know what you did last summer Kapish Saraf speaks on his internship experience Summers can rightly be called the "hot" topic of discussion for an average KGPian, even though heat may not have any relevance to the same. Unlike the good ol' days, summers mean business these days, both for the guys who sweat it out in the labs and the library for the entire year, as well as for lesser mortals like yours truly, who claim to be staunch believers in the concept of increasing the rate of multiplication of their grey cells during the 10 week long break to compensate for their entire academic year's sins and address their guilty conscience. While the third year undergrads follow the academic curriculum, most of the second and fourth year students force themselves on this path to nirvana. The meticulous planning for the summer internship started early, influenced by dreams and hopes of an FT, but was stung by FIFA fever as the concerned professor had an abrupt change in plans and witnessed the rising of a football fan in him. Buckling under the burden of extra curriculars, the desire to contribute to the industry and gain exposure in
professionalism was nurtured. This desire eventually resulted in my getting selected by In Vitro International, a plant biotechnology company based in Bengaluru, a.k.a ‘Bangy’. The stay in Bangy was very satisfying as it showered me with opportunities to reestablish connection with old acquaintances and spend quality time with friends and KGP seniors. Meeting guys after as long as three years (as friends from other IITs and engineering colleges flocked in to the Indian Silicon Valley) and still indulging in discussions as if they were continuations from the previous day, was a pleasant surprise. The entire duration of the stay was in the company of senior batches of Lajpatians who had made a small model of KGP for themselves out there. Every bit of the stay was very educating about the various flavours involved in a corporate life. Talking in terms of priority, the topmost one was to enjoy city life which basically meant making regular trips to the PVRs, INOXs, pubs and malls. This was successfully
accomplished. Another accomplishment was a quenching of the thirst for travel by making trips to Ooty, Mysore and Hyderabad on alternate weekends with seniors and friends. This was quite a change from the irregularly regular life at KGP, but an essential one for the purpose of re-charging worn out batteries. Academically speaking, the target of making amends for all the pangs of guilt was met successfully through a substantial amount of useful work being done for the company. The industrial project was accompanied by two part time projects at IIM-B, and the overall experience was very enriching. The greatest shock for a true IITian was to pay for as much the usage of a computer irrespective of whether it was connected. It makes one realize that an internship at a production unit has its constraints as well. Like all other endeavours of mine, this trip ended with an accident and a limping poor soul without a confirmed berth was seen finding his way back to his alma mater.
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August 14, 2006
Convocation 2006 Siddharth Seth, this year’s B.C.Roy Gold Medalist speaks about his experience at the 52nd Convocation. I remember that our batch officially (I talk of the B.Techs) started our stint at Kharagpur with the Administration’s welcome speech on 23rd July 2002 at Netaji Auditorium, when the 700 of us entered this system with hopes, fears but a sense of confidence nonetheless. Many of us found our dreams; many of us saw ourselves dreaming of something new. These 4 or 5 years gave us grit, friends, teachings and of course, a degree each, to face the world ahead. On the 15th of July 2006, we officially ended our journey at the 52nd Convocation held at the same place where we started - Netaji Auditorium. The Chief Guest for the occasion was Mr. Arun Sarin, the Chief Executive of Vodafone. The Convocation is by far the most formal occasion that any student would have witnessed upto that point in his life. It’s an occasion that will always be memorable to
those who are able to attend it. The day began with the inauguration ceremony at the Kalidas Auditorium in the New Academic Complex followed by a lunch organised at the Hangar. The main event was held at Netaji Auditorium, preceded by a rehearsal the day before. The event was replete with the Academic Procession and the Institute Anthem. The degrees were awarded. All the degree recipients took the Pledge in Sanskrit, repeating it after Shambaditya Saha, the President of India Gold Medalist. The Life Fellow of IIT Kharagpur Award was conferred to Prof. G. S. Sanyal, an Ex-Director of IIT Kharagpur. The Prime Minister’s Gold Medal was conferred to S. Narayanan. Among the impressive features of the event were good food, excellent administration and the precise time management by the authorities. What stole the show, however, was Arun Sarin’s opening remark, “Oh, by the way, I am not Arjun Singh!”
Student unrest against reservations A lot has been written and said about the issue, but the conflagration triggered by the Government’s decision to increase reservations in the education sector just refuses to die down. In what has now become an irreversibly polarized student community, the issue has seen a range of reactions, from complete indifference to seditious violence, from both supporters of the bill and its detractors. Kolkata has witnessed its own student protests against the proposed bill over the course of the last two months. The first was held on 27th May, and saw massive participation from students. Organised by the students group, Youth For Equality, nearly ten thousand congregated in College Square, Kolkata to march and protest against reservations. There was substantial participation from IIT Kharagpur – about 60 students voiced their condemnation of the government’s decision-
despite the fact that the summer vacations weren’t yet over. Another smaller but equally vociferous protest was held on 23rd July, 2006, at the same venue, just three days before the Quota bill was to be tabled in Parliament. Students from several colleges across the region participated, but the numbers were sadly much less than in the previous protest, with eminent colleges like Shibpur and Jadavpur among the absentees. IIT Kharagpur participated as well, with around 30 students making the trip to Kolkata. Chanting slogans, distributing pamphlets, proudly displaying creatively made posters to the TV cameramen, the assembled students marched to Shaheed Minaar. After a few speeches, one of those made by a KGPian, the group marched back with candles in their hands, thus rounding up a robust demonstration, which, it was popularly felt, could have been far more effective had there been more participation.
IntroduSINGH... The twin Superheroes of Kgp - Kharag andTempo...
TnP Update The Scholars' Avenue team caught up with Prof. Gautam Sinha to clear the haze surrounding this year's T&P schedule. Q) Why the 5th of December? A) In a meeting of the Training and Placement heads of all the IITs, it was decided that the placements should begin in December even this year. To avoid any discomfort to the companies coming over for recruitment (since most companies can't visit all the campuses simultaneously), it was planned to start placements at different times in all the i n s t i t u t e s . We c h o s e 5 t h December to get the early-mover advantage. Q) Any breaks for the Inter IIT Sports meet? A) We obviously don't want to lose the advantage we've gained by being the first off the blocks by putting in such a break. Anyways, there are almost 1200 students who will be hoping to get a job and in the greater good of a larger number, there shall be no such break. Q) But don't the Geology /Geophysics final years have a field trip around the time placements will start? Also, what about the trip to IIT Kanpur which the final year Aerospace students make around the same time? A) No official notice of this kind has been received from any of the departments. They will probably have to shift their trips/field trips in that case. Q) Are any new companies vising the campus for placements this year? What about companies which don't have an Indian office, in the light of recent developments about the oath on Independence Day? A) We are in touch with a lot of companies. Some companies have shown interest in visiting KGP for campus recruitments. A lot remains to be done before a list can be released. As for foreign placements, it all depends on what offers we get. If a very lucrative offer turns up we will have to take the Director's permission before taking any decision.
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Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law The Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, the first of its kind in the country, was inaugurated on the 23rd of July this year by the Director. We met up with Prof. Probir Gupta, Dean, VGSOM, who is currently heading the School. Excerpts: Q. What was the projected intake of students for this year at the Rajiv Gandhi School? A. The Senate had approved 50 students each for the LLB course at Kharagpur as well as the Diploma Course to be held at the Kolkata branch. Considering the faculty size and infrastructure, however, we have taken 41 and 30 students respectively. Q. Speaking of the faculty, what kind of profile did you look at, and what is the current status? A. The minimum requirements that we were looking for were an LLM Degree and some teaching experience. The Senate had
BC Roy Hospital Time and again, we are reminded of the state of affairs in BC Roy Hospital. It rekindles heated discussions among student groups every time the hospital has fallen below our expectations. The lack of facilities and expertise can be attributed to the fact that Kharagpur is not quite the most advanced of towns in India, thereby having less than its required share of doctors and specialists. Consequently the students here face a lot of problems when it comes to healthcare. This issue was dealt with in one of our previous editions (October 2, 2005) and Scholars Avenue had suggested that a student representative be incorporated in the BC Roy Hospital Advisory Committee. This has been put into practice, with the VP becoming that representative, and thus finally enabling the students to direct their grievances to the appropriate authority. The Institute administration is also hopeful that this step should help in addressing the important healthcare issues and improving the condition of the Hospital. Earlier this year, a committee comprising the deans and HOD’s had made the following recommendations: ? Provision of a lift or ramp ? Recruiting of nursing staff and specialists on contract basis ? Computerization of the administration. Towards this, a software for regulating medical supply and issue, “labanaya”, has been installed. ? Periodic health checkups for all faculty and employees, including HMC staff, at least once a year
approved 8 faculty positions but for the first year we offered positions only to 5 people, of whom 3 have already joined and 1 more will be joining soon. Apart from the regular faculty, we also have a good spectrum of distinguished visiting faculty such as the Chief Justices of the Kolkata, Mumbai and Meghalaya High Courts. We also have guest lectures by barristers from private firms. Q. How does the administration of the school work? Will it be as autonomous as VGSOM’s? A. For starting the school, the HRD ministry matched Vinod Gupta’s generous contribution of $1 million. The IPR School will not be autonomous, but will rather work as any Department under the Institute. VGSOM will, however, parent the School until an independent administration structure is formed. We are currently looking for a Dean to head the School, after which the Dean, VGSOM would only be an
Ex-Officio member of the Advisory Council. Q. What kind of infrastructure are we looking at for the School? A. The school building is coming up next to Takshashila, funded by Vinod Gupta. The work should be completed by the end of 2007. Currently, the classes are being held at VGSOM. Q. Can the Undergraduates look to gain anything from the School? A. Of course! On the lines of the BTech-MBA Dual Degree course that was started this year, we are also planning to introduce a BTech-LLB Dual Degree. Considering that the idea was conceptualized only in March last year, the school has been in the fast track and we have been able to get things moving pretty quickly. We have quite a few ideas in the pipeline, which would be implemented in the next 3-4 years.
month, there’s no sign of a stipend. When you ask for it, you are chastised for your below-average performance and dismal attendance record. All this despite the fact that you’ve almost finished the site and you didn’t miss a single day. To rub salt in your wounds, you are informed you won’t be paid for Sundays!! I faced all this and more at my internship with Ambujex Technologies. And I did what any of you might have done. I quit - without asking for my first month’s stipend. I wasn’t the only one to do so – five of us quit in unison. The only two who stayed were third years for whom the certificate was essential. I’ve never had a more bitter summer. Ambuj says: We had an agreement with the students that they would work for us for 8 weeks. Anybody not honouring the commitment of completing the stipulated duration of internship should not expect us to pay the amount and keep our commitment. After all, we spend money to train them for the first 4 weeks and expect them to work for us the rest of the time. If they leave us during this period, we are in for a loss and if we do not gain anything out of this venture, we will have to take severe steps. The two students who completed the stipulated two months were satisfied with their experience. Upon our intervention, the two students who were paid only a fraction of their promised stipend were paid in full.
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