Page 1

JANUARY 6 2007

T

1

www.scholarsavenue.org IIT KHARAGPUR

HE

S

CHOLA R S

RK hall renovation

Inside ?

GC’s 2

Fests

’ A

3

V E NUE Pan-IIT 2006 7

8

42nd Inter IIT Meet Defending champions Kharagpur relegated to third The 42nd Inter-IIT Meet at IIT Guwahati spelt disappointment for the defending champions, IIT Kharagpur, as we finished 3rd in the Overall Men's GC and 2nd in the Women's GC. After last year's stellar performance by the Men and the consequent expectations back home, finishing at a 16 point lag was all the more dampening. IIT Madras lifted the Cup, far ahead at 68. Set in the foothills of the Shiwaliks, circumscribed by the clear waters of the Brahmaputra, dotted by lakes and green hillocks within the picturesque campus, IIT Guwahati hosted the event for the first time. Their nascent sports complex was illuminated by specially installed floodlights - the campus flaunted Sports in Style. With Arjuna Award recipient Bhogeshwar Baruah as the Chief Guest

with 17 points. Bomay lost out by a single unfortunate point in spite of 3 golds and Madras finished third.

of the Opening Ceremony, the Director Gautam Barua reiterated his pride by announcing the youngest IIT's entry into the League of its Big Brothers. Guwahati won the march past competition, in a field of 7 competitors, and the competition had already begun. The next few days were a whirlwind of activities as the league phase matches started for all the sporting events building up to a crescendo as the final hurdles were conquered on 18th and 19th.

Men's GC: Gunning for Gold… The weight lifting team comfortably added to its traditional Gold Mine. With t wo g o l d s ( B h a b e n D e o r i a n d Kanwaljeet Singh), two silvers and a bronze, the team grabbed the first place

Volleyball hit Gold as the Kgp l e ge n d s , C h a n c h a l Pa n d ey a n d Amritanshu Kumar ended their Inter-IIT career, leading their team to victory once again. Although their first match against Kanpur began with disappointing hiccups, they sailed through the Semis, and it was against Kanpur again, that they aggressively and deservingly seized Cup in the Finals. Volleyball was one of the most exciting sports for spectators, and the team supporters fought as much as the players themselves. Asit deserves a special mention as a fresher whose talent and spirit shone equally among the Masters of the Game. H o c key t o o k K g p f ro m a commendable Bronze last year to an undoubted Gold this year. Trampling Roorkee but succumbing to Delhi due to adventurous experimenting, the team made an astounding comeback almost immediately. Beating Kanpur 3-1, they took their revenge against IITD in the Finals by lifting the Hockey Cup (2-1). Kudos to Shovit and Yousuf for their excellent performance! (continued on page 6)

Placements 2007 "Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, "Certainly, I can!” Then get busy and find out how to do it.” - Theodore Roosevelt

mattered. Many who'll be wondering if they should have left the company they got placed in to wait for a better one and also many who'll be wondering if leaving

a company they left was such a good decision after all.

You'd wish placements were this simple at IIT Kgp too. These are strange times. Half your friends must be placed in a well paying job by now and there'd be many who still don't know what the near future has in store for them. Many who still may be pondering why they weren't able to make it into this company or that while someone they considered good-fornothing made it look like a piece of cake. Many who would consider this to be a vindication of 4-5 years of hard work and also many who must be thanking their stars for shining bright on the-day-that-

420 students placed in 48 companies in first 9 days of placements.

(continued on page 6)


2 T

H E

S

C H O L A R S

A

V E N U E

E DIT OR ’ S A V E NUE

Nostalgia Aneesh Jain on the legacy that Kgp leaves in us Even after spending a number of semesters in this village isolated from civilization, you do tend to keep discovering new follies but it is only when you are about to leave that you have a clearer picture of what you actually are going to miss in your life. Sadly for most, this realization is yet to come and they shall continue to criticize this place and the lack of adventure and opportunities. Life is indeed so predictable, at times monotonous: 'The Park Hotel' every Friday and Cheddies late in the nights, classes every weekday at 7:30 in the morning, some Inter Hall practice in the evening, wooing the freshly arrived pretty ones each year and getting poorer in the process, desperately trying to maintain 75% attendance (at least in the record books) and frantically *mugging* before each exam. You can't even write a book about an average KGPian's lif e (an increasingly growing trend at some of the more popular institutes)! The bumpy ride on the way to KGP from the Highway isn't exactly enjoyed by everyone, especially those who are used to getting stuck in traffic jams in metropolitan cities. The dearth of enough lodging space on campus and absence of any outside accommodation for visitors might be responsible for the

J A NUA R Y 6 2007

S CHOLS A V E O NLINE To read these articles online and to give your feedback on them, please visit our website at www.scholarsavenue.org.

lack of interest by a lot of firms to show up on campus. T he scarcity of restaurants serving edible food, movie theatres and places the young and wild would want to hang out at (well there is always Harry's), only add to the disappointed moroseness of a student.

scholarsavenue.org also provides the latest campus news through our coverage of events as they happen.

But then we, like most others, would like to believe we are different, special in ways unknown to the rest of humanity: Techies surprisingly during some certain three days of February, humans during the weekend of the last week of January, for the rest of the year we are plain simple Hall“ites”. There is one religion unique to KGP and one religion alone being practiced – The Hall – and though the masses will deny, everyone ultimately becomes a part! Good or bad is a matter of personal opinion. This religion plus the great betrayal of humanity have resulted in at least one specific trait of a KGPian – he usually ends up making more great friends than he can count on his fingers, having more fun 'on campus' than anyone in the more popular institutes and sadly also missing this place when he is away.

Please send letters regarding this issue of The Scholars’ Avenue or any other topic affecting IIT Kharagpur, to editor@scholarsavenue.org.

Things may change, are changing, but these words will always remain the same:“KGP ka tempo high hai!”

Web hosting provided by:

T E A M S CHOLS A V E

Executive Editors ? Chintan Thakkar, Nitin Basant, Sunny Somani, Swati Editors ? Aneesh Jain, Aravind RS, Riti Mohapatra, Rohit Shankar, Saahil Bhanot, Samya Mandal, Shishir Dash, Umang Jain Sr. Reporters ? Aditya Marathe, Anuj Dayal, Arish Inam, Sheekha Verma, Sreeja Nag, Suvrat Bafna Reporters ? Anup Bishnoi, Deepak Cherian, JS Deepthi, Mithun Madhusudan, Pranesh Chaudhary, Srinath Sinha,Vinayak Pathak Jr. Reporters ? AVN Murthy, Bharat Bhat, Mayank Kedia, Pallavi Jayannavar, Siddharth Singh, Suyash Bire

N E WS A V E NUE

A StaRK Contrast They say somethings never change, and the quintessential example of this seems to be the deplorable condition of the halls of residence of IIT Kharagpur. Along with other veterans of Kgp spirit such as hall tempo, night outs and bhaat, it has always remained the same. Almost. We say almost, because seeds of change are being sown. A new wave of excitement for some and hope for others is being generated, due to the complete makeover of the RK Hall of residence which stands out shining in its fresh coat of waterproof paint. Thanks to its highly automated kitchen, spotless clean bathrooms, tile flooring and lush lawn, RK has become the institute's new showcase hall – a quick stop on the tour for important visitors and journalists ranking engineering colleges. Someone who stays here longer, however, will realize that the success of RK Hall's refurbishment project is one which is remarkable because of the efforts required to overcome the inertia of status quo. The entire project was managed and funded, not by the inept Hall Management Committee (HMC) but by a distinguished alumnus, former resident of RK hall and CEO of InfoUSA, Mr.Vinod Gupta.

In an extremely generous gesture, he provided the finances for the thorough overhaul of his old hall – to the tune of approximately Rs. 58 lakhs. Dealing directly with the contractor in charge, he also ensured that the money was well spent – almost every facility in RK hall has been improved (see box). In doing so, he has shown the way in which other halls may be renovated – through the direct participation of IIT Kharagpur's illustrious alumni. The student representatives in each hall have a crucial role to play if this were to

happen, as they are the initial bridge between the alumni and the contractors. It is essential that they hold themselves to much higher standards of accountability and transparency, so as to inspire confidence that the contributions are well spent. On behalf of the students of IIT Kharagpur, Scholars' Avenue would like to laud Mr. Vinod Gupta for his generosity, and to appeal to all alumni to consider giving back to their alma mater – in a manner that will impact the daily lives of hundreds of students.


T

N E WS A V E NUE

J A NUA R Y 6 2007

S

H E

C H O L A R S

’

A

V E N U E

3

GC Wars 2006-07 also heading towards a very exciting finish.

Soc & Cult Its time for the GC wars again – and the major battles shall be fought in this semester. On the social and cultural front, all big group events in the Dramatics, Entertainment and Fine Arts category are coming up in quick succession. The current standings show last year Golden GC winners RK to be leading by almost a hundred points ahead of Azad followed by LLR. With 14 more events to go, there's no saying how things would finally turn out. But we are surely looking forward to a lot of good competition and less of cancellations and postponement. Needless to say, a lot many night-outs are soon to find impassioned students who are dedicated to winning laurels for their respective halls. Here's wishing the best to all the halls and hoping to see a lot of creativity, talent and might being showcased through the upcoming InterHall events.

Sports With the dawn of the new semester it's time again for sweaty practice sessions, strategy making and fierce battles in the playing arena. All but two events are to take place in this semester and like last year this year's sports G.C is

With golds in Athletics and Aquatics Nehru has its nose ahead. RK with gold in water polo is next, followed by Patel who bagged silver in athletics. But a look at the events to follow is enough to know that the battle is far from over. With strong teams in volleyball, table tennis, badminton and basketball, RK has all the ammunition to blast its way to the top for the second time in succession. Patel will surely look to hit the top gear in this semester. They haven't a lost a game in cricket for 2 years now and they can also score points in weightlifting, basketball, badminton and lawn tennis. They could be in with a really good chance if they are able to repeat their winning performance in football. Though Nehru has a handsome lead in its kitty, the road ahead is not all that smooth. They will have to steal points here and there and do well in events like football in which no particular team has an edge. Azad with Hockey and weightlifting and RP with Hockey, Tennis, Table tennis and basketball will make their presence felt but a disappointing first semester has almost made it impossible for them to win the GC. There are many twists and turns in

Soc & Cult GC 400

Techquiz results were mostly decided events outside the quiz itself the initial winners Nehru were later disqualified when it turned out that one of the members of the team hadn't registered for any subjects this s e m e s t e r. T h i s f o l l ow s s eve ra l disqualifications Nehru has suffered in Soc&Cult events over the same issue. With this RK moves up to first place, and RP and LLR share second. Product Design results were a repeat of the one in 2004 - Nehru placed first (all registered students this time!) with an adapter for multiple wireless protocols, RP second with a road-building machine, and Patel third with a variablegeometry lens. With the vast majority of events yet to be held, the fate of the GC is still anybody’s guess. Technology GC

36

120

200

175 95 55

30 25

20

20 15

12

10 5

50 Patel Azad Nehru RK

RP

LLR

Patel

SN

2

Azad

RP

LLR

60 40

RK

40

37.5

20 0

Nehru

97.5 75

80

0

0

0

2

100

100

Total GC Points

Total GC Points

Total GC Points

270 215

250

100

The Tech GC got off to a rather slow start with just three of the eight planned inter-halls being held in the autumn semester. Of these, only two results are available, with the Chem Innovations judge presumably dragging his feet.

35

285

300

150

Tech

Sports GC 40

355

350

store in this race and who knows, a few points here and there might just do the trick!

0 Patel Azad Nehru RK

RP

LLR

Hall Of Residence

Making a Difference Kgp has left its mark on you... Can you leave your mark on Kgp? The article below is an update on the social initiative written about in the November 10th issue of The Scholars' Avenue. To read the previous article download an e-copy at: http://www.scholarsavenue.org/word press/2006/11/10/november-10-issue/ Tarkapara, 8 Kms. south-west of the campus. This is the village earmarked f o r t h e s o c i a l i n i t i a t ive b e i n g spearheaded by the group of students under the banner of the RDC. The students recently had a trip to the village when several areas where student involvement could change things for the better came to light. A meeting with the villagers has been scheduled for later in the month, on the day in fact, of Makar

Sakranti(the 14th of January). Several new issues where interested students could help are expected to emerge. Potential areas of involvement, identified as of now, include the marketing of the villagers' household craft: the pattal plates, adult education and organization of a health camp being conducted there by the Red Cross Society. The group would come to a consensus on what is going to be the one activity they wish to concentrate on first off after the Jan. 14th meeting. A survey was conducted amongst s t u d e n t s i n t h e e a rly h o u r s o f Registration day and the result while not astounding did bring forward names of several students willing to spend a

substantial amount of their time(mostly in the bracket of 2-3 hrs per week) working in the village. The group wishes to extend its genuine gratefulness to all those who took time to participate in the survey during the involving registration process. As for those missed by the survey and who wish to know more and get involved please feel free to contact any of those mentioned below: Ankit Gandhi ankit.iitkgp@gmail.com Nitin Basant nitin.basant@gmail.com Prakhar Sharma prakharsharma86@gmail.com


4 T

H E

S

C H O L A R S

’

A

F LA S HBA CK A V E NUE

V E N U E

J A NUA R Y 6 2007

The decision by the HRD for reservation in the IITs didn't go down well with KGPians and caused more than a stir among the students. Even though the stand against reservation wasn't very vocal, but by participating in a few rallies and through the media, the students made themselves heard. Last year RK won the Golden GC after a long time, winning both the sports and the soc-cult versions. Nehru and Azad grabbed the other two spots respectively in soc-cult, while Patel and Nehru were the other podium finishers in sports. Technology, a fairly new GC, was bagged by RP, followed by Nehru and Patel. Fest was the buzz word this year. Most of the departments ventured forth with their own fests. Industrial Engineering came up with Optima while Agricultural department organized Ankur. Computer Science took Bitwise to the next level and Chem Insight also fared pretty nicely. Let's hope the tradition continues.

Kshitij has come quite far since its inception only a few years ago. Guest lectures by Dr. Klaus Von Klitzing, Dr. R. Chidambaram, Mr. R. Gopalakrishnan; and interactive workshops on animation and humanoids made for an amazing celebration of technology. We wish the Kshitij team all the best for an even bigger show in 2007.

A new hostel for girls under construction behind the HMC office and has been christened Rani Laxmi Bai hall of residence. Many other buildings may be on the cards, like the construction of a new gymkhana & another Guest house.

Continuing the tradition of Kgp, all halls gave a stellar performance in Illumination. RP hall tread on unchartered territory and reversed the Shankar Mahadevan show, the widely traditional illu concept by acclaimed Kavi Sammelan and Perpz were using the unlit space on the the highlights of SF 2006. With rumors of chatai to depict figures. This saw exponential increase in prize money and them winning the 1st prize participation expectations from SF 2007 followed by RK and VS. VS are sky-high. stood first, SN second and RK third in Rangoli. Patel's Spurred by the Inter IIT win last Rangoli was year, the institute granted a huge surprisingly left fund for the development of sport out. facilities and the gymkhana. The gymnasium has been modernized, swimming pool has been re-tiled and a new gymkhana, revamped basketball and tennis courts and many other changes are in the pipeline.

The convocation last year was honored by the presence of one of the institute's most illustrious alumni, Mr Arun Sarin. He donated $500,000 for telecom research in the campus. Amidst all the OBC reservation chaos the Honorable Minister for HRD Mr Arjun Singh had decided to give the convocation a miss. This year the Inter IIT contingent wasn't able to continue last year's winning form, and overall stood 4th in boys, and second in girls.

The Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law was inaugurated in July. Incidentally, it was the first event to be held in the recently completed Kalidasa auditorium.

This year several new ideas were formalized into societies. It started with Communique its main focus being development of communication skills amongst students. Then Aawaz, a hindi newspaper made it to the ranks of the institute. Aided by the Hindi Cell, IIT Kgp, Aawaz published its first issue in October. E Cell organized the first ever E-Summit with participation from colleges as far as in Mumbai. Business Innovation & Knowledge Management, E-Cell was founded to help tap the potential for technological innovation and research at IIT Kharagpur.

5


6 T

H E

S

C H O L A R S

A

V E N U E

N E WS A V E NUE

J A NUA R Y 6 2007

Placements 2007 companies can not later be restrained from sending a few of their most worthy KGP-graduates abroad.

(continued from page 1) These are indeed strange times. There are various facts that are indisputable, and then there are some others. What cannot be disputed is the monumentally laudable effort put in by Prof. Gautam Sinha, the TnP staff and the student representatives, many of whom have been working day in and day out – dedicated to the service of TnP. Indisputably too, the more popular version of this phrase, the one that's displayed proudly and boldly across the face of the main building – dedicated to the service of the nation – needs some soul-searching from IIT Kgp. It's a simple question that we need to ask: aren't we bluffing ourselves? We proudly claim to dispatch our students to only those companies that have an office in India, and leave the IIMs and other IITs behind in this brand of patriotism but even these

One also wonders about the logic behind companies sending students who graduated within the last two years to their own campuses for shortlisting and interviewing candidates. It is flattering to note that several companies consider their recent KGP recruits as being capable of deciding others' capabilities and temperament. It however does leave room for personal biases to come into the selection process. Shell, though, was one company that received widespread plaudits for the way they conducted their placement process - thoroughly professional and really well done. A quick round-up of some of the other companies that have come to campus thus far: Barclays promised lots, in terms

of job profiles, but ended up picking students just for Technology. Rio Tinto turned out to be the surprise package of the year. Not many knew about the size of this company before they arrived on campus. It was an altogether different story once we heard about the AUS$ 8090k CTC they announced! JLL and DTZ brought some cheer to the Dept of Architecture, two of the few companies that offer core jobs to that department. Cairn and Reliance teamed up with Schlums and Shell to make Geology & Geophysics the hottest department on campus this year. And finally, McKinsey and HLL took a grand sum total of – wait for it - two people. Legendary, ain't it?! Scholars' Avenue has been, and will continue, bringing you the latest updates from TnP on our website. We wish all final year students the very best in their job search. In case of any difficulty in an HR interview, remember the first line of this article!

Inter IIT Meet 2006 (continued from page 1)

Men's GC: Stealing Silver… Last year's favourites, the Table Tennis team returned with a Silver this time. League matches resulted in victory and defeat against Kanpur and Madras respectively. Although the Home Team boasted of the best player this Inter-IIT, it was just a one-man tirade as they lost to Kgp in the Semis. It was in the finals, that the team felt the absence of Ravi Agarwal, and yielded 3-1 to Madras. After last year's letdown, The Footer Team gave their a run for their money in an amazing comeback. Overcoming Roorkee and drawing Madras, they beat Bombay 2-0 in the Semis. The breathtaking finals ended in Madras's favor when Kgp lost the Penalty Shot and the match ended 4-1. One of the most enthusiastic teams in this year's meet, they put up a really good show.

Men's GC: Betting on Bronze… The Badminton Team, inspite of the stiff competition and lacking in one its best players, beat Delhi and Guwahati relentlessly back to back to storm into the Semis. Losing to a well-trained Madras team, it was Bronze for them again. Brilliant and trained to perfection, Bombay clinched the Gold. The Athletics Team slipped to a Bronze this year with a relatively disappointing performance. 6 Bronze medals and 5 silvers, they still fell far behind Bombay that took home 8 Golds,

4 Silvers and 4 Bronze, and finally ended with 34.5 points. Delhi (almost a one man show by Navy-man Ashok Meena) finished close second at 55.5 behind Bombay at 64. The basketball team too had a good run. A very high-spirited team, they started with a spur of victories but eventually lost the Semis to Madras. Winning all hearts with their enthusiasm on and off court, they excelled in their final match beating Guwahati to the Bronze.

Men's GC: Just Missing Out… The cricket team improved on their previous years perf ormance by storming the first 2 matches against Madras and Guwahati (97 and 87 all-out respectively). Just as things were looking their best, "hard luck" took its toll. Dejected by their unwarranted defeat against Kanpur in the Semis, the fight for bronze against Delhi ended in the latter's favour. The final was ultimately won by IITM who defeated IITK by 6 wickets, a result that decided the GC in favor of Madras on the final day. As for underachievers, the strongest contender would have to be the Tennis team. Last year's Bronze medalists failed to qualify for the semi finals, and the disappointment was all too palpable. Their first round exit could be attributed to some bad luck and mostly to the presence of competent teams fighting for the top notch. The star of this year's matches was undoubtedly the junior

W i m b l e d o n c o n t e n d e r, A r j u n Vijayaragavan (IITM).

Women's GC: A Step Ahead… The girls' contingent finished a commendable second in the General Championship. The Table Tennis team strode to a smooth, unchallenged victory without waiving in a single match on the way.While our team swept all matches 30, the others on the list had to be content with not-so-bad a defeat every time. The Badminton team beat Roorkee in a smooth, quiet League match to sail into the Semis. With Lady Luck on their side, they ended a very long drought of victory this year by bagging the Bronze. The Basketball team had come to R o o rke e w i t h h i g h h o p e s , a n d performances were indeed looking very good in the League. The Semis, however, saw them lose to a thundering Madras team after which last minuteinjuries caused the Bronze dream to also drown. The competition gets tougher and tougher each year, and the pressure higher and higher. It is the spirit to fight for victory, for Kgp, that keeps the adrenaline pumping through those 8 days. After all, if winning didn't matter, why do they keep score? But above all, after it's all over, whether we clinched the GC or not, it's the spirit of sports that lingers and comes out as winner. It's that spirit that lives on as long as we re m e m b e r t h e c o n t i n g e n t t h a t represented Kgp in the 42nd Inter IIT, 2006.


The Be st of

J A NUA R Y 6 2007 Welcome to Bhaat Avenue, your fortnightly dose of nothing in general and everything in particular!

“Well... whatever... nevermind.” - Almost Anonymous

T

H E

S

C H O L A R S

6 0 20

Answers to all your questions. Q. All my friends eat at Harry's on Friday nights, but the only place is Park. Does this say something about me? A. As a matter of fact, yes. W h e re yo u e a t o n We e k e n d h a n g o u t Friday/Saturday night has a large influence on what you're likely to end up as. See the box.

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

Q: Dear Bhaat. After a long sabbatical, I have decided to go to my department again but I have suddenly found myself having to hide from three different professors, because I can't quite figure out which one of them is my BTech project guide. I'm sure you guys have come across similar stories, so could you tell me how I can figure out who my guide is? A: Dear dude, there are many behavioral traits that set aside project guides from other department professors, but the most reliable for the task at hand would be the trans-portal sub-expectancy factor. Simply put, the professor who is least likely to expect you to knock on his door is certain to be your project guide. Based on this information, you can design a simple experiment comprising knocking-and-entering followed by careful measurements of looks-of-surprise, from which you can easily work out who your project guide is. Good luck! We’d love to hear from you. Please send in your comments and suggestions to bhaat@scholarsavenue.org

T OON A V E NUE

A

V E N U E

7

It’s Spring Again Its time for the excitement levels to soar again, with Spring Fest coming up in three more weeks. No one knows exactly when it started but over a few decades it has grown to become another name that the students of the country identify IIT Kgp with. From the outset, it is just another congregation of talented students hailing from different colleges across the country each fighting it out to prove their mettle in the sphere of arts. But to the general junta of kgp, it is a welcome change of sorts from the way life is the rest of the year. And to the team which works to put this together, it's a dream come true. The campus is abuzz again with rumours of who shall grace the stages of TOAT and Netaji this year. Names like Shaan and Amaan and Ayaan Ali have already made way to the general information of most junta (those who didn't know earlier know now).Spring Fest 2006 left the campus wanting in several aspects but this time the news so far is promising.With several new events like Rangmanch, Grafitti and Rangoli, two star nights, a rock nite and a second helping of Hasya Kavi Sammelan, and total prizes worth Rs 3 lakhs, there's a lot to look out for and lots more to win.

Event Horizon The amazing growth story of our "techno-management" fest never ceases to amaze. From a few hundred outside participants in its inaugural year, 2004, to over a thousand in 2005; from two packed days in 2005 to three frantic ones in 2006. Now, Kshitij 2007 promises to write another incredible chapter in the short history of the fest. Being a young fest, Kshitij is unabashed about making extensive changes in its itinerary in every edition. The lineup of events have undergone many changes, with some events dropped to make way for promising new ones such as the hugely popular online stock market game Woodstock. Total prize money for these events has grown to a whopping Rs. 30 lakh. Red Carpet, the star guest attraction, is 1995 Chemistry Nobel laureate Prof. Paul Crutzen. Other personalities giving guest lectures include Chemistry Nobel laureate Sir Harold Kroto, advertizing guru Alyque Padamsee, adventurer Eric Larsen, cybernetics pioneer Prof. Kevin Warwick, former ISRO chairman Dr. K Kasturirangan, Indian cosmonaut Wg. Cmdr. Rakesh Sharma, and Medicine Nobel laureate Dr. Lee Hartwell. A star studded fest, indeed!


8 T

H E

S

C H O L A R S

A

V E N U E

F E A T UR E S A V E NUE

J A NUA R Y 6 2007

Pan-IIT 2006 PanIIT 2006, the third version of the annual meet was a resounding success if the setting, visiting dignitaries and delegates are anything to go by. It matched if did not outdo both the previous ones with keynote speakers including the President of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam himself, India's candidate for the UN Secretary General Post Mr. Shashi Tharoor and the legendary investor Mr. George Soros amongst others. In terms of participation it received the largest number of delegates with participation close to the 5000 mark. Successful Alumni were also very generous with donations expected to soon cross the $50 million mark. Our very own Arun Sarin made a promise of a donation equal to the amount he had pledged recently while in campus ($ 2.5 million). However if the meet were to be judged on its own sheer merit and achievements a few shortcomings come to light. Things could hardly be said to have gone alright considering the master of ceremonies on the first day Mr. Tom Alter couldn't get the name of the chief guest right, him being none other than Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Dr. Kalam's address too was not going to be much help either. In words of a major daily it was a "Dressingdown for IITians". He read aloud reactions of people from various walks of life to the acronym IIT. While for a professor in the US "The value addition by IIT is very low to the students" for a general in the Army IITs were meaningless. In his words, "While we see many engineering grads join the army we are yet to see any IITian [in] the last two

decades." Also as Dr. Kalam pointed out direct benefits for the nation from the IITs was rather minimal: "Many institutions of the same caliber as IIT in the western world, have been contributing much more to the industry than the IITs in India." The statistics too stand in his favor as for every 6 patents filed by an IIT on the average, MITs number is close to 65. Mr. Tharoor focused later, in his lecture, more on nation building and what the idea of Indian-ness was about while Mr. Soros talked of India's promising future but both talked little if nothing about the IITs role. The theme this year was proclaimed as "Inspire, Involve and Transform India" which on its own does not appear to make much sense other than that it can be condensed into IIT. The agenda of the meet was a seven point charter consisting: ² To build a knowledge economy in India ² To lift 260 million people out of poverty ² To bring professionalism in governance ² To improve the standard of living in cities ² To learn from successful entrepreneurs ² Specific programs for empowerment of

women, by women achievers. According to Mr. Ashank Desai, Event Chairman, PanIIT 2006 the aim of the event was to provide a forum where people could network. He planned to showcase the technologies developed by a few whereupon others could take the initiative and seek guidance on projects they wanted to do themselves. He was "keen on developing certain catalysts amongst IITians". As stated by him if someone was interested in solving water woes, he would attend the session on

this and interact with people and chart out a course of action. He was however not sure about what would actually take place. The event thus expectedly fell short of delivering any time-bound action plan as to how the above mentioned seven points were to be achieved. To be fair, however according to Mr. Kailash Singh, an IIT Madras Alumnus, who returned to India after 32 years in the US, the atmosphere at the meet was electric with huge amounts of ideas and a genuine will to work and transform India. However as even he pointed out the event's discussions could have been more beneficial if not only the lectures by the panelists and keynote speakers but also ideas form the various attendees could be collected through essay competitions. In words of Mr. Bijay Tiwari, another participant at PanIIT 2006, the delegates were involved in raising questions in the various seminars that took place but an action-plan as such was never discussed. According to him the action-plan(s) were to be discussed later and might be out in a few days. This however as he agreed was only speculation. All in all, the PanIIT meet did serve as a good interaction platform for self-motivated alumni to come to know each other, their work and form networks. However the others that it did leave inspired after the lectures on nation-building and potential for development of rural areas had nowhere to look to.

Come Into My World A brief on The Scholars' Avenue Daewoo Motors once had an ad that said: "There have always been dreamers; because in our dreams we see not what is, but what can be. There have always been doers; because through our efforts, we make what-can-be what-is. This is how things become possible. This is how the quality of our life improves. Because we dream. Because we do. Daewoo." Scholars Avenue was born out of one such dream. A dream to give IIT Kgp its own newspaper that would act as litmus for the mood around campus and also provide a medium to everyone to voice their views. We began as an eager bunch of 10 in March 2005 – unsure of exactly what to do and how to do it but absolutely sure that something needed to be done. It took a month of deliberations and planning for us to come out with our first issue – and what an issue it was! The paper quality was poor, the grammatical mistakes glaring and the editing suspicious. But back then, it was the crowning glory of our efforts. We had taken off and there wasn't time to look back. Such was the enthusiasm that the next edition was released bang in the middle of the end semester exams in April! Come the new academic year and Scholars' Avenue began recruiting for fresh positions. At the end of it, the team comprised students from 5th year to 2nd year – and designations from editor-in-chief to reporter! We also started a blog to post our editions online. It was time we did serious

talk and it began with us raising the issue of the banning of bikes on campus. The image of a bike on the front page with a red cross across its face wasn't one to be forgotten in a hurry. Three issues old and growing, we finally made our breakthrough with the Foundation Day issue on 18th August, 2005. It stood out for three things in particular: thick and bright paper, color pictures and innovative content. Life continued smoothly for another couple of issues before we realised the troubles of dealing with the fourth estate. Scholars' Avenue raised the issue of the condition of the B. C. Roy hospital and reported about a strike and demonstrations within campus by activists. Amidst misunderstandings, major decisions were made which included a ban on Scholars' Avenue and curtailment of our website. Solidarity poured in from everywhere within campus and for the first time, we realised the popularity we had built for ourselves. The ban lasted less than a month and alumni support helped us get back to life. We were no longer under the gymkhana – a move that made us free to decide our content but also left us financially crippled. Just like its namesake, Scholars' Avenue had again made its start at B. C. Roy. The spring semester saw us tying up with The Telegraph to bring out a supplement for them to commemorate Spring Fest. It also

witnessed us getting sponsorships from Century Rayon and Matrix as we continued to strive to remain financially viable. Things finally stabilized during the summers after GE agreed to part-sponsor The Scholars' Avenue. We still aren't out of the woods, financially, and would gratefully welcome any contribution from the alumni. Today, Scholars' Avenue is no longer an unknown entity to any student within IIT Kgp. Having taken on the responsibility to carry all Training & Placement news on our website, www.scholarsavenue.org, and update them as and when things transpire, it has unofficially become the definitive TnP online notice-board for final year students on campus. So much so, that even companies have been known to use our website when making their shortlists. Scholars' Avenue began as a challenge to ourselves and we couldn't have dreamt we would come this far when we began 21 months ago. What continues to motivate us is the zest to outdo ourselves and keep coming up with ideas that make Scholars' Avenue better and help serve IIT Kgp in the process. We would love to reach out to as many Kgpians, past and present, as possible and keep them well informed about their alma mater. If you'd like to subscribe for free ecopies (pdf) of our issues, send us a mail at subscribe@scholarsavenue.org. Contact us at editor@scholarsavenue.org for any comments, feedback or articles.

Jan 06, 2007  
Jan 06, 2007  

Get all the dope on IIT Kgp’s fall to 3rd place in the 42nd Inter IIT Sports Meet. Aneesh Jain pens a nostalgic piece on the Kgp legacy. The...

Advertisement