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Exclusive Prahlad Kakkar & KK - Page 3

THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE

www.scholarsavenue.org

F EBRUARY 24 2009

IIT K HARAGPUR

Soc & Cult GC - Lost in Spirit?

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xtreme competition pervades every aspect of IIT life, a reality so deeply ingrained that it is almost the coveted ingredient driving one's endeavours. The Social and C u l t u r a l G e n e r a l Championship is no exception in this regard. Each win assumes a larger-than-life, almost absurd significance as halls battle it out for pride and prestige in this year long spectacle. But as some of the recent developments indicate, so lost are we in the pursuit of a few GC points that the basic purpose seems forgotten; the flavour of the event being drained out by the desire to win at any cost. Case in point is the recently concluded 'What's the Good Word' event, which took absurdity to hitherto untouched levels. One could only watch in disbelief as this simple three round event stretched out into a full blown soap opera, with twists and turns beyond imagination. Frivolous disputes marred each round, and a hapless judge found himself

Back To Back To School! Progress reports go home School! Progress reports go home

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et another recent development, warmly welcomed by the student community, has been the initiative by the administration to send progress reports home. The report summarizes the academic performance of the student by quoting semesterwise grade point averages and their cumulative weighted mean. Also listed is the number of the credits cleared against the total number of credits taken. However, there is no specific mention of the courses taken or the individual grades secured in them.

asserting repeatedly to get back to the game, which simply was 'to be good at words'. It took a full three weeks after the event to finally bring out the results, with standing appeals and hall pacts adding to the drama. While this is one case, the rest of the events had their own fair share of chaos too. Something that instantly comes to mind is the evaluation of Bengali elocution based on debate parameters such as rebuttal, thanks to the sheer negligence of the concerned secretary. Going further back, it becomes apparent that this decline to randomness has been in the making for quite some time now. One can recount the petition for disqualification of an elocution participant on the grounds of his legs being visible behind the podium from one angle as the height of insanity. JAM and Dumb Charades have always been notorious, and with Dumb Charades being reintroduced this year, a lot of fireworks can be expected. All this means that the Soc &

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u m m e r announced its arrival last week in a rather horrific manner w i t h t w o unfortunate incidents of wildfire. The first such i n c i d e n t happened on Wednesday, February 11 at around lunch-time when the entire wooded area behind RGSOIPL consisting of thick bushes, elephant grass and trees caught fire. The orange and red coloured flames were huge and the fire burned with an intense blaze with a nasty sound and sent the ash of burnt branches and plants flying all around. Fire tenders from the nearby Air Force Base were pressed into service and it took the Air Force and IIT-Kgp security personnel about an hour to extinguish the blaze which came dangerously close to the RGSOIPL building, especially its library. Prof. S. Tripathy, Head, RGSOIPL, Prof. Amit Patra, Dean (AA & IR) and

Cult GC is no more a stage for talented folk to get together and showcase their skills, but an opportunity for political bigwigs of the halls to fight it out over petty rules, suggest and implement pettier modifications, then sit and find loopholes in them, and pat themselves on the back for each point so accumulated. Fair play is a forgotten virtue, and the incentive to perform well and innovate is hijacked by these fringe activities; pointless rules stifling whatever little innovation that is left. It would be no wonder if the Soc & Cult GC is reduced to a 'going through the motions' exercise, with the same tested plays and themes, tailor-made to the judges' interests being churned out year after year. That would be a sorry state in a campus which prides itself for its vibrant life outside of academics. The Soc & Cult GC provides a good example of how pushing too hard can take the fun out of anything. It is fair enough to want to win but the extent to

Up In Smoke

Prof. Indrajit Dube, faculty of Corporate, Competition and Contract Law, were seen observing and co-ordinating the entire operation from the roof of the Law School, quite near to the blaze. Even before anyone got over the first outburst, another wildfire broke out on V-Day, when the tall and extremely dry wild grass beyond the forested areas near the Rural Development Centre (RDC) and behind NCC Headquarters burst into flames.The exact cause of the fire is as yet unknown. By midafternoon, the flames had encompassed a large area, burning merrily in patches here and there. The wind was

which one is willing to go and the means adopted define the race and its runners. It is time for the participants who respect their talent and take part in an event for the love of it to ask their more narrow minded hall-mates to stay out. It is imperative for participants to take this bold call to preserve the sanctity of their events. It is no secret that most of the disputes are created by the fringe people who have nothing to do with the event. More assertive judges who wouldn't hesitate to kick out and penalize miscreants would go a long way. Steps need to be taken to address the oft repeated demand for outstation judges. The sad part is that the system is helpless beyond a point in this regard. If chaos is what you desire, chaos is what you get; it boils down to every individual's personal choice. The message needs to be sent out clear that the GC is not the platform to quench some twisted sense of satisfaction one gets out of creating chaos and mob action. It is time to put the flavour back in the events; and to let the best man win. making things particularly difficult by helping the flames to spread q u i c k l y. O n c e more, a team comprising firefighting and s e c u r i t y personnel, staff a n d s o m e professors responded swiftly and efficiently nipping the danger in the bud. Some NCC instructors also tried their best to suppress the flames. Help from the Air Force Base at Kalaikonda too was prompt. Despite of the shortage of manpower and other logistical problems like the narrow, uneven dirt roads which curbed the mobility of the fire engines, a well co-ordinated effort brought the situation under control within a few hours. An alert watch is on to prevent any similar incidents in future. Meantime, one must keep in mind not to throw beedis or cigarettes carelessly about the place.


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NEWS AVENUE

THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE

² T U E S D A Y , F E B R U A R Y 24 T H 2009

Inter-IIT Team Selections New rules in place to boost KGP’s performance

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asier said than done, right? A lot of us have complained about the dismal performance of the KGP contingent at the Inter IITs, but how many of us have actually stopped to think what can be done to improve the scene? The Gymkhana officials have decided that it's high time to pull up their socks and get K G P ' s a c t t o g e t h e r. Accordingly, some changes were proposed to the Inter IIT preparation regime. A lot of the proposed changes seem warranted. Taking regular attendance at practice sessions make sense candidates know that their place in the team is at stake if t h e i r a t t e n d a n c e l e a ve s anything to be desired. This seems like an efficient deterrent to slacking off. Additionally, starting practices for the Inter IITs earlier (it has been proposed that practices start as early as February) guarantees that teams will not perform badly due to lack of practice. What took many people by surprise, though, was the introduction of points in the Sports GC for Inter IIT Participation. Here's how the proposed rule will work; one point for the hall that every Inter IIT probable belongs to, two points for the hall that every Inter IIT participant belongs to, and a negative point for probables

who drop out at the last moment. The points of every hall are tallied. The hall with the most points gets a healthy chunk added to the Sports GC (to the tune of 10 points). The proposal is to have points for second, third, fourth and fifth

Neelabh Tewary, G. Sec., Sports and Games, TSG spoke in favour of the rule change (See Box). Vibhav Viswanathan, an Inter IIT Table Tennis player, however, feels otherwise. "Tackling the problem by mixing things up with the Sports GC is like tackling an unemployment problem

Although the recent changes made appear to be unwarranted and unjust, the students must realize that a lot of thought have been put into them. The changes demand a certain amount of sacrifice and patience from us students which we have to realize and sooner rather than later the benefits will be evident. There is no loss in trying out new things, and if they don't work out rules can always be changed. The sole motive behind introducing points for Inter IIT players in the Inter Hall GC is to in a way transform our hall spirit to Inter IIT performance. Having said this, we will take care that the hall with no Inter IIT players is not made to suffer by a huge margin. - Neelabh Tewary, G. Sec., Sports and Games place as well. The details of how many points are yet to be decided. This proposed change, on the face of it, seems absurd. It seems equivalent to introducing a new GC event called "Inter IIT Participation". This may result in some hall winning the GC because they were better than another hall at "Inter IIT Participation", which, technically speaking, isn't a sport at all. Apart from this, dividing the one thing that brings the entire KGP student community together on the basis of halls just doesn't seem right.

by digging up earth and employing people to fill it. The issues at the root must be tackled". Prof. Manish Bhattacharjee, President of TSG, declined to comment on the coaching situation for the Inter IITs, saying that the shortcomings in the coaching department were between him, his GSecs, and the team captains. He however did say that in the midst of all this chaos, the students should not forget the motive behind this move - to encourage people to spend less time in front of the computer and more time engaged in sport. This, he feels, will happen automatically if

Hefty Scholarships for Science Students

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here is finally some good news in the offing for science enthusiasts. The Department of Science and Technology under the Human Resources ministry has announced massive investments in R&D which is expected to give a major boost to science education in the country. The INSPIRE (Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research) program, launched by the PM himself, promises to be the largest of its kind. This elaborate program has been subdivided into three categories. The first section is designed specifically for school students and offers a variety of awards to top performers. The second section concentrates on scholarships in college education for the science stream

(natural sciences at the B.Sc or Integrated M.Sc level). Mentorship support for every scholar is one of the essential features of this scheme. Finally the third section focuses on post doctoral research and funding of research projects. So what is there in it for us IITans? The scheme is set to offer a mind boggling 10,000 scholarships every year for students pursuing bachelors or masters in natural sciences. The scholarship offers an annual stipend of Rs 80,000. More interesting is its sufficient criteria for eligibility – a JEE rank below 10,000 or a AIEEE rank below 20000. This effectively means that any IITian studying the basic sciences (Physics, Mathematics

and Chemistry) can make the cut with reasonable efforts. The fellowship has already been implemented in some institutes like the NISERs and IISERs. Thanks to a letter from Prof. Krishna Kumar of the Physics Department, the issue has come to the notice of the administration. Since every student enrolled in the natural sciences here is eligible for the fellowship and applying individually would be a needless exercise, it is expected that the institute will take measures to implement the scheme. For more information, visit http://www.dst.gov.in/scientific -programme/inspire/serinspire.htm

halls have an incentive to send more of their residents to play sports. Moreover, a larger pool of students to select from will result in some improvement, at the very least, and cannot be counterproductive. In KGP, Inter Halls are contested with much more "tempo" than the Inter IITs, and what the Gymkhana is looking to do is to direct some of that "tempo" towards achieving a better result in the Inter IITs. Addressing the question of whether the introduction of points for participation will bias the GC in favour of halls with more participation, he said that the weightage for participation will be such that no hall loses out too much. He also said that on the average, the halls with more participants in the Inter IITs would be the ones at the top of the GC chart anyway, so it wouldn't bias the GC. The halls that would have won the GC would end up winning the GC anyway. What was the point of introducing this point system again? Oh, right; so that halls realize that they have a better shot at the Sports GC if they send their students for Inter IIT practice. But stay with me here the new points system doesn't bias the GC, right? Doesn't this all seem a bit confusing?

Placements @ RGSoiPL

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tudents from RGSIOPL who possess expertise in both the technical and legal domains, have landed pay packets between Rs 6.5 and 9.5 lakhs per annum at companies like Amarchand and Mangaldas, Remfry and Sagar, Khaitan and Co, some of the leading law firms and companies from the domain of technology like Infosys Technologies and Siemens. With 17 of the 33 final year students successfully placed so far, and more companies like Monsanto expected on the campus, things aren't looking too bleak for this unique school, which offers a three year LLB course with specialisation in intellectual property law exclusively to engineers and post-graduates in science.


THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE

INTERVIEW AVENUE

² T U E S D A Y , F E B R U A R Y 24 T H 2009

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Prahlad Kakkar Speaks short of hiring a murderer or a rapist!

PK: The Scholars' Avenue – is it one of those underground campus newspapers? Like the one in IIT-B? TSA: No Sir, we are overboard! We are the campus newsletter, for students and faculty alike. PK: Oh! In St. Xavier's, they had this team of enthusiasts who went to print with the most honest of critical reviews (of classes) by the least obedient of students. They would drop stacks from the tower, littering the basketball court with paper! It weren't just the students hopping to grab these floating fiascos, the fathers would join in as well, equally eager (read 'anxious') to see how they were featured! It was a couple of years before the racket was finally busted. I got all this low-down from my employee, a dropout from Xavier's TSA: Sir, as we understand, most of your employees are drop-outs? PK: Most? All! I got a gang of conmen working under me, just

TSA: What about your employees from film-schools and acting institutes? PK: They are dropouts as well. Parents were bugging them to earn a living, so they joined the army barracks. However, after hours of jogging with rifles on your shoulders, they decided 'acting' was a better alternative.

director? PK: It's all about visualizing the script when you read it. Direction is like vocabulary, finding the right words, apt under the circumstances. What makes a good director is his ability to see it all in his head. If you can't see it, you are blind. Then you do what you do for either bucks or reference.

TSA: Your favourite advertisements, apart from your own. TSA: Sir, how did you get started PK: Would be the Nike one – the with advertising? Could you advertisement was beyond just elaborate on the humble beginning? creativity. On paper, the concept's PK: It was a pleasant afternoon. I just too chaotic ... a boisterous mob was walking past an office. in a traffic jam with a bunch of opportunists seizing the moment People were lunching on the w i t h lawn outside “Then, I notice these nice pair of legs in a s o m e this bungalow. cranky mini-skirt, the best I have seen in a while” Then, I notice cricketin these nice pair of legs in a mini-skirt, the best I g fervour! Really can't imagine have seen in a while. I walk how the company trusted the adinside, approach her and strike a designer with this one! Great ads conversation with 'I want to join aren't just about good directors this company'. Amused, she but clients who have confidence in their copyrighters. Most of the looks at me and says, 'Do you leading copyrighters I know have even know what we do?'. I replied, all been IITians. 'I don't care any longer'. Another advertisement worth mention would be the Happy TSA: You are one of the most Dent one. To imagine that long successful directors in the ad-genre long ago, when was no electricity, of filmmaking. What would you the only source of illumination in personally hold as the most the small town was a guy who ate distinguishing trait in a good Happy Dent White. Now that's a director?

great fantasy. After all, advertising is all about tapping your dreams. TSA: Ads apart, Prahlad Kakkar is cigars and scuba diving. You own a cigar factory and an island for scubadiving. How did you get started on these business ventures? PK: I preferred cigars to cigarettes. But then, cigars were too expensive, a Cuban cigar costs me $ 15 when I could manufacture equally good Cigars in the Philippines for a couple of dollars! So, the idea was not to make money but to smoke cigars for free. People say I am rich, just because I own an island for my scuba-diving sport! The annual lease for the island just over a lakh rupees! TSA: If you had to describe yourself in a word or a line... PK: When I was in college, I had three girl-friends at a time. I would juggle them around. In fact, those days, I needed to maintain a notebook to jot the dates down, just to make sure I don't mess with the names and places! It was all going smooth till one evening, the three of them independently turned up at the same party! I was cornered and that night, I lost the three of them in one shot and I had this 'rotten' tag tailing me. It was then I decided that regardless of what they say, I shall say the truth. I am bluntly honest.

Kuch Pal with KK Krishna Kumar Kunnath grew up listening to Floyd, GNR, Purple and Billy Joel. Spring Fest 2009 saw the DU Commerce graduate and playback genius, perform to a packed TOAT. The Scholars' Avenue caught up with KK for a rendezvous, backstage. Log on to our website for the full interview. TSA: As a singer you had a modest beginning, and you have come a long way. How do look at your journey to stardom? KK: I never thought of myself as a star. I started out as a singer in school. I gave my first stage performance when I was in second standard. When I was in college I thought I'd get a job. I was never among the top few in academics. I wanted to do an MBA, I did a computer course and g o t m a r r i e d e a r l y. B u t , somewhere sub-consciously I knew I would like to do that which came to me naturally. There was no pre-conceived plan. I went to Mumbai, and joined the advertising industry. I did jingles,

and slowly got into films and today I am a play-back singer. I never planned. I was not interested in Bollywood at one time. The music in the 90's didn't interest me.

feel, once you are committed to what you want to do, you have to go for it with all your heart and soul. For everybody it is very important to stick to certain selfdefined principles.

TSA: There is a deeper attachment and allegiance to music involved, but ultimately you also have to sell a song. When you bring out an album, you have to think of a strategy. Do you think your stint with the advertising business helped you? KK: I am not good at marketing and PR. I am not much into TV, news, media, because I don't believe in it. I think it's overdone, over baked. If you follow an art form, whatever you do, whether you sing or dance, follow your passion, because that is what gives you satisfaction, other things are immaterial. I did my first album, Pal and of course, I was totally inexperienced then. It was Sony music's first Indian artist debut album. Everything finally fell into place. I am not a go-getter. However, I

TSA: You have done rock ballads. KK: For me, Shaan, we pretty much started out together, so we have Hindi-pop to our credit, but now it is more diverse. It is good since there are lot more people to work with and a lot of new ideas. Rock-on was well received. Rock is still not mainstream, but until three years ago, people could never play it to somebody and have them listened to. Personal choices will change over time, though. Sounds keep changing. I personally like a classical touch, not purely classical, but songs from the 70's and 80's are close to my heart. TSA: What message would you have for students who probably would have wanted to pursue a career in music? KK: You need to remember that

there is no such thing as wanted to and couldn't, because then you didn't want it so bad. Competition is very fierce now and it is not easy. It is hard for established people as well. But if you have a talent, you know which way to go. There are no crossroads. If you are already in IIT and now you think of taking up music as a profession, I think it would probably be a little late. You have already given so much time to something else. You can always continue it as a hobby and see where it takes you rather than running a risk and leaving everything else behind. TSA: How would you describe your visit to Kharagpur? KK: I was in Kharagpur 3 years ago. I enjoyed it here the last time as well. The team put a very nice gig together. It might not be easy for IIT students to arrange all this, since you have so much to do. Altogether, it was a comfortable and enjoyable stay.


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TECH AVENUE

THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE

² T U E S D A Y , F E B R U A R Y 24 T H 2009

Probing Into The Dark Ages Research On Campus Douglas Adams, in his famous speech titled "Is there an Artificial God?" at Digital Biota in September 1998 said, "The fact that we live at the bottom of a deep gravity well, on the surface of a gas covered planet going around a nuclear fireball 90 million miles away and think this to be normal is obviously some indication of how skewed our perspective tends to be". Fortunately or unfortunately, there have been people who did not think this to be normal. Some of the really curious ones among the lot realized that a lot could be learnt about the deep gravity well, the nuclear fireball and the things beyond merely by looking up in the sky, provided, one had eyes that were powerful enough. Modern cosmology is basically a continuation of the work started by that curious lot and the techniques that are being used now are nothing but t e c h n o l o g i c a l l y a d va n c e d versions of looking up in the sky. However, the fact that the thing that makes us capable of "looking" up travels at a finite speed of 3,00,000 km/s has certain advantages and certain disadvantages. For example, there is no way we can figure out what exactly is happening at the sun at this exact moment. On the other hand, we can figure out what exactly happened at the sun approximately eight minutes ago. Similarly, there are electromagnetic radiations that emanated not just a long time ago, but also in a galaxy far far away, that are still hanging around in our atmosphere. These radiations tell us a lot about what the universe looked like when it was younger. Unfortunately, there was a period in the life of the universe that did not release enough radiation to make us capable of observing it. For obvious reasons, it is called The Dark Ages. However, a small trick (21 cm HI radiation) that was recently thought of by a few astrophysicists and now is actively being researched at the Centre for Theoretical Studies (CTS), IIT Kharagpur, by

professors and students from the Department of Physics & Meteorology and CTS, has made it possible to probe even into that era.

A timeline of the universe and what's known till now Physicists believe that the universe was created roughly 10-20 billion years ago in the grandmother-of-all-explosions dubbed the Big Bang. Till about 3,00,000 years after the Big Bang, all of the protons and electrons in the universe existed as free ions moving around in plasma. Every time a proton grabbed an electron it would be zapped by a photon with high enough energy to rip them apart again. The expansion of the universe reached a stage where the temperature became low enough for neutral atoms and molecules to form. This phase is called the "epoch of recombination", and the light that emanated at this stage is called CMBR or Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. This particular kind of radiation permeates the entire universe and was first discovered in the form of a very annoying noise. People had tried even to ascribe it to a " w h i t e d i e l e c t r i c substance"(pigeon droppings) in the horn of the antenna, for lack of an explanation. But CMBR provides information only about a particular stage in the history of the universe. The intervening time between this stage and the formation of stars and galaxies is called the Dark Ages, as there was no method to probe into this period. However, the recent discovery of HI radiations has been very promising with regards to bridging this gap

21 cm HI radiation

Subatomic particles such as the proton and the electron have an intrinsic property called spin which can either be 'up' or 'down'. In a Hydrogen atom, the proton and electron can either have the same spin or different spins, giving rise to two different configurations. Although the hydrogen atom is neutral, the difference in the energy level of History of the universe in four stages (the region t h e s e t w o from the left vertex to the second ring marks the configurations results Dark Ages) in radiations of 21 cm

wavelength. These are called the HI radiations. So, in effect, although the universe was almost invisible during the Dark Ages, it did emit HI radiations and hence telescopes that work with radiations at these frequencies can be used to probe into the era. Not just this, the fact that the universe had different rates of expansion at different points in time makes it possible to observe the HI radiation and predict the time they come from.

Where does IIT come into the picture? A group of researchers at the CTS, led by Dr. Somnath Bharadwaj has been working on the use of HI 21 cm radiation in cosmology. The group has been working with the data from the GMRT or the Giant Metre Radiowave Telescope (the largest array of radio telescopes in the world), which is located in Pune and is an instrument used by astronomers from all over the world. Among other things, the group has shown that it is possible to obtain, with the help of this radiation, parameters that characterize the cosmological models that have been proposed to explain the structure of the universe. With the help of theoretical models, it has even been able to predict the kinds of signals the GMRT, should, in principle, be able to detect. However, HI radiation based research has a practical limitation. The HI radiation that reaches the telescope comes from sources other than the ones intended. Signals from our galaxy and the neighbouring ones are about 1000 times stronger. Detection and removal of these extraneous signals from the HI background is another aspect of the work undertaken by the group at CTS. Their strategy uses the fact that the noise from the foreground sources remains constant in different ranges of wavelengths, whereas the primordial signal fluctuates with wavelength. Though we are far from detecting the HI radiation with accuracy high enough to be used to corroborate the theory, there is hope that this will be possible soon. When this goal is achieved and a 21 cm map of the universe

is obtained, the implications will be enormous. Unlike the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation, the HI maps will not only reveal the process of formation of galaxies but also how they evolved and interacted with each other to form the present universe. Several projects have been proposed to build powerful telescopes that can achieve this. Even as the theory is being fine tuned, there are plans to send missions to the far side of the moon that can set up a base for measuring HI radiation. It is hoped that future investigations will be able to realise the ultimate cosmological dream of being able to establish the story of the birth and growth of the universe to the stage that we today see it in. Acknowledgements We thank all the students and professors at CTS and the Department of Physics and Meteorology for their contribution to the article. We particularly thank Dr. Sayan Kar for his guidance.

Party like it's 1234567890! This February, Friday the 13th at 23:31:30 Universal Coordinated Time (14th in our part of the world) saw nerds from across the globe celebrating Timestamp 1234567890, marking as many seconds since the so-called Unix Epoch - UTC midnight, 1 January 1970. Ardent followers of the POSIXcompliant time_t datatype performed many a ritual to comemorate the occasion, ranging from taking gleeful screenshots of their system clocks (or drawing about it, a la Abstruse Goose), to debating the arbitrariness of calendar systems in general. Enthusiasts had good reason to make this a memorable celebration - there are only a couple more noteworthy dates coming up in the next two decades before the dreaded 2038 problem, a Y2klike timestamp dead-end caused by time_t's limitation to 32 bits. So while the rest of the world was obsessing over silly stuff like Valentine's gifts, geeks were sure to focus their attention where it mattered.


THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE

NEWS AVENUE

² TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24TH 2009

Department Fests Unplugged Do we really need them?

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he sponsorship brochure for Genesis states it to be the largest student biotechnology fest in India with an erstwhile participation of over 300 last year. However, as confirmed by Professor R.K Sen, in-charge of the fest, the number of outstation students attending has slipped to just about a hundred. The fact that Genesis 2009 has failed to at least equal the enthusiasm from external colleges over last year spells a difficult question to other department fests etched across the academic calendar. Partly what could be the reason for such a lack of enthusiasm is the fact that the event drew a large portion of its sponsorship money in the form of participation fee. In the words of a certain student from Vellore I n s t i t u t e o f Te c h n o l o g y, amongst the few colleges of known repute to have graced the occasion, "They (the organizing team) took Rs. 600 from each out-station participant. We definitely didn't get value for our money." Noteworthy indeed is the fact that Kshitij, which had an influx of over 3500 students and is an affair of a better standing, had a

registration fee of only Rs. 400. As we embark on some very necessary soul searching, we are faced with a few very vital questions. For one, isn't it the very trademark of our noble institute that draws students from far and wide at our every invite? Is there a mechanism in place which is responsible for protecting this brand name against misuse as also safeguarding the interests of our guests? Is the organization of such fests left better under the aegis of an umbrella fest like Kshitij? The organizers definitely argue that such fests increase the visibility of the department in the industrial circles and lead to a conglomeration of students and thereby the development of new ideas. In certain fields where core companies hardly show up for placements, this might appear to be a convincing opinion. What they seem to forget is that industries feed on talent and innovative research and as long as the very best of our students channelize their talents, time and energy towards hosting departmental fests instead of focusing on

r e s e a r c h a n d academics, their own cause stands impaired. Preparations for departmental fests ensue with the commencement of the new academic year and last for more than a semester, a fact which gives further credence to our line of reasoning. Moreover, if one takes a glimpse at the heart of the matter, one gets the feeling that such fests are being used as just another platform for inflating one's resume', such CV-building trends having become obnoxiously popular in our student sphere of late. Though many aspects have changed since its inception, what still stands is the original purpose and motive of our institute- the production of technocrats and engineers who by their path-breaking application and research would change the technical scenario of our nation for the better. We as the modern day torch-bearers of this lofty aim should ensure that our every effort, regardless of its nature should fall in line with the fundamentals and ideals of our founders.

MICRosoft - rgsoipl partnership

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he Microsoft Centre of Excellence in Intellectual Property Law was launched by the RGSOIPL (Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law) on the 3rd of February. This Centre will endeavour to initiate research in IP law and other related areas and will further the school's attempt to educate professionals from technological backgrounds in Intellectual Property Rights Laws.The Centre will be offering scholarships to 5 students of RGSOIPL, worth Rs. 1 lakh per annum, run a foundation course on continuing legal education (CLE) principles and conduct seminars and workshops for policy-makers. Rakesh Bakshi, the associate general counsel of Microsoft India said that the Centre for Excellence is an attempt to start 'creating Intellectual Property' in India instead of merely 'renting out IQ'. Microsoft director (public policy) Ankhi Das said: "Since IIT Kharagpur is possibly the sole institution in India having the unique

convergence of both technological and legal aspects of IP, we have decided to associate with them." The partnership has been initiated presently for three years and will provide a funding of Rs 66 lakh over this period. On this occasion, a wo r k s h o p o n ' U n i ve r s i t y Industry Partnership in IP Management' was also organized by RGSOIPL in association with Microsoft and Amarchand and Mangaldas, one of the leading law firms in India. Representatives from Microsoft, Amarchand, CII (Confederation of Indian I n d u s t r y ) , W I P O ( Wo r l d Intellectual Property Organization) and IP consultants gave presentations on various issues related to IP Law and participated in the workshop. In an interaction with the students, the officials from WIPO said if the Institute takes the requisite steps, they might think about starting their Summer School Program here

as well. The WIPO Summer School Program which is currently held in only 7 countries, including Switzerland, Mexico, South Africa, provides a great opportunity to senior students and young professionals to acquire deeper knowledge of each domain of intellectual property and of the role and functions of WIPO.

T EAM S CHOLSAVE Executive Editors : Anuj Dayal, Arish Inam, Robin Anil, Sheekha Verma, Sreeja Nag, Suvrat Bafna Editors: Anup Bishnoi, Deepak Cherian, JS Deepthi, Mithun Madhusudan, Pranesh Chaudhary, Srinath Sinha, Vinayak Pathak Asst. Editors: AVN Murthy, Bharat Bhat, Dheeraj Golla, Mayank Kedia, Pallavi Jayannavar, Siddharth Prabhu, Siddharth Singh, Suyash Bire Reporters: Abhirajika A, Amiya Adwitiya,Arvind Sowmyan, Ratan J S, Tiyasa Mitra, Vijay, Sumeet Mohanty Junior Reporters: Achyut Bihani, Deepesh Kumar, Indra Saha, Mahtab Soin, Parth Govil

5

on MCM Scholarship Delays

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he long awaited MCM scholarship funds for the year were finally released a few days before the mid-semester examinations. Given the fact that last year's scholarships were also finalised in midFebruary, the so called delay should not come as a surprise. On the face of it, it seems logical to criticise the administration for the delay but facts seem to indicate exactly the converse. It's the lackadaisical students who are at fault. According to Mr S K Poddar, Assistant Registrar (UGS), there are two cases under consideration for MCM scholarships, fresh applicants and renewals. The first year students, who arrive at the end of July, are often unable to submit their duly completed application before the end of October having not procured the necessary documents. Furthermore, many of them do not submit the required income certificate obtained from State level authority. Attempts to collect required documents and accommodate late submissions leaves the administration unable to avoid the delay. The scholarships being funded by the government (or say the honest tax payer), due care has to be taken so that truly deserving candidates receive it. Hence the administration prefers sustaining delay rather than making a hasty decision. The renewal cases had other problems attached. The method of CGPA calculation presently does not include F grades enabling backlog students to avail the scholarship. A senate meeting held on 29th December passed the decision that all prescribed credits are to be cleared in order to receive MCM scholarship. Mr Poddar also opined that in future, if students a va i l i n g t h e s c h o l a r s h i p submitted their documents on time, funds could be released much sooner than February.

O NLINE N EWS To read these articles online and to give your feedback on them, please visit our website at www.scholarsavenue.org. The website provides the latest campus news through our coverage of events as they happen.

Send letters to the editor at: editor@scholarsavenue.org


6

FEATURES AVENUE

THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE

destination artland

knuts kgp’s very own radio station

H

ave you ever felt that the way the KGP student community is organised, there has always existed a sort of communication gap between what the average students should know and what they actually do know? Well Saurav Garg, Ankit Singh Tawar and Prateek Varshney with their merry band of kNUTS decided to bridge that gap. To this end they have started Radio X, a LAN-based radio show that airs every Wednesday at 9 PM. Three shows have been completed so far and the response has been encouraging. The talk show is creatively called 'The Johnny and Lenny Show', with Anutosh Kanoria as the k N u t t y J o h n n y, a n d A r d r a Ve n u g o p a l a s t h e ebullient Lenny. The list of guests that they've had on the show boasts of 2 GSecs and the VP, Gymkhana.

The founders have big plans for Radio X, including making it a daily affair in the future and making the shows live by raising funds and gaining support. They plan to get their own recording studio to make this a radio station on par with those in the best universities in the world. Apart from the radio shows, they also plan to launch a community website to involve the audience more into the venture. And ofcourse, its not all talk, you could tune in just for the music too, for making a playlist is a high-skill job that is best left to the experts. The show is currently looking for RJs, so if you have the gift of the gab, here’s a productive way to use it.

T

echnology Literary Society, Gymkhana seems to be finally leaping out of its perceptible state of nearhibernation and dormancy with the creation of a debate club. Currently being run by a group of highly proactive individuals, this group is open for participation to all enthusiasts who possess a flair for debating. The need for such a club was felt after our teams failed to put up a notable show at NLS Bangalore

² T U E S D A Y , F E B R U A R Y 24 T H 2009

S

pectra, the fine arts and design group of IITkgp, raised "Destination Artland" to new heights in SF, 2009. Fine arts events in Spring Fest have always seemed strangely out of keeping with the glorified star nights, perpz and on stage events and competitions. This ye a r h o we ve r, S p e c t r a attempted to stretch the boundaries of convention as it embarked upon its search for true creativity and inspiration. Spectra's array included unconventional events like dry bouquet and leaf painting on one hand and traditional ones like rangoli, face canvas and Tshirt design on the other. Each event was designed to

participation of over hundred!

Genius in charcoal: Gold winning pencil sketch

encourage participants to push their imagination one step further. Extensive ground work on part of the group resulted in a range of out of the box events to be introduced for the first time in the SF. The events saw participation like never before with a minimum of thirty teams in each event. Leaf painting topped the list with a

spring fest championship 2009

C

elebrating its golden jubilee, Spring Fest added a new dimension to the fiesta by launching the SF Championship for the very first time. This intercollegiate social and cultural warfare was a three day long league of the various colleges participating from all over India. Of the wide spectrum of the events that SF conducted, all the major titles and team competitions such as Wildfire, Rangmanch, Nukkad, centrifuge, fusion fiesta, debate and many more were in the judging parameter of this newfound attraction in the fest, broadly falling under the Dramatics, Literature, Music and Dance facets of the cultural gamut. To decide upon the winning college, the points their participants scored in various events were totaled within a certain frame of rules laid by the

organizing team, avoiding any kind of dispute or disorder. Clearly, IIT KGP, being the host was not in the reckoning for the championship. With the stakes, as high as they were, not many colleges came together to form mixed teams, unwilling to share their hard-earned points with others. Wrapping up the three days of perspiration and fun, standing tall with a grand total of 495 points, it was NIT Durgapur that finally emerged as the first ever winner of the coveted SF Championship .BIT Mesra and NIT Rourkela followed, scoring 435 and 320 points respectively. This freshly added competitive flavor to the youth festival not only augmented a whole new level by encouraging better performances but also spiced it up by making it exciting and exuberant like never before.

Debate club An apt answer by TLS to its critics and IIT Guwahati largely because of the lack of familiarity of our homegrown debaters with the Parliamentary format, a style that has acquired prominence in debating circles lately. TLS is scheduled to host an intra-institute debate competition christened "Double Take" as well as a workshop tentatively during the weekend after the mid-semester

exams to recruit new talent and to promote and foster the spirit of debating. Interested students can apply for membership to the club at k g p d e b a t e r s@googlegroups.com.

The events were judged by external judges from the Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts. Moreover top three entries for each event are slated to be showcased in the Halo Heritage Art Gallery of Kolkata. Spectra looks forward to establishing itself as a strong entity with a few more workshops and a website development on its agenda. Their efforts ensured that fine arts played a noticeable role in deciding the Spring Fest general Championship score. The facelift Spectra gave fine arts has left expectations soaring for next year's fest.

we did it again!

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a r r y i n g f o r wa r d I I T Kharagpur's rich tradition of excellence at the 22ndInternational VLSI Conference at New Delhi held between 5th and 9thJanuary 2009 were the trio of C. Karfa, D. Sarkar & C. Mandal. They bagged first prize in the EDA contest for their submission SAST: An Architecture-Driven High-Level Synthesis Tool and were awarded a total of Rs 20,000 for this achievement. The VLSI conference is a forum for researchers and designers to present and discuss various aspects of VLSI design, electronic design automation, enabling technologies, and embedded systems.

TTG WEBSITE LAUNCH

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he website for TTG ( Te c h n o l o g y Tr a n s f e r Group), a students' enterprise under the aegis of Sponsored Research & Industrial Consultancy, IIT Kharagpur, was launched on 3rd of February. The core objective of this initiative is to save people from the hassles and legal formalities involved in patent filing. Aimed at protecting the intellectual property here, the entire expense for the process is borne by SRIC, IIT Kharagpur. The assessment of ideas and feasibility is done confidentially, appropriate guidance and support is then provided to help patent your idea.


THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE

² TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 24TH 2009


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FEATURES AVENUE

THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE

² T U E S D A Y ,F E B R U A R Y 24 T H 2009

Welcome to KGP Sushil Subramanian and Shreevant Tiwari on the experience of making the video that left KGPians everywhere mesmerised

I

t all started in 2005, when Matt Harding, a video game developer in Seattle decided to quit his job and start traveling around the world. In 2006, he got a wonderful idea about dancing in front of major places of interest, to the tune of Gary Schyman's 'Praan' based on Rabindranath Tagore's poem Stream of Life from the Gitanjali. In 2008, Stride Gum sponsored him to travel around the world again, only this time, people mattered more than places world peace, unity etc being the underlying theme. It was almost at the same time that a couple of Eastern Technology Music Society (ETMS) members watched Matt's viral video, and got inspired to perform a localized rendition at the ETMS Spring Fest production. What was very atypical choice for the ETMS production would now be complemented with a video of a crazy guy dancing in and around KGP in a seemingly aimless manner. Most of us recognize the campus as a bunch of hostels with a bunch of departments. This forms the crux of all our "creativity" in the final year albums. What we leave out in credit are things, which are least noticeable, but are perhaps the

most significant. The frames of the video at the Library Map, with Bondhu Da, at Insti Top, with the Staff Canteen Waiters and the Rickshawallahs, and at the Luxury Toilet surely evoked

allowing us to use the camera; and then the anticlimax of shock when they saw us go crazy! F127 was a tough nut to crack, with a swarm of students desperate for freedom after a 4:30 class.

A still from the video

more poignant memories than any others. There was this feeling that perhaps Professors in the video would have increased its value manifold, but pun intended, they just don't dance! One remarkable moment was dancing with an English gentleman, born in Kharagpur, in 1935 at MTSC. There was also the awkward situation when two of us stood guard at either ends of the Software Lab corridor while a disrupted lab class was made to dance. A common excuse, "We are actually from the Spring Fest Team and we are making a video about IIT Kharagpur", coaxed many officials into

The video was literally a resounding success at its premiere in Spring Fest 2009. It wa s t h e l a s t s o n g , w i t h "WelcometoKGP" projected in the background, and "Praan" being rendered live. The experience – of crowds on their feet and erupting in a crescendo as each frame passed - was one to cherish, that no video or verbal account can ever hope to recreate. In those five minutes, everyone in the auditorium, KGPian or not, was one. WelcometoKGP was uploaded on Youtube as "Where the Hell in KGP?" and was viewed 20000 times in just 10 days. While some raise eyebrows about plagiarizing Matt's idea, the

main idea of this video is to evoke nostalgic memories among alumni and other IITians who were truly sentimental about life in the campus, and unite KGPians through time. And reach this goal it did. Words of pride and nostalgia poured in to our Facebook Walls from alumni from as early as the 70s. A high point for The Production Team was reading Palbasha Siddique's comment in Youtube (the original performer of Praan), who enjoyed the video and give it a thumbs-up. Many subsequently reproached us about the lack of notification regarding these shoots, and we apologize for this. However, impromptu performances are truly irreplaceable, so it's just about being at the right place at the right time. Overall, the experience for us was great, and we are sure that anyone from KGP will look at these 5 minutes as a touching summary of the most significant part of their lives. Tempo shout, anyone? To watch "Where the Hell in KGP?" please use this link: http://www.youtube.com/watc h?v=Hnzd5LgBsJM

Tête-à-tête Pulkit Anand, Public Relations Chair, Gymkhana on combo cards, bus service, gymkhana website and more TSA: Why was the post of Public Relations Chair introduced? PA: The Gymkhana r e p r e s e n t a t i ve s h a ve t h e responsibility of relaying important institute information regarding scholarships and schemes, the various Institute initiatives etc. Till now there was no system where all the information relevant to students could be accessed at one place. Also, we needed to make our information systems well organized and efficient to reach out to a larger number of s t u d e n t s . T h i s p o s t wa s introduced to increase the involvement of our students in gymkhana activities and Institute initiatives. Also, the VP already has many defined tasks which leave him with little time to pursue new initiatives or bring about changes in the

current systems. PR Chair was introduced to assist the VP in pursuing these initiatives. TSA: What are the responsibilities of the post? PA: The exact role is not defined. I am in general responsible for relaying all important i n f o r m a t i o n ( r e l e va n t t o Gymkhana, HMC, and general student affairs) to the students, the upkeep of the gymkhana website, promoting our participation in events organized by other institutions and pursuing initiatives in the campus as may be delegated by the VP (TSG). TSA: What are the initiatives you have taken as a PR Chair? PA: We were successful in introducing extended library timings and student volunteers

in the library. One that is close to me is the start of the bus service when the vacations start. I had seen this in other IIT Campuses and wanted to have it in our campus too. Apart from this, we launched the gymkhana website. Also, this year has seen unprecedented external participation by our students in several events organized by premier colleges across the country, and have made IIT KGP proud by their exceptional performance. The process of launching Combo Cards has also started. Combo Cards will serve as ATM Cards, Library Cards and Identity Cards. Students can register on the gymkhana website for these cards. The 1st phase of data (for 250 students) has been submitted to SBI. We

are expecting the first batch of cards soon. TSA: Are there anymore initiatives in the pipeline? PA: I am working on improving the email system currently in use. We are in talks with Google, and proposal has been given to the administration. I hope this will be approved by the administration. Also, 2009 is the year of General Elections, and we as the youth of the country have a responsibility voting in the elections. We are in talks with Jaago Re, and the election commission offices of Kharagpur to get people registered for voting, prepare the voter I-cards for the students, and make the students vote in the upcoming elections.


The Scholars' Avenue February 24, 2009 Issue