Exclusive Guest Article by Indra Sinha
THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE
IIT K HARAGPUR
J ANUARY 14 2011
The Elusive Secret Ingredient Dear Readers, It’s that time of year again; a time for fresh starts, the time of year when we attempt to look back, figure out what went right and what went wrong, and decide how best to tackle whatever prospects the future might hold for us. At important junctures in life such as these, it is important to continuously evaluate and update one’s approach to life in general. Being a die-hard cynic won’t get one far, and neither will being a Teletubby who chooses only to care about the Tubby-toast in the oven. The glass is both half empty and half full. Well made assessments of situations lead to well made decisions. A well made assessment comes from a healthy mix of taking heart from the fact that things could have been a lot worse, and from making honest attempts to push the frontiers, knowing full well that things could be a lot better. A useful asset is that of being
able to put things in the correct one hand, but there’re gigantic perspective. Living in a shell and buildings coming up on the other, looking at situations in isolation, and which, if they come to fruition on with a prejudiced mind, leads to time, will track changes in student fallacious evaluations and hence, to intake fairly well. sub-optimal decisions. Agreed, a lot at IIT Kharagpur might not be up to This might sound corny, but it is the standards of what one sees in true that increased intake does give universities one the chance abroad, or to meet with a i n d e e d , lot more expects of an interesting institution of people and international f o r g e repute. But re la tio n sh ip s we must also that could realize that potentially last IIT Kharagpur a lifetime. Raw has come a fact - two long way from people are its inception From The Editor’s Desk made to live in in 1950. We a room that is need not look intended for at a 60 year window to observe one. On the one hand, this seems progress; take the Central Library’s like a blatant violation of the metamorphosis over the last five personal space of a young adult, but years. Granted, it might not be at par on the other hand, it does kinder the with international libraries on many spirit of sharing and builds the parameters, but it’s a start. There ability to adjust to adversity, which, might be crumbling walls on the in the words of Calvin's father,
"builds character". Again, there's a fine line which must not be breached, but if you think about it honestly, we're still toeing it. Batch strength has indeed grown by leaps and bounds, but what we must remember is that the economy has too. This translates into enough opportunities to accommodate a large chunk of IITians, testimony to which is the first phase of this session’s placements (refer to the article on placements), and the promise and potential that the next phase holds. To sum up, it is important to realize the value of what we have, and to make the best of it, while still looking to continuously make things better. Hopefully when this process has run its course, we can look forward to being a truly world class institute with world class students, faculty and facilities. Time, as usual will tell, and until it does, a balanced “look on the bright side” attitude is probably the best way to go. Here’s wishing you all a great 2011, and a brilliant life ahead.
Placements – Phase I Ends On A High T
reats and parties are a weekly affair. Many graduating students reflect upon their time spent here. Others finally take a breather after landing that dream job. Yet others are still dressed up in formals and ties, determined to make their search fruitful. The Placement Season has started off on a positive note with a highly successful completion of Phase-I of on-campus recruitment, obliterating all bitter memories of recession. This year, IIT Kharagpur has seen a much better performance than last year and has also fared far better than the other IITs. The Student Placement Cell has indeed delivered laudable results which would not have been possible without the cooperation and tenacity of the student populace. Consultancy and Finance firms are finally warming up to our campus – with the usual suspects like Mckinsey, Deutsche Bank, Nomura, Capital One, Credit Suisse as well as many new biggies such as Goldman Sachs (Strategies), The Boston Consulting Group, Opera Solutions, American Express recruiting en masse. There hasn't been a similar improvement in the number of core jobs offered though. A source in the placement cell told
us that due to most students preferring higher paying jobs in other sectors, core companies were unable to find competent enough students. The tremendous performance of Kgpians should, in part, be attributed to an initiative of the Placement Cell and Communiqué ‘The Placement Drive’ which guided students on CV Preparation and GD skills. TSA’s very own ‘TnPedia’ also came in handy for candidates, with first-hand information on placement procedures and interview topics. Despite the efforts of the students, the feedback of some of the companies was that some of the candidates lacked good communication skills. A lot of students needed a lesson or two in the art of making CVs, which were either misleading or weakly worded. There were companies that had to walk away empty handed, posing a serious question at us – ‘Are we not good enough?’. Phase-II of the placements will answer that question for us. The Campus is all set to host an even more successful second phase. Watch out for a complete analysis of the placements in the next issue.
Introducing Smart Cards
IT Kharagpur has recently introduced Smart Cards that promise to be more effective and evolved as compared to the existing ID cards provided to the students. The Smart Card will correspond to ERP accounts. It can also be used to get a check up or admission at B.C.Roy Hospital. The smart cards have: 1. The student's blood group and an emergency contact number on it. 2. Photo identity of the student, complete with roll number, date of birth and hall of residence.
3. A bar code - designed to know the whereabouts of the student. Any activities that take place - labs, workshops, etc. the bar code keeps track of where the student has been. It is going to be used for attendance i n l a b s a n d examinations. (That is when all the students finally get their cards. As of now they make do with library cards). 4. A 'GUID' number – which, according to the UG office is for security purposes. The Smart Card is available only for first years as of now.
THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE
F R I D A Y , J A N U A R Y 14 T H 2011
Worldview Have you been so busy wrapped up in your lives, in this tiny village of ours, far away from the hullabaloo of the world, that you have completely lost track of things outside your immediate purview? Worry not, then. We bring to you a gist of the headlines that have been making news for the last couple of weeks.
National ŸLeaked Niira Radia tapes cast aspersions on the integrity of some of the most prominent journalists in the country and expose corporate lobbying. Vir Sanghvi folds up his column, Counterpoint in HT. Ÿ Leaders of China, US, UK, France and Russia visit India, sign crucial deals. All but China offer explicit support for India as a permanent member of the UN Security Council. ŸParliament stalled for 21 working days over the Opposition’s demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe for investigating the 2G scam. ŸHigh vegetable prices in India, particularly onion, drive up headline inflation. ŸHero and Honda part ways after 26 years. ŸJaipur Literary Festival, Asia's largest festival of its kind to be held from Jan 21st to Jan 25th.
International News ŸCancun Conference on Climate Change becomes a success, but India and China stand isolated as developing nations break ranks. ŸIndia assumes a non-permanent member seat in UN after a hiatus of nearly two decades.
ŸRahul Gandhi tells Timothy Roemer, the US ambassador to India, that Hindu extremists are a bigger threat to the Indian Union than LeT operatives in India. ŸUS thinks Sonia Gandhi never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. ŸChina might consider pulling the plug on its long standing ally N.Korea. Leaked cables show it supports a unified Korea under Seoul. ŸUS told its diplomats to spy on UN officials including the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. ŸUS diplomats think Russia under Putin is a mafia state.
Sports ŸPaes, Bhupathi script a fairytale win to clinch the Aircel ATP Chennai Open Tennis tournament. ŸAustralian captain Ricky Ponting criticises the policy of showing replays on the big screen before a decision is made. ŸAustralian, Tristan Miller, completes 52 marathons in 52 weeks. ŸRoger Federer overcomes Rafael Nadal 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, to win the fifth year-end title of his career with victory in the final of the ATP World Tour Finals.
Think About The Children!
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T EAM S CHOLSAVE
Executive Editors : Dheeraj Golla (9932574210), Mayank Kedia (9732649809), Pallavi Jayannavar (9732653868), Siddharth Prabhu (9932572716), Siddharth Singh (9932978715) Editors: Abhirajika, Amiya Adwitiya, Arvind Sowmyan, Ratan J S, Tiyasa Mitra, Vijay, Sumeet Mohanty Asst. Editors: Achyut Bihani, Chirag Tibrewal, Deepesh Kumar, Hridya Ravimohan, Indra Saha, Mahtab Soin, Parth Govil, Rishabh Poddar Reporters: Obituary It is with deep regret that we mourn the passing away of Dr. R.K. Malik, the Yoga instructor for the EAA course. He passed away last month due to a heart attack. Dr. Malik joined the institute in 1981 and was a valuable asset to IIT Kharagpur. His demise has been mourned by the entire IIT Kharagpur community and he shall forever live in the hearts of his students.
Abhijeet Tallavajhula, Adarsh Mathew, Ajay Vishwanathan, Debadrita Das, Koulick Ghosh, Madhurima Kumar, Pranav Rao, Pravin Sharma, Sagnik Chakraborty, Suvinay Seth Junior Reporters: Akhilesh Prasad, Jatan Buch, Sayak Bhattacharya, Siddhant Wahal
THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE
F R I D A Y , J A N U A R Y 14 T H 2011
Roti Relief for RK, RP
Institute Development Programme
he year began on a surprisingly delicious note for the students of RK and RP halls, with new, state of the art roti making machines being set up in their messes. While with an installation cost of Rs.4 lakh a pop, the machines are not exactly cheap, they promise to relieve students of the trauma of standing in hungrily rowdy queues for burnt, misshapen rotis. Previously present only in MMM hall, the HMC approved the installation of the roti makers in RK and RP, with a long-term aim of having similar contraptions in all the halls of residence. Initial feedback from the students is positive, and the maximum output of 1000 rotis per hour will hopefully keep up with the increased demand for the uniformly cooked and correctly shaped flour discs.
s the Diamond Jubilee of IIT Kharagpur draws near, our alma mater has taken a small step which will undoubtedly carve the road for setting new milestones. IIT Kgp has launched the Institutional Development (ID) program to strengthen alumni and corporate relations for the growth of our institute. It will build the IIT Kgp brand and raise its ranking, globally. We at The Scholars’ Avenue had a talk with Dr Amit Patra, Dean (AA & IR), to get an insight into this enticing venture. Dr. Patra along with Managing Director Chinna Boddipalli visited alumni chapters across 8 cities in the USA, to gather their support for this program. It will ultimately result in the complete revamp of our campus, albeit in a long term course. Projected changes include recruitment of foreign faculty and student, enhanced R&D facilities, setting up of Centres of Excellence, building modern hostels and leverage of alumni relations, all through sustainable fundraising and requisite planning. This project has the complete support of the Director and the Board of Governors. Dr Patra, also plans to include student participation, so as to address campus related problems right from the grassroot level.
Approximate student strengths IIT
Kharagpur Roorkee Bombay Delhi Madras Kanpur Guwahati Bhubaneshwar Gandhinagar Hyderabad Patna Rajasthan Ropar (Punjab) Indore Mandi (HP)
9100 7600 6100 5600 5400 5300 3000 360 360 360 360 360 360 240 240
ur performance this year at Inter-IIT sports meet was far below the expectations. We had already taken measures last year based on our performance at the Inter-IIT Kanpur. Professional coaches in most of the sports were called from various associations for a certain time period. Shaurya 2010 was also meant to give practice to our contingent. Our failure can be attributed to many reasons like irregularity of senior players, lack of infrastructure in some sports, lack of guidance, etc. We need to work on all these aspects. Rethinking on Shaurya has also become a necessity so that it can help us improve our performance at Inter-IIT, which is its primary aim. Rather than playing the blame game, we should find the loopholes and remove them to improve the results for the next Inter-IIT which would be held at Kgp itself Overall Results Overall Rank 1. Madras 2. Roorkee 3. Bombay 4. Kanpur 5. Delhi 6. Kharagpur 7. Guwahati 8. Gandhinagar 9. Bhubaneshwar 10. Mandi 11. Patna 12. Rajasthan 13. Indore 14. Ropar 15. Hyderabad
Women 33.83 35.16 32.33 21.16 19.00 24.5 9.00 10.67 8.50 8.00 8.00 5.67 4.16 4.16 4.00
Men 70.83 55.16 54.33 53.16 49.00 42.50 26.00 10.67 8.50 8.00 8.00 5.67 4.16 4.16 4.00
Appraisals of individual events by the contingent. Figures are indicative only Sports / Categories
Table Tennis (Women)
Table Tennis (Men)
Lawn Tennis (Men)
he 8th Global Alumni Meet, which lasted from the 7th to the 9th of January, saw the batches of 1986 and 1961 return to their alma mater, to revisit and relive their college years. WTMS and ETMS entertained the alumni on the evening of the 7th with lively performances, following which the alumni themselves jammed along with ebullient energy. The next evening, the guests were treated to a dance drama by Sahaj Padma, a dance group from Kolkata. The much awaited Institute Alumni website was officially launched during the meet. There was also a fine art exhibition, featuring an auction of handmade crafts, the proceedings of which were given partly to the creators of the exhibits and partly to the
Institute Alumni Fund. Dr.Kanwal Rekhi, a n e n g i n e e r, e n t r e p r e n e u r, a n d philanthropist from IIT-B, the chief guest for the meet, recounted his personal experiences, which included his struggles as an entrepreneur.He also talked about the disheartening political scene in the country during the 60s.The talk ended with an interactive question-answer session. Those who attended it felt the lecture itself was intellectually engaging, though the arrangements made by the co-ordinators could have been better. All in all, the meet concluded on a bright note with alums not only thoroughly enjoying their short yet nostalgic stay, but also leaving the students inspired with their remarkable stories.
Alum Speak Things were a lot different for us girls back then in terms of freedom. We had conservative dress codes - long churidaars and salwaars and had to be back in the hall at 9:30 PM. I remember being hauled up for being seen walking on The Scholars' Avenue with a couple guys. There were only around 7-8 girls in my batch and I was the first girl to be admitted in the EE department. -Mrs. Hansa '61 batch The Institute has undergone a huge change. I see new buildings all around. The halls, however, remain pretty much the same. However, I feel that the amount of interaction amongst students has decreased due to the advent of the internet. In our time, there used to be a lot of activity in the halls even at 2 in the morning - people gathered around in common rooms and canteens. Nowadays, the doors remain open but students are mostly cooped up in their rooms. IQ is definitely good but EQ is also an important part of life. Interpersonal interaction is one area, I think, students need to work on. -Joydeep Bhattacharya ‘86 batch
THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE
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re you wondering if 'IMDb' is a dot com in an anti-parallel universe? Is 'Rotten-Tomatoes' giving you nothing but rotten lemons? Do the originals seem to be a spoof on the parody? Then, my good friend, you are not alone! It's 'bout time to dump the Led Zeppelins above the cupboard and stack Scorsese's behind the shoe-rack. Behold and savour, as we at ScholsAve bring forth the unheard, unseen and the unfathomable! You may take this moment to thank them heavens, for having your eyes shown this piece, 'cos a tiny click for you would be a giant leap in your quantum-kind, and this shall red-letter a new beginning for your pneuma. Providence! \m/uzeeeek!
The Shaggs: Had it formed (and not deformed) a few decades late, Destiny's Child could well have been history, Rihanna might have never loved the way we lie and
Britney surely wouldn't have done it again (Oops!) Yes, fellow denizens, this sisterhood act will send shivers down your spine with their aggressive guitar playing, surreal drumming and coercive vocals, all projected in perfect discordia to create, we daresay, an all-new genre that could well have dominated the LP collection of the Nazis. One listen, and if the earth doesn't start revolving East to West for you, we will ask you to put a ring on it. Recommended: Philosophy of the World.
Deerhoof: Without the slightest desire for adulation, this band would wreak havoc on your haven. With unimaginable ruth, we present to youDeerhoof. The devil may actually care how they have managed to fill up their discography so extensively, and the listeners shall face the wrath of his trident. With lots of singles available for free download, their rise to superstardom in our very own Kgp could be a fairy tale no more. Evanescence and Nightwish- Beware! Recommended: Panda Panda Panda.
Sneak Peek – SF, KTJ 2011
RIP Tribute: Captain Beefheart We dedicate our solemn respects to Donald Glen Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart, who made his fair share of attempts at revolutionizing showmanship with his eccentricity and passion. Although being a childhood friend of the legend Frank Zappa, their juxtaposition would be a statistical nightmare. With his constant persistence of rhythm and blues, his songs will not remind you of anything bluesy! Be prepared with your bullets and guns, for the man from California is out to blow you away… Recommended: Ice Cream for Crow.
Book of the fortnight: The Giggler Treatment, Roddy Doyle The vigilante Gigglers are out to save the world from parents who are
he aim of the prestigious DRDO (Defense Research and Development Organisation) Student Design Competition 2010 was to build an autonomous robotic platform which could navigate a rough terrain in the shortest possible time avoiding different obstacles in its path. This competition was part of DRDO's endeavor to develop autonomous navigation capability for low intensity conflict and antiterrorism activities to be used by the military and other law enforcement and security agencies. IIT Kharagpur was represented by third year students - Rahul Das, Nalin Gupta, Sarbartha Banerjee, A Srinivas Reddy, Subhagato Dutta and Anindita Bhattacharya - who left no stone unturned to do us proud. Stage 1 of the competition involved design, planning and documentation submission, and in this the team was first amongst the top 10 teams selected nationwide. With funding from DRDO ( 1 Lakh ) and SRIC,
uring the Alumni Meet, the Office of Alumni Affairs, IIT Kharagpur, launched an AlumniStudent “Mentorship Programme”. This programme matches the profiles of an applicant and an interested alumnus based on common goals and career interest. The mentor would advise the student regarding issues related to career path, resumes, course selection, and international perspectives. Through phone,
email, and even video conference with mentors based abroad, the student can establish regular contact with his/her guide and learn from real-world experiences. The Alumni Cell of IIT Kharagpur, will facilitate all interactions between the student and the alumni, thus keeping a close eye on proceedings and ensuring that nothing jeopardizes the relationship between the mentor and the mentee.
Cinema of the fortnight: F for Fake In F for Fake, one of Orson Welles’ last films, he explores the nature of art and the artist through a mock documentary of the art forger Elmyr De Hory and his biographer Christopher Irving. A carefully constructed movie where every frame is intended to be closely examined for trickery and "Hanky Panky", which Welles as the selfproclaimed charlatan warns us against. Imminently enjoyable on the surface and yet carrying layers of meaning, this film has something for viewers of all stripes.
DRDO Student Design Competition 2010
Alumni-Student Mentorship Programme
rude to children, by giving them the 'Giggler Treatment'. But they have made a mistake! It's up to their dog to save the world. Riveting, sensational and charming! And for the Ramachandra Guha & Vladimir Nabokov fanatics out there, who ferret the ruins of the universe for an ever more compelling read, we give you this is writing in paper! PS: JK Rowling called him a genius!
shitij took a greener hue this time around by introducing YUVA- a youth summit on climate change. YUVA will try to exhort the youngsters of our country to actively use and develop sustainable technologies for our problems. As part of the summit, students were encouraged to propose viable solutions to hurdles in fields as diverse as e-waste disposal, efficient grids, sustainable transport and water delivery. A distinguished panel evaluated these proposals and the best
the team worked hard for 3 months to develop a prototype with Prof. Anindya Chatterjee of Mechanical Engineering as the Faculty Advisor. Various aspects of the immensely complex problem statement such as vehicle design, obstacle detection, path planning and embedded system design were worked on by different team members and integrated finally. NLINE N EWS The finalsOheld at CVRDE (Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment), Chennai from October 27-30 involved a presentation and physical demonstration. IIT Kharagpur's robot, despite being credited for its impressive design, unfortunately developed a technical snag in the gear system at the last moment. The enormity of the challenge was evident from the fact that none of the teams had a perfectly functional prototype ready. We won two prizes: 'Best Kinematics' and 'Best Engineering Design'.
ones will be picked for implementation with support from reputed organisations like the IYCN and Green Add+. Workshops on fuel and solar cell technology and entrepreneurship opportunities in this field bring up the last leg of the three day event. True to the belief that visual arts are the best medium, however grave the message, a cartoon exhibition was organised at the AR&P department showcasing some fine artwork from all around the world.
THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE
FRIDAY, JANUARY 14TH 2011
Guest Avenue: Indra Sinha
wo years ago, on a book tour in India to promote my novel Animal's People, I met an old classmate who is now a senior Government of India official. Over a splendid dinner of whisky and kebabs our conversation turned to my years of campaigning for justice in Bhopal and the Indian government's total lack of action. 'Indra, Indra,' said my old friend. 'You are so naive. Government is not about justice. It's about power.’
countries where these pesticides are banned bees numbers are recovering, but Bayer is lobbying powerfully and successfully against a wider ban. A leaked documents reveals that the US Environment Protection Agency has long known that Bayer's pesticide poses a major threat to bees, but it has kept quiet and taken no action. But why be surprised? Given the power of corporate lobbies, the m o n e y poured by 'Indra, Indra,' said my big business Yesterday old friend. 'You are so i n t o I had an email politicians’ naive. Government is from Human election R i g h t s campaigns, not about justice. It's Defenders of and the about power.' India, asking habit of me to send American birthday powergreetings to lobbies to D r. B i n a y a k S e n , a g e n t l e l a b e l h u m a n r i g h t s a n d paediatrician who has devoted environmental campaigners as decades of his life helping adivasi terrorists, it is nowadays almost people in Chhattisgarh and who is in impossible to get US legislators to prison in Raipur, beginning a life protect the environment, human sentence. I don't need to repeat the rights or public health against particulars of the case, or the corporate greed. Now the question flimsiness of the evidence' against that occurred to me was this: if, Dr. Sen, whose real crime appears to knowing the danger, Bayer have been to speak against the continues to promote poisons that Chhattisgarh government, Salwa are driving bees to extinction, and if Judum and the profit-driven resulting crop failures cause millions corporations queuing up to exploit of human deaths, will Bayer be held adivasi land. Dr. Sen opposes responsible? And even if it is, what violence, but was accused of being a good will fining Bayer $20 or $200 Maoist and convicted under billion do? Once the bees are gone, sedition laws which the British used the damage is irreversible. We to try to silence Gandhi. cannot eat money. The HRDI email gave a number Students of IIT Kharagpur may to call for Dr. Sen. I rang and got a justly expect to have brilliant r o u g h - v o i c e d p e r s o n w h o careers, more and more of which demanded to know who I was. I told will be in India, which for scientific him and asked to speak to Dr. Sen. genius is the equal of any nation on 'You can't,' said the man. 'He is not earth. When you, as a scientist or a available.' I asked when would be a manager, have to make important convenient time to call back. When decisions, please do not make the would Dr. Sen be available? 'Never,' same mistakes that have led the growled the world to the man at the brink of other end. apocalypse. 'No one can When would Dr. Sen be T h e speak to problems available? 'Never,' him, ever.' f a c i n g And he hung growled the man at the h u m a n i t y up. other end. 'No one can aa rned gnl oebeadl T h i s speak to him, ever.' And n e w morning in thinking. my email he hung up. This falls to came an y o u r appeal from generation. Avaaz.org. Yo u w i l l Bees all over have to bring the world are dying. Some bee morality and decency to the fore in species are now extinct and others politics and governance. Involve, have lost 96% of their populations. rather than ignore the poor. You will Without bees to pollinate fruit and have to end the dictatorship of huge grain crops, the world will lose a corporations and their puppets in third of its harvests. With food government. prices hitting record highs, such a huge crop loss would inevitably When the June 2010 verdicts in cause mass starvation. Long fingers the Union Carbide gas disaster case of suspicion point to a group of were announced, it soon became neonicotinoid pesticides of which clear that Indian politicians had the main manufacturer is Bayer. In conspired with successive US
administrations to get Carbide, and its owner Dow Chemical off the hook. No one had seriously pursued the American defendants, who refused to show up in court, and got off scot-free. It was just the Indian defendants who paid the price (and a paltry price it was, equal to two rupees each for each of the 574,000 registered gas victims). There was a huge media outcry. People up and down the country felt rage and shame because India's honour and pride had been dragged in the dirt. Himal magazine asked me to write a comment piece about the judgement. I did not want to do it, because I was too angry, but said that they should ask Animal, the narrator of my novel Animal's People, if he would write it. Animal agreed. This is what he said: "'All of you people who are now up in arms, where were you for the last twenty six years? Where was your shame then? Do you know what it has been like? Can you imagine? Hunger and hunger strikes, appeals for justice ignored, desperation, watching the deaths of people you love? Did you pay any attention? You did not. Bhopalis, Khaufpuris, Narmadans, Kashmiris, Nagas, Manipuris, Mizos and Gonds, cotton farmers and the poor in their millions, in their tens and hundreds of millions endure misery for years but somehow you do not notice. But now you care because India has been insulted. What is India, you son of a bitch? Do you think it is your f***ing pride?' ‘You know what is India? I will tell you. There is no India. There is only the land, which stretches out in all directions, trees, mountains,
All of you people who are now up in arms, where were you for the last twenty six years? Where was your shame then? rocks, rivers, fields, villages and humble bastis. In this land there are millions of poor. They are not part of your India. They are the people of a great country, but I do not know its name. Into this country come political dadas bringing foreign kampanis, to whom they make gifts of what is not theirs to give. Then there's trouble. Land seized by force. People driven from their homes by bullets, poison gas and flooding valleys. These kampanis are all over the place, they lie with mouths open to the sky. They will swallow everything. They want to buy the rain, soon it will belong to them. Soon all the water will be theirs. We'll soon be asked to pay a
Indra Sinha is the writer of Animal's People (shortlisted for the Manbooker prize in 2007) and The Death of Mr. Love. Animal's People is a fictional offshoot of the Bhopal gas tragedy, set in 'Khaufpur' and narrated through the eyes of 'Animal'. Animal is a 19 year old boy, whose encounter with the American chemical kampani has left him on all fours. Animal's narrative is punctuated with a searing honesty. Witty and incisively truthfu,l he illuminates the underbelly of the society we live in. Here at The Scholars' Avenue, we are extremely honoured to have Indra Sinha contribute a guest article for all of us here at IIT Kharagpur. Animal too has very kindly consented to share with us his unique views. tax for sunshine and for each breath we take. But you know, we are grateful to these kampanis and their political chamchas, because to us also they have given gifts. We were poor but they made us destitute, and in so doing they made us free. We had little, but even that they took. By leaving us nothing, they made us invincible. The kampani swallowed our families, our health, our jobs and our dignity, and its good friends the justice-wallahs gave us two rupees. By this gift we learned that no citizens of any corrupt Raj are we, but people of a free and generous land, the nameless nation of the poor.'” Binayak Sen travelled the nameless country of the poor, and brought help, health and hope to its people. We should feel shame that he is locked up, while criminals and murderers go free. Please tell his jailers so, the number is 7712886027. And if, in forty years' time you meet up with a classmate over a kebab and glass of whisky, I hope it will be in a world and a nation where respect for justice is no longer considered naive.
Disclaimer: Any views expressed are the writer's own and do not neccesarily reflect the views of The Scholars' Avenue.
THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE
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hough FSAE teams have been around for a while in colleges like DCE and IIT Delhi, racing had been unheard of in KGP till March 2009, when Mechanical Engineering student Siddartha Khastgir approached Prof. Partha Pratim Chakrborty and the associate Dean, SRIC for funding the team’s participation in the FSAE. “I presented a proposal before them. With the support of our Faculty Advisors - Prof. Amiya Mohanty, Prof. Kingshook Bhattacharyya and Prof. CS Kumar, and a team of 20 students, the project was cleared in March 2009”, he says. So, how was the journey from the drawing board to the cockpit? Anything but a bed of roses. Work on the project began in June 2009, with the design. “Every aspect of the car had to be designed and fabricated here, which was a herculean task. We had to innovate on the chassis, the suspension and modify the engine dynamics, since the latter was intended for a bike”, says Shubaditya Majumdar, who's been associated with the Engine Development team. The team had to adhere to all guidelines specified by the FSAE, which are strict indeed. Everything, from the engine intake manifold, to the quality of steel being used has to be in accordance with the rule book. The automobile quality steel specified is really difficult to procure, and can be obtained only through the manufacturing companies. Following this was the development of the chassis, steering and the suspension systems. The team visited Indian FSAE Chennai in December 2009 and incorporated the inputs received from the experts in that competition in the final suspension design. Starting troubles? Well, the team took the unusual step of using a new engine, instead of a used one. The difficulty was in procuring the engine separately. The regulations state that the capacity should not exceed 600cc, and no Indian engine matched this specification. The result: A superbike engine and drive train had to be imported from the US. The engine complemented its exclusivity by delaying its arrival to the humble shores of KGP by three months. It was only then that a large part of the actual mechanical work could begin. Brakes, Suspension, etc. and parts for modifying the engine
to the specifications of the car were procured. This was a chaotic, challenging but an enjoyable task. “Every team has to design the intake manifold according to the specifications. It was really difficult for us to tweak the ECU and fabricate the system”, said Ganesh Kumar, driver of the team. Due to lack of facilities for Aluminium welding and MIG welding in the institute, the team was forced to get the Chassis fabricated in outside the institute.
Recognition from the Director In December of 2010, Siddartha and the team gave a presentation to the Director and the Dean, SRIC about the project and have received funding for the 2nd version of the car from the institute.
Finally, in July 2010 the sweat, efforts and the faith put into the project by the Dean SRIC and the administration were beginning to look prolific as the car began taking shape. The mood was upbeat about the project, and preparations were on full swing to participate in Silverstone FSAE, 2010.
The Proud Team FSAE with the Director
But, another shock was in store.
FSAE At a Glance
The team, the car and the sponsors had prepared for the trip. At the eleventh hour, a technical snag compelled the team to abort the mission. It was a major setback, not only for the team, but for the project as a whole. However, Siddartha remained undeterred and went to Silverstone, to represent the team and participate in the static events in which they won many laurels.
ª FSAE, an abbreviated form of Formula Society of Automobile Engineers, is the body that governs the most prestigious of all student racing competitions, the Formula SAE ª Its held at 8 places in a year, in locations as diverse as Brazil and Australia. ª The competition focuses on the design and performance aspects of the participating teams, and contestants can participate exclusively in either. ª The static events consist of challenges related to aerodynamics, weight, safety etc . ª The dynamic events involve acceleration from 0 to 60 Km and an endurance run in which cars have to survive 11km of testing. ª Maximum allowed Engine size is 600 cc, and cars cannot exceed 70Kph! ª The actual racing events, which involve a test of acceleration from 0 to 60 km/hr and an endurance run, require the presence of a working car.
Thus culminated KGP’s pursuit to burn the tracks. In retrospect, the project has been successful to some extent. Automobiles are an area which few have an understanding of, and the students associated with them actually made a brilliant machine in a desolate corner of the country where civilization is 100 km away. “It was very difficult in the beginning to encourage the team. No parts were available, and we were all really unsure if our designs could see the light of the day. Students became demotivated by the delays. Some of our members deserted us midway. Sometimes we were not sure whether to motivate the team or concentrate on making the car with the really serious members,” observes a team member. So, what’s in for the future? “We’ll be displaying the car in Kshitij 2011. Presently, it’s in the workshop behind the Nehru museum.” explains Manjil Ray, trasmission team. The team plans to take the car to next year’s Silverstone. It’ll be kept at the mechanical department for all to admire. There’s a catch though. You probably won’t get to ride the thing. The ultra sophisticated engine will be used in the next car that the team is designing now.
KGP at Silverstone ŸShortlisted in the top 6 teams (out of 105) along with other leading teams like Stuttgart, TU Delft and Cardiff. ŸAirbus Teamwork Award, 2010, Ÿ9th out of 105 teams in the cost events.
The Car ªThe sleek car sports a 4 Cylinder, 660 cc Honda engine used in a CBR 660 RR superbike, producing 80 Hp. It makes the 240 kg car speed like a rocket! ªThe car sports a unique Brake The Cost distribution system, which distributes the brake force automatically between the wheels. ªThe entire project cost Rs. 15 lakhs. ªDouble wishbone suspension. Pro- Ackerman steering wheels and ª10 lakh was contributed by the a rear limited slip differential Institute through SRIC. driving the rear wheels make it a Sponsors like TVS Motors, Maruti, decent racing machine. Ford etc. provided financial and technical support. ªRicardo, a UK based company, assisted in Engine Tuning. ªThe Engine alone accounted for 25% of the cost.
The end result is for all to see at http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1498798186173, fsae.iitkgp.ernet.in (inside Kgp) and www.fsae.iitkgp.ernet.in (outside Kgp)
THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE
F R I D A Y , J A N U A R Y 14 T H 2011
Hall Nite, Starry Nite P
icture this – your hall is planning a public event to boost popularity for the you-know-whats. Something populist and entertaining. Being your hall’s Ent Secretary, you’re the guest of honour in tonight’s secret 2 am council meeting. One of the seniors, fresh out of watching another analytic report of Sheila vs. Munni (complete with a study of the, uh, rotational kinematics and thermal characteristics of said performances), gets an idea to organize an Item Number contest. It should be doable – even that dumbass hall pulled it off that other year, right? Aforementioned brain-wave is met with enthusiastic bahut sahi!’s and badiyaa!’s (and the occasional kuch! kuch!) from everybody present and the motion for a mini-dance fest is passed without much fuss. Only... it is now your job to make this scheme come to life in a college that is renowned for being a sausage-fest. Let the crazy hijinks commence. STEP 1: Approach a TDS member. Pitch a story about a grand collaboration and make it sound like it’s a privilege they’re being considered to host your dance-fest for you. STEP 2: Try not to take rejection too hard, and approach some female friends of yours who may know someone who knows someone who can dance a bit. Offer all your undying gratitude and all that. STEP 3: Try not to take rejection too hard, and call a common room meeting for all the second years. Find somebody authoritative-looking and jobless to just sit around said meeting for half an hour. Sort out the talent available into two rough categories - the tough looking ones (the ‘bandas’) and the passably nubile looking chaps (the ‘juices’). For your lead item girl, pick a particularly limber and fresh-faced lad, preferably one who can pass off as having an X chromosome under the right lighting, and slap on a wig. STEP 4: Now you’ve assembled an ad-hoc dance-troupe, you need to figure out how to strut them about in front of an audience for an hour and a half. Shamelessly rip a dozen set-pieces off past item numbers on Youtube. Just remember – excessive hip thrusts don’t work well with an all-male cast. STEP 5: No dance is going anywhere without the right music. And in the spirit of populism, you’ll need to pick a top 5 single from the past year, one that is replete with a thumping beat and catchy phrases. Five year old classics are acceptable too, but they’ll first have to be re-mixed by a notable
DJ so as to incorporate a trancey dance sample inserted in the middle and an autotuned lead singer. Accompany with speakers with enough wattage to be heard from Jnan Ghosh (this is how you pique people’s attention). STEP 6: Spons spons spons. Go bug all the stores in your neighbourhood for money – all those thirty buck hall T-shirts from Mars aren’t going to print themselves (unless you work out a tieup). STEP 7: Media! Distribute posters. Ensure the presence of a prominent Bollywood personality of satisfactory hotness rating who has nothing to do with your production. The trick is to fool your potential audience into thinking that girls may be involved. Spam Facebook and Twitter. STEP 8: Show-nite. Make sure your handy second-year workforce is around (watch out for deserters). Unleash your items on the unwitting populace. Ply the crowd with hall agents so as to keep everybody engaged with free Tshirts, treats and some idle conversation (for the latter – simple, mildly inaccurate funda passing works, considering that the bulk of the audience would be from MMM). Make sure that nobody is paying attention to the dances! If your show survives up to the halfway point, open the stage for amateurs to show off their own brand of hipthrusts and half-moonwalks. Hopefully a Hrithik-wannabe would put up a spectacularly comical dance that would divert everybody’s attention from the general goofiness of the rest of the performances. STEP 9: Wrap up the night, console your traumatized dance troupe and promise that they didn’t really just embarrass themselves in front of hundreds of strangers. STEP 10: Update CV about how you organized a very successful entertainment function with an audience of thousands.
Did you know? Only about 10-15% of all New Year’s Resolutions make it to completion - less than half make it through the first month! Moreover, it appears that for a decent likelihood of success, men need to focus on one single resolution that can be split up through checkpoints, while women need to tell all their friends all about it and have them nag ‘em on all the time. There’s gotta be a subtext in there somewhere...
THE SCHOLARS’ AVENUE
² F R I D A Y , J A N U A R Y 14 T H 2011