Friday, November 26, 2004

Western Values And Eastern Challenges by NR Narayana Murthy

As it is said in the Vedas: Man can live individually, but can survive only collectively. Hence, our challenge is to form a progressive community by balancing the interests of the individual and that of the society. To meet this we need to develop a value system where people accept modest sacrifices for the common good.

A value system is the protocol for behaviour that enhances the trust, confidence and commitment of members of the community. It goes beyond the domain of legality - It is about decent and desirable behaviour. Further, it includes putting the community interests ahead of your own. Thus, our collective survival and progress is predicated on sound values.

There are two pillars of the cultural value system — loyalty to family and loyalty to community. One should not be in isolation to the other, because, successful societies are those which combine both harmoniously. It is in this context that I will discuss the role of Western values in contemporary Indian society.

As an Indian, I am proud to be part of a culture, which has deep-rooted family values. We have tremendous loyalty to the family. For instance, parents make enormous sacrifices for their children. They support them until they can stand on their own feet. On the other side, children consider it their duty to take care of aged parents. We believe: “Mathru devo bhava, pithru devo bhava” (Mother is God and Father is God). Further, brothers and sisters sacrifice for each other. In fact, the eldest brother or sister is respected by all the other siblings.

As for marriage, it is held to be a sacred union — husband and wife are bonded, most often, for life. In joint families, the entire family works towards the welfare of the family. There is so much love and affection in our family life. This is the essence of Indian values and one of our key strengths.

Our families act as a critical support mechanism for us. In fact, the credit to the success of Infosys goes, as much to the founders as to their families, for supporting them through the tough times. Unfortunately, our attitude towards family life is not reflected in our attitude towards community behaviour. From littering the streets to corruption to breaking of contractual obligations, we are apathetic towards the common good.

The primary difference between the West and us is that, there, people have a much better societal orientation. In the West — the US, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand — individuals understand that they have to be responsible towards their community.
They care more for the society than we do. Further, they generally sacrifice more for the society than us. Quality of life is enhanced because of this. This is where we need to learn form the West.

Consider some of the lessons that we Indians can learn from the West:

* Respect for the public good — In the West, there is respect for the public good. For instance, parks free of litter, clean streets, public toilets free of graffiti — all these are instances of care for the public good.
On the contrary, in India, we keep our houses clean and water our gardens everyday but, when we go to a park, we do not think twice before littering the place.

* Attitude to corruption — This is because of the individual’s responsible behaviour towards the community as a whole. On the contrary, in India, corruption, tax evasion, cheating and bribery have eaten into our vitals. For instance, contractors bribe officials, and construct low-quality roads and bridges.

Corruption, as we see in India, is another example of putting the interest of oneself, and at best that of one’s family, above that of the society. Society is relatively corruption free in the West. It is very difficult to bribe a police officer into avoiding a speeding ticket. The result is that society loses in the form of substandard defence equipment and infrastructure, and low-quality recruitment, just to name a few impediments. Unfortunately, this behaviour is condoned by almost everyone.

* Public apathy — Apathy in solving community matters has held us back from making progress, which is otherwise within our reach. We see serious problems around us but do not try to solve them. We behave as if the problems do not exist or are somebody else’s. On the other hand, in the West, people solve societal problems proactively.

There are several examples of our apathetic attitude.

(i) For instance, all of us are aware of the problem of drought in India. More than 40 years ago, Dr KL Rao - an irrigation expert, suggested creation of a water grid connecting all the rivers in North and South India, to solve this problem. Unfortunately, nothing has been done about this.

(ii) The story of power shortage in Bangalore is another instance. In 1983, it was decided to build a thermal power plant to meet Bangalore’s power requirements. Unfortunately, we have still not started it.

(iii) The Milan subway in Bombay is in a deplorable state for the past 40 years, and no action has been taken.

To quote another example, considering the constant travel required in the software industry; five years ago, I had suggested a 240-page passport. This would eliminate frequent visits to the passport office. In fact, we are ready to pay for it. However, I am yet to hear from the ministry of external affairs on this. We, Indians, would do well to remember Thomas Hunter’s words: Idleness travels very slowly, and poverty soon overtakes it.

What could be the reason for this? We were ruled by foreigners for over thousand years. Thus, we have always believed that public issues belonged to some foreign ruler and that we have no role in solving them. Moreover, we have lost the will to proactively solve our own problems and have got used to just executing someone else’s orders.

Borrowing Aristotle’s words: “We are what we repeatedly do.” Thus, having done this over the years, the decision-makers in our society are not trained for solving problems. Our decision-makers look to somebody else to take decisions. Unfortunately, there is nobody to look up to, and this is the tragedy.

Our intellectual arrogance has also not helped our society. I have travelled extensively, and in my experience, have not come across another society where people are as contemptuous of better societies as we are, with as little progress as we have achieved. Remember that arrogance breeds hypocrisy.

No other society gloats so much about the past as we do, with as little current accomplishment. Friends, this is not a new phenomenon, but at least a thousand years old. For instance, Al Barouni, the famous Arabic logician and traveller of the 10th century, who spent about 30 years in India from 997 AD to around 1027 AD, referred to this trait of Indians.

According to him, during his visit, most Indian pundits considered it below their dignity even to hold arguments with him. In fact, on a few occasions when a pundit was willing to listen to him, and found his arguments to be very sound, he invariably asked Barouni: which Indian pundit taught these smart things!

The most important attribute of a progressive society is respect for others who have accomplished more than they themselves have, and learn from them. Contrary to this, our leaders make us believe that other societies do not know anything!

At the same time, everyday, in the newspapers, you will find numerous claims from our leaders that ours is the greatest nation. This has to stop. These people would do well to remember Thomas Carlyle’s words: The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none.”

If we have to progress, we have to change this attitude, listen to people who have performed better than us, learn from them and perform better than them. Infosys is a good example of such an attitude.

We continue to rationalise our failures. No other society has mastered this art as well as we have. Obviously, this is an excuse to justify our incompetence, corruption, and apathy. This attitude has to change. As Sir Josiah Stamp has said: “It is easy to dodge our responsibilities, but we cannot dodge the consequences of dodging our responsibilities.”

Another interesting attribute, which we Indians can learn from the West, is their accountability. Irrespective of your position, in the West, you are held accountable for what you do. However, in India, the more ‘important’ you are, the less answerable you are.

For instance, a senior politician once declared that he ‘forget’ to file his tax returns for 10 consecutive years — and he got away with it. To quote another instance, there are over 100 loss-making public sector units in India. Nevertheless, I have not seen action taken for bad performance against top managers in these organisations.

In the West, each person is proud about his or her labour that raises honest sweat. On the other hand, in India, we tend to overlook the significance of those who are not in professional jobs. We have a mindset that reveres only supposedly intellectual work. For instance, I have seen many engineers, fresh from college, who only want to do cutting-edge work and not work that is of relevance to business and the country.

However, be it an organisation or society, there are different people performing different roles. For success, all these people are required to discharge their duties. This includes everyone from the CEO to the person who serves tea — every role is important. Hence, we need a mindset that reveres everyone who puts in honest work.

Indians become intimate even without being friendly. They ask favors of strangers without any hesitation. For instance, the other day, while I was travelling from Bangalore to Mantralayam, I met a fellow traveller on the train. Hardly five minutes into the conversation, he requested me to speak to his MD about removing him from the bottom 10 per cent list in his company, earmarked for disciplinary action.

I was reminded of what Rudyard Kipling once said: A westerner can be friendly without being intimate while an easterner tends to be intimate without being friendly.

Yet another lesson to be learnt from the West, is about their professionalism in dealings. The common good being more important than personal equations, people do not let personal relations interfere with their professional dealings. For instance, they don’t hesitate to chastise a colleague, even if he is a personal friend, for incompetent work.

In India, I have seen that we tend to view even work interactions from a personal perspective. Further, we are the most ‘thin-skinned’ society in the world — we see insults where none is meant. This may be because we were not free for most of the last thousand years.

Further, we seem to extend this lack of professionalism to our sense of punctuality. We do not seem to respect the other person’s time. The Indian Standard Time somehow seems to be always running late. Moreover, deadlines are typically not met. How many public projects are completed on time?

The disheartening aspect is that we have accepted this as the norm rather than an exception. Meritocracy by definition means that we cannot let personal prejudices affect our evaluation of an individual’s performance. As we increasingly start to benchmark ourselves with global standards, we have to embrace meritocracy.

In the West, right from a very young age, parents teach their children to be independent in thinking. Thus, they grow up to be strong, confident individuals. In India, we still suffer from feudal thinking. I have seen people, who are otherwise bright, refusing to show independence and preferring to be told what to do by their boss. We need to overcome this attitude if we have to succeed globally.

The Western value system teaches respect to contractual obligation. In the West, contractual obligations are seldom dishonoured. This is important — enforceablity of legal rights and contracts is the most important factor in the enhancement of credibility of our people and nation.

In India, we consider our marriage vows as sacred. We are willing to sacrifice in order to respect our marriage vows. However, we do not extend this to the public domain. For instance, India had an unfavourable contract with Enron. Instead of punishing the people responsible for negotiating this, we reneged on the contract — this was much before we came to know about the illegal activities at Enron.

To quote another instance, I had given recommendations to several students for the national scholarship for higher studies in US universities. Most of them did not return to India even though contractually they were obliged to spend five years after their degree in India.
In fact, according to a professor at a reputed US university, the maximum default rate for student loans is among Indians — all of these students pass out in flying colours and land lucrative jobs, yet they refuse to pay back their loans. Thus, their action has made it difficult for the students after them, from India, to obtain loans.

Further, we Indians do not display intellectual honesty. For example, our political leaders use mobile phones to tell journalists on the other side that they do not believe in technology! If we want our youngsters to progress, such hypocrisy must be stopped.
We are all aware of our rights as citizens. Nevertheless, we often fail to acknowledge the duty that accompanies every right. To borrow Dwight Eisenhower’s words: “People that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”

Our duty is towards the community as a whole, as much as it is towards our families. We have to remember that fundamental social problems grow out of a lack of commitment to the common good. To quote Henry Beecher: Culture is that which helps us to work for the betterment of all.

Hence, friends, I do believe that we can make our society even better by assimilating these Western values into our own culture — we will be stronger for it. Most of our behaviour comes from greed, lack of self-confidence, lack of confidence in the nation, and lack of respect for the society.

To borrow Gandhi’s words: There is enough in this world for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed. Let us work towards a society where we would do unto others what we would have others do unto us. Let us all be responsible citizens who make our country a great place to live.

In the words of Winston Churchill, “Responsibility is the price of greatness.” We have to extend our family values beyond the boundaries of our home. Let us work towards maximum welfare of the maximum people — “Samasta janaanaam sukhino bhavantu”.

Finally, let us of this generation, conduct ourselves as great citizens rather than just good people so that we can serve as good examples for our younger generation.

Monday, October 11, 2004


Great article. Read and enjoy.This article was published by Business week in 1998.
Still worth reading and archiving.
Sastry Dasigi(1969 IITM AE)


Inside the Indian Institutes of Technology's star factory Victor J. Menezes, the 49-year-old newly appointed co-CEO at Citigroup's corporate and investment banking branch, vividly remembers his grueling college years in India--and Professor M.S.Kamath's electrical engineering class in particular.

Menezes recalls Kamath as ''the most dreaded professor'' on campus 30 years ago atthe Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay. His class was the hardest to get into. And once in, students wondered what hit them. Kamath's grading system was a punch in the nose for students who fancied themselves as the best and brightest in India. Often, only one student per test got an 'A' --the top scorer. The second-best score got a B. Everyone else got Cs, Ds, or Fs. But Kamath had his reasons. Now retired and livingoutside Bombay, he brushes off his legendary reputation as a campus terror: ''I used to tell my students, 'IIT is a center of excellence.I don't want you to be third-rate products.' ''Far from it.

Some of the most prominent chief executives, presidents, entrepreneurs and inventors in the world are graduates of IIT, India's elite institution of higher learning. Its impossibly highstandards, compelling the mostly male student body to average fewer than five hours of sleep a night, produce numerate graduates who are masters at problem-solving. Familiar with Western ways due to India's colonial past, they have spent their academic years studying in English, which gives them an edge over other Asians competing for jobs in global corporations. While IIT has been producing talented engineers, scientists, and managers for four decades, the school has taken on a new prominence lately. With Menezes' ascension at Citigroup on Nov. 1 and the appointment of 45-year-old Rakesh Gangwal as US Airways Group's new CEO on Nov. 18, IIT counts two more alums among the highest ranks of global business. They join Rajat Gupta, who has led McKinsey & Co. for four years, Vinod Khosla, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems Inc., and hundreds of others now working in the top ranks of U.S.corporations and Silicon Valley powerhouses.

(BUSINESS WEEK has an IIT connection. Graduate Vasant Prabhu is president of the Information and Media Services unit of The McGraw-Hill Companies, BUSINESS WEEK's parent.) FORMER PRISON.

Wall Street firms rely on Institute grads to devise the complex algorithms behind their derivatives strategies while big multinationals call on them to solve problems in new ways. When recruiting from colleges for its annual crop of consultants, McKinsey hires a significant number of the school's graduates every year. Many more write the software and design the chips and peripherals that Silicon Valley sells to the world.

One example: The founders of Internet browser IIT grads--made fortunes in August by selling their company to, the online bookseller, for$180 million. The rise of IITians, as they are known, is a telling example of how global capitalism works today. The best companies draw on the best brains from around the world, and the result is a global class of worker: the highly educated, intensely ambitious college grad who seeks out a challenging career, even if it is thousands of miles from home.

By rising to the top of Corporate America, these alumni lead all other Asians in their ability to reach the upper echelons of world-class companies. It's not just that entrepreneurs have forged a path through high-tech arenas; corporate executives have proven proficient at managing companies, too. Cost-cutting by US Airways' Gangwal, for example, helped pull the airline back from the brink of bankruptcy and increased revenues four fold. In that regard, the story of these Indians provides a model for other Asians to emulate--and an example for U.S. companies and universities to ponder. For India has created, out of limited resources, a class of executives and entrepreneurs who manage to combine technical brilliance with great management skills. And the Indian government, to its credit, has not tried to keep these first-class students at home. In many ways, the IIT grad is the hottest export India has everproduced.

To mold them, the schools put these 18-year-olds through an experience akin to boot camp. Theories learned by rote--a key element of Japanese education--are only part of the experience. ''Students should see the problem and conjure up a solution, not only memorize a theory,'' says Deepak Phatak, professor of computer science at IIT-Bombay. The focus is on hands-on learning. IIT maintains workshops where students even learn how to make machine tools and operate rotation motors, the kinds of crafts relegated to trade schools inthe U.S.

When he helped found IIT in 1951, Jawaharlal Nehru, India's firstPrime Minister, wanted an elite that could build the great state-sponsored power plants, dams, and bridges so badly needed in the newly independent country. The planners drew on Massachusetts Institute of Technology as a Model and on UNESCO for funds to build the first campus, in Kharagpur, near Calcutta, in a former British prison for Indian political detainees. Five other campuses followed, in Kanpur, Delhi, Bombay, Madras, and most recently, Guwahati. At various times, the U.S., Britain, the former Soviet Union, and Germany have all provided backing.

The schools have kept their edge by staying out of India's partisan politics. ''It is the most uncorrupt institution in India today,'' says Kartik Kilachand, a New York-based consultant and IIT alumnus. IIT has an autonomous board that doesn't have to kowtow to state bureaucracies. The Indian government pays most of the $3,000 it costs annually to educate each student.

Famous alumni in India include B.K. Syngal, chairman of Reliance Telecom, Nirmal Jain, managing director of Tata Infotech, N.R. Narayanamurthy, founder of software developer Infosys, and Yogi Deveshwar, CEO of IndianTobacco. IIT's huge campuses are vastly superior to other Indian universities but spartan compared with Western counterparts. Many of the facultyhave U.S. degrees and are stars in their fields, such as V.Rajaraman, who has helped New Delhi formulate its software policy. Professors double as administrators, limiting India's notorious bureaucratic malaise.

More than 100,000 Indians aspire to enter IIT each year, sitting for the grueling entrance exams every May. Students typically spend two years in preparation. Of those, just 2,500 are admitted to the network of campuses. Fewer than 2,000 make it to graduation each year. ''The process of selection is absolutely draconian,'' saysMcKinsey head Gupta. Once in, it gets tougher.

Aman Parhar, 22, a biochemistry major atIIT-Delhi, was a high school star. ''But here, everyone is as smart or smarter than you are,'' he says. Textbooks are so expensive that an entire class of 25 often has to share a single book. Students routinely stay up until 3 a.m. to study--or, in IIT lingo, ''mug.'' But they get plenty of attention. Faculty-student ratios, at 1:6 or1:8, are among the world's lowest. MIT's is 1:11.

Tales abound of the secrecy and ritual of IIT's dormlife. Students have their own exclusive slang, where ''crack'' means a job well done, and ''fundoo,'' short for ''fundamental,'' means great. The jobs and salaries grads command make them highly prized in India's contractual marriage market. While some of the swagger gets beaten out of them by the rigors ofthe system, these students retain high expectations for their careers. Below the surface of being ''well mannered and polite,''according to Rukmini Bhaya Nair's book on IIT, Technobrat, students are ''ruthlessly competitive and have an annoying complacency at having 'arrived' at age 19.''This attitude often leads to disappointment with the opportunities India has to offer. Thousands of graduates have emigrated to theU.S., causing the Indian government anxiety over the brain drain of its brightest.

A full 30% of the graduating class--over 500 students--headed to the U.S. for graduate degrees and better job opportunities in 1998. In the more popular computer-science programs, nearly 80% leave for Silicon Valley. So routine is the exodus that at IIT-Madras, the local campus postman and bank clerk provide unsolicited advice on the best U.S. schools to attend. When acceptance letters arrive, the postman waits outside the student's door for a tip--alarge one if it's from a highly regarded university such as Stanford. While IIT does offer graduate programs, students know that an advanced degree from a U.S. institution is the entry ticket to an American or global corporation--and big bucks.

The U.S. also benefits enormously from the influx. Anna Lee Saxenian,an associate professor at the University of California at Berkeley, recently conducted a study of Silicon Valley's new immigrant entrepreneurs. According to Saxenian, of an estimated 2,000 startups in Silicon Valley, 40% are Indian-spawned, and of those, half are by IIT grads.The influx began in earnest in the 1970s as Indian students graduated from such schools as Stanford, MIT, and Carnegie Mellon and became a vital source of brainpower in the research labs of Hewlett-Packard, Intel, IBM, and Texas Instruments. They then played founding roles in Sun Microsystems, Cirrus Logic, and numerous other high-tech powers.

Yogen Dalal, an IIT alumnus and partner with prominent venture-capital firm Mayfield, says the Valley has ''a critical mass of IIT alums who can finance and guide the new generation.'' Suhas Patil, who founded chip design innovator Cirrus Logic in 1984, is now a prominent ''angel'' investor who provides early capital and business connections for Indian-owned startups.

Another angel is Kanwal Rekhi, who founded and sold add-on board maker Excelan and who served as chief technology officer for Novell Inc. Among the dozen or so startups Rekhi helped launch are Ambit Design Systems, a developer of chip-design software, and info-tech consulting firm CyberMedia.

U.S. graduate schools actively seek out the institute's grads. California Institute of Technology ''writes to us regularly, asking us to recommend students for scholarships they have available,'' says Kharagpur campus Professor Badriprasad Gupta, who is vice-chairman of the entrance-exam committee. Amitabha Ghosh, director of IIT-Kharagpur, recalls the dean of the University of Maryland at College Park, entreating him to ''send his entire graduating class to Maryland'' and promising them all financial assistance. Even the French and German governments, faced with declining numbers of engineers, are trying to attract grads through exchange programs.

IIT graduates frequently find U.S. graduate schools a breeze by comparison. India's math-focused education gives students a leg up on American students, who depend heavily on calculators in the learning process. India has a long tradition of conceptual mathematics, and school children are forced to master multiplication tables early on.

The math advantage helps: Gangwal of US Airways, renowned in the aviation industry for his speedy mental calculations, says ''people always pegged me as being this terribly analytical guy who can run numbers in his head.'' Yet it was Gangwal's number-crunching that helped cut through the morass at the airline. Another factor of campus life is India's diversity of languages, ethnic groups, and castes. ''You learn how to manage across them,''says Citigroup's Menezes, who managed to thrive in Citibank's cut throat environment. ''You couldn't survive any Indian schoolyard unless you figured out how different people think and behave.

''Recently, IIT grads in the U.S. have been formalizing their powerful network. Two years ago, Indians and Pakistanis in the San Francisco area formed The Indus Entrepreneurs. Easily half its 1,000 members are IIT grads. ''We help each other and provide role models,'' says Desh Deshpande, an IIT-Madras alumnus whose computer-networking company, Cascade, recently was sold to Ascend Communications Inc. for $3.7 billion.

Now that they have the means, alums also want to help their almamater. Rekhi last year donated $2 million to the school and urgedfellow alumni to follow suit. Says Mayfield's Dalal, who has given$10,000 to kick off an alumni-sponsored endowment fund: ''We want tomake it right for the next generation.''

Their help could not have come at a better time. New Delhi has been reducing funding to institutions of higher learning such as the IITs by 25% since 1993. Alumni help is taking its place: Vinod Gupta, for example, founder of Nebraska-based database American Business Information, recently built a $3 million school of management for IIT-Kharagpur.

McKinsey's Gupta is active insetting up a business school to open in 2001 in India, in conjunction with the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Northwestern University's Kellogg School.

The IITs have also been teaming up with industry on development. IIT-Kharagpur patents a dozen new products each year. Companies such as Intel and Philips Electronics, which are big recruiters at the IITs, have funded endowments and scholarships. They have even bank rolled computer and electronics laboratories in order to keep IIT grads up to snuff on the latest technology. The bottom line for students and grads is that India has produced a world-class university at surprisingly little cost. By nurturing the schools, the government stands to reap huge rewards as these grads invest in India and draw it further into the circle of global trade and prosperity.

Much like Taiwan-born engineers in the U.S., IITgrads are well positioned to set up ventures in their native country. ''These Indians will play a key role in the resurgence ofIndia,'' says Vijay Sahni, country head for Arthur Andersen's India operations. It's not quite how Nehru thought it would be. But this school is vital to India's place in the world.

By Manjeet Kripalani in Bombay, with Pete Engardio and Leah Nathans Spiro in New York and bureau reports

Check out this article and related links in Business Week

Ashish Gupta & his Junglee co-founders are featured on the cover page.-Peshwa

Sunday, October 10, 2004

IIT Kharagpur

Here is an Interesting article on IIT- Kharagpur as publishedby Hindu for all members to read and feel proud..(Click on URL below to read original article. Hope URL works)
Ranjan. Sydney, Australia

Kharagpur's legend Indian Institute of Technology - Kharagpur, the first of theIITs, has come a long way from its modest beginnings.

Institute of Technology- Kharagpur, the oldest amongthe IITs, was formally inaugurated on August 18, 1951 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. Over the next 50 years it not only set the standards for other similar institutions, but became a key contributor to the technological self-reliance of the country through numerous research projects sponsored by the scientific departments of the government and by other organisations.

The idea of IITs was first conceived in 1946 by a committee set up by Sir Jogendra Singh, member of the Viceroy's Executive Council, Department of Education, Health and Agriculture. The 22-member committee, headed by N.R. Sarkar, recommended the establishment of four institutions for higher technical education in the eastern, western, northern and southern regions of the country.

The objective behind the establishment of these institutes for undergraduate and post-graduate studies and research was to meet the demands of national development in the post-Independence period. Initially the institute started functioning from 5 Esplanade East, in the heart of Kolkata. It later shifted to Hijli in Midnapore district in September 1950. The idyllic, sylvansetting of Hijli, 120 km from Kolkata, was chosen to give students a peaceful atmosphere. The historical significance of Hijli must also have been taken into account while choosingthe site. The Hijli Detention Camp building - in which the IIT's first classrooms, laboratories, and administrative office were housed - was established in 1930 in order to incarcerate freedom-fighters.

It was here that two unarmed detainees - Santosh Kumar Mitra and Tarakeswar Sengupta- were shot dead by the British police on September 16, 1931. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose himself came to Hijli to collect their bodies. All national leaders, including RabindranathTagore, condemned the shooting. The camp was closed in 1937, reopened in 1940 to detain freedom-fighters, and closed finally in 1942.

Since its modest start, IIT-Kharagpur has been engaged in a continuous process of development in terms of both infrastructure and research and development. In 1952, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone for the main building, which was completed and inaugurated in 1956. In the first convocation address the same year, he said: "Here as I stand in this place and my mind inevitably goes back to that infamous institution, for which this place became famous, not now but 20 or 30 years ago -the Hijli Detention Camp. Here in the place of that Hijli Detention Camp stands this fine monument of India, representing India's urges, India's future in the making.

This picture seems to be symbolic of changes that are coming to India."Today the old jail complex is no longer a symbol of British colonialism; instead it houses the Nehru Museum and the offices of some government departments. The Indian Research Organisation, the Vinod Gupta School of Management, and the chemical engineering complex have come up in its vicinity. In place of the marshes that surrounded the jail complex, now there are gardens and forest management projects.

When the first session started in August 1951, there were just 42 teachers and 224 undergraduate students in three departments. These students completed their four-year professional training in 1955. The first batch of post-graduates finished their course in 1954, after a one-year programme. IIT-Kharagpur has come a long way from those days to reach its present position of pre-eminence. It now has 450 teachers and 22 undergraduate and 64 post-graduate programmes, offered by 26 academic departments and schools.

On September 15, 1956, Parliament passed the Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur) Act making it an institute of national importance. It was also given the status of an autonomous university. The President of India is the Visitor of all the IITs and is at the apex of the IIT administration. There is a Council to coordinate the activities of all the IITs.

Each IIT has a board of governors to guide it in general policy-making. The head of each board is the Chairman, who is nominated by the President. The Director is the chief supervisor of the academic and administrative activities of the Institute. He is advised on all academic matters by the Senate, comprising senior members of the Institute and nominees from various sections. The first Director of IIT-Kharagpur was the eminent scientist Jnan Chandra Ghosh.

The first board of governors was formed with Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy as chairman and N.R. Sarkar, Sir Jehangir J. Gandhi, Dr. Tara Chand, K.R.K. Menon, T. Sivasankar, S.S. Bhatnagar and Humayun Kabiras members. Eminent scholars from Europe, such as Prof. R.A. Kraus and Prof. H.Tischner, joined the institute in its formative years. Tischner was also the first head ofthe Electronics and Communication Engineering department.

In the beginning, IIT-Kharagpur laid emphasis was on producing trained manpower of the highest quality for the benefit of major industries that came up in the post-Independence era. In the 1970s, however, MTech and PhD programmes on specialised areas of study were given emphasis.

Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the Institute focussed more on research and application of research for societal needs. Apart from training its own students, IIT-Kharagpur took part in a programme of continuing education. Teachers from other technical institutions came to IIT-Kharagpur for higher studies under the Quality Improvement Programmelaunched in 1972. By 1994, this programme was consolidated under the Continuing Education Centre, which had a new dean at its helm.

Despite being about 120 km west of Kolkata, IIT-Kharagpur is well connected by train services and roads to all major citiesin the country. It is only about 5 km from the Kharagpur railway station, which has the longest railway platform in Asia. The Institute is a fully residential, self-sufficient unit. It has its own water and electric supply substations and all services such as the maintenance of campus amenities, buildings and roads are provided by the Institute itself.

It has its own security service for the sprawling 600-hectare campus. A modern telephone facility with ISDN and smart cardservice and a hospital with 60 beds are maintained by the Institute. For the recreation of students, there are two indoor and outdoor stadia, an outdoor swimming pool, as football ground, a cricket field and tennis courts. The Institute also has its own market where provisions are available.

Four nationalised banks and six privately owned restaurants are located on the campus. For the education of the children of the faculty, there are four schools - the Hijli High School, a Kendriya Vidyalaya, the DAV Modern School and the St. Agnes School (which has up to Class Five).

For the students there are 16 halls of residence, including one for married research scholars and one for defence personnel who study at the Institute. New residential halls are being constructed in view of an expected increase in student intake and a multi-storeyed apartment complex is being built for the faculty. The total population at the Institute is around 20,000. There are also three guest houses and a visitors' hostel.

The campus has many auditoriums and an open-air theatre that can seat over 3,000 people. A new building is also being constructed to house some departments that have expanded. The new building will have lecture halls with seating capacities of 800 each. Apart from its main campus, IIT-Kharagpur has two extension campuses - in Kolkata and in Bhubaneswar - which provide the venue for continuing education programmes, seminars, exhibitions and distance learning courses.

Unlike many other institutions in the country, IIT-Kharagpur was never shackled by any kind of regionalism. The Spring Fest organised by the students is arguably the most famous and popular college festival in the entire eastern region. Its participants come from as far away as Shillong and Hyderabad. All those associated with the Institute live on the campus. They come from different parts of the country and belong to different religions, communities, classes and language groups, but are bound by one common goal - pursuit of excellence in technical education.


This is a very good speech by the CEO of COCA COLA that is worth a read...


Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air.
You name them - work, family, health, friends and spirit and you're keeping all of these in the air. You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls *family, health, friends and spirit* are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.

*Don't undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special.
* Don't set your goals by what other people deem important.Only you know what is best for you.
* Don't take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as they would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.
* Don't let your life slip through your fingers by living in the pastor for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live all days of your life.
* Don't give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.
* Don't be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us together.
* Don't be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.
* Don't shut love out of your life by saying it's impossible to findtime. The quickest way to receive love is to give; the fastest wayto lose love is to hold it too tightly and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.
* Don't run through life so fast that you forget not only where you've been, but also where you are going.
* Don't forget, a person's greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
* Don't be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.
* Don't use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.

Gallup Survey of IIT;s

Subject: Gallup Survey of IIT's

Following is the copy of the article in IndiaToday in which the extent to which the Alumni can contribute to their Alma mater and how it can make dramatical differences is highlighted.
IITM-B.Tech 1969


May 13 2002 Engineering
By Labonita Ghosh

IIT-Kharagpur has maintained its lead over the other IIT's for two consecutive years with some help fromits alumni.IITians never forget their alma mater. This year, after IIT-Kharagpur (IIT-KGP) wraps up its year-long golden jubilee celebrations, India's oldest school for higher technical education might finally get time to acknowledge its "gifts". The one most likely to stand out comes from a group of IIT-KGP's former students, now settled abroad.The newly formed IIT Foundation bequeathed a Rs 30-crore grant for an ambitious networking project: to put all of its 2,700 students online. Last year's expansion plan had installed pcs in every hostel room. This academic year, thanks to NRI patrons like Purnendu Chatterjee and Suhas Patil, students find they cansurf the Net, log into the central library to browse and borrow, and even read texts online from the comfort of their rooms. The foundation has pledged to take care of the academic costs of the first 100 students who qualify in the Joint Entrance Examination. Educationists have always dreamt about a classroom sans walls. At IIT-KGP, this is becoming a reality.

Last year, professors teaching 24 of the 26 subjects put their lectures (approximately 200 hours of lessons) on CD."Advances in technology allow us to expose our students to a lot of things not covered in the classroom," says director Amitabha Ghosh. "If a student misses a lecture, he can always catch it on CD later. "This e-learning leap is especially helpful to students interested in subject outside their chosen combinations. Since last year, the institute allows students to mix and match their minor subjects. Students of mechanical engineering, say, can enhance their skills by taking online computer science courses.The institute is also using its infrastructure grants to stay on the cutting edge of technology. An advanced VLSI design laboratory helps budding techies design chips as does the MIT-sponsored media laboratory.

A Georgia Tech tie-up will allow students to work summers in the US labs and explore the pre-commercial advantage of inventions. "We believe in giving our students the ambience to foster better and more innovative ideas," says C.S. Kumar ofthe Physics department. There's no doubt about it.

Distinguished Alumnus Dr.Ashok Jhunjhunwala

Dr.Ashok Jhunjhunwala

Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala is Professor of the Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, India. B.Tech degree from IIT, Kanpur, in 1975 MS (1977) and Ph.D degree (1979) from the University of Maine, USA Assistant Professor, Washington State University from 1979 to 1981. Faculty at IIT-Madras, since 1981 Dr.Jhunjhunwala leads the Telecommunications and Computer Networks Group (TeNeT) at IIT Madras.

This group is working closely with industry in the development of a number of Telecommunications and Computer Network Systems. TeNeT group has incubated a number of R&D companies which work in partnership with TeNeT group to develop world class technologies. The products includecor DECT Wireless in Local Loopsystem, Fibre Access Network, DSL Systems and several other systems. They include - Midas Communications, Banyan Networks, Nilgiri Networks, Vembu Systems, etc The group has recently incubated a company - n-Logue - whose aim is to install telephone and Internet in every village in India.

* Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award for outstanding contributions in the field of Engineering Sciences in 1998
* Dr.Vikram Sarabhai Research Award for the year 1997.
* Millennium Medal at Indian Science Congress in the year 2000
* Dr. P.Sheel Memorial Lecture Award by National Academy of Sciences, India, for the year 2001 .
* Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering, Indian NationalScience Academy and National Academy of Science
* Governor of International Council for Computer Communications (ICCC)
* Padmashri, in 2002

Perceptions of "Today's Indian in America"

Another View By Ramboaus, IIT Global from Australia

I just finished watching "A Big Fat Greek Wedding". I am sure most of you would have seen this nice comedy. If you have not I highly recommend it to you. There is a scene where the brother says to his sister "Don't let your past dictate who you are,let it be part of who you will Become."
I hope impressionable young Indians in America understand the depth of this statement.
This is perhaps the most appropriate quotation I can come up with in response to this
article by an American Indian.

I was quite impressed with the beginning which spurred me to read on. By the time I got to the end I was just left saddened by how Indians who have gone to America (not all but definitely the sort of people who endorse articles like this or similar views) have been brain washed by the American ways of doing anything and everything for money.

To feel that there will be no life or future for India unless we become American Lap dogs and hang out for the crumbs definitely gets to me. Indians in America should get off this HIGH horse that makes them feel superior. There is lot more to life than money. If money and the Green Back was taken out of the equation, it will be interesting to see how many Indians in American would like to say "Back home in America" and continue living there.

We all know not every Indian who goes to America is successful. A handful make it big and it is their destiny not their doing. The rest are gainfully employed like people anywhere in the world

Majority in USA proudly told their families back home in India that they were doing Body Shopping Business. The first time I heard this from a friend of mine in Hyderabad that his future son in law was doing body shopping I was shocked and appalled. I assumed it was some sort of Brothel business. I now know it is a name for recruiting IT workers at low wages to serve in America a sort of slave trade like it or not. Since 9/11 all this body shopping artists have been without jobs them selves.

The one advantage is that every American dollar buys you Rs 55. Take that out of the equation life in America Stinks. Like it or not. There is no life for Indians in America if they have no money. You cannot even get a decent medical treatment if you are ill.

Ours is an age old Indus Valley civilisation and we have a rich culture, which has withstood so many invasions and assaults, life in India will go on with or without America. The Caucasians ruled the world with gun powder and slight. They have deceived the world for well over a century. Of course the allied forces saved the world from Hitler in the second world war. Now the same allied forces are determined to exercise the same control over the world as Hitler did by disarming the entire world while they arm them selves to their teeth.

They are not allied forces anymore. The British and the Aussies (the people) want to disassociate themselves from America. John Howard is getting pelted with rotten eggs and tomatoes since America announced that Australia cannot sell wheat to Iraq any more and cancelled all previous contracts in favour of American companies. .

From now on it is going to be the "UGLY Americans Vs the Rest of the world." Bush's administration has destroyed what America stood for in the past. We trust and hope the next election will restore America in its true glory. .

Terminology like American Start up's, Venture Capitalists, Fortune 500, Board Rooms, Profitability all reminds me of Michael Dougla's Movie the Wall Street. 'It is Greed and all about GREED".

Let us change the equation says the author by becoming better at being Lap Dogs to America hoping we might get to gnaw at bigger bones with may be some meat.

I am constantly reading about India becoming the Silicon Valley of the world. Is this really true ?.
Consider this, in the 70's one Australian dollar fetched two and a half Singapore dollars. A whole lot of manufacturing was moved from Australia to Singapore. When the Singapore dollar got stronger there was a shift of focus toward Thailand and Malaysia and in the 90's the focus was on China when it came to manufacturing. India was out of question those days because of Government controls. Even Coca Cola did not survive in India. Companies lke Nike run sweat shops in Vietnam and Thailand to manufacture their shoes for a pittance to sell them with perhaps a 1000% margin to the western world. Sheer exploitation.

Now the IT business is no different. India educates perhaps about 200,000 IT graduates each year and thus creates a huge supply of cheap labour. American companies can employ five Indian Graduates in India as compared to one American graduate. If course it amounts to getting five times productivity for the same cost.

While all te major multinationals are setting up business in a big way in Bangalore and Hyderabad and sure help create employment it will be interesting to see the annual returns to see how much tax these companies pay to the Indian government. Australians only know too well as most of the multinationals pay less that 5% in corporate tax. Funds are juggled around between companies globally and audits are conducted by the likes of Andersons who have access to all tax specialists who know all the loop holes that Local tax offices are scared to take them on. Companies like Exxon, Mobil , BP etc pay very very little as a token gesture to Australia as annual tax. I am sure the same is true in India unless it is a joint venture.

Let us Change the Equation: (My way of Thinking).
-IITians have been away in USA for more than 50 years now.
-Let us hope fellows in USA have learnt some good tricks (I do not mean dope sniffers and the like) that they can teach our people in India.
- Sit in your OWN Board rooms in India instead of playing second fiddle in some American firm. I am sure some will turn around and say what are you doing? For your information exactly what I am preaching. I have certainly learnt a few tricks in my time and am doing my little bit to pass them on. Australia is a fine country and the Australians are lovely people and I have no regrets about that either.
- Forget that India is a third world country as this is a Tag given by the west to keep our country down-trodden and with Rs 55 to one American dollar we will be a third world country for may be another century.
- Go and see the real poor in USA and UK and you will find that the poor in India can still smile as they know nothing better, something the poor in the west cannot do as they have seen better times.
- Get out of the slave mentality that we have grown up with as our parents and grand parents were used to serving the British Sahibs. Stop being subservient and be a BOSS yourself . I am proud to say that at least three of my class mates are doing exactly the same. One friend, in fact, is designing Chips in Hyderabad and making them in Taiwan and selling them back to USA. Now this is the equation we are after.
- Successful Indians in America and elsewhere in the world would agree that Indians are a much cleverer race than the Caucasians. The ones we have to contend with in the future are the Chinese as they are just as clever if not cleverer.
- India was held back the last 50 years by Nehru's stupidity while China's set back was Communism. Both countries are free of these shackles to grow at will and become the Forces to Reckon with.
- Stop thinking about how sitting in USA you can create a few opportunities for Indian companies. It is time to stop looking up to the western world and become independent and lead the way in research and technology. Let us stop playing the catching game and take the lead. This is where China's strength is. They can copy anything overnight (which we in India cannot) and the next day are ahead of the west where they copied something from. At the moment India has a small edge in IT because of the language advantage. This will not hold out for ever.
- I remember a family migrated to Australia from mainland China and the little girl joined year nine without knowing a word of English. In year twelve she scored a 100 TER and went on to join the medical school. We Indians may boast of education in English. Majority however cannot compose one grammatically correct letter and lack communication skills. Most Indians are scared to stand up and make a speech. Why? because there is no such thing as show and tell in our schools.
- The Chinese are learning English very very fast, like it or not, as Australian Universities are behind it all the way. AGSM in Sydney is full of students from mainland China. Australian Universities are setting up facilities in China. If I remember right, China is interested in setting up 100 IIT type institutions and, if I remember correct, our own Rajat Gupta of McKinsey is working on this Blue Print for China.
- If Indians were smart we should forget about the west, that will for ever use us as slaves and cheap labour. Bill Gates is not interested in India. There is only one thing that Bill Gates or for that matter any American is ever interested in. That is "The Bottom Line."
So Let us Change the equation " Forget the west, it is a spent force and will liquidate itself soon by its own greed. Look up to partnerships with China. For those of you who have not grown out of the incursion in the sixties by a Communist Chinese regime, I mix with a lot of Chinese in Sydney and, believe me, they are nice people. (Ravi Prasad, take note: Indians' future depends on strategic alliances with China ) If India and China stand united then no one will ever dare to call India a THIRD WORLD Country EVER again.

I fully agree it is Time to Change the Equation folks. It will be interesting to ward off the brick bats for the next couple of days.

I support the Australian farmers who have just as much right to sell wheat and meat to IRAQ as the UGLY Americans. I am sure the French and Germans have no chance at all if UK and Aussies get booted out.

Friday, October 08, 2004

The Seven Secrets behind IITians Global Success

The 7 secrets behind IITians' global success

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29, 2004 12:10:08 AM

Rajat Gupta: Former Managing Director of McKinsey & Co
Arun Sarin: Chief Executive of Vodafone Group PLC
Victor Menezes: Senior Vice Chairman of Citigroup Inc.
Kanwal Rekhi: Venture Capitalist and Founder of Excelan Inc.
Rono Dutta: Chief Executive of Air Sahara
Rakesh Gangwal: Former Chief Executive of US Airways
Vinod Khosla: Partner in Kleiner Perkins Caulfield

Guess what do these stalwarts have in common?
They are all products of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology which is gradually becoming a synonym for skill, talent, knowledge and expertise.

IITs are churning out top-notch engineers with a regularity that thrills corporations around the world. These government-sponsored institutes are considered the best in India, and their alumni can be found in the top executive positions in companies across the globe. According to the recent estimates, 25,000 IIT graduates are currently employed in the US, out of which, some of them have also turned entrepreneurs, who have seen their net worth grow almost overnight to mind boggling millions or even billions of dollars.

Such is the success record of the IITians worldwide. Each year the six IITs have more names making to the who's who list in the US business community than any other Indian institution, and most American universities as well. Ashutosh Roy, Gunjan Sinha, Suhas S Patil, Arjun Malhotra, Vinod Gupta are some of the IITians who have hit it big as entrepreneurs abroad.

However, many more can be added to the unending list. Global Acceptance "Brand IIT is, by now, so well established that in the future too, the IIT graduates will continue to be successful," says Nandan Nilekani, CEO,
Infosys , while speaking to The Wall Street Journal. Nilekani graduated from IIT Bombay in 1978. Cisco Systems Inc. , in San Jose, Calif., says it has already hired more than 1,000 IITians over the years and it plans to increase the number as per convenience. According to the director of a major US research firm, the IITs are one of its most important sources of research talent, both in the US and Asia.

What makes them what they are "IITians", the name itself evokes some prototypes. They have the required skill, experience, imagination and enthusiasm to make it to the top. "Being from an IIT background has contributed to a great extent", says Rahul Pandey, an IIT Roorkee product, who is currently employed with HPCL. The training at IIT is very vigorous, and so is the selection process.

"The JEE is the toughest undergraduate entrance exam of its kind in the world, and it acts as a guillotine at the IITs' entrance," says Sandipan Deb, author of "The IITians" while speaking to The Wall Street Journal .

Finally, the experience of staying on campus is also crucial in building interpersonal skills and in providing students with leadership qualities. The missing link Even as IIT and other engineering schools enjoy global attention, students hold a different point of view. Few students prefer to pursue US degree as the course curriculum is wider and not limited to just engineering. Despite this, an IIT degree is a ticket to being a part of the high profile tech brigade which has already made a mark on the world tech map.

R. Gopalakrishnan, executive director of Tata Sons, a diversified group of companies in India, and an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur, who has studied the "IIT brand," told the Wall Street Journal that, even engineers from other Indian universities now do their master's degrees at the IITs.

The result: more IIT-trained engineers.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A day in the Life of a Village Kiosk Operator

I am dedicating the IIT Global special articles blog to a very special friend Elizabeth Alexander for the first Original Post to IIT Global Group.

Date: Wed Aug 14, 2002 7:59 pm

A day in the Life of a Village Kiosk Operator


This is not a technical article. In fact it has deliberately stayedaway from being one. It was primarily written to give people aflavour of what access to the Internet can mean in the lives ofpeople in rural India. The world that it opens up for them and thepotential it has for bringing significant change in their lives isenormous. The article stays away from issues of connectivity,bandwidth and access devices and instead concentrates on the impactthat this can create.n-Logue is a rural Internet Service provider dedicated to providingInternet access to villages in India. It was incubated by Dr AshokJhunjhunwala and other alumni of IIT-madras. What is written in thearticle is based on their work in the District of Madurai in TamilNadu, South India.


Elizabeth Alexander graduated from IIT-Madras in 1987. After completing her management from IIM-L, she worked in the software industry for several years before joining n-Logue to participate in its mission to bring Internet to rural India.


A day in the Life of a Village Kiosk Operator

Rosy opens her PC, logins into Yahoo chat and types out amessage. "Madhu, are you there?" Comes the reply "Yes, what's the matter"."Can you tell me where I can find information on colleges which offerdiploma courses in Automobile engineering?""Give me a few minutes. I'll find out and send you an email". Fiveminutes later she opens the email to discover a few urls which shetypes into her browser window and does her search.

Common enough scenario, right? Happens between friends all the time. Easiest way to get information using the Internet and a little helpfrom your friends.Except that Rosy lives in a small village in Tamil Nadu called Padinettamkudi, 35 kilometres from the nearest big city (Madurai). And Madhu sits in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, which is 200 Km away. Padinettamkudi has about 1000 people, does not have any public telephones, no road leading to the village and the local schooloffers classes only up to class eight. A few months ago, most people there had not even seen a PC, much less used one. And today, in this little village, Rosy makes more than Rs.4000 a month selling Internet and PC-based services to the people there.This is not a dream for the future. It is a reality. And Rosy is one of the many stakeholders in a mission to make this a part of every rural Indian's reality. For Rosy is a Village Internet Kiosk Operator. She manages a kiosk in her village, set up for her with the assistance of n-Logue, a Rural Internet Service Provider, incubated by the TeNeT Group of IIT-Madras.

Using this and all the services n-Logue enables for her, she is able to bring the benefits of the Internet to the people of Padinettamkudi.The Kiosk equipment cost Rs. 51,500. It was bought by a local teashop owner, taking a loan from a bank, Since he did not know how to operate a computer, he appointed Rosy to run the kiosk for him. She gets a salary and a percentage of the profits.

Picture this. A woman walks into her kiosk with a paper in her hand. "I need a birth certificate for my daughter. She starts school in a few weeks."Rosy takes down the necessary details - name of the girl, name ofparents, date of birth, place of birth, name of hospital - typing them into a document as she asks for them. Then types out an email to a Government Officer at the Taluk Office(who dispenses Birth Certificates), attaches the document and sends it off. "As soon as I get the acknowledgement, I shall let you know", she tells the woman. "When the certificate is ready, they will send amessage informing us. That would be Rs. 10, please."

Besides this, she can also apply for a variety of other certificates(Income, Community, Pension, etc), send complaints regarding malfunctioning water pumps, or just send emails on various complaints to the local Government officials. They even sent one to the Chief Minister's Grievance cell and received an acknowledgement, which she is most proud of.

The support of the State and District Government officials has been very useful in making all this happen. She has already had two visitsfrom the State's IT Secretary.

In walk a group of women. They want to know their fortune. She accesses the 'Astrology' page of a popular Tamil portal called Webulagam. Each woman gives her a number at random which she types in and then reads out the corresponding forecast that appears on the screen.

To the woman wanting the birth certificate, this is new. A veteranexplains to her, "This is like Parrot Astrology. But much more powerful. You see it's from a computer". And you only pay 2 Rupees."Can I try?" And Rosy has one more customer.

A man brings in an elderly relative. It's his uncle and he has cataract in both eyes. Rosy asks him a few questions that she reads to him from aquestionnaire posted on the local n-Logue website."What is your name ?. How old are you ?. Describe in detail the symptoms you experience. Do you feel any pain in the left eye / right eye /both eyes..." Ten questions in all.The answers are recorded in a voice file, in the patient's own words.Then she takes a picture of each eye, expertly managing a torch and the camera and the mouse all by herself. She was trained in the technique by a doctor at the Aravind EyeHospital. She sends the picture and the voice file to the hospital. There is another mail which has just come back from the hospital inresponse to a similar complaint sent the day before. The attached letter says in Tamil, "Dear Arumugam, please come to theFree Section of the Aravind Eye Hospital at 10.30 AM on any day and hand over this letter to Nurse Indrani who is at the reception. You will be taken for the necessary treatment immediately. The bus you need to take is ...".

Besides the eye ailments, the other service she provides is tests for myopia for school children. Many children in her village do not know that the reason the world looked so blurred all the time is because they needed spectacles. Now, using a simple eye-chart, she is able to do a preliminary test and ascertain if they need to go for a more comprehensive test. If they do, she sends another mail to Aravind making an appointment for them.

Next in line are her regular students. Except that they are three old men and they are there because they cannot read. She has a software developed by a big Indian software company for the specific purpose of teaching illiterate adults to read. She takes them through a 45 minute class, patiently going over the variouswords. As the mouse moves over the words on the screen, a voice-over pronounces the words aloud. The old men are fascinated as they repeat after their electronic teacher. "Pa-dam, Pat-ta-nam, Pa-da-kkam".

Rosy will be paid by the District Literacy Mission for every person she makes literate. For her elderly students, the service is free.The next set of students is altogether different, young, confident, familiar with the external workings of computers. They are there todo some browsing and check their emails. But they don't need Rosy'shelp. And none of them had ever touched a computer before Rosy's kiosk was set up.One of them sends a mail to a friend. "You know, he is working in Singapore. In a software company", he says proudly." I am also going to work in software."There are several people from Rosy's village in Singapore, and still more in Dubai. But they are not in 'software'. Most of them are employed as construction workers, mechanics and so on. All of them spend a lot of money every week calling their families back home in the village, some of whom they have not seen for many months, even years.Things have changed a bit now. Some of them no longer call. They send emails. Those who can manage it, use voice or video chat. For the people in the village who cannot write, an easy utility is available.They can record short voice clips and send them as email attachments.

One man walks in whose son works as a typist in Bahrain. He has come to check if there is a message from him. To his immense excitement, there is. "My dear Appa", it says, "How is your health. I hope you have received the money. I am coming home in August. I hope you have seen a girl for me."He takes a print-out and then dictates a response for Rosy to type, "I have received the money. But your brother has not sent any so far. Tell him this from me. Come home safely. Your Chitappa has seen three girls for you. Two are BA-pass. One has done computers."He also takes a picture of himself using her web camera and sends it as an attachment. Mission accomplished, he pays for the mail and the print-out, and leaves obviously delighted with the entire experience. He will be back again tomorrow ... "Is there a message from my son?"

The next few hours are fascinating. A farmer walks in with a sample of his okra crop, disease obvious in the stem and leaves. The farmer is distraught. He could lose his entire crop. Rosy takes pictures of the diseased parts from several angles and attaches them to a mail that she types in Tamil. It's to the Tamil Nadu Agricultural College and Research Institute. "Dear Dr Selvaraj, please can you tell us what we must do for this problem." Come back tomorrow, she tells the farmer. There is bound to be a response. Today, the farmers look to Rosy for solutions to long standing problems with their crops. And she, with just a class 12 education, is able to tell them what to do. "Make a mixture of boron and nitrogen solution. Spray this on the crop ..."The remedies suggested by the faculty of the Agricultural College have helped several farmers save their crops, worth thousands of Rupees. What used to be the privileged information of an elite few has now been brought into the public domain.

A woman walks in with her chicken. Its legs are bent and it cannot walk properly. For the next few minutes, Rosy and the chicken's owner do a little dance trying to make the chicken sit still while she tries to take a picture of its legs.Finally they do and she sends the pictures to the TN Association forVeterinary and Animal Sciences. "Dear Dr Kathiresan. Please can you tell us what we must do for this problem".The chicken's owner does not have the money to pay. "Give it to me tomorrow." Credit is common in villages and Rosy knows she will get the money in a few days.

Meanwhile, another woman has walked in, attracted by the spectacle of a chicken being photographed. "My neighbour's cow has some problem. Can you send an email on that also? But how will they bring a cow into your kiosk?""There is a camera that we can carry outside and take pictures. But it's costly. When I can afford the money, I will buy that also. Meanwhile, ask her to bring her cow to the door. I'll try and take apicture using this camera."

A young man walks in. "I want to take a loan to buy an auto. How do Ido it?" She logs into the Government website and reads through thevarious schemes listed there."There are two schemes - an auto loan from TIIC and a PMRY loan. You can choose the one you want." She downloads both the forms and gives him a printout. Read it completely and come back. You can send your loan application directly to the GM-District Industries Centre from here.

"An older man walks in. He is to travel to Tirunelveli by train that day.His ticket was on a wait list and he wants to check if it has been confirmed. A week ago she had booked it for him by sending an email to a travel agent in Madurai. The man booked the ticket and sent the ticket details back to his client by another email.By going to the website of the Indian Railways, it is possible tocheck the status of the ticket. Waitlist number 1, it says. "You will definitely get a confirmed seat. You may as well go". All he has to do now is go to the travelagent's office and pick up

the ticket on the way to the station.

Next it's the turn of three children to have their daily English classes. Using a CD-based software, she teaches basic English grammar to the children. Normally, they find the class interesting. Today they are impatient to get it over with.

Rosy has announced a movie show at 7 PM and that's what they are waiting for. She has rented a VCD from a video library and is planning to have 1 show daily over the next three days. On Sunday, she would have 3 shows. A few more kids and a couple of women turn up and hand over the moneyto her. They are all there for the movie. Before she inserts the VCD in the drive, she checks for responses to the mails she has sent that day. There is one from the Veterinary doctor."I have seen your chick photos. It is affected by vitamin B-complexdeficiency. Purchase the medicine - tefroli or vimerol or growiplex(available in medical shop). Take one drop of medicine and give it to chick by ink filler, morning and evening to its mouth for 5 days. You can give rice polish also (arisi pudaikkumpothu varum thavidu).If any doubt contact us again"She prints it out ready to hand over to the owner of the 'chick' the next day.

As she does so, a young man walks in. "Did you get the information about the automobile engineering diploma?""Yes, I did, here they are". He runs through the list of sites she has printed out for him. He will be back tomorrow for a more detailed study. Meanwhile, it's show-time. She presses Play and soon the little room is filled with the sounds of a popular Tamil movie song. 'Gemini, Gemini, Gemini, Gemini..."As the audience watches the small screen with rapt attention, she totals the money she has made that day. 145 rupees. She knows she needs to make at least 90 Rupees a day to break even. That's 55Rupees straight profit.This has been a good day. Tomorrow, there will be more services to offer (bus ticket booking, animal rearing training programmes, online counselling for students, contacting embassies for visa validation, legal advice online, online jobs, horoscope matching...).More services means more customers visiting her kiosk, more money to be earned.

Tomorrow will be even better...

An Inspirational Speech by Dr.V.GoplaKrishnan- IITM 1969

Albeit a bit long, this is a very inspirational speech made by Dr.Gopalkrishnan of IITMAA-1969 Btech- Mechanical, to an assembly of students at the Mookambigai Engineering College at Tiruchi,TamilNadu earlier this year. You may read this article if time permits. If you read it carefully you can read into the mind of the author, his dreams, his vision and his passion for a few things he holds close to his heart.

While we were batch mates I did not really get to know Gopal. In the last yearI have found out a lot about this silent achiever Dr.Gopalakrishnan is the GM, Products -Boilers at BHEL-Tiruchi,TamilNadu and is a member of the IITMAA-Global Group and my consultant astrologer. He has his own Fortran program for Astrological predictions and believe me he is a real Guru at it. Ramboaus
This is what he wrote in his recent letter to me while I was in UK.:

Your idea of a global group is excellent. My own ideas are fairly close. I feel that each individual can do something on his own - using the local resources - for the society. My pet idea is to put Tiruchi on the IT map, leveraging BHEL's strengths and my personal contacts. My score card so far reads -1..

A Satellite earth station, functioning now from the Regional Engg College, Tiruchi2.. The finishing School on ' Computational Engineering'.3.. DSL technology for our township, using a start-up company, created by Prof. Jhunjhunwallah of IIT,Madras.4..

I am also trying to get the local kids interested in chess.5.. As for my SELF, apart from Astrology, I am learning Vedas, Veena and am visiting Tamilnadu's Heritage temples & developinga web-site on them. From Quality, recently I have moved into a product area - Boilers -with a turnover of 1000 crores per annum.

I have refused an offer to move to Delhi, to head a proposed subsidiary of BHEL on IT.

I wish I had learnt in my younger days...
By Dr.V.Gopalakrishnan

Annual day speech, Mookambikai Engg College, Tiruchi, TamilNadu,
Dated 21 03 2002

Your Principal Sri Venugopalan should take the credit (or the blame)for this funny sounding topic. When he invited me for this lecture, he didn't suggest any topic. HE KNOWS AND I KNOW WHAT IS USUALLY SPOKEN ON SUCH OCCASIONS. But when I got the official letter, it said something like "Give an inspiring talk". That was a tall order. Mundane talks meant for annual days are rarely inspiring. I thought that at least I will choose an odd topic, for that gives me a fighting chance to meet his expectations, at least half way. Often we give the word experience to what is basically existence. Experience sounds more soothing to the soul. I have thirty plus years of existence or experience in the industry. In my case, it is from the same factory and so it is really thirty times one year experience. A by-product of this experience is hindsight, which is always perfect. Based on the hindsight born of experience, I have some strong opinions about my early education at IIT and elsewhere and what it should have been.

The trigger came from my e-group - the 'IITMadras-69' e-group. It is said that small minds gossip about people; better minds follow events and great minds discuss issues.

We generally gossip about ourclass mates. We resort to nostalgia. Once in a way take up some useful topic. This was one such. What I present below is a kind of consensus we had arrived at - what we wish we had learnt in our younger days- which would have either made us better engineers or better men or both. When I say better, I do not necessarily mean successful in a worldly sense. Why I say that may become clearer as we go along. I am not that egoistic or optimistic to think that what I am going to say will have an impact on the syllabus in IIT or Mookambikaior elsewhere, in the near future. Some of the suggestions may also be superfluous if IIT or somebody else has possibly implemented them. The modern curriculum is more dynamic than what I have seen in my days. In any case, let me march on with my speech or advice, because I have to fill up the time allotted to me - the very purpose for which I have been invited.

Educating or entertaining or inspiring you is purely incidental.
1) The first topic may surprise many of you. During my early days in IIT, I used to wonder about the difference between engineering and technology or more specifically between a BE and a B.Tech. Yesterday my son asked me the very same question; he has just finished his school and is applying for some engineering courses. The best answer I could give him was that technology was applied engineering while engineering was applied science. I do not know better nor I am satisfied with the answer. Incidentally Louis Pasteur says that there are no such things as applied sciences - only applications of sciences. I realized then that I ought to know how the word technology came into existence and how it evolved. To know about, I should perhaps start with the evolution of Science. I wish I had learnt in my college days a little more about the evolution of Science and technology from the first Neanderthal man's stone-tool to the gadgetry of the21st century.

How did SCIENCE evolve? It simply evolved with mankind. The first man who began to use a stone was probably the earliest Scientist. The bow is the first machine that man made and its maker, the first mechanical engineer. The taming of fire and the inventionof the wheel are among the greatest achievements of mankind to date and are comparable to the landing on moon and the PC. After all, discovery is seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what no body has thought. This definition is equally applicable to the Stone Ages. At every stage of the evolution, somebody has used the sciences of his times to meet practical needs and such persons are called engineers and technologists. They liberated humans from the drudgery of hardlabor. They made humans mobile and conquered distances; they harnessed the energy locked up in natural elements. They thus supported the growth of civilisation and enhanced the quality of life.

Rewind Earth, by say, two hundred years ! No electricity, no airplanes, no cars, no TV, no cinema, no CD players, no computers, no antibiotics, no vaccines, no space travel, no fast food, no Mookambikai engineering college, no annual days! Believe me, engineers are behind all these. My first class at IIT, Madras was on Corioli's acceleration in Physics by a German professor, with poor English. I couldn't followa bit of it. As days went by, there were other topics and other subjects and the experience recurred with sickening regularity; But not one course gave me a perspective on the professional life I was about to embark on - save some subject like Production Management, taught in the final year. There should have been a course right in the first year on the Historic Importance of Engineers as liberators of human beings. Engineering that way would appeal to anybody's youthful idealism!

I will now go to a related topic. It would have been inspiring to have known about of some of the greatest engineers that ever existed and about the surviving masterpieces of antiquity. How many of us have wondered about the Civil engg aspects of Thanjavur Temple or Grand Anicut or about the metallurgical aspectsof the Great Iron pillar in Delhi or the bronze statues of Nataraja from in and around Kumbakonam! At least, why not some colleges,think of project works on these topics?

1 b) I sometimes wonder whether the 'brick and mortar' engineers have any role models at all! I mean of the Einstein or Bill Gates class! It is a moot point whether students of BSc. Physics get excited about Einstein or CVRaman being a physicist! But see it in a different way! Why do the students prefer IT today? Forget its present tribulations; IT has captured the imagination of the youngsters through its excellent role mode ls likeNarayana Murthy, Azim Premji , Sabeer Bhatia and Desh Deshpande- all Indians, ideal role models comparable to Sachin Tendulkar and Viswanathan Anand, who have made it big at the international level- enough to have deeply influenced the youngsters. Then there is Bill Gates of USA. Where are the role models in other branches of Engineering? Tata, Birla and Ambani in India or Jack Welch and Percy Barnevik globally? (I prefer Westinghouse, whose biographyI have read). But for your information, Jack Welch came last in a popularity poll for celebrities in USA and reported in Time or Newsweek - I don't remember which; Bill Gates, came first, ahead of cine stars, sports heroes & politicians. You can drawyour own conclusions!

1.c) I also wished that I had learned about the limitations relating to several popular laws - like the laws of mechanics by Newton or the limits of Euclidean geometry in representing physical laws. I learned later, to my horror, that Newton's laws are only approximate - when it comes to the planetary motions, leave alone atomic physics. While talking about Bohr's model, somebody should have told me about quarks and mesons. Only when I went into spherical trigonometry later on my own that I learnt that the sum of the angles of a spherical triangle is a variable and it is always greater than 180 degrees! Only much later did I learn that it is the customary fate of scientific truths to begin as heresies and to end as superstitions. Even Einstein had difficulties in accepting Quantum Theory when it was first proposed! He couldn't accept the concept of Probability in Physics and declared that God does not play dice with the Universe! He was proved totally wrong later!

In effect, every student should early on know what are the limits and puzzles of laws that engineers use in their profession. A good course on what we know about physical laws and the known controversies would have been useful. So, these are the thoughts that came to my mind when I mentioned about the history of Engineering!

2) Now I go on to the second topic, namely ethics in Engineering. It is interesting to note that Osama Bin Laden had studied engineering and two of the terrorists responsible for the destruction of World Trade Center in New York were engineers.You young engineers, you are about to acquire knowledge that endows you with power to either benefit or destroy mankind. You are something like an L-board driver, who has a huge weapon in his hand with which he can kill people, albeit unintentionally! I wish the students are taught about ethics and morality in the practice of engineering early on. It is high time engineers take an oath similar to the Socratic oath of medical professionals. Something like, ''Above all do not cause harm to my fellowmen ''or its equivalent.

Enron and Arthur Anderson episodes have lessons to teach to syllabus framers. One is an American corporate icon collapsing amid charges of fraud; in the process the other - one of the world's most respected audit firms - gets tainted. There is a predatory, corrupting side to the new corporate system, which is not based on social responsibility. And this new theory of greed is getting promoted in the world's best business schools. I will come back to Business schools a little later. While in college, I implicitly learnt -but nobody taught me -that engineers are morally neutral in matters of inventions and innovations. If an engineer has used his talents in developing a Neutron bomb, well, he has no views on that.

Today I realise thatwhat is called for is not a neutral stand but a positive stand. I should have been taught that Engineers are to be responsible members of a civil society - they must at all times put their professional integrity and ethics above pecuniary motives. Professional oaths offer no guarantee against evil but it provides an explicit standard for an engineer with a good conscience in dealingwith Ethical issues from corruption to projects of mass destruction.

3) I now move on to Environmental issues. It is Technology which led to pollution, poison gas, Ozone depletion, Greenhouse effect, depletion of fossil fuels, and non-degradable plastics! Reason? Industrialisation without an integrated approach! We Engineers as a collective lot are responsible for all these. No one should approach the temple of science with the soul of a money changer -an analogy given in Bible. But that is precisely the problem.Then what is the solution? We ourselves again! Every engineer must know and intimately understand the first principle of Ecology, that is, ''You can't do just one thing alone''. It affects the rest of the system. Whether one builds a nuclear power plant or a dam or a highway, he or she is responsible for understanding the extraneous consequences and risks. Every student should be taught to think holistically about every project they are about to embark on professionally. In design, scale and appropriateness becomes paramount. Our engineering graduates should be able to apply their knowledge to solve problems right in their own backyards, such as a design of Rain Water Collection Systems or a solar power system.The possibilities for projects in local communities are endless.Technology should always be used for human welfare. It should be used to solve poverty and starvation and unemployment.

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind" said Albert Einstein. Here we can take the word religion as a broad concern for the welfare of humanity.

4) Next, I believe that in this age of rapid technological change, an average engineer could easily become obsolete within five to six years without continuing education. Many of us in Govt services and public sectors get away with it, but that cannot be generalsied. Technological obsolescence had been the bane of India from time immemorial and we don't seem to have learned our lessons.When Alexander invaded India with his swift horses, we had only slow elephants to fight him with. We learnt no lessons from our defeat at his hands. Centuries later, we lost again to Babar becausewe were still loyal to elephants! Further, we had only muskets to counter Babar's canons! That defeat is not to be forgotten by creating a controversy about Babar's Masjid. Even in 1962, the Chinese humiliated us because they had modern arms and we had none. Why we built temple halls with a thousand pillars a millennium after others had mastered the design of the arch ? Why we built the great sundial in Jantar Mantar in Delhi long after telescopes had become commonplace? Why we were manufacturing only Ambassador and Fiat cars, till into the 90s? We blame our cricketers for their poor fielding, but do we provide them with good turfs, where they can afford to dive like Jonty Rhodes? We blame our hockey players, but how many regularly play on Astro turf? Today, even a chess player needs a computer and a clock to improve. We want to teach Java and Visual Basic to school children without computers or with old 286s. I am only trying to explain that excellence in any filed has a technological component.Why do we stick to obsolete technology all the time, unmindful of the consequences? It is then important that every engineering graduate should anticipate the pace of change and acquire skills of self-studyand lifelong learning that will come in handy in their future

5) I next move on to Management . We the practicing managers cynically say that the first myth of management is that exists. Ultimately, Management is nothing but common sense, whatever the professors may say. But common sense is not very common. Speaking of Personal Experiences, when I graduated from IIT, Madras in 1969, it was a dream to join IIM A or C for further studies. The mission? To specialise in marketing and join Hindustan Lever or Colgate and sell soaps and tooth-pastes for the rest of your lives! Should a mechanical engineer be wasted in selling toothpaste and soaps? But the salary in those days forMBAs was more than twice that of engineers. BHEL ETs used to geta princely Rs 400.p.m. So jealousy for IIMs and MBAs continues in my heart even now. And jealousy is the best form of praise. One of the facts of professional life is that after a few years every engineer becomes a manager of sorts - sometimes of projects or even of companies. One-third of all CEOs of Fortune-500 companies in the US is made up engineering graduates. Thus it is imperative that engineers learn within the four or five year span of educationa little bit of entrepreneurship, project management, finance, economics, and the basics of creating and managing teams.

It is really onerous and expensive for a BE graduate to go on to get a Management Degree by going to IIM for an additional two years. Much of what one learns in management and finance courses should be relatively easy for any BE student. Why do you want to become a manager? Is it because of the extra salary, the perks and the social status? Nothing wrong in that. But what motivates a real manager is something else. When you become a manager, you can at last control your own work - not all of it,but most of it. You can change things. You can do things differently. You can influence the way in which your staff work. You can shape your own work environment. Is it not exciting? If so, you have the makings of a real manager. A course on management also prepares a student to face the ever changing economic scenario with more confidence. This year, business schools are reporting a dismal placement season.

Lesser mortals grapple with lay-offs, a shrinking market of "secure" jobs and foreign competition. The ultimate in management is managing yourself!

6) Next I move on to VALUES in life.
To me this is more importantthan all other aspects. No course is likely to teach it, but somekind of extra-curricular approach is welcome. I had already touched upon ethics- I will take up a few other topics - patriotism for example ; The other day, I was reading the biography of Sir CV Raman, who incidentally was born in Tiruchi. But there is no monument for him in Tiruchi nor many know where he was born. He was after all only the first Asian Scientist toget the Nobel prize! He was not a Neta - not a minister or an MLA or even a councilor! Raman says that Patriotism does not flow from chorus sounding the National anthem, but through "love of the earth that bore us, feeds and sustains us". He was against relying on foreign technology. Science can and shall advance in very simple ways.

We often payRs. 50,000 for something, which can be made for only Rs. 5,000. The balance in difference we pay for our ignorance, he used to say.

I would like to touch upon another topic, related to patriotism. In my humble opinion, there is a threat of a different kind to independent India and other developing countries, who are far too willing to give up their "long-cherished" work and business ethics to embrace the promise of future well-being held out by the West in the name of market economy. The recurrent global crises in East Asia and Latin America, coupledwith the recent economic crisis in Argentina, raises questions about the economic management paradigms enforced by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The ethical dimension of business does not mean seeking unlimited profits, like Enron.

There is great danger that self serving Western societies put down the developing nations as banal, corrupt or worse in order to improve the West's own self-image. A certain model of westernization is being imposed on the global community and the dissenters are virtually beaten into compliance or jeered into submission. India must stand up to that. India should develop its own philosophy on management relations that should lead to wealth creation and equitable distribution of wealth. We must strive for a convergence of business interest, people's desire and expectations of the masses and retain our culture of "solid ethical core". It may not be easybut at least the goal should be clear.

7) I move to another value - appreciation of nature or finer things in life. Study, examinations, books, lectures etc are but a very little part of a student's life. Education is imperfect if one does not realize that man does not live by bread alone. The finest things in life are music, color, flowers, beauty, aesthetic sense and the satisfaction derived from those. Tamilnadu has great traditions of music, dance, art and culture, for example, which makes many of its citizens take to these things.I only have sympathy for a person born in Tamilnadu but without a taste for music - not necessarily of the classical music of theCarnatic kind. It is those finer things in life that make lifeworth living.

A small advice to you; Don't be visiting only hotels and theaters in your spare time. Do a bit of trekking across the forests and mountains. One need not go to Himalayas for this. Ooty and Kodaikanal will do. Occasionally visit the Heritage sites- Temples and Forts.

Studying in IIT amidst those forests deer and snakes is something I will remember long after I have forgotten my Theory of Machines and Thermodynamics. As CV Raman says," Nature is the supreme artist; she creates forms of beauty, loveliness and color, unsurpassable". Nature is the inspiration not only for artists, painters and sculptors , but also for engineers and scientists. I can go on and on. There are other things I wish I had learned much earlier in my life - no matter where - but they are personal and subjective. It includes subjects like literature -Tamil, Englishand Sanskrit, history, music and mystisism . I have made a late start in some of these areas but age tells while learning. But I think I am approaching the point of diminishing returns. So, let me now quickly come to the CONCLUSION.

You are still students, but soon you will become responsible citizens - you will be achievers - engineers, scientists, industrialists, professors, leaders, businessmen. At that time, repay your debts to your family, your society , your country, your city, your alma mater in a million ways. Incidentally Sir CVRaman is not the only scientist to come fromTiruchi. Dr. Abdul Kalam is an alumni of St. Joseph college, Tiruchi. The great Ramanujam is from Kumbakonam, not far off from Tiruchi, on the banks of the same Cauveri. There could be many more, but my knowledge is limited. I am sure that out of this gathering, a few Ramans, Ramanujams and Abdul Kalams are going to emerge and do Tiruchi proud in the days to come.

I have read about one Nobel Laureate in literature, who was a dullhead in the school. But one teacher had faith in his literary talent. She once casually told the boy that when he writes a book later in his life, he should dedicate it to her! He did precisely that. One of you will surely win a Nobel prize, another will write a great book, yet another will start An industry, and a fourth will build a great temple . I have more faith in the younger generation than in our generation. I will tell you a small anecdote.

A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $ 100-note. He asked the audience,"Who wants this $ 100 note?" All hands went up. He then crumpled the note and then asked, "Who still wants it?". Still the hands were upin the air. Then he dropped it on the ground and ground it into thefloor with his shoe. He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty."Now who still wants it?" Still the hands went into the air.

He explained then the moral of the story - No matter what he did to the money, everyone still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $ 100. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by our own wrong decisions and by circumstances and by others. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value. Each one is special in his own way- Don't ever forget it! Never let yesterday's disappointments overshadow tomorrow's dreams.

IIT Madras 1969 Batch