Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Rishikesh Krishnan IIT/IIMB on Reflections by IITians the Book,


Reflections by IITians

The current controversy about the salaries of IIT faculty has brought the IITs onto the headlines. 

But Ram Krishnaswamy’s labour of love Reflections by IITians (contact Ram at raises much larger questions about our elite technology institutions.

Every contribution to this volume is by an IITian, predominantly from IIT Madras, but with a sprinkling of contributions from the other IITs thrown in. Almost every IITian who has contributed to this book has struggled to live up to the expectations of himself (except for one, all the contributors are men), his family, and society at large. Some have chosen the domain of research and the creation of knowledge to prove themselves, others entrepreneurship, and a good number are driven by social concerns. Not surprisingly, what does come out is that the IITians are an exceedingly talented bunch and there are few human endeavours in which they would fail to make a mark.

Would they have done just as well without the IIT education? It’s difficult to say. But what is clear is that the IITs taught them to work hard and work long hours, made them confident of solving analytical challenges, and developed leadership capabilities in those who sought out opportunities beyond the realm of academics. 

The IIT brand helped them gain entry into elite graduate and doctoral programs, and certification as professional engineers. What is equally clear is that most of them entered the IITs not because of any particular aptitude for engineering, but because they were good at Physics and Math and the IITs offered the best platform for their evolution, development, and career prospects.

One interesting takeaway from this book is on the differences between the IITs. In An Eye for Excellence, E.C. Subbarao applauds the science-based engineering curriculum of IIT Kanpur that created engineers with strong fundamental understanding of phenomena and excellent analytical capabilities. He implicitly admits the lack of “practical” engineering skill among IIT Kanpur engineers. Interestingly, according to the authors who studied at IIT Madras, in spite of the strong German influence and the rigorous workshop courses at IIT Madras, most IIT Madras engineers seem to have the same lack of practical engineering skills. It appears that the strong Indian cultural hierarchy that places the mind over the body dominates the Indian work ethic so strongly that there is little that the curriculum can do to overcome this. Of course, there are other interesting social forces that could be responsible for reinforcing this hierarchy, including the preponderance of Brahmins among IIT Madras faculty.

Posted by Rishikesha Krishnanat 2:28 AM

Sunday, December 7, 2008

........through this book, senior alumni share their journeys to inspire future generations of IITians.


Life as a Teacher at IIT
By. Prof Indiresan, Ex. Director of IIT Madras
My IIT-Madras Education: An Existential Experience
By Prof. B. Jayant Baliga, IIT Madras, B.Tech 1969
Moments of Truth
By Varun Arya, IIT Delhi, M.Sc 1981
My Inspirations, My Experiences
By Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala, IIT Kanpur, B.Tech 1975
IIT Madras gave me a Dream Future
By A.Karunakar IIT Madras, M.Tech 1999
IIT - Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow
By Chandy Mathew (Late) – IIT Madras, B.Tech 1969
Eric or Little by Little
By Ram Krishnaswamy ( Ramboaus) IIT Madras, B.Tech 1970
Life @ IIT
By Rishi Dhingra, IIT Kanpur, B.Tech 2004
Marketing India in the 21st Century
By Coimbatore Venkateswaran Iswaran (Late) IIT Madras, B.Tech 1969
Confessions of a Reluctant IITian
By Prof. R. Nagarajan, IIT Madras, B.Tech, 1981
The Tomorrow that I knew Little About
B . Syngal B.Tech (Hons) 1961, M.Tech 1962, IIT Kharagpur
The Continuum
By Puneet Vinod Kumar, IIT Kharagpur, B.Tech 2003
'Keeping the Lights on' - a Metier...
By Dr. Jagat Chandra Giri, aka Jay Giri IIT Madras, B.Tech 1969
The Ten Stages of IIT for a “Reluctant” IITian
By Dr. Beheruz N. Sethna, IIT Bombay, B.Tech-Hons 1971
How a man gets made – Pleasant Nostalgia
By Bhagavathi Venkateswarlu Dasigi, IIT Madras, B.Tech 1966
What the IIT Community can give back to India
By Satyajit Roy, IIT Kanpur, B.Tech 1978
Yesterday is a memory and Tomorrow a Dream
By Dr.S.MayaDevi, IIT Madras, M.Tech 1981
Over a cup of Aye Aye Tea
By Srini Nageshwar, IIT Madras, B.Tech 1964
Rural Village to Global Village Via IIT
By Bhamy Shenoy IIT Madras, B.Tech 1965
“From {{i, j}, k} to nuts and bolts”
by Chidambaram Raghavan,IIT Madras, B.Tech 1974
IIT Madras Days of Yore
By Achutha Ramiah IIT Madras, B.Tech 1967
IITs helping to Shape the future India
By I.Selvaraj IIT Madras, B.Tech 1972
Story of a Reformer
By Dr.Jaishree Gopal, IIT Madras MSc 1986, IIT Delhi M.Tech 1988
IITs - Gift of our Freedom
By Dr. Samir Kelekar IIT Bombay, B.Tech 1983
"Passion is Contagious".
By Joshy Kallungal IIT Madras, B.Tech 1969
Chasing a dream
By Lionel Paul IIT Madras, B.Tech 1966
Chasing Dreams in Evolving India
By Sanjay Jadhav, IIT Bombay, B.Tech 1989, IIT Kanpur MBA 2003
Why it feels great to be an IITian and what it takes to be one
By Gaurav Vaish: IIT Kanpur, B.Tech 2002
The Silicon Valley Outcast
By Rabi Kisku, IIT Madras, B.Tech 2005
Good afternoon, Prof. Feynman!
By Krishna Kumar Subramanian, IIT Kharagpur, B.Tech 1970
IIT – Fun, Frolic, Adventure and a Degree
By T.Srinivasa Ramanujam IIT Madras, B.Tech 1969
IITs and JEE
Harwant Singh Chabra IIT Madras, B.Tech 1969
The IIT’s in India – Dachas by the Black Sea
By Raghu VenkatNarayanan IIT Madras, B.Tech 1991
My World of Cricket
By Badri Seshadri, IIT Madras B Tech 1991
From Techie to a Top Cop
By R.Srikumar, IIT Madras B Tech 1970


Asking unqualified students to study in the IIT is like asking a famished child who had had no nutritious food for long years to climb Everest
Prof Indiresan, Ex Director, IIT Madras
Member, State Planning Commission, Delhi; Chairman Netaji Institute of Science &Technology, Delhi

Among all the venture capitalists in the Silicon Valley as well as in the Southeast, graduates of IITs had the reputation of consistently being successful entrepreneurs
Prof. Jayant Baliga, IIT Madras Alumnus,
Professor, N.C. State University, Raleigh, USA; Director, Power Semiconductor Research Center -PSRC

Wisdom is the sum total of three human characteristics – attitude, aptitude and awareness
Varun Arya, IIT Delhi Alumnus,
Director, Aravali Institute of Management, Rajasthan

Life is all about making choices and following one’s dreams
Ram Krishnaswamy, IIT Madras Alumnus
Managing Director, Novo Design Concepts Pty. Ltd.

Working entirely in the government sector, R&D can rarely result into products of mass consumption. A public-private partnership is required
Prof Ashok Jhunjhunwala, IIT Kanpur Alumnus,
Professor of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras; Member- Prime Minister’s Scientific Advisory Committee

I am satisfied that my Brand of Technology is also a Brand IIT that has benefited the common man of India.
R.Srikumar, IIT Madras Alumnus,
Director General of Police, Karnataka State

If you withstood the IIT Hermitage, you are fit for anywhere, any situation, any challenge in the world
B.K.Syngal, IIT Kharagpur Alumnus
Senior Principal, Dua Consulting Pvt. Ltd.

The Institute must wean itself from a totalitarian Engineering bent, and start expanding its horizons to include a greater assimilation of arts and sciences
Prof. Nagarajan, IIT Madras Alumnus
Professor of Chemical engineering, IIT Madras

You cannot have it both ways: you can be insular and protectionist or you can be world-class. You cannot have an insular, protectionist, world-class institution
Beheruz Sethna, IIT Bombay Alumnus
Professor and President, University of West Georgia., USA

I want to change what people do and believe in Hindu society, especially with regards to caste and gender discrimination.
Dr.Jaishree Gopal, IITM & IITD Alumna
Co Founder of Navya Shastra

In our times it was not the IIT’s which made us great. It was the toil and sweat of the likes of us which made the world realise our value and made the IIT’s great
Professor Harwant Singh Chhabra, IIT Madras Alumnus
Director of MBA & BBA programs, BLDEA’s A.S. Patil Institute of Management, Bijapur

“The competition is so tough, that at times it grinds you to bits but you infuse an ability to rise like a phoenix”
Rishi Dhingra, IIT Kanpur 2004 Alumnus