Love for Alumni and Alma Mater

I don’t know why I am so much emotionally attached with my alma mater, IIT, Kharagpur. It could have been understandable if it would have been only with IIT, Kharagpur, where I spent my most valuable four years of my life. But strangely I get happiness with good news coming out of any of the so many IITs now in operation and IITians from all corners of the country, while the bad news morose me.

Today I happen to go through a news report about one ‘Ravi Rishi, a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi who went on to own the London-headquartered consortium Vectra — a multinational conglomerate with interests in everything from private aviation to luxury apartments.’

It was in the context of the explosive interview of Chief of the Army Staff General V.K. Singh that got published in the Hindu. He referred to the substandard quality of Tatra Truck. And Tatra is in India because of Ravi Rishi. I had felt almost miserable when I read about illustrious former MCKinsey’s head, Rajat Gupta’s misery because of his closeness with Rajratnam. I was then in USA with my son, Anand and I had come across the article in Fortune in a Barnes and Nobles book shop. I wrote about my views then.

Perhaps, the Alumni Meet of our 1961 batch last year in Bangaluru further aggravated my weakness.

Recently, I came across a review of a book- ‘The Game Changers’ in Business Standard by the former director of IIT, Delhi. I purchased on line and got the book. Two students of IIT, Kharagpur, with an alumnus of the instittute have written the book that contains the profiles of 20 distinguished alumni of IIT, Kharagpur: Suhas Patil, Vijay Kumar, Vinod Gupta, Sam Dalal, Sridhar Mitta, Arjun Malhotra, Kiran Seth, Prabhakant Sinha, Ranbir Singh Gupta, Bikram Dasgupta, founder of Globsyn, Praful Kulkarni, Sunil Gaitonde, Anand Deshpande, Arvind Kejriwal, Harish Hande, Anuradha Acharya, Venkata Subramanian, Bikash Barai, Vikram Kumar, and Krishna Mehra..

I am going through it and the success story of each of them is giving me immense happiness. I did not know that the present governor of Reserve Bank, D. Subbarao is also from IIT, Kharagpur. He is one of those who go for IAS after studying Physics. I am sure Subbarao would have also excelled if he could have pursued physics and might have become a distinguished physicists.

The ‘The Game Changers’ has Arvind Kejriwal also as one of the distinguished IITians. Kejriwal has become a household name today in India after Anna’s protest movement against corruption. Arvind after IIT had also preferred to get into the union public services as career and perhaps very soon got disenchanted. Interestingly, he was the batch mate of Rakesh, my eldest son who is now in USA and having his own enterprise.

For the writers of ‘The Game Changers’, the selection of the twenty out of a huge number of the alumni IITians must have been very arduous and stressful also. I get reminded of Prof Braj Bhushan Pandey who received the Distinguished Alumnus Award at Diamond Jubilee function last year. Prof Pandey still attached with the institute. Another distinguished alumnus that the writers would have covered is Lord Bhattacharya. Purnendu Chatterji was also equally deserving. There must be many more equally or more distinguished. The writers would have their own reasons or reservations.

I wish some researchers one day would work on finding out some of the IITians who failed in life. Will it not be a unique and noble research?

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