Monthly Archives: October 2010
“With no teammates to hide behind and no real advantage for any particular body type, `The Race of Truth,’ as it’s known, is the gauge by which all pros measure their individual fitness. When the opponent is time — constant and unforgiving — the only thing a cyclist can do is put his head down and try to pick the perfect balance between the burning in his legs and the burning in his lungs.” Wired Magazine
The Indian Institute of Science has perhaps the highest density of cyclists of any place in Bangalore. And yet, it hosts not a single sporting event that involves cycles! On October 2 this year, however, that changed for good. The IISc Bikers Network (IBN), the Institute’s cycling club, organized the first ever IISc Race of Truth, a bicycle race that will hopefully become an annual fixture.
Over 95 riders turned out on the chilly Saturday morning at 6AM to test themselves against the 13km course. Starting out at the library, they would gather speed down Mahogany and Javanica Marg, speed up some more on the descent on Nilgiri marg before confronting the climb that is Silver Oak Marg. Once past this climb, they would encounter the relatively flat roads of Tala and Gulmohar marg on their way to the exhilarating loop of the new glass-walled Aerospace Engg department before finally returning to the Library. This circuit is only about 4km long, so the racers had to ride it thrice to complete the race.
The IISc Race of Truth is an individual time trial. As such, it features an interval start, where each racer starts out alone with a fixed time gap between each racer, as opposed to a mass start where all the riders start together. Mustafa Khandwawala (ECE) would be the first rider to be flagged off. Mr. M R Chandrashekar, Security Officer, gave him the traditional countdown, and Mustafa was off!
Participants were grouped into two categories Men and Women and their Junior equivalents, and further subdivided into Single-speed (non-geared bicycle) and a Multi-speed (geared bicycle) sub-categories. All categories, except Women on multi-speed bicycles and Junior women had a large number of racers. Except for a few, none had probably even heard of an individual time trial before the Race of Truth. Yet, that did not dampen their enthusiasm!
As each queued up in an orderly fashion to be flagged off, the first riders began their second and third laps before finishing. The route was kept free of all motorized traffic thanks to the diligent volunteers from IISc Security and the Race of Truth Traffic Marshals. This contributed in a large measure to a safe and incident free race. Always a good thing for something that’s happening for the first time!
A time trial, especially a low tech one like ours, tends to keep everyone guessing. Here’s what happened on the course in the Men’s multi-speed category. Mustafa started out first and finished well with a time of 28:19. Sartaj (NIAS), starting out twenty minutes later eclipsed that time with his 27:11. Sumanth (Materials) started out almost an hour later and set the course record with his 25:49. Neither Prakash (Chem. Engg, 26:37) nor Poovaiah (Alumnus, CEDT, 26:04) starting out later caught up with Sumanth. And they never knew. In the true spirit of time trialling, all of them competed against the clock, seeking only to better their own time on the circuit!
So it was only when the results were announced at 9.30AM, that the winners were disclosed (in order of timings). The winners and runners up of every category with their timings given in parantheses are presented below.
Men’s Multi-speed Winner – Sumanth (Materials),25:49
Men’s Multi-speed Runner-up – Poovaiah (Alumnus, CEDT), 26:04
Men’s Single-speed Winner – Shome (EE), 26:53
Men’s Single-speed Runner-up – Abhijit Kshirsagar (CEDT), 26:55
Junior Men’s Multi-speed Winner – Satyasom Rout (Library), 29:20
Junior Men’s Multi-speed Runner-up – Rahul(EE), 31:58
Women’s Multi-speed Winner – Prachee Sawant (CSA), 32:18
Women’s Multi-speed Runner-up – Rucha Karkarey (CES), 34:21
Junior Men’s Single-speed Winner – Prem, 32:24
Junior Men’s Single-speed Runner-up – Bharath, 33:27
Women’s Single-speed Winner – Vidhya R(SERC), 39:11
Women’s Single-speed Runner-up – Amita (Math), 39:56
The Registrar, IISc, kindly consented to give away the prizes which were sponsored by CiSTUP. Apart from the prizes in each category, we also had two special prizes (sponsored by IBNer Poovaiah) – Yellow Jerseys for the fastest man and fastest woman regardless of bicycle. Sumanth and Prachee Sawant donned them deservingly.
The Race of Truth 2010 was organized by IBN, with incredible support from the Students’ Council, the Registrar, CiSTUP, and IISc Security. The IISc community also co-operated and assisted us by respecting the traffic and parking restrictions and not complaining! We are very grateful to them. Hopefully there will be many more editions of the Race of Truth to come.
For the people of IBN, the end of the Race of Truth was the end of a month of hard preparation. Now a year old, IBN grows organically with cycling enthusiasts from the IISc community joining it slowly and steadily. The activities of IBN are all over the spectrum, from commuting help and advice to bicycle maintenance to touring Bangalore and its surroundings and, of course, racing in the Bangalore Bicycle Championships! We hope you will join us on our many regular rides.
Please visit IBN’s website for more information on its activities.
Sreepathi Pai (SERC)
Photos. Shreekant Deodhar (CES)
He always sat at the same table. First floor, side row, corner seat, close to the edge, overlooking the floor below. It offered everything he required. In order of his liking, the things his position offered were, privacy, ideal ventilation, a good view of the wall clock and an unobstructed view of anyone entering or leaving the library.
He had followed his regular routine till now. Entered the library at 8am. As always, the first customer. The elderly librarian greeted him congenially. He never greeted back verbally. He just nodded. He had no requirement for pleasantries.He was a man in a shell and content with remaining within.
The librarian knew him too well to have taken any offence. The old man just watched fondly as his favourite reader climbed up the spiral staircase and settled in his position. Everyone was aware of his reticent nature. Apart from his lack of concern for pleasantries and associated preference for monosyllables and reluctance to use his multisyllabic vocabulary, he did not give much reason for others to dislike him. He even displayed minor mannerisms that sort of made people fond of him over a period of time. The grocer liked him because he never haggled, the barber liked him because he was not fussy and quarrelsome about his haisrstyle, and his peers liked him because he was a handy and ready reference for long equations, tricky concepts and physical constants. The librarian of course liked him because he was the most regular reader for the past three years. In fact, a self-centred researcher rarely offers many reasons for anyone to really resent him.
He had begun to settle down at his usual table. He had collected his stack of books for the day. Taking his writing instruments out of his bag, he laid them methodically beside the large stack. With his extravagant yet youthful and athletic frame, sitting hunched over the even larger stack of books, laying out his writing aids, he looked like a mental giant preparing itself for the bibliophilic feast that lay ahead.
He held the pen over the paper, opened the book and was about to bite into his first nugget of knowledge when the blue umbrella entered his peripheral vision. He looked down at the ground floor library entrance and watched as the blue umbrella emerged from the drizzle outside and entered the library. He could not see the owner of the umbrella from his high position. He could just see the blue umbrella. Inspite of the fact that he could not see the owner, there was a strange attraction.
The attraction had started with the blue umbrella. But it did not end when the blue umbrella was lowered and laid down to dry at the porch. His eyes moved effortlessly up the slender limb that was clutching it and opthalmically grazed the owner of the umbrella. The rest of the objects in his field of view receded as the enchantress took centre stage.
He kept observing as she walked over to the librarian’s desk, took the form for new members and started filling it. She deposited the form, collected her new card and proceeded towards the newspaper section on the ground floor.
Our bibliophile regained his senses and looked at the wall clock. It was almost 8:30am. It was the first time since he joined the library that he had spent more than 15 minutes inside the library looking at anything other than printed matter.
He forced his attention back to the books but the blue umbrella kept tugging at it. He lost the tug of war when she came back later in the day. She picked up the blue umbrella and walked away gracefully. He followed her as far as rectilinear propagation of light allowed. As she walked out of the range of his view, he found himself wishing that he had the ability to bend rays of light.
She became a daily visitor and our reader found himself looking at more than just books in the library. As the days went past he increasingly found himself searching for her with the same intensity with which he used to search for books in the library.
He was enchanted. Enchanted with every aspect of her. Her long black hair, the captivating smile, the perfect features, the demure body language, the brown eyes that seemed to have the depth of the ocean in them. Everything about her was so fascinating. Even the blue umbrella.
The heart was conquered. It took some time for the mind to accept it. Years of icy isolation had made him alien to the warm feelings in his heart. But the ice was thawing as he felt his heart get soaked in the caramel delight that is love.
She proved herself to be a voracious reader. He involuntarily monitored her reading habits closely and admired her diverse taste in books. Her changing reading habits started bringing her to the first floor. As a side-effect, he suddenly found himself spending gradually increasing amounts of time in front of the mirror before coming to the library.
One fine day, he saw his lady love unsuccessfully looking for a particular book on his floor. She decided to ask for help and proceeded by approaching the reader closest to the stairs. The reader did not seem to know the location of the book she was looking for. She made her way along the row to the next reader. Again, a negative answer. She inched her way closer and closer, one desk at a time, towards her secret admirer in the corner seat. The closer she came, the faster his heart started beating. He almost leapt with joy as he heard the title of the book she was looking for her. He knew precisely where it was. He fumbled mentally to frame the sentence with which he would direct her. He checked his breath. Straightened his hair. Cleared his throat. He began to weigh whether he should accompany her to the shelf? Would it seem too eager? Is it too early to ask her out for coffee? He was relieved off all his dilemmas as the reader next to him directed her to the appropriate shelf and halted her progress along the row. For the first time in 3 years of being a member of the library, he felt like picking up his book and throwing it at a fellow reader.
He prided himself at never relying on chance. So, he never admitted even to himself, let alone anybody else, that he was secretly, desperately praying for another similar but successful encounter. The confectionary shop next to the library perceived an increase in the sale of mouth fresheners.
For the next considerable number of days, she seemed to require no assistance in locating the books she required. The love addict began to find that the daily visual drug delivery dosage was no longer enough to satiate his cardiac cravings. He was unable to focus on his work like he used to and there was a backlog of pending work beginning to build up. The trouble with a brain with above average IQ is that, it meddles in the affairs of the heart. This brain had started plotting ways to achieve what his heart desired.
That morning, he stood in front of the mirror and looked at himself. There was nothing repulsive there. In fact the image was quite easy on the eye. Broad intellectual forehead, clearly demarcated eye brows, deep-set and apparently intelligent eyes. The few wrinkles around the eyes were more from poring over books for endless hours rather than age. Overall he made a pleasing sight with the luxuriant, black, slightly unkempt hair and thick spectacles giving him an erudite air. The rest of the generous torso provided an illusion of athletic ability. He did make an eye catching scene. He assured himself that he was good looking, gentle and kind, good hearted, well mannered, thoroughly sophisticated and a complete gentleman, all veiled behind the curtain of awkward nerdiness.
He prepared his mind to cross the energy barrier that was normal social interaction with the girl he had a crush on. He tried to convince himself that he had the potential to cross the barrier. Whenever any doubts crept, he reminded himself of the probability of quantum tunneling and proceeded towards the library.
He planned to initiate a conversation with her on her way out of the library. It was a Friday. He would ask her plans for the weekend and ask her if she would like to spend it in his company. The lines were well rehearsed. The logistics were thought out well in advance. Only the execution remained.
He sat at his desk, quietly, waiting for evening, crouched like a tiger, ready to pounce on the prey of opportunity when she walks out of the library. He itched to reveal his newly acquired claws of witty, well-rehearsed pick-up lines and snare his prey.
Dusk set in, accompanied by a light drizzle. He saw her come to the desk, and issue her books for the day. The romeo tiger licked its lips in anticipation. The adrenaline began to flow and his heart rate increased. It was time to move in for the kill. He bounded down the stairs. That was when he saw the blue umbrella walking away into the distance. She was moving faster than he expected her to.
He would have made a dash for it and caught up with her, had he not seen the black umbrella move up next to his beloved blue umbrella. He watched helplessly from the distance as the two umbrellas came too close for his comfort. His dreams and hopes came crashing down, pain pierced his heart and try as he might he could not prevent the tears from welling up in his eyes. Unable to clearly see the owners of the two umbrellas, he could just watch as the two circles of the umbrellas overlapped and trailed off into the dusky darkness like a Venn diagram.
Heartbroken, the tiger morphed into a cat and started walking back home alone in the rain. His prey had walked off with the hyena.
A heartbreak can inspire a man to great works. Heartbroken, poets create romantic poems, musicians dole out soulful music, artists paint their most beautiful works, athletes wear out punching bags. But, what could our scientist do? He delves deep into the mathematical aspects of quantum phenomena.
In an attempt to bury his personal anguish under the weight of academic workload, he locked himself up and accomplished all the tasks that had been pending since he caught the love bug. Not resting even after catching up with the backlog, he zoomed ahead of his schedule and left his peers awestruck with his progress. In fact, he himself was amazed at the focus and untiring effort he was able to muster for the past couple of days. Couple more heartbreaks and he would be right on track to win a Nobel Prize.
The long weekend finally came to an end. The weekend that he intended to be the most romantic weekend of his life had turned out to be the most academically productive weekend of his life. He couldn’t resist a smirk at the irony of it all as he dressed up that Monday morning and proceeded to his usual haunt, the library. The same library that gave him so much and yet, took away, even more than it had given.
The cold and misty morning seemed to make his bones ache almost as much as his heart was aching. He walked slowly towards the library entrance. Visibility was low due to the mist but he could recognise her through it all. She was standing there near the notice board. She was pinning up something to the board. “What now? Her marriage invitation to the public?” thought our irrational nerd. She pushed the final pin into the notice and he imagined it to be the final nail in the coffin of his love. She walked into the library and towards the newspaper section.
He proceeded to read the notice more out of morbid curiosity than anything else.
Few seconds later, the old librarian heard heavy thuds of rushing footsteps and saw his favourite bookworm, the usually calm scientist barge into the library and run frantically towards the newspaper section. The librarian had never known the scientist to ever even walk in a hurried manner let alone sprint in this frenzied manner. What devil could have resulted in this unusual sight? The librarian could not control his curiosity. He left his desk and proceeded to read the notice that had had resulted in this hyperactive state of the usually sedate scientist.
The notice read,
Lost: Blue Umbrella
I had kept it at the library porch on Friday morning and it was missing when I came for it in the evening. If someone has taken it by mistake, kindly return it to me. Contact details below…
That was where our lover had abruptly stopped reading the notice and began his mad dash into the library towards his lady love.
The librarian still spends his time wondering how a simple notice of a lost blue umbrella could produce such a pronounced change of behaviour in his favourite bookworm.
Arjun Shetty (ECE)
The twenty fifth of September, 2010 was the 90th Birth Anniversary of Prof. Satish Dhawan. The occasion was marked at IISc at the Faculty Hall in the Main Building by a series of presentations by eminent personalities who had been associated with Dr. Dhawan during his lifetime.
Prof. P. Balaram, the Director, began the proceedings by welcoming everyone to the celebrations. He added that since there were so many eminent people, he would confine himself to welcoming everyone without specifically mentioning anyone by name. He said that Prof. Dhawan had transformed IISc during his tenure as Director and that it was perhaps fitting that his birth anniversary was being celebrated at the Faculty Hall which was built during his directorship.
Prof. Roddam Narasimha, JNCASR was the first speaker of the day. Prof. Balaram invited him on stage, describing him as “… perhaps the most accomplished of Prof. Dhawan’s students.” Prof. Narasimha was one of Prof. Dhawan’s first students. He spoke of “Satish Dhawan as a Scientist and Teacher”. He shared with the audience, his experience of working under Prof. Dhawan. His first glimpse of Prof. Dhawan, he said, was when Prof. Dhawan drove up in a sporty little red MG, raced up the staircase and came into the classroom uttering a cheerful and smiling “Good Morning’’. He then spoke of Prof. Dhawan’s career, first as a student and later as a scientist, with a description of his educational degrees, a timeline of his achievements and a few of his famous publications. Many of the figures that Prof. Narasimha showed were not taken from Prof. Dhawan’s original papers, but from textbooks which had incorporated them. Such was the profound impact of his work that it became widely known immediately after publication and is quoted even till date, Prof. Narasimha said. Next, Prof. Narasimha described his experiences with Prof. Dhawan. He mentioned that as a teacher, Prof. Dhawan was free and easy with his students, colleagues and even his mechanics. They would all cheerfully do the tasks assigned to them. He also described the delight Prof. Dhawan took in making novel instruments out of very simple materials. Later on, Prof. Narasimha also spoke of Prof. Dhawan’s interest in ornithology.
Prof. N. Balakrishnan, the Associate Director, invited Dr. K. Kasturirangan, the Chairman of the Council, IISc and former Chairman, ISRO to speak next. Dr. Kasturirangan spoke of his experience of working under Prof. Dhawan at ISRO. In speaking of Prof. Dhawan, Dr. Kasturirangan highlighted the fact that Prof. Dhawan was a person of meticulous detail and that he integrated many disciplines. He had an immaculate knowledge of the English language and would even correct minor grammatical mistakes, right down to every comma, hyphen and semicolon! With many personal examples, Dr. Kasturirangan elucidated the unique leadership style of Prof. Dhawan. Even if Prof. Dhawan had an opinion on an issue, he wouldn’t give it out blatantly. Rather, he would allow his team members to arrive at the proper conclusion following their individual lines of thought. Thus, every member knew why the decision was being taken. Dr. Kasturirangan regaled the audience with many interesting anecdotes about Prof. Dhawan, which unfortunately cannot be mentioned here due to a shortage of space. However, a full account of many of these incidents appears in an article by Dr. Kasturirangan (Kasturirangan, 2003).
The next speaker was Prof. M. G. K. Menon, former Director, TIFR. He had a long standing association with Prof. Dhawan, and termed him one of the best “scientist engineers”. He recapitulated to the audience, Prof. Dhawan’s educational degrees. And in addition, he mentioned the little-known fact that his academic report card had a II Division against his Matriculation, B. A. and M. A. This, Prof. Menon said, served as a warning to the entire faculty that exams are not a benchmark to judge a person by. He also recounted that Mrs. [Indira] Gandhi had asked Prof. Menon to lead India’s Space Program after Prof. Sarabhai’s demise. But Prof. Menon declined, saying that he cannot do multiple things simultaneously beyond a point. And that there was only one person who was capable of doing it, and that was Prof. Dhawan. Dr. Dhawan agreed to take up the reins of the Space Program provided that he be allowed to continue to work at the Indian Institute of Science. And Prof. Menon had a very good example to place in front of Mrs. Gandhi on why Dr. Dhawan could successfully be both the Chairman of ISRO and the Director of IISc. And that was of Dr. Homi Bhabha who built the Atomic Energy Program at Delhi without leaving Bombay.
The last speaker for the day, and a surprise one at that, was Prof. Jyotsana Dhawan, Prof. Satish Dhawan’s daughter, and an eminent Molecular Biologist. She stated that while the other speakers had spoken about the people Satish Dhawan influenced, she would talk of the people who influenced Satish Dhawan. She spoke about his family, that is, Prof. Dhawan’s parents and siblings (two sisters and a brother), of the fact that he never went to school, but was home tutored, of the fact that he was playing cricket on the morning of his Matriculation exam (which, she wryly added perhaps explained his II Division). She talked of Mrs. Nalini Dhawan, her mother (and also one of the attendees at the celebrations), her sisters, of days spent at IISc, of the close friendship between them and Prof. Dhawan’s colleague at Caltech, Prof. Anatol Roshko, their advisor, Prof. Hans Liepmann, and their families. Prof. Jyotsana Dhawan gave the audience a glimpse of Prof. Dhawan, not as a scientist, but as a person. He was, she said, an involved father. And although he never learnt the language, he loved the sound of Kannada, his favourite word being ‘Garagasa’ (which stands for a kind of saw). Finally, she said that after Prof. Dhawan passed away, she was called to the ISRO office to collect his belongings. While clearing out stuff, she found, amid all the satellites in the room, a saw and a few nails in a drawer of his table, as a memory of the joy of working with his own hands.
Prof. N. Balakrishnan gave the concluding remarks. There was also a photo exhibition put up in the adjoining hall, highlighting various aspects of Prof. Dhawan’s life.
Reference: Kasturirangan, K. Resonance (2003) 8, 48-55.
K. Vijayanth Reddy (ECE)
The chance of spotting a live Cobra (as told to me by my colleagues) in the wild took me to the backyard of the placement office. We spotted two snakes attempting to climb to the sun shade, probably attracted by the scent of the pigeons. We were joined by Ashok and Ranjana, the last of the active snake rescue volunteers, who came with a cotton bag. We were told, to our disappointment, that we committed the common mistake of confusing between Rat Snake and Cobra. The whole exercise of catching the snakes and releasing them into the wild, aroused my curiosity and this started an interesting conversation on snakes and snake rescue activities in campus.
The earlier count of snake species in the campus based on snake sighting (led by Natasha Mhatre, Alumnus, CES) revealed the presence of 12 varieties of snakes in the campus. But since then the Common Bronze Back has been spotted in the campus. Sand Boa may also be present here. But Ashok speculates that it was to brought to the campus for research then later released, so although not a native (campus) species there is a probability of it being spotted in the campus. Cobra, Saw Scaled Viper, Russell’s Viper and Common Krait are the poisonous ones found in the campus. Saw Scaled Viper is the poisonous variety regularly spotted in the campus.
A few years back Natasha Mhatre had organised a snake rescue training for security guards, since, they are the ones who regularly come into contact with the snakes. The constant shuffling of the security personnel have resulted in guards killing the snakes than re-locating them to the wild. Some of the snakes found in the campus belong to the endangered species list. Snakes helps to keep the rodent population in check. The general ignorance on snakes may end up in us killing non poisonous snakes.
There is lack of awareness among the institute community about the snake rescue volunteers. So next time, you find a snake in your hostel or work place, please contact the snake rescue volunteers. Ashok (ashok@ces) and Ranjana (ranjana@ces) can be approached for any query on snakes or snake rescue.
Photos: Ranjana (CES)
This article is just to share the feelings that most of us in the institute have. The book “Secret Lives” by Natasha Mhatre was the motivation for this article.
IISc seems to be like an oasis in a desert of buildings. One can have a look at the satellite view of North Bangalore through Google Earth to see this. The flora and fauna of this place, which gives the passers-by a breath of fresh air, is like the jewel in a necklace. Going by the pace of the so- called development that is happening in the city, this feature of IISc is surely going to be a wealth in the long run. This is something that we must pass on as a legacy to the future generations. The vast green patch in front of the Main Building, is something that is extremely precious. It is a pleasure to walk through that area. Sincere thanks to the administration, professors and the alumni of IISc that have ensured the preservation of such areas.
While I’m sure that we are on the right track, there is one thing which startles me. In some pockets of IISc, there is a lot of non-biodegradable waste littered. For me, this is like a thorn in a garland of flowers. In order to maintain this wealth that we have preserved already, we can take a few steps such as segregation of waste into plastic waste and bio-degradable waste. Waste strewn on land, even the bio-degradable waste, is not a healthy sign for the environment. This is something which
most of us may already know. This waste has to go underneath the soil so that mother earth will decompose it in the right way. Plastic waste is an international problem, as we all know. What is to be done is something that is a challenging question for all of us. There is at least one firm, to my knowledge, that is addressing this issue. It takes all the plastic, shreds it into tiny bits and mixes it with the bitumen that is used to lay tar roads. Some roads have already been laid by this firm, the one on Double Road for example. They have termed them as “plastic roads”. This is one smart way to handle our waste and help save the environment.
Please find below, the places inside IISc where waste needs to managed, in my opinion.
The places can be classifed into two categories, viz.
1.Littering in general: Area between Rohini and Bharani hostel buildings.
Around the Administrative building
Around juice corner
Walking path between Gulmohar marg and Faculty Club.
Around CAOS (near CEDT)
2. Waste collected but not segregated: Outside Kabini canteen
Between Juice corner and N hostel block
Opposite Genetic Engineering building
It is exemplary to see the way in which CisTUP and the Management Studies Department have
managed their waste!
Some conscious steps on our part will help preserve the wealth of IISc, setting an example for the
rest of the city to emulate.
Sanchit K. (ECE)
With an objective of promoting voluntary blood donation in community, Students’ Council with candid help of student volunteers, has finished the work of acquiring relevant particulars of fellow students. A large number of students have joined the database as voluntary blood donors during the update-drive conducted outside the three messes. Digitization of the collected donor lists is underway.
People from IISc community, who need blood but are unable to find or arrange from a few quality blood banks around the city, can contact the following SC members.
Rajkumar Ambulage 9738504741
Sreevalsa Kolathayar 9482088377
Srikanth Reddy 9535323121
Health committee, Students’ Council would like to thank all the forthcoming and solicitous students who have joined the database.
On the 6th of September, the packed faculty hall witnessed one of the country’s finest lawyer turned politician give a talk that was theatrical, inspiring and yet en route a political agenda.
While Kapil Sibal, our HRD Minister was magnanimous in promoting the idea of universalization of education, there were several times that he passed the buck to the state government for the implementation of the laws that the centre creates. Education being the path to empowerment is the known truth. He highlighted the dismal state of education in the country stating how only 10% of our school children make it to the university level. This critical mass is the ascertained future of this country. Talking about the RTE act that has come under heavy scrutiny and criticism from all quarters, he said that several stakeholders such as the school, families, parents, students, civil society, panchayats and school management have to play a role to convert it to reality. Today the community is responsible for the dissemination of education and we need to embrace this change with open hands. Various challenges crop up in the path to ensure inclusion and universalization:
- 1. Children of migrating labour
- 2. Children from minority communities
- 3. Children belonging to villages which are dispersed in large areas
- 4. Children belonging to Hilly areas
- 5. Young girls who opt out of schools on reaching puberty as they do not have separate toilets
While these issues cannot be dealt by a single institution, we need to understand that they transcend time and resources. Teachers need to be recruited in the right manner and with the right orientation. They need to prepare themselves for the students who are the repositories of knowledge and best leveraged through the role of inquisition and questioning. The teacher needs to play the role of a facilitator.
He highlighted the government initiative of providing more friendly education loans and having foreign knowledge varsities open institutions in India, creating an abode for education and a job market for academics. The focus today has to be on innovation- innovation of thoughts, innovation of agendas and innovation of policies. We need to innovate education to ensure empowerment.
Kumudhini, Madhurima (MGMT)
Cardboard boxes were kept in all the hostels in the end of June, till July end. There was a good response from the students and a huge amount of clothes and other articles were collected and segregated regularly (in amenities hall near SBI) by the effort of around 40 selfless volunteers. On 2nd and 3rd of October, stall was put up in Janata bazar between 2:00 to 5:00 pm for the collection of goods from staff members and faculties. Stall was opened in Vigyanpura campus also on 9th Oct. for collection of articles from the faculties there. We got a very good response from the people. As all the materials were nicely washed, folded and packed, it made our work easy to sort out. Clothes were collected from many staffs and students personally also. The details of sorted materials are (approx. nos) – Shirts: 800, T-Shirts: 1500, Gents pants: 2000, Churidar: 800, Ladies jeans: 600, saris: 100, Kids wear: 500, Beds: 40, Blankets: 75, Jakets/Sweter: 100, Pillows: 34, Footwear: 600 pairs, bags: 75 etc.
As to start with, on 25/09, some of the volunteers along with Prof. G L Sivakumar Babu went to KC General Hospital in Malleshwaram, with some clothes. Professor talked to each patient modestly and volunteers distributed the clothes. The patients accepted the clothes happily. On 26th September, 10AM, Volunteers along with Prof. Babu and Mr. Raghuveer Rao went to Victoria Govt. hospital. Duty doctor was kind enough to extend all his support and security Raju anna accompanied us guiding to all the wards. It was an eye-opening experience to see the patients with smiling faces in spite of their sufferings. We distributed the clothes in around 10 wards. Almost all the patients accepted the clothes happily. At around 1 pm, we returned. Same day at 4pm, we visited Maternity home in YPR and donated 34 pillows, 5 beds, 30 blankets and 2 quilts. We talked to security guards personally and 18 beds were handed over to them on 27/09/10.
On the morning of 3rd October, clothes were distributed to workers involved in construction near new aero building. At 5.30pm, all remaining materials from amenities hall were transported to the site where Ramki construction workers stay. Supervisor Sri. B V Reddy was kind enough to extend all his support. Clothes and footwears were distributed to around 400 workers and their families. Thereafter, saris and kids wears were distributed in slum near D gate. At 9.30pm, clothes were distributed to A & B mess workers.
As Prof. Babu and his friends used to distribute cooked rice and sweets during Navratri days, our volunteers joined them each day for distribution in a slum near NIAS gate, where around 150 families stay. On 10th Oct, 120 child wears, 20 saris, churidars, 100pants, 100 T shirts and 50 shirts were also distributed there. On the same night 9.30pm, shirts and pants were distributed to C mess workers.
Thanks a lot to all the volunteers for their continuous effort! The enthusiasm of the volunteers shows that humanity is still alive and one day, our society will get rid of all sufferings by the effort of such selfless people. If any student wishes to contribute/volunteer or if you have any suggestions, kindly mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to all IIScians for their continuous support to this noble cause. We seek involvement from large number of students. What we are doing may be just a drop in the ocean. We are gratified if that drop can bring smiles on at least some faces!
Sreevalsa Kolathayar (Civil)