"Sir, I am leaving this evening at 8:30 p.m. I wanted to meet you before leaving the campus." Said Tej... yesterday afternoon. It was about 5:30 p.m. I have just returned to Institute after 12 day tour to Nainital, Kousani, Almora with my family (as soon as vacation began).
"Dear sir,I had come to meet you 3 days back but you were not there. I just wanted to inform you that I have completed my studies at IIT Kharagpur and am joining Princeton University next for my doctoral studies. I enjoyed interacting with you during my stay in the department. I hope we meet when I come during the convocation." The mail from Sree... was in my inbox.
Also there were other students to say 'Good Bye' before leaving.
There is no choice but to bid adieu every batch of students when they complete their tenure. It is always difficult to come in terms with the fact those faces, smiles will no longer be seen in campus. I'll miss those debates, fights - mostly ideological as depicted in several posts of this blog. But I have great faith in these young guns. And I firmly believe that the future can only be better.
Friends, keep in touch. Let us all work together to build a strong and vibrant India!
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I had long discussions with outgoing students yesterday so much so that I was worried if Tej... would miss his train. He didn't get an offer for PhD from US universities and that's why he is joining industry. He was not considering IITs as a place where he can do his doctoral work. This was unfortunate. And I took some time to explain him why IITs could also be a choice, mostly in tune with what I described in 3rd topic 'One for the outgoing students' of the post http://gskgp.blogspot.com/2008/04/many-into-one.html He agreed to reconsider his decision. I advised him to spend few years in industry before joining doctoral program and persuing a career in academics. This will help one (i) realize the gap between teaching and practice and (ii) become confident when he deals with industry people in an industrial project in his academic career. Tej... appeared serious to return to IITkgp as a faculty member after his PhD. So said Sour.. I am keeping my finger crossed.
We discussed few other things too. I shared my experience in industry - what to expect and what not; the role of money in slection of career; how much money one needs; the reversal of role between money and happiness as means and end; trade-offs in life; peer pressure is to follow the tide but interestingly all great work were accomplished swimming against the tide etc. etc.
Finally, I couldn't but say that for last few decades IITs are doing more harm to the country in certain sense than the good. It is swallowing the best brains of 100 crore population and turning them into high skilled labour. All superlative efforts by Indians in Science & Technology are in pre-IIT days though statistically, infrastructure, build-up wise we are now better placed. An young Indian now dreams to get into IIT and once he cracks IIT-JEE he considers that his job is done. He does not realize that it is just the beginning. That he is now in the land of opportunities. His job is to make the most of it. The hostel life, seniors (peer pressure) conditions him in such a manner that there are only two options in life - (i) to go abroad for higher studies and serve an US lab or (ii) to get a high salaried job. Do they read the biographies of great scientists, inventors? Do they fee that they can be one like them - one who can bring a sea change in the thought process of the community? Can we believe that we were short of genius for decades? Civilization wise we have evolved more than others. Statistically, we should have a greater ratio of them among us. And in all probability they have come to IITs. But what did we make of them?
I narrated the following story from my book Principles of Communication Systems, 3rd Edition, Taub, Schilling & Saha from McGraw Hill India (Such story is there at the beginning of every chapter of that book so that the young generation starts dreaming and aims big) which I quote now before ending this post.
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“Yesterday was my 21st birthday, at that age Newton and Pascal had already acquired many claims to immortality.” – thus wrote Fourier in one of his letter in 1789. Born of a tailor family as the ninth of twelve kids, he briefly served priesthood, was imprisoned for revolutionary activity but his love of mathematics continued. In 1807, his famous theory on Fourier series was published."