Saturday, August 30, 2008

NSS first day

Just returning from first interaction with student volunteers of my group. I would say it had been an endearing experience. I feel that it is my privilege to work with a team that has the likes of Sauptik, Shishir, Allen, Gautam Kumar (the 'Attention, Stand-at-ease person), Madhusudan, Sujay, Layak (he spoke at the end but did speak), Nibirh ("we have manpower on our side"), Koushik (Gopali Youth Welfare Soc. person, hardselling the idea of donating money :) ), Naveen, Robin, Dinakar, Pranoy, Deepak, Vikash, Prahlad, Sravan, Akhilesh, Sahil (appeared hungry after the psychological contribution :) ) , Sumeet, Shashank ...

Today we tried to understand through discussion the objectve of NSS and how it is sought to be achieved based on the guidelines given to us in a handout. I must say that the discussion was lively and all inclusive and everybody contributed. I asked everybody to speak even if it is repetition of what one has already stated as the act of speaking itself is some kind of assertion. It helps in subscribing to the thought process of the group, removes complex, if any and develops team spirit. It was great to see everbody coming forward. Good work, boys!

The NSS guidelines and and how the team interpreted it (summarized, in bracket) is presented next.

The objective of NSS is "Development of the Personality of Students through Community Service."
(Developing ourselves. Making a better human being out of us. Transformation within us through the spirit of service. Not enforcing others. If at all, subconscious inspiration by doing our duty the best way possible.)
This objective is sought to be achieved by enabling the students to :
i) understand the community in which they work
(staying close to thm, interacting with them, organizing events, understanding their psychology, taking care not to make them feel humiliated, daan combined with maan i.e. serving respectfully)
ii) understand themselves in relation to their community
(what is expected of a student, meeting and beating that expectation, active participation - not passive goodness, dynamicism of a youth)
iii) identify the needs and problems in the community in the solution of which they can be involved
(survey with specific objective, important to follow it up else negative perception, analogy from designer-tester race in industry, execution of the job with heart and also professionally)
iv) development among themselves a sense of social and civic responsibility
(proper use, upkeepment of public properties, amenities; a good starting point is abiding traffic rules and other rules of a civil society, behaving ourselves as a civilized person)
v) apply their education in finding practical solutions to individual and community problems
(education cannot be neglected, need to become a very good engineer, more capacity building is required as the objective is to serve more people, increase footprint, returning more to the society in absolute terms)
vi) development of competence required for group living and sharing responsibilities
(should do work with lot of interest, each & every member should own responsibility, unity, harmony)
vii) gain skills in mobilizing community participation
(kids activity, drama, organizing various events. drama group - Koushik, Madhusudan, Gautam (not me :) Gautam Kumar), Allen, Sauptik, Vikash)
viii) acquire leadership qualities and democratic attitude
(leading by examples, by love; some management skills needed - to take initiative, ability to coordinate etc. decision through democratic process and once taken no alienation)
ix) develop capacity to meet emergencies and natural disasters
(participate in programs of reputed NGOs lik Ramakrishna Mission. Can there be something more that uses our IIT backgroud to the benefit of the bereaved? e.g. Kosi river devastation, we cannot physically go as semester is in full swing - can we help in communication, networking, developing devices, mechanism that can come of use in calamities like these?)
x) practice national intergration
(imbibing the spirit of the patriots, observance of nationally important days in true spirit, participating in each others' festivals, removal of regional, religious, caste, any kind of bias that divides people)

We decided to meet next week at 9 a.m. in Jnan Ghosh stadium and draw action items.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Past two months at a glance

One word that describes past two months is 'eventful'. Most of them big positives. Two big negatives. But who can undestand the design of Him? Doesn't he often test by fire? He only knows what is the best for us. Ours is to depend on Him like a child and to do our work the best way possible considering each act of us is a offering at His feet. Joy and sorrow both teach us and perhaps sorrow teaches the most, removes false perception of this world, shatters false ego. However, negatives are often overpowering. Well, this is not the place to discuss negative things (it comes and goes, in everybody's life, nothing special, the earlier we learn to live with it or rise over it, the fact, when I decided to stay in India after completion my IITkgp BTech rejecting a generous offer from US East Coast university I remained prepared that I might have to face both and perhaps more of the ugly side...that way I am lucky I got to see more of the beautiful side of my country and doesn't West have its own dark secrets not much publicised here) as my student friends may read this blog. If required, my office emails, diary are carefully stored for the use of any investigating agency. I only pray that I get the opportunity to do my work in a sincere manner, unperturbed and not fall into their traps who want to destabilize me. After all, what is in a life? Remembering an Anup Jalota bhajan - Pitambari kasi ho, Chabi maan main yeh basi ho,Hotho pe kuch hasi ho, jab pran tan se nikle/Jab kanth pran aye, koi rog na sataye,Yam darash na dikhaye, Jab pran tan se nikle/us vakt jaldi ana, nahi Shyam Bhul Jana, Radhe ko saath lana, jab pran tan se nikle/ek bhakt ki hai arji, khud garj ki hai garji, age Tumhari marji jab pran tan se Nikle/Itna to karna Swami, Jab pran tan se Nikle.

I was surprised to find so many different persons - two Prof.s, students, one person from Midnapore trying to inform me that Bishwarup Maharaj is coming to campus. I just returned from a 10 day busy tour in Canada where I attended three workshops and visited univ. of Waterloo, univ. of Toronto, univ. of Montreal, McGill univ and also met people of from univ. of Alberta, univ. of BC at Edmonton. I heard about Biswarup Maharaj before but didn't have the opportunity to interact with him. The talk on 'diaster management' was arranged in Mat. Sc. Dept. Maharaj spoke about flood relief work and emphasized on what Swami Vivekananda said, "Men, men, these are wanted. Everything else will be ready." Are we that kind of man, Swamiji wanted? "Strong, vigorous, believing young men, sincere to the backbone." If we are not, we have to strive to become one. The positive news flow continues. Once I found a beautiful email from Bishwarup Maharaj, first ever in my life from a monk. Earlier I got several SMS from Chiranjeev Maharaj. I am truly honoured to be in mailing list of Maharaj. His team at Ramakrishna Mission Students Home, Belgharia maintains an inspiring website

Getting lots of idea, help, encouragement from friends and well-wishers far and wide. Prof. Kan.. from Boston was, as usual was at his kindest best generous with ideas. Jo... from UK finds one of our collaborative work publishable. Aru.. from US eager to help looking for funding opportunities for joint work. Pa.. of IPC.. also trying in spite of his busy schedule; P.. one day asked me to discuss our work with WMG, UK represenative who wants to collaborate in that area and now I am IITkgp-WMG initiative; based on a reco.. started working on establishment of a new engineering scool on QEDM ...(I am the only Asst. Prof. in the team - may be my industry background, system level development, ability to work in a team, trustworthiness, positive attitude etc. earned my nomination); got lot of praise from people here whose work I presented in bio-nano area in Canada and how I apprised everybody of the opportunities there with a report, email id, ppt etc., someone commenting first of its kind in IITkgp; based on a reco.. stayed in IIT Madras for 8 days to do some very important national level work and there one morning my research student Sam.. rang. He was excited to tell me that our recent publication on heart sound in a new Hindwai journal has caught lot of attention and international media is covering it widely - Eurekalert, Yahoo News, Sciencedaily, Biomedicine news so on and so forth, websites in USA, UK, Russia, China ... And then I received the email from science reporter of German Public Radio. He wants to have my 10 minute telephonic interview for their Saturday program that is aired in Germany and many countries in Europe. The interview was conducted from guest house, next evening and airtime was approx. 6 min. with German voice over, intermittently my voice can be heard. One US medical co. representative expressed desire to visit us at IITkgp for collaboration and sent an NDA. Two more Indian TV channel wanted to interview us and show our work in their channel etc. Finally, I remember the confidence shown by some of my seniors on me specially the one firm voice at about 10 o' clock at night saying "Goutam, No one can stop you."

I shall put few images here and that will conclude this post. The first two is a sneak pick of my good friend Moin.. of CII, next is some of the group members in a leisurely mood with our fond Dy. Leader in forefront, next is the entire Indian team minus Dy. Leader who took the snap together with host at Edmonton, rest are some of the recent media reports.