IIT Alumni
        iit Alumni Newsletter May, 2014      
 

 

In This Issue

Table of content

 

  
 

  

4. Campuses News 

 

5. Guru Funda

 

6. Chapters news

 

7. Upcoming Events

 

8. PanIIT Partner Organizations

 

9. Volunteering at PanIIT

 

10.  Articles by IITians

 

11. Stories from Campus Newsletters 

 

12. Resources

  
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AlumninewsIIT Alumni News

IITian designs a robot that helps people with dementia, autism  

 

Rajiv Khosla, an Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur 1989 graduate, has designed Charlie, an emotionally intelligent Robot that can detect how a person feels through their moods and facial expression, and subsequently react to their needs. The robot has so far been programmed to speak 11 languages, including but not limited to Hindi, Tamil and Chinese.

 

Mr. Khosla gave a demo of aged people using the robot. With their emotionally sensitivity and advanced functionality, Mr. Khosla believes that these robots can help make senior citizens more independent by helping them easily connect to their relatives via the internet and assisting time during their troubled moods. Because these robots are multilingual, Mr. Khosla hopes that they can one day help the world move towards a deeper harmony amongst various peoples.

  

 

IITians' biz model eases shopping woes

Pawan Bali | New Delhi


 

While all start-ups dream of becoming a Google or Facebook one day, the life of an entrepreneur; especially in India, is a "dog's life", says Sujendu Kuila one of the co-founders of Reviews42, a consumer product research platform.
  
Mr Kuila IIT and IIM alumni started Reviews42 along with another IIM alumni Neeraj Jain in 2011. While both of them agreed that e-commerce is going to flourish in India, they felt there was a need for a company which could provide consumers with information like product discovery, reviews of different products and prices offered by various online and offline ventures. "Review is very important for purchasing," says Mr Kuila.

As far as naming the company as Reviews42 was concerned, they used the word "review" as it was going to be in review space. "42" was inspired from comic science fiction 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' created by Douglas Adams, which is popular among fans of the genre(s) and members of the scientific community. As per the book "the answer to the ultimate question of l i f e , the universe and everything is 42."

  

Read full article at The Asian Age

  

 

Knight Writer Tanmay Sethi: An IITian who loves theatre and writing

  

 Who said IITians are all about the academics? Presenting the latest CoolAge Knight Writer - Tanmay Sethi, a Mechanical Engineering student from IIT Jodhpur, who is as versatile as he is creative. A theatre enthusiast with a penchant for writing, he describes himself as Nukkad (street play) King and is not afraid to speak (or write) his mind. Tanmay is also a die-hard cricket fan who decides his study hours around the Indian team's matches.In the last 6 months, Tanmay has written 26 very informative and socially pertinent articles. One such article very close to his heart went viral on social media. 'Where are IITs heading to' has garnered over 33,000 page views and 6,822 'likes' and refused to get off our 'Most Popular' list for weeks.  

 
Read full article at coolage.in
SpotlightSpotlight on IIT Kanpur Campus

 

Pictures of Campus

 

 

 

 

  

  
 
  
  

Some Facts about IIT Kanpur

  1. The Act of Parliament was passed in 1961 and IITK was established as a society in November, 1959. During the first ten years of its existence, IIT Kanpur benefited from the Kanpur Indo-American Program (KIAP), where a consortium of nine US universities namely M.I.T, University of California at Berkeley, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Michigan, The Ohio State University, Case Western Reserve University, and Purdue University helped to set up the research laboratories and academic programs. The first Director of the Institute was Prof. P. K. Kelkar.
  2. Under the guidance of economist John Kenneth Galbraith, IIT Kanpur was the first institute in India to offer Computer Science education. The earliest computer courses were started at IIT Kanpur in August 1963 on an IBM 1620 system.
  3. IIT Kanpur has set up the SIDBI Innovation & Incubation Centre (SIIC) in collaboration with Small Industries development Bank of India (SIDBI) to foster innovation, research, and entrepreneurial activities in technology-based areas. SIIC provides a platform to Start-ups, prospective entrepreneurs to convert their innovative ideas into commercially viable products. Till date a total of 50 companies have been incubated in SIIC and 24 of them have already graduated.
  4. The students of IIT Kanpur have made a nano-satellite called Jugnu; it is an Indian technology demonstration and remote sensing satellite which is operated by the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur. It was designed to provide data for agriculture and disaster monitoring. It is a 3-kilogram (6.6 lb) spacecraft, which measures 34 centimeters (13 in) in length by 10 centimeters (3.9 in) in height and width. Its development program cost around 25 million rupee. It had a design life of one year. Jung's primary instrument was the Micro Imaging System, a near infrared camera which was designed to be used to observe vegetation. It also carried a GPS receiver to aid tracking, and was intended to demonstrate a micro-electromechanical inertial measurement unit.
  5. IITK motorsports is the biggest and most comprehensive student initiative of IIT Kanpur, founded in January 2011. It is a group of self-motivated students from varied disciplines who aim at designing and fabricating a Formula-style race car for international Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) events.
  6. IIT Kanpur is known for intensive student activities that are organized throughout the year to instill cultural and technological values in the students of Institute, as well as to promote competition. Some of the popular activities are:
  • Antaragni: Among largest inter-college student cultural festival
  • Techkriti: International student technology function
  • Udghosh: Inter-college sports extravaganza
  • Galaxy: Annual inter-hall cultural championship
  • Takneek: Annual inter-hall technology championship
  • Inferno: Annual inter-hall sports championship
  • Spectrum: Annual inter-hall films and media competition
  • Green Opus: Energy Saving Competition
  • Josh: An open intra-IIT Sports festival
  • 

Some Alumni in News Recently

  

Prof. Ashoke Sen (MSC2/PHY/1978), was conferred the prestigious Padma Bhushan Award by the Government of India in the category of Science and Engineering. He is a theoretical physicist and distinguished professor at the Harish-Chandra Research Institute, Allahabad. He is the Morningstar Visiting professor at MIT. His main area of work is String Theory. He was among the first recipients of the Fundamental Physics Prize "for opening the path to the realization that all string theories are different limits of the same underlying theory". This richly endowed prize has been set up by the Russian billionaire Yuri Milner for rewarding scientific breakthroughs. Ashoke Sen was the only recipient from Asia of this inaugural prize. Ashoke Sen was inducted as Fellow of Royal Society in 1998.

 

Prof. K. Vijay Raghvan(BT/MT/CHE/1975/77), was conferred the prestigious Padma Shri Award by the Government of India in the category of Science and Engineering. He is Distinguished Professor and Director of The National Centre for Biological Sciences. He became the Secretary of Department of Biotechnology, India in 2013. Prof. Raghvan was inducted to Indian Academy of Sciences in 1997 and Fellow of Royal Society in 2012. He has received numerous awards including: Infosys Prize in the life sciences category, Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology, H K Firodia Award "for his original contributions to the field of life sciences, particularly to developmental biology, genetics and neurogenetics."  
 
Prof. Sanjay G. Dhande(PHD/ME/1975), an alumnus and ex -Director, IIT Kanpur was conferred the prestigious Padma Shri Award by the Government of India in the category of Science and Engineering. Prof. Dhande has worked in the field of Computer Aided Design, Rapid Prototyping, Rapid Tooling and Reverse Engineering. AUTOLAY, an innovative CAD technology that he developed for the Indian Aeronautical Development Agency is used by several aircraft manufacturers around the world. Prof. Dhande has received several honors and awards like Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering, New Delhi (2002) and Fellow of the IETE, (2003) etc. 
  
Prof. Manindra Agrawal (BT/PHD/CSE/1986/92)
, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, IIT Kanpur was conferred the prestigious Padma Shri Award by the Government of India, in the category of Science and Engineering. Prof. Agrawal works in theory of computation; specifically, in complexity theory, algorithmic number theory and algebra. His best known work is in algorithmic number theory: along with two of his students, he designed the first deterministic polynomial time algorithm for testing the primality of a number. Prof. Agrawal is an editor of the journal "Theory of Computing and Computability". He is a Fellow of several academies: Fellow of the Third World Academy of Sciences (FTWAS), Indian National Science Academy, and Indian Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Sciences, and Indian National Academy of Engineers. 

 

Prof. Padmanabhan Balaram (MSc2/CHM/1969), has been conferred the prestigious Padma Bhushan Award by the Government of India for his distinguished contribution to the field of Science and Engineering. His main research interests are in bio-organic chemistry and molecular biophysics. Professor Balaram is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, the Indian National Science Academy and the Third World Academy of Sciences, Trieste, Italy. He has received many awards/honors in recognition of his work, a few of which are the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award of CSIR (1986), Alumni Award for Excellence in Research from IISc (1991), the TWAS Award in Chemistry (1994), the G.D. Birla Award for Scientific Research (1994), the Distinguished Alumnus Award of IIT Kanpur (2000) and the Padma Shri by the Government of India (2002). He has been the Editor of "Current Science" since 1995.

  

Professor Eluvathingal Devassy Jemmis (MSc2/CHM/1973), was conferred the prestigious Padma Shri Award by the Government of India. He is a Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India. His main research interest concerns are in quantum chemistry. Prof. Jemmis is a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Journal of Computational Chemistry and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of World Association of Theoretically Oriented Chemists. He is an Honorary Professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore. He was the recipient of the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in 1994. Prof. Jemmis is an elected Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Bangalore (1992), the Indian National Science Academy, New Delhi (1998), the National Academy of Sciences, Allahabad (2003), India, and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World, Trieste, Italy (2004). Prof Jemmis is presently a member of Board of Governors, IIT Kanpur.

 

 
campusnews Campuses News

 

Why IIT-Guwahati is now in the big league

4 May, 2014, 0657 hrs IST, Naresh Mitra, TNN

 

 Back in the late '90s, professors who were offered jobs at IIT-Guwahati (IIT-G ) were scared to take them up. It wasn't the prospect of a new institute that was intimidating. "We had heard so much about insurgency-related violence in the region," says a faculty member who "risked" the assignment.

 

The turnaround came in the last five to six years with a new focus on recruiting locals and serving locals through research. Several members, department heads and even two former directors, DN Buragohain and Gautam Barua, have roots in the region. "It's important to connect with the local ethos," says S S Mantha, chairman of the All-I ndia Council for Technical Education (AICTE).

Thinking local, both in terms of faculty

 as well as research work, has propelled

a rank outsider like IIT-Guwahati to the

global list of top varsities 

 

IIT-G had its work cut out when it first launched in 1994, the result of a promise made by then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi to student agitators. Apart from coaxing students and faculty to a remote location in a violence-ridden state, it had to replicate the standards of academic excellence set by the other Indian Institutes of Technology. Two decades down, they're at the top - IITG is the only Indian college to make it to the "100 under 50" listing of new global universities, coming in 87 th on the UK-based Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

 

So how did this happen ? Even in 2004, the IIT review board was grappling with the "special case" that IIT-G presented. The review report stated that the 285 hectare campus, located 20 km from the city centre, was in a region that suffered from "locational disadvantages". Apart from poor rail and road connections, the single track rail link from Guwahati to New Jalpaiguri was said to be prone to disruption by accidents, floods and other disturbances. The report also mentioned parents' fears of its remote location as one of the reasons why the IIT-G campus was "the last choice in any branch among all IITs" for students. Recruitment and retention of faculty was another problem heightened by the "under-developed area".

 

Read the full article at Economic Times.

  

 

 

IIT- JEE (Advanced) 2014: Scheduled for tomorrow, May 25 

 

Posted by Neera Sabharwal on May 24, 2014 

 

The IIT- JEE (Advanced), the stepping stone for admission to the prestigious undergraduate programs in any one of the 16 IITs and the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad will be held tomorrow (Sunday May 25).

 

Candidates should download their admit cards positively by 5 pm today, May 24, 2014 to avoid any problems. Only the top 1.5 lakh candidates (including all categories) based on their scores in Paper 1 of JEE Main 2014 (conducted by the CBSE on behalf of the JEE Apex Board last month) are eligible to appear in JEE (Advanced).

 

An aspirant can attempt JEE (Advanced) twice and that too in consecutive years. This JEE (Advanced) 2014 will be jointly conducted by the zonal IIT's (IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IIT Guwahati, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras and IIT Roorkee). The exam will comprise of two objective type papers that will assess the comprehension, reasoning and analytical skills of candidates. Both papers with duration of three hours each will consist of three separate sections on Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. Candidates can choose either English or Hindi options as mode of answering. Negative marking may be awarded to incorrect answers in some sections.

 

The results will be declared on June 19. 

 

Read the full article at LivePunjab.com

 

 

IIT-Gandhinagar to offer master's in society and culture from this year

Runa Mukherjee Parikh,TNN | May 21, 2014, 02.28 AM IST

 

   

AHMEDABAD: The state's engineering mecca is gradually giving the humanities their due. IIT-Gandhinagar (IIT-Gn) is geared up to add a comprehensive, stand-alone, two-year Master of Arts in Society and Culture to its repertoire. The degree will be the first to deal with South Asian culture and society at any IIT.

 

The first batch will begin in July this year and 15 students have been selected for it. According to Dr Sudhir Jain, director, IIT-Gn, the MA program reflects the strength and eclectic nature of faculty expertise across the social sciences and humanities department, making the programme one-of-its-kind in the country.

 

"Some of themes we will study are identity and difference, development and exclusion, local and transnational mobility, population and health, among others," said Dr Srinivas Reddy, assistant professor, South Asian studies, IIT-Gn.

The course will cover subjects like Archaeology of Ideas, South Asia: History, Culture and Society, qualitative and quantitative research methods, musical traditions of India and even cinematic history.

 

Read the full article at Times of India.

 

 IITians eye in the sky 

By: Shiphony Pavithran Suri

 

 ONLY a few of you would have missed '3 idiots', a huge Bollywood hit. Do you recall that mini quadrotor helicopter, unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that zapped all viewers? This was the early prototype of NETRA, a lightweight UAV designed by five alumni of IIT Bombay, who founded ideaForge Technology Pvt. Ltd, a hardware company. India's first mini UAV, has been aptly named NETRA, meaning 'eye' in Sanskrit. This 2 kg drone flies over a distance of 2.5 kilometres, captures video footages and easily lands on the ground. It can be deployed anywhere in just about seven minutes. Hovering in the sky, the UAV transmits real time inputs to the controlling team.

  

 

The world's smallest and lightest commercial autopilot developed in 2009 weighed just 10 grams. Six grams less than the nearest competitor.Ankit Mehta shares, "NETRA is easy to use, which helps you look beyond your reach, ultimately the unseen is seen!" Other co-founders, AshishBhat (29), Rahul Singh (29), Amardeep Singh (28) and Vipul Joshi (31) agree. More over, ideaForge is the only indigenous UAV manufacturer in the country.

 

Read full article at EngineeringCareer360.com.

  

Plastic from potatoes to drones, IITians redefine innovation

by Shikha Sharma | New Delhi | April 20, 2014

 

Since his school days, Tanmay Bunkar says he was worried about his father who is an officer with the Madhya Pradesh police. "Our forces are always at risk, because our defence protection systems are not strong enough," he said.

 

So, Bunkar, a final year student at IIT-Delhi, invested all his time and energy into building aerial robots - drones he someday hopes would be useful to strengthen the country's surveillance capabilities.

 

"I have been working on this project for over two years. I have developed six different models so far," he said, while taking one his robots on a sortie through the campus. The drone has a range of 1 km currently, but can be increased to around 5 km using boosters, he said.

 

Bunkar's creation was one among the 140 innovations on display at Open House 2014 - the tenth edition of IIT-Delhi's annual technical exposition. From live demonstrations of 3D printing structures to toys made out of trash, object locators for visually impaired to automatic medicine dispensers, the one-day long event had something for everyone.

 

Read full article at Indian Express

Gurufunda  Guru Funda
 

Top 10 Advices Given by Senior IITians

(Source: http://blog.askiitians.com/top-10-advices-given-senior-iitians/)

 
 

 So, all IITians, when was the last time you got a really good advice from a senior IITian?

It's not a question worth causing nightmares for IITians like you. Obviously, you keep getting a whole lot of both solicited and unsolicited advices from your seniors on and off. But not all advices from thoseblood sucking Zombies(senior IITians) are actually helpful. In fact, most of them make you laugh right in their faces.

 

It is not that only funny advices get highlighted at IITs. There are some valuable advices from seniors too that have helped many IITians excel in their prospective careers.

So to give you a few moments of both knee-slapping humor and deep intellect, we've compiled a list of advices given to IITians by their seniors.

 

Advice 1

Kid, your greatest success till date has been JEE. Don't make your graduation be close to your greatest success!

 

Advice 2

Research! Change the World! Try your best to not do MBA. Look what it has done to Chetan Bhagat!

 

Advice 3

"Don't just look for the person who pays you the most; you're not a prostitute!" well, this particular would've come straight from a frustrated jobless senior.

 

Advice 4

Don't let yourself be known because of your alma mater - let your alma mater be known because of you.

 

Advice 5

"These 4 to 5 years in IIT are more about discovering yourself than defining yourself. So don't panic and keep following and exploring whatever you like instead of trying to mould yourself for a particular profile."

 

Advice 6

"Don't choose role model(s) among your seniors in IIT and blindly start following their IIT journey. Everyone in IIT is different. By making role models, you automatically restrict yourself from attaining the heights you have the potential to achieve. Many make the mistake of choosing a role model and copying him/her and thus lose their originality."

 

Advice 7

"There are 2 type of approaches in life : Top-Down and Bottom-Up. Top-down is when you see yourself in the mirror, know what you want to be 5-10 years down the line, chalk out the qualifications/expertise you require for it and work super hard to achieve it. That is a sorted awesome feeling in life. In Bottom-Up approach, you are still not clear of what you want in life. But that should not stop you from pushing yourself and working hard. Especially in IIT, more than 75% of students are unsorted, but you still have to go for the best opportunity at every stage and keep your options open. Do not stop. Just keep moving ahead. So that, the day you find your top down approach, you shouldn't have regrets as to what you could have done."

 

Advice 8

"IIT is a ladder and the students are steps. Everyone is trying to climb the same ladder using the same steps. Once they reach the top they won't look down. Find just three people here, just three people who on reaching the top would look down, give you a hand and pull you up. If you can find them, then you'd have it all."

 

Advice 9

"IIT kabhi bhi tumhari manzil nhi ho skti, yeh to sirf ek rasta hai."

IIT is not your destiny. It's a road to your destiny.

 

Advice 10

Respect women, inside and outside IIT, always! "


 

 

 
                                                                           
chapternews 
Chapters News
  
PANIIT CONFERENCE IN BAY AREA
USING TECHNOLOGY TO ENHANCE PRIMARY EDUCATION IN INDIA


PanIIT Alumni Association in the Bay Area organized this conference on Saturday, Mar 29, 2014. A notable array of speakers came together to share their views based their vast experience on this subject.

The event was sponsored by Pratham, Netapp and Umang Gupta.
There were 6 speakers who shared their views and experiences with the audience present at the event.

The keynote address was given by Dr.Sugata Mitra, Professor of Ed Tech at Newcastle Univ.UK and responsible for the non-profit "Hole in the Wall".

He talked about the difficulty in retaining teachers in the remote areas, who, for better prospects, always tended to move closer to the more lucrative big cities. This problem was all over and not restricted to any country in particular.

His answer to circumvent this problem is to use the "cloud" technology for the learning process. He favors the idea of leaving kids alone to create "chaos" and thereby figure out things on their own by helping each other. He also came up with the idea of having the teachers "beamed" into the classroom instead of waiting for the kids to get into school.

Dr.Madhav Chavan of Pratham, the largest Non-profit in the field of education, vocalized the multilayered problems that exist in the Indian Education system.

Until Prtahm pointed out, no one in thesystem had been aware that although the attendance in the Govt schools was high, majority of the attendees were not learning at their grade level. ASER, the tool created and used by Pratham was able to measure and survey the learning levels of these children and highlight the grave situation that existed in the Public education system. He articulated the difference between "schooling" and "education". The fact that India still followed the "teacher always has all the right answers" was not generating initiative and independent learning amongst the students. He echoed the sentiments of Dr Mitra that the teaching methods in most of the Asian countries were archaic and obsolete and in need of total overhaul.
 

Next, Neil D'Souza, founder of Zaya Learning Labs reiterated the use of cloud learning and spoke of his experience of bringing learning to Mongolia the remotest place in the world. Zaya is working on creating "school in a box" to hand over to teachers in the remote areas where technology is still out of reach.

Jagdish Repaswal who founded Mango Reader talked about learning through story telling to make it fun for the children and to inculcate a love of and desire for reading.

Paulette Altmeier of Khan Academy spoke after a brief address by the founder, Sal Khan. Their motto is to provide world class education to everyone anywhere thereby leveling the playing field. They reach out to people in 200 countries.


Dr.Prasad Ram Founder of Gooru believes in the human right to education. He is working on many Silicon Valley organizations coming together to create a learning infrastructure that would benefit localized educators around the world.

Following the speakers was an interactive discussion moderated by Umang Gupta. Among the topics addressed were need for Non profit versus for profit companies, ways to avoid infringing on copyrights in a world of "free" content, the role of teachers in the learning process 50 years from now, challenges of integrating technology and education and many others.

  

  
  
upcomingeventsChapters Upcoming Events

PAN IIT 2014 International Conference, June 6-8, 2014 Toronto, Canada

 

This year's Pan-IIT is being held in Toronto in June 2014. Toronto is the financial hub of Canada, as well as one of the most cosmopolitan and livable cities in the world.

 

 

Pan-IIT 2014 will be one of the largest and most important conferences for those seeking the best of what North America and India has to offer from a Canadian perspective. The program features insights into trends in the industry, entrepreneurship and academia. You'll also get involved in deep discussions that are about the application of innovative solutions that lead to transformation.

 

 

 

  

Head to Pan-IIT 2014 in Toronto, which takes place from June 6 to 8, at Toronto's International Plaza Hotel and Conference Centre. While you are here, discover Toronto and stretch your visit to see Niagara Falls, play golf and drive further north and discover Canada's beautiful summer.

  

Plan now, see video clip:  http://youtu.be/hv-PFSgHbhg

  

 

The top 5 reasons why you should register for Pan-IIT 2014 Toronto:

 

 

 

Hear world-class keynotes: There will also be top-notch keynote speakers on the stage.

 

 

Directors from Indian Institutes of Technology and their leadership teams will be available to discuss on how to strengthen partnerships with Indian Institutes of Technology.

 

Hear about Canada's offerings in Entrepreneurship direct from leaders. Pan-IIT 2014 Toronto is the venue for Accelerators, Incubators, Venture Capitalists, Entrepreneurs and Universities.

 

Meet your fellow alumni and expand your circle of friends, influencehttp://www.iitsine.org rs, and professional contacts. Pan-IIT 2014 Toronto provides an invaluable opportunity to interact with your peers, compare experiences, bounce ideas, and see and hear industry thought leaders, technology experts and leaders from the academia up close and personal.

 

The theme of Pan-IIT conference sums it up: Innovate, Integrate and Transform. You will walk away with ideas that'll help you discover Canada, its relation with USA and India in a new light. See the list of speakers and more details of the program at www.paniit2014toronto.org and register today !

 

 

 

 

 

Partners PanIIT Partner Organizations
  

 

 

 

 

"Avvaiyar", an enlightened lady from the Tamil Sangam period realized that one of that the most important work she could undertake was to engage in bringing literacy to a large population. Her Aathichudi combines the learning of the alphabet with learning of values and is even today learned by any student of Tamil.  Growing up her work was always an inspiration to me and I often dreamed of being like her: going to the villages to bring literacy. Perhaps every good intention comes true. More than three decades after graduating from IIT Bombay and pursuing a career in Education Technology at Tufts and MIT, I was fortunate to land a position as the Executive Director of the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA.

 

Ekal Vidyalaya is an organization that uses literacy as a primary vehicle to bring about holistic transformation of remote rural and tribal areas in India.  Most NGOs focus their work on urban or semi rural areas.  Working in very remote and rural areas is difficult and thanks to the vision of Ekal founders, we have a scalable and sustainable model for education that can be used to bring education to very remote rural areas at a cost of just a $1/day. Just 365 $ helps support a school for about 30-40 children for a whole year in a small village.  The schools are run in the afternoon for about 3 hours so that children can continue to help their parents with house and farm work and then come to school. 

 

We are coming now 25 years old.  Ekal runs schools in over 57, 000 villages all over India and Nepal and reaches nearly 1.6 million children. We take young people from the area and provide extensive teacher training to them. These teachers become powerful influencers in their communities. Since over 71% of our teachers are women, Ekal has succeeded in empowering over 41000 young women to become powerful influencers in their community.

 

In March I had the unique opportunity to take a trip to Ekal villages in various parts of India from Assam to Tamilnadu.  The trip was eye opening in many ways. One of the striking things for me was the availability of 3G networks even in many remote areas and the familiarity that villagers had with phones.  This presents a huge opportunity to use technology for development.

 

Ekal is planning on embarking on a pilot initiative to enhance the breadth and depth teaching and learning at Ekal villages.  Great opportunities exist for providing advanced courses, vocational training and training of teachers. I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Kannan Moudgalya at IIT Bombay and see the wonderful work done in the "Spoken Tutorial".  I am looking to bring some of that content to Ekal villages.  The platform is also very conducive to develop content for the villages since it has been designed to cater to a diverse and multilingual population. Being an IIT alumni is a true blessing for it allows us easy access to such fine professors and their great work.

 

As I have embarked upon this new adventure the words of Sam Pitroda ring loud and clear - "Most people use their talent to solve the problems of the privileged people. Those problems are much simpler than those of the underprivileged. Yet it is the most important problem" Serving the rural and remote villages in India is not an easy task. Yet arguably it is the most important problem and intellectually challenging problem. The size and complexity of the problem is a challenge. Yet I feel that if I can make even a small impact that would be very fulfilling.

 

I also realize that products and innovation that can be used in the Ekal villages to solve problems can have enormous impact in the commercial world as well. 

 

If anyone would like to get involved with Ekal or get more information about Ekal please go to our website at http://ekal.org.

 

 

 

PS:

It is also interesting that when my daughter, Amrita Saigal, an MIT alumni decided to work on "Saathi" a project to make Sanitary Napkins out of recycled banana tree fiber for use in rural villages in India, she reached out to IIT Bombay. They welcomed her and allowed her to work on her project in India. Prof Ramesh Singh from the department of Mechanical Engineering and Prof Amarnath PI for SINE were most supportive.   The project went on to win the Harvard Business School new venture competition.  

 

About Ranjani Saigal

 

 Ranjani Saigal is the Executive Director of the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of USA. 

 

She has worked in the field of Education Technology for over 25 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tufts University. She has facilitated the development, piloting and deployment of several teaching learning tools and has many publications to her credit. Ranjani Saigal is also the co-founder of a bi-weekly South Asian e-magazine, Lokvani.com that has over 40,000 subscribers. This e-magazine is the premier source of South Asian news in the New England area. She serves on the board of several social enterprises and has helped organize many social enterprise conferences in the US and in India.

 

A strong believer in the power of philanthropy and social entrepreneurship to transform the lives of underprivileged people around the world, Saigal has actively engaged in fundraising, outreach and mentoring for several non-profit organizations. She serves as co-chair of the TIE-Boston Social Enterprise special interest group that works to foster social entrepreneurship in New England. She has won many awards including the India New England Woman of the Year award in 2012 and was honored by Governor Deval Patrick for her contributions to the Arts and Indian Cultural Heritage in Massachusetts.

 

Ranjani Saigal earned her undergraduate degree from IIT Bombay, her Master's in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida and her Master's in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

 

 

VolunteeringIIT Women Alumni Group Launched!
  

IIT Alumni Women Group Launched


It is no surprise that while the percentage count of Women IITians is very low, they are no less competent in terms of success, power and inspiration when compared to their male counterparts from the IITs.  Voice, substance and diversity marked the kickoff launch meeting of the US Chapter of IIT Women Alumni Leadership Core team. Representing 4 different IITs, the 4 women of power met to seed the establishment of the IIT Women Alumni Leadership group discussing its vision, charter and goals. The vision includes a blend of helping to empower fellow IIT Women Alumni, showcasing success stories of IIT women and making a presence at national IIT related Alumni events. The team's immediate next steps involve establishing a network of connections for the IIT Alumni Women in the US using social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. In the true spirit of IITians, the team promised to abide by the values of dedication, intellectual honesty, trust and mutual respect, inclusiveness and laser focus on results. The seeds have been sown and the team will be actively seeking out eager fellow IIT Women in the US to join them in their mission.

 

 

 IIT Women Alumni Linkedin Subgroup Launched

 

The IIT Women's Alumni Leadership team has launched a Women Alumni LinkedIn subgroup under the IIT Alumni LinkedIn group. IIT Women Alumni are encouraged to sign up to be part of this group which aims to not only promote mentoring, but also job and career opportunities for the members through targeted advertising.

 

Join at Linkedin

IITiansarticlesArticles by IITians
  

Movies help me reach more Indians: IIT Delhi Alumni Chetan Bhagat

By : Jagran Post News Desk | Jagran Post Editorial

  

 

In an interview, he shares his experience with "2 States", its team, his association with Bollywood and literature.

 

Excerpts: 

 

Q. Another movie adaptation of your novel, this one very close to home. How much of your true-life love story has the film managed to capture?

 

A. Yes indeed, '2 States' is quite close to me because the inspiration came from my own life. The key plot points are from my life but there is fictionalization and drama added as well. Hence, technically it is Krish and Ananya's story in the book and I think the film has captured that quite well.

 

Q. How much of your romantic and marital life do we see in '2 States'?

 

A. Not much of my marital life, as the film ends with the couple getting married. It is also more a 'how to convince family' story so even the romantic bits are limited.

 

Read full article in Jagran.com

StoriescampusnewsletterStories from Campus Newsletters: This Month it is from IIT Bombay
 
Top 5 places to catch breakfast in and around IITB

Early mornings are known to IITians only post a night-out and there are perhaps many of us who have never seen the sun rise since our lives began here. However, by the end, you invariably would have trekked to the top of Sameer Hill at the crack of dawn and would have headed for the quintessential Maddu Mess afterwards (If you've not done Sameer, you've really missed something at IIT). And in the last semester, when time seems too scarce a commodity to spend alone, you end up meeting people for breakfasts and brunches as well. Here's a list of places where we enjoyed sipping a cup of morning coffee along with the other delights they had on offer.
 
Read full article at Insight, the third eye.
  

  

  

Pursuing his Passion : Samanth Vinil - Dance
By Anant Kekre and Neha Innanje 21st April

  

 Samanth Vinil is currently a fifth year student from the Department of Engineering Physics. From being a nobody in the dance field to clinching a 1 year contract with Cirque du Soleil, a top entertainment company based out of Las Vegas that puts up dance shows all around the world, Samanth has come a long way from his humble beginnings. He learnt his art from scratch by watching videos as a sophie, and did not get deterred when he was not selected to represent IITB as part of the Street Dance group in Mood Indigo that year. Now he's known as Samboy - the Popper. He is a striking example of the fact that hard work, dedication and patience is all you need to be successful in life.

  

InsIghT: Hey Samanth! Congratulations! So firstly, tell us how you got into dancing?

Ironically, I did not dance until I came here. And now that I have found it, I am really happy and thankful to IITB for giving me the opportunity to start, improve and grow.

When I came to IITB, I was really enthusiastic about Physics. My choice of branch was Engineering Physics. But I discovered that what I had expected the branch to be and what it actually was were two completely different things. I was in a dilemma for 2 years. I did not know what to do. Then I found dance - and I loved it. It became my identity. 


Full article at Insight, the third eye
 
 

  

Passing out Formalities + IIT Bombay Bucket List

  

The article is divided into 4 parts, in the following order - Formalities regarding Alumni Membership, Formalities for UGs, Formalities for PGs and the Informal To-Do List. Please ensure that you go through your respective formality lists thoroughly and meticulously. In case anyone comes across any conflicting or alternate procedures other than the one given here, please let us know at insight@iitb.ac.in. It would be a real help.

 

NOTE - In general, while roaming around campus taking care of your formalities, try and keep money around for situations you unearth along the way, like that library fine accumulated by keeping that Kreyszig for 3 years.

 

Read full article at Insight, the third eye
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IIT Alumni - Join us on LinkedIn

 

IIT Alumni Linkedin Group has emerged as a very vibrant resource for our community. We are now 24500+ strong and growing. The group is a great way to connect with fellow IITans living in your area, working in your industry or from your batch. It is great resource to find employers, employees, contacts or customers via qualified introductions on an opt-in basis. The members are finding it as a great place to discuss their ideas or to promote their products.
 

 

Click here to join the LinkedIn Group. 

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