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Sanjay Jagtap – A Tribute

 

H6, Mech Engg, Class of 1990

(1968-2016)

Rest in Peace, Jaggu! 

My memories of Sanjay go back to June 1984 when both of us joined St Vincent’s High School, Pune for our XI. Both of us had done our Std X from other schools hence we were newbies to St Vincent’s.  And as fate would have it, we were in the same class, shared the same bench for 2 years and I got to know a wonderful person.

We used to solve and discuss IIT JEE problems together, did projects together, shared our lunch dabba every day, discussed sports, current issues, politics etc. and those memories are still vivid. His joie-de-vivre was infectious. He was a rooted in values like honesty, hard work, compassion, selflessness and simplicity. He was a grounded individual and a very balanced person. 

A year ago we heard for the first time about his Grade IV brain tumour and at our WhatsApp “Nukkad” for the 1990 batch wherein all of us chatted about cancer and his coping with it. What deep strength we saw in Dhanashri and Sanjay!! How easily they spoke of the struggles, the faith and wanting their children to know every step of the way. Jaggu' s older son Kaustubh is in the National Service in Singapore and the younger one Nilay is 16. Kaustubh has an offer of admission from the National University of Singapore and waiting to finish the service. Both the boys are splitting images of Sanjay.

Jaggu then spoke about wanting his book “Cancer in the 40’s and coping with it” to reach as far and wide as possible. And many of you have helped do that, thank you. He was so excited when his first print run disappeared and he had to order a second and then a third. He reluctantly created the FB page for his book and through that we know that Dhanashri and Jaggu have donated all proceeds to the Cancer Societies of India and Singapore. <https://www.facebook.com/cancerintheforties>

Jaggu was the Go-To person before any exam, many a Mech course have been cracked with Jaggu’s tutorials. At IIT, he personified simplicity and down-to-earth-ness. He played several sports with élan, and cracked acads with no fuss. 

It was a rude shock to hear about Sanjay succumbing to the recurrence of his illness on 3rd Sep 2016 after a strong fight. None of us could imagine this - we had met Jaggu at our batch’s silver jubilee in December, and he seemed to be recovering well. He met all of us, smiled,laughed and chatted away. Memories that were locked away for more than 25-30 years came back and relieved. The evening spent during the silver jubilee re union is the most precious and recent memory we have of Jaggu and that is the way he would like us to remember him- strength and willpower to overcome any challenge, positive, courageous and compassionate and ever-smiling. Our deepest condolences are with his wife Dhanashri, their two sons Kaustubh and Nilay and his parents who are simply Kaka and Kaku to us. 

We are so fortunate we got to meet him at our SJRU - it must have been really difficult for him to come down to IIT.We felt the love, and the indomitable spirit that is Sanjay. 

May his soul rest in peace, and God give the strength to Dhanashri and their two sons.

In Shock. In Admiration. And with tears in my eyes…

We will forever be inspired by you, Jaggu. 

  

~ Vijay Harlapur (on behalf of the Class of 1990) with G Ravishankar and Anu Narasimhan 


 Nelson Fernandes

(B.Tech. 1970, Chem. Engg. H8)


Our friend and batchmate Nelson Fernandes was called by the Almighty to the great beyond on Tuesday, the 6th of September 2016.

Nelson was a larger than life figure who lived his life to the fullest. He was much loved by his batchmates for his warmth, geniality and friendliness. Nelson made his mark in various fields on campus. He was an enthusiastic sportsman and played with full gusto on the football and hockey fields of IITB as a key player on the Hostel 8, Chemical Engineering department and IIT teams. Many a forward line player from the opposing team, though fleet of foot, feared his formidable presence and ability to provide his team with a solid, impenetrable defence. He loved to socialise with his batchmates, both on and off campus and in doing so, had a large circle of friends globally.

Nelson was brilliant in academics, completing his B. Tech. in Chemical Engineering in 1970 with honours. He was selected into the highly competitive IIM Ahmedabad where he completed his MBA in 1972. Nelson went on to successfully establish his own business Hastand Export Pvt. Ltd.,  involved in exporting chemicals and plastics. His work ethic was so strong that he was fully involved in the business despite his life threatening illness. His unflagging pursuit of excellence in business is a role model for his batchmates. Nelson devoted his time to the Committees of various Community Associations and served as a trustee of charitable medical trust, thus showing his spirit of public service.

Nelson maintained a close association with his batchmates, and played a key role in organising various reunions, especially the one on campus in Mumbai, in January 2011 and despite suffering a life threatening illness, demonstrated his immense strength in attending the Sapphire reunion in Goa, January 2016. He showed his batchmates what keeping in touch and rekindling old friendships meant to him, thereby serving as a beacon light to all his batchmates. He was so well connected with his batchmates, that till the very end he kept in touch with them through his laptop, even when ailing in hospital.

Nelson accepted the inevitability of his illness with calm equanimity and a highly positive attitude. The famous Pulitzer Prize winner Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee has called cancer the ‘Emperor of all Maladies’. Nelson disproved that disparaging label with disdain, by keeping the ‘Emperor’ at bay for more than 5 years. In doing so, he displayed towering strength and fortitude and followed in the footsteps of his legendary namesake ‘Lord Nelson’.

Nelson was a devoted husband to Monica for 40 years and a loving father to his two children Aloke in California and Minal in Mumbai.

The passing away of Nelson has left a huge void not just in the hearts of his wife Monica and his two children, but also his many batchmates all over the world. They will miss his ever smiling face and friendly disposition, but more importantly his courageous actions which have left an indelible and unforgettable mark in their lives. Nelson truly belonged not just to his family or Hostel 8 or Chemical Engineering, but to the entire IITB Class of 1970 globally.

Nelson was laid to rest at St. Andrew’s Church in Bandra, Mumbai on the 9th of September 2016
                                                      

~ From his friends and batchmates in the IITB Class of 1970 



 Kirubaharan J

 

 (M.Tech,'12 CTARA,H12)

 

CTARA is deeply saddened by untimely demise of Mr. Kirubaharan J (aged 27 yrs) an IITB Alumnus from the M.Tech. ‘Technology & Development’ program of CTARA (Batch 2010-12). Kiru, fondly called so by his near and dear ones, is survived by his wife, daughter, brother and parents. Kiru was working with the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), an independent academic research organization at Bangalore since 2013 and was extremely passionate about his research work on understanding hydrological changes in urbanizing watersheds. He had been working on modelling the role of man-made storage structures in altering the hydrology of a watershed. The entire CTARA fraternity (faculty, students, staff, alumni) convey their heartfelt condolences to the members of the bereaved family and pray to the Almighty to give them strength and fortitude to withstand this immense loss.


Madhusudan G Rao

 

 (B.Tech.'79 ChE /H8; M.Tech.'82 ChE/H8)

 

I would not claim to know MG Rao closely except for some interactions during my IIT days. He was well known, but I would wonder if he even remembered me. A little exposure to what he did has left long time impressions on my mind.

He was H-8 General Secretary. I observed that the student community was appreciative of what he did for the hostel. Today, when I see the extravagant propaganda of politicians to promote their own image, I cannot but feel the need for people like MG Rao who let his work speak and those who were benefited were his advocates.

He was so well known that we had a clue about him in a treasure hunt within the hostel. The clue was "TNCM come here". Tamil Nadu CM was MG Ramchandran, popularly known as MGR, and "aao" in Hindi means "come here".

I was brought up in a small town in a Marathi school. The norm was to respect teachers so much that if I saw a teacher in the street, I would say "namaskar sir (or madam)" with due respect. I would not even want to be spotted eating in a restaurant (well, a street tapari) or being in a movie theater by a teacher, lest they would disclose my private affairs in the class the next day. Suddenly, IIT was a culture shock to me. In one GBM at the hostel, the warden, deputy warden and the student council members seated on chairs with a table in front of them, all facing the students. MG Rao was questioning the warden in a tone that seemed impudent for my cultural upbringing. He was well prepared with data and arguments. We often had jokes later about his style of providing references such as "in statute xyz, in article abc, in section x.y, in subsection m.n, on page number N, in paragraph p, in line l, the following words refer to blah." His confident style automatically attracted many student supporters, especially when the wardens had no convincing explanation. He used a judicious mix of emotions and technical information to make his points. We engineers were more moved with the technical depth of his studies and logical arguments, while being driven emotionally subconsciously.

The next I remember is that he had expanded beyond the hostel level activities. He was questioning the director, A. K. De, in the presence of hundreds of students in the Main Building premises. Students could feel that the director was less prepared to answer the pointed questions from a well prepared MG Rao. He got a large following by students, most of whom remained present to witness the incident. A majority were clueless and kept marveling at his eloquence and the way he cornered the director with his questioning. Most had no idea of the innards and the complexity of the situation. I was to get a peripheral glimpse of this only after a year. Unfortunately, the overall sequence of events led to a situation that entailed closing of the institute and parents of students getting letters at home about a code of conduct to be followed.

In my 4th year at IIT, I was mess coordinator of H-8. I was quite naive and was squarely focused on reducing mess bills and getting good service to students. There were some days when the mess workers would go on strike. Once, during the afternoon tiffin time, I saw MG Rao sitting on a chair in the mess near the water cooler, having some papers on a small table. He was handing out these papers to each mess worker. This was the first time I saw him directly supporting the mess workers in the open. I could see how the mess workers followed his guidance with utmost respect and gratitude. They were preparing for a procession organized for the next day.

The committee that the hostel had appointed in 1982 to choose a candidate for Roll of Honor, a very prestigious title whereby his name would appear for years in a list displayed in the hostel lounge, selected MG Rao for the accolade. This was kind of untimely and controversial, given his open support to mess workers in their fight with the institute. The committee members did the right thing by evaluating the contributions of the candidates to the hostel. On the day of the valedictory function, we, the council members, had to get together in the lawn for a quick decision. We took the stand that we had selected the committee members, so we must respect the decision made by this committee. MG Rao was felicitated on that day. I sometimes wish that politicians would not cloud their decisions when it is a matter of merit in national interest.

I did not interact much directly with him and did not keep in touch with him. His being in the limelight gave me some exposure to his talent, preparedness and conviction to stand up for what he believed in.

 

~ By Jayash C Desai

 

 

Harakhchand Savla 

 (B.Tech. '71 EE)

 

Our friend and classmate Harakhchand Savla (age 67 yrs), breathed his last, on Wednesday 2nd Dec, 2015 evening at 7:15PM PST in San Diego, California. Yet his every breath was commensurate with copious Harakh (excitement of life), spread fragrance of Chand (chandan – sandalwood),through the soft and soothing glow of Chand (moon-light).

Armed with B.Tech (Electrical Engineering) from IIT Bombay in 1971 and entrepreneurship running in his veins, immediately after a brief stint in industry to master the nuances of electronics design, and assimilate processes to assure quality he ventured out, to set up his own manufacturing unit to build printed circuit boards. Soon enough as ‘SAVLA CIRCUITS’ he established credentials of being the best and quality supplier of PCBs, innovating all the way to develop Flexible PCBs and address upcoming industry requirements.

His penchant to find practical solutions to real world problems, had him develop a unique wall-clock ‘SAMAY’ powering the hour-markers by discreet LEDs but diffusing their light to give effect of lines, embedding LEDs on the moving hands and powering them through slip-rings.This was oriented for the elderly people who would find it very easy to know the time at night while remaining in the comfort of a warm bed.To many its soft glow served as night lamp, and some used it as indicator during a power outage. A battery would keep the basic clock ticking. 

His pursuit of knowledge, capacity to deep-dive and assimilate it, and then emanate it for its wider use was best demonstrated in his efforts to compile historical and global repositories on cancer and publish it as a book ‘The Answer To Cancer’. He then distributed it free, in the wide circle of friends and associates with the noble intent of inculcating a life-style to ensure “Never give a chance for cancer to start”. His sincerity and integrity wrapped with dry humour enabled him to take on even the most serious situation in a lighter vein and drive positivity for self and others. No wonder he relegated all cancer associated negativity into oblivion while truly fighting cancer himself.

To facilitate rehabilitation of cancer patients and also develop immunity for it, he dwelled in associated research to learn all about the enzyme ‘CoQ10’. Going further he also developed a supply chain for its economic distribution, called one and all to brief about it and then follow-up to ensure its implementation!

We salute him for the values he lived by and instilled in others, his dedication to society, and for all his humility while making it real big in life. We will miss him as a friend who we could always rely upon for any support, guidance and advice but will always be indebted to him, for his heritage in electro-electronics-technology front, followed by precise compilation of a  healthcare manual.

Our heartfelt condolences go to his family members: Manjulaben, Anup and Purvi, Mayur and Debosmita, Sameer and Sangeeta. 

- by the class of 1971 EE IIT Bombay

 

Here's what Bakul Desai, former Chairman of IITBAA says about his interaction with H K Savla:

 

During my phone conversations with Harakhchand Savla , these are the three things that stood out.

 

1. You guys are doing good work and I want to donate 5 lakhs to you with a request to use most judiciously. Use it for whatever purpose you think best. I'd prefer to donate to IITBAA rather than IIT even if I have to lose 50% tax exemption

2. If possible, use my funds to research on roti making machines. There is huge potential here for students and alumni and I'll send you youtube links to explain my point (and he did send me the link).

 3. I've bought 1000 copies of Cosmos by Carl Sagan and shipped from US to Gandhinagar to be distributed free to interested folks. It's great book. From this lot, I would like to send 100 to IITBAA with a request to distribute to hostels and alumni. Unfortunately, we could not close this and it slipped.

(As received from Bakul Desai)

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Hiro K. Chhatpar

(B.Tech. '71 EE)

 

Hiro K. Chhatpar was born on August 23, 1938 in Karachi, India.  He graduated in 1965 from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, India with a Bachelor of Engineering.  He later immigrated to the United States and studied at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, WY with MA (Art) in 1970.  Upon completion of his studies in Laramie WY, he enrolled at Utah State University and obtained his MFA/Ph.D. in Fine Arts in 1975 in Logan, Utah.

Shortly after graduating at the University of Wyoming, he married Mona in a traditional Indian ceremony in Mumbai, India; they later settled in Salt Lake area employed by Area Office of the Western Area Power Administration.  In addition to art and engineer, he obtained significant recognition as a Gourmet Chef, Living Traditions Annual participant to play classical Indian music on his Sitar.  Along with that, he performed Sitar music concert in hundreds of festivities to include Living Traditions and other university sponsored musical programs.  His artwork consisting of thousands of pieces in a number of media which would include oil painting, block printing, cubisz, and drawings, just to name a few.

He is survived by his son, Rishi, daughter-in-law Simran, and his brothers Tibu, Chandan, Khaku, and Sunil. Dr. Hiro K. Chhatpar was cremated on 12 May 2014 at the Jenkin-Soffee Mortuary in South Jordan.


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Anand Rathi 

(Dual Degree, Meta, Class of 2012, H9)

Anand.jpg

 

I am deeply saddened to write this obituary for one of my dearest friend, Anand Rathi (Dual Degree, Meta, Hostel 9). I spent all my 5 years at IIT Bombay with him, 3 years as his room mate and 2 years as his wing mate. We all were shocked to hear the news of his untimely, unfortunate demise. He left for heavenly abode at very young age of 26 years. He had 3 bouts of brain haemorrhage and couldn't recover from it. 

First thought that comes to mind while writing this memoir is, "It's Bachhan's obituary, it has to be funny". 'Bachhan' is what we all use to call him, nick named after famous movie character Bachan Pandey. He could crack weirdest, yet most funny jokes at any time. Outings with him were fun all together at a different level. He was full-of-life, loved by all batch-mates, wing juniors and seniors.

He started a coaching institute in Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, his home town, along with his two other friends and was helping students from the small town to clear IIT JEE and achieve great success in their lives. Prior to that, he spent a year at Ohio University, USA working as Research Assistant. 

His friend Damini Jain wrote this beautiful poem for him

The most painful goodbyes are,
Which are never said nor explained,
Yet people go to another world
Leaving their memories to be framed

God’s plans are so weird
Work in such mysterious ways
Never thinking of the ones left behind
Calling back his son from this earthly race

Family in grief
Friends in tears
Happy enemies
Ever-gossiping peers

I always wondered
What happens to the goner’s family?
How do they accept he is gone?
And how do they move on?

I only wondered until now,
Now when I witnessed the same misfortune
When our beloved friend Anand left us all
Leaving this world and beyond the moon

A person so kind, 
Ever so calm
Never to return to his hero Dad
Never will he spread his mamma’s boy charm

I am sure you wanted to say the last goodbye 
To your Wifey nimi,sis Deepa,best brother RamGopal
Little Runjhun, best friend Goda
And to your soul “FOCUS”, where you tackled the halka sawaal

3 idiots(Anand rajesh & Nikhil) started off with a same dream
To impart knowledge as a profession
But you left in the middle
Exactly in a movie fashion

The other two(Rajesh & Nikhil) never left his side
Praying and crying all day long
Disappointed and angry at you
Yet made themselves so strong

No matter that you have left them too
They are your legacy
To carry your dream forward
For you was the one who motivated them to realize your fantasy

With your big dreams,
you followed your own ways
Kind and dedicated to your family
You had the reputation for being different always.

What I will remember you for
Is your silly PJ’s
A person who fought with me all the time
Muttering his self made clichés

On and off,
We miss you so much
For the things you did were so jabbar
Chamkaoed everyone with your personal touch

All the masti
All the party fun
Dabeli, sandwich, poha and samosa sessions
Movies at FOCUS and the end moment paper-making run

A person so kind and soft ,
Not once did he screamed or shout
Who will now fulfil his incomplete dream?
To travel the world inside out

Now that you are gone
Never to return again
you shall watch over all
To protect from the pain

For your family and friends
Time is the healer
Moving on with acceptance
We bid adieu, to the lost happiness’ dealer.


He will be missed dearly. May his soul rest in peace

~ Arpit

 

 

Praful Bidwai

 

(Image courtesy: http://images.indianexpress.com/2015/06/untitled-81.jpg)

 

Praful Bidwai passed away in Amsterdam on June 23. Here's how his friends Niranjan Bhat and Sadu Nanjundiah remember him:

I am deeply saddened to read about Praful's death in Amsterdam. I remember him from our Hostel IV days at IIT, the long conversations on social, economic and political matters and his abiding commitment to justice, fairness, equality and concern for the environment. He wrote with passion and his criticisms of the acts of our corrupt and oppressive rulers, and those around the world were based on well-researched facts. I remember when he decided to end his IIT studies to go to Dhulia and work with the Adivasis who were being exploited by the government and killed by organized gangs and the police for opposing the illegal expropriation of their land. The Adivasis were fighting with bows and arrows against guns. His reporting of those events were amongst the earliest exposes of how our rulers worked hand-in-glove with criminals in depriving the poorest people of their lives and livelihoods.

Years later, I used to see Praful occasionally doing research in the dusty shelves of the Asiatic Society library. But then I lost personal contact with him and only read his many illuminating articles on issues of the day, most recently on nuclear power and the dangers associated with it that governments worldwide seem to ignore.

We have very few journalists like him left in India. And those who write fearlessly like him are persecuted, even killed, for speaking truth to power.

 

With much grief

~ Sadu

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I knew Praful Bidwai during the two years he spent at H4 at Powai. He was our batchmate in 1966 but left IIT before completing his engineering studies.

 I was in touch with him in 1996 while in the midst of organising our Class of 71 Silver Jubilee Reunion. He said he would try to attend our Dec 1996 Reunion but later backed out. I have been out of touch with him since then but have closely followed his journalistic career.

~ Niranjan Bhat

 


 

Ashley Rodrigues

 

 

 

Ashley Rodrigues (Class of 71, Elec, H4) passed away on May 22nd, 2015. Here's an extract from the eulogy that was delivered by his son Akhil:

 "After studying engineering at the IIT - he spent over 30 years at Crompton Greaves where he not only proved to be a consummate salesman, but a mentor to many young executives -  to quote one of them "Ashley pushed almost every boundary to frightening distances ....and that's what made him special, competitive and unequalled in many ways. ....In the midst of a demanding, frenetic paced work life ....with Ashley demanding excellence every step..... I found him to be really caring and generous to a fault"  

My dad visited over 80 countries, and everywhere he went, his love for life shone through - he loved the world and the world loved him back. I have many fond memories of traveling with him - and I've always admired his ability to make friends with just about anyone, under just about any circumstances. ...."

 


 

 

Shahzad Wakeel

 

 

Shahzad Wakeel (B.Tech,'05,Chem Engg, H8) was great at building communities. Inside campus, he was Cult-Co. He started RANG (Rendezvous of Artists of New Generation/ Roadside Artists in New Garb) - The unofficial Fine art club of IIT Bombay. He ran it for two years with help of others where he helped bridge the gap between UG/PG/IDC students while bringing them together in the name of art.

 

After graduation, Shahzad kept working as a consultant for various projects but never abandoned his desire for building communities and connecting with people. He fought hard to motivate people in volunteering for social causes, and to help them get off, started a NGO called ~Pankhudi. 

 

Shahzad was not one to sit quiet, he started The Gyaan Foundation, which was to make a knowledge base of career choices and skill trees, so that students who were weak in academics or talented/passionate otherwise could go and figure out how to go about doing it. The Gyaan Project is still a work in progress. 

 

He was ill during the last 2-3 days of his life and was at home in Patna with his parents when he started having breathing difficulties. He suffered from congestion in his lungs and passed away on 17th November, 2014 from a fatal asthama attack.  

 

As he goes back to the palms of his creator, may he find peace. 

 
He will be missed dearly.

 

 

 


Shri P.Koteswar Rao

Past president of the Hyderabad Chapter, Shri P.Koteswar Rao is no more. He expired on 11/06/2014 and is survived by his wife & two sons, Mr. Srinivas & Mr. Praveen. Born on 29/05/1941, (aged - 73 years), he passed out of IIT B in 1962 - the first batch of IITB. He was an active Rotarian & was president of Rotary club of Bhagyanagar.He setup a plant to manufacture Process equipment for Chemical industry at Hyderabad by name - Balaji Engg works in 1985.

May his soul rest in peace & may god give the family strength to face this loss.


Mrs.Aruna Thosar Dixit
                                             
 
 
 

Mrs. Aruna Thosar Dixit, former PRO at IIT Bombay died at the age of 67 in Pune due to a prolonged illness on 28 May 2014.

 

Known as the ever-smiling PRO of IIT, she also was an English playwright with one of her successful plays, A romance for Ruby directed by Naseeruddin Shah.  She was also a recipient of fellowship 'Writer's Block' by British Council. Her body and eyes were donated. She leaves behind her husband Pradeep and two children.

 


 

   Harshwardhan Gupta
                                       
                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                                                  
Harsh Gupta, (BTech 76 mechanical engineering) aged 59 died at Indore on early morning of 19th of February due to cardiac arrest. A prayer meeting was held on the 23rd of February 2014 in Pune – his place of residence and work.

Harsh was born in Indore on 2nd August 1954 and studied at Bal Vinay Mandir, Indore. He spent a year at Holkar Science College before joining IIT, Bombay in 1970. He finished in 1976. At IIT he was known for machine design, creative design and cartoons. He worked with Godrej and Boyce Pvt Ltd, as a design engineer 1976-78. He then moved to Pune and worked with Electronica Machine Tools Pvt Ltd from 1978-81.

He married Nandini Bahadur on 27th June 1985.

To pursue his passion for machine design he started Neubauplan on 17th August 1981 to design and develop special purpose machines. During the span of about thirty three years, he designed and developed innovative machines for different verticals. His scope of work would normally include understanding customer requirements, conceptualizing and then designing and developing a working prototype. He had developed some vendors who met his exacting standards with some difficulty! The machines he developed include machines for chiseling of files and boxfil for filling FMCG products in shipping cartons. He also worked with a pair of contemporary artists to develop some moving mechanisms for their art forms. A brilliant designer, he was very meticulous and innovative in his work and was totally against what he called ‘Juggadbaji’.

His two children – Maitreyi and Mihir - are both engineers and have been trained under his watchful eye. His wife Nandini was his friend and partner in his every venture and has her own business activity.

 
May his soul rest in peace.
               

Prof M.S. Kamath
Professor M. S. Kamath, retired professor of Electrical Engineering passed away at 1730 hrs on July 10th at Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital in Chinchwad, Pune after a prolonged illness caused by complications from a lung infection. He is survived by his sisters and nephew, Prakash Padiyar.

No history of IIT Bombay will be complete without a few pages, if not a whole chapter, about Prof Kamath, who was a legendary and passionate teacher. He joined IITB in the year 1961 as a young lecturer with a B. E. (Hons) from Madras University and then DIISc from IISc, Bangalore. 

He was both feared and respected by his students. Victor Menezes, ex-Vice Chairman of Citigroup, and one of Prof. Kamath's students whom he affectionately remembered even during his final days, once fondly described Prof. Kamath as ''the most dreaded professor'' on campus 30 years ago.
 
Prof. Kamath's classes were the hardest to get into. And once in, students wondered what hit them. Kamath's grading system was a punch in the nose for students who fancied themselves as the best and brightest in India. Often, only one student per test got an A - the top scorer. The next few got a B. Everyone else got Cs, Ds, or Fs. Prof. Kamath was loved for his dedication to teaching. He often said, "I used to tell my students, IIT is a center of excellence. I don't want you to be third-rate products."

Prof. Kamath was well-known for his quick and dry wit among students. His vivas were even more dreaded than his written exams. He always designed problems whose solutions needed very clear fundamentals but had simple numerical answers. His book on Basic Electrical Circuits is still used widely for its problem compilation. All his students agree on one thing - what they learnt in his classes stayed with them forever.

Prof Kamath was also a skilled bridge player and often played in national level open bridge tournaments after he retired in 1991. Not many of his students knew that he loved old Hindi songs, K. L. Saigal and Mukesh being is favourites, and he could be sometimes persuaded to sing them at IIT functions. When his students visited him in hospital, they would play some of his favourite songs for him and his face would light up. Although he could not speak in his final days, he would somehow scribble names of students he remembered and enjoyed listening to how he was complimented by students.

May his soul rest in peace, and may God give strength to his family, friends, and students to bear the loss!

Those interested in getting in touch with the relatives may contact Prakash Padiyar at ppadiyar@gmail.com

 

 


 

 

 

Kavita Gunaji

 

Kavita Gunaji (Kavita Pai, 1985 batch, IIT-Bombay) passed away May 2, 2013. She did her B.Tech in Chemical Engineering and MS in Mechanical Engineering from New Mexico State University, USA.

 

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 Prof. SC Bhattacharya

 

 

Former Dy Director, IITB, former Director, NCL, Pune, former Director, JC Bose Institute of Science, Kolkata. He was a SS Bhatnagar award winner and has had one of the most meritorious and distinguished career as a teacher and scientist.  This apart he was an ideal person, most affable and unassuming.

He was unwell for the last few months and was hospitalised in Kolkata for sometime but had recovered completely and had gone back to his home in Dehradun. He died peacefully.

 

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Ajit K Desai (C'83)

 

Ajit Krishnaji Desai, 50, passed away on April 29th, 2013 at his home in Troy, Michigan. He was born on June 18th, 1962 in Jat in the state of Maharashtra in India to Krishnaji and Lata Desai.

Ajit grew up in Mumbai. He graduated from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai, India in 1983 with honors. After graduating from IIT he migrated to the US and received his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Syracuse University in New York State. He also earned Master of Engineering Management from University of Detroit.

Ajit worked for Ford Motor Company in Dearborn for approximately 10 years before joining Chrysler Corporation where he worked for the past 16 years.

Ajit married Arundhati in 1991 in Mumbai, India. They were happily married for the past 22 years.

Ajit is survived by his spouse Arundhati, son Sameer and daughter Manasi.

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Sudhir Karnik (Spikey) 1951 -2012 

Spikey, we all knew him as and not many seemed to know why or how Sudhir Karnik  got his nickname. Even Spikey was rather evasive about it.  Rajiv Deshpande (C72) who was Spikey’s classmate in Bombay Scottish remembers him as a brilliant student and an outstanding athlete. It was Rajiv who finally cleared the mystery. Apparently it was Spikey’s hair which would protrude radially outward that gave him his nickname.

Spikey’s name conjures up many images. Spikey driving around the campus on his motor-bike (one of the very few in H3 at that point of time), Spikey wielding his racquet on the tennis court to win some badly needed points towards to Sports Trophy, Spikey as the roulette wheel operator in the hostel fetes. But having been his next door neighbour in H3 for two years, the most enduring of these images will be Spikey holding forth on a multitude of topics with a glass of his favourite drink in his hand.

Since all other guys in our wing (apart from Spikey) were from my batch (Class of 76), Spikey had become an honorary member of C76 and although most of us had lost touch with him in the intervening pre-email / pre-cellphone era, when we reconnected much later in the nineties, it was as if there was no intermission. He resumed his position as a full-fledged member of C76.

He had obviously added a few dimensions to his already colourful persona. He had gained an MBA from Asian Institute of Management at Manila, was an active and a successful trader in the stock market, and had scored few solid home-runs as angel investor  / VC . Although externally he was still the same old Spikey, hard-boiled, sharp-as-nails, street smart, no-nonsense guy, he had also become mellowed down in some ways. He had become a lot more approachable and one could feel the genuine warmth in his relationship with old friends like us. He was very free with his advice on the stock market and open to any of us to call him up and discuss any issues and connect us to his contacts as and when required.

In later years Spikey had developed a penchant for farming and he would spend his week-ends at his Vangani farm planting and organically nurturing a large variety of fruit trees. One doesn’t know if he had had any premonition, but for last couple of years he seemed to be in a winding down mode. He was planning to take things a bit easy with his dogs and the Vangani farm. In fact over the past few months he spent an enormously long time with his dog which he got operated upon and nursed back to health rather than put it to sleep as per the advice of his vet.

His sudden departure from the world on 17th November 2012 was probably characteristic of the person, “no long drawn farewells” for him. He leaves behind Anjali with whom he had been married for more than three decades and  two sons Abhijit and Ashutosh, both of them married and well settled; Abhijit, the elder one in Bay Area and Ashutosh, the younger one in London. 

We will miss you Spikey. Rest in Peace.
 
--Shirish Potnis aka Potty - C76 -  H3

Journey of Thinking and Destiny:

Pranay V. Shah - 1954-2012 

Pranay joined IIT Bombay in 1971 after schooling at Cathedral High School, Mumbai. P Shah had many “avatars” at IIT….some knew him as a guitar player, others as a bridge player, some as a prolific reader & a philosophic person and yet others knew him as the proverbial “mumbler” with one ear tucked in. Whichever “avatar” it was, a common thread ran through all of them….he endeared himself to one and all. 

After graduating from IIT (Mumbai, batch of 1971), Pranay left for the US to do his MBA and pursue a managerial career. Being extremely reticent when it came to his own achievements, few of us would know that he graduated as a Babcock Scholar (the highest honour) from Wake Forest University, North Carolina. He rose rapidly in the executive ranks at Hanes, recognized always as caring and competent. Later in 1995 he joined United Healthcare and stayed on till 2000. 

In parallel, he continued studies into the “meaning of life”, which he had begun in high school! In the late 1980s, Pranay discovered a kindred philosopher in Harold Percival whose masterwork of "Thinking and Destiny" became his touchstone. 

In February 1997 he reconnected with Mala Dayal, his school friend and they married happily. After returning to Mumbai in 2000, Pranay took up consulting and executive coaching. 

In 2001, Mala and Pranay moved to Pune and Pranay added the mantle of becoming a life coach to friends….new and old, young and experienced. The lower you were in the socio-economic echelons of society the deeper was Pranay involvement and the quicker his influence. As he would often describe, “They don’t carry any baggage and can grasp the true meaning of life in an uncluttered manner”. This life coaching, which was indeed precious to all who were fortunate to know him, shone even after he was stricken with leukemia and right to the end. Even in his few months, Pranay brought so many estranged friends together, to carry on the journey of life as he had coached them to….with meaning and purpose. For Pranay, and an inspiring mantra for us, it was always "Forward". So it is....  


 Prof. R. E. Bedford (1926-2012)

Prof. R. E. Bedford, Professor Emeritus at IIT Bombay, passed away in Chennai on 25th June 2012, aged 86. He was a faculty member at IIT Bombay from 1958 to 1986, and was its acting Director and Director during 1980-81.

After completing his Ph.D. from the University of Madras in 1955, he held a post-doctoral position at IIT Kharagpur before going to the University of Illinois, USA as a visiting assistant professor. He joined IIT Bombay as an assistant professor in its early days -- September 1958 -- and became full professor in 1966. He was Head, Department of Electrical Engineering in 1964-1966, and was the acting Director and then Director from August 1980 to December 1981. He retired from IIT Bombay in 1986, and was conferred the lifetime Emeritus Professorship shortly thereafter.

Prof. Bedford was one of IIT Bombay's most admired faculty members, held in high esteem by students, faculty and staff alike. A specialist in the theory of electrical machines, he laid the foundation for the country's pre-eminent group in this area at IIT Bombay. Prof. Bedford had worked for his doctorate degree on the theme of prediction of performance of electrical machines using concepts of electromagnetic fields. Continuing this work at IIT Bombay, he published benchmark research papers on space-time harmonics and design of machines. Many students worked under his guidance for doctorate research. His book on electrical machines, co-authored with his colleague in IIT Kharagpur, was a 'bible' on machine theory in those times. Over the years, Prof. Bedford migrated, with ease, to other topics like network synthesis and power electronics, thus straddling both the "heavy'" and "light" current domains – as they were then known -- of electrical engineering.

As an academic administrator, he led the Senate Committee, till today known as the Bedford Committee, which resulted in the far-sighted academic re-structuring of IIT Bombay, which continues till today. He served as acting Director and then Director with distinction for about 16 months in 1980-81.

Professor Bedford was a true scholar, pursuing knowledge for its own sake, and always interested in new ideas not only from his own field of specialization but other areas as well. He was well known for his Socratic method of teaching, using questioning and discussion to stimulate critical thinking. Students and colleagues soon came to realize that his quizzical doubts of various points of electrical
engineering indicated not a lack of understanding, but rather the beginning of a deeper probing. He thus trained a generation of students and colleagues in non-dogmatic and open thinking, not only about technical matters, but about academic issues in general. He was one of a small band of influential faculty members in the formative years of IIT Bombay who created the ethos of an open academic environment, which continues in IIT Bombay till today.

Professor Bedford will be remembered by his colleagues and students at IIT Bombay as the quintessential gentleman, informal, warm and accessible, having a great sense of humour, and as a caring mentor for students and young colleagues. His informality carried over to his dress style. Once at an important conference, his colleagues remember that one of the captains of industry remarked, "What, Bedford, you're in shirt sleeves!" To which Professor Bedford replied with his inimitable good humour, "If I may paraphrase Gandhiji, you are dressed enough for us both!" Professor Bedford also enjoyed many non-curricular activities. He was a puzzle solver par excellence, who routinely completed the (then difficult) Times crossword before the 10:30 am class. He will also be fondly remembered for his portrayal of Professor Higgins trying to teach circuit theory to a recalcitrant Eliza (played by Professor Jimmy Isaac) in the IIT spoof version of My Fair Lady.

The legacy that Professor Bedford created during his years at IIT Bombay will live on in many important ways.

May his soul rest in peace.


Girish Sant (23.01.1966 – 02.02.2012)
 

Girish_obituaryGirish Sant, one of the pioneering analysts and advocates of pro-people, scientific policies in the energy sector, passed away on 2nd February 2012 at New Delhi due to cardiac arrest. He completed his B. Tech. in Chemical Engineering from IIT-Bombay in 1986 followed by his Masters in Energy Systems Engineering in 1988. As a student, Girish was a keen mountaineer and loved spending time in the Himalayas.

Girish started his professional career by teaching Chemical Engineering in the Bharati Vidyapeeth College, Pune followed by a short stint with the Systems Research Institute where he researched trends in energy and appliance usage with changing urbanization in Western Maharashtra. In 1989, Girish began work on macro-level energy policy and planning, starting with a detailed Integrated Resource Plan for Maharashtra inspired by the pioneering work of his mentor, Prof Amulya K N Reddy from Indian Institute of Science.

Girish’s firm belief that professional skills should be used to address pressing social questions led him along with his doctor and engineer friends to start PRAYAS in 1994.  The word ‘Prayas’ means ‘focused effort’. Prayas is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation based in Pune, India. Prayas undertakes public interest oriented policy analysis in the areas of Health, Energy and Livelihoods. Members of Prayas are professionals working to protect and promote the public interest in general, and interests of the disadvantaged sections of the society, in particular. Prayas Energy Group believes that effective control and influence on governance by people and civil society organisations is the key to efficient governance that would protect and promote public interest. Public interest issues include consumer issues as well broad social issues. In consumer issues, Prayas gives more attention to the issues affecting the poor and the disadvantaged. Social issues include environmental sustainability and equity. Girish was the coordinator of Prayas Energy Group, which made significant contributions over the last two decades through policy analysis and advocacy in the electricity sector.

Some of Girish’s well-known contributions include the scientific critique of the Enron power project; analysis of Sardar Sarovar’s power project, constructive engagement with the electricity regulators and preparation of a Citizen’s Primer on the electricity sector.  Some of his recent contributions include implementation innovations in the areas of energy efficient appliances and renewable energy systems for meeting India’s energy needs. He represented India in several international for a on climate and energy issues; authored a range of scientific papers; won several awards, and was a member of various committees of government as well as civil society.

Recently, as a member of the Climate Experts’ Group under BASIC countries, of the Planning Commission’s Experts Committee on the Low Carbon Strategy for Inclusive Growth, and the 12th Plan Steering Committee of the Ministry of Non-Renewable Energy and Ministry of Power, he courageously and relentlessly championed the cause of the weaker sections of society and the long term interest of the nation.

His hard work, his commitment and dedication to the cause of the marginalized are an example for everyone to emulate. His work was characterized by a high analytical rigour and fairness, and honesty with which he approached policy analysis and innovation. He always strived for and was driven by the need for tangible impacts.

Girish was truly a great team leader and team builder and had an innate ability to inspire and motivate everyone to strive for something higher. Above all, his friends and colleagues remember him for his humility, simplicity, and the humane touch in his professional and personal relationships. He achieved a lot in his short lifetime, and leaves behind lot of work to be done. We at Prayas enjoyed working with him and plan to carry on the work he started -  the best tribute we could give him.

Sreekumar N (with support from Subodh Wagle, Shripad Dharmadhikary, Ashok Srinivas and Shantanu Dixit)

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