AT THE GOLDEN JUBILEE CELEBRATIONS
NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, KURUKSHETRA
15 September 2012
Dr. A Sivathanu Pillai
Distinguished Scientist & CC (R&D), DRDO, & CEO & MD, BrahMos Aerospace
Respected Prof Anand Mohan, Director of the Institute, Deans, Head of the Departments, distinguished guests and dignitaries, faculty and administrative officials of the Institute, friends from Media and dear students, ladies and gentlemen. My warm greetings to all of you.
I am indeed delighted to be in your midst today - on the joyous occasion of the golden jubilee celebrations of NIT Kurukshetra. I feel so proud to be a part of this premier technical institute of national importance, having completed 50 golden years at this historic location which once radiated the power of knowledge in the form of Bhagavat Gita to the world.
NIT Kurukshetra started with just 120 students 50 years ago has grown to more than 1600 students. The institute also gradually increased number of courses in various disciplines of engineering, both in graduate and post graduate levels. The recent data revealed that the alumni of this Institute have occupied and are occupying the various important top positions like CEOs and MDs of Companies, vice Chancellors of Universities, Dy Chief Minister of Sikkim, Industrialists and Founders of MNCs, Professors and Scientists. I am saying this assertively because five of your alumni are working with us in BrahMos project and their intelligence and contributions are very significant in making a big impact on the success of our project. This signifies the importance of NIT Kurukshetra in the nation building.
I must compliment the NITK for effectively utilizing its resources to develop a viable infrastructure and human resources base. Contributions of every one of you involved are appreciable.
Our spiritual wisdom and civilization have been our strength. The brain power of our people is better than that of any other country and we are in demand elsewhere. The onslaughts of invaders for more than 1000 years and the numbing effects of colonisation did not deter us. We have learnt to adjust rifts and divisions in our own society. But in the process of all adjustments, we also lowered our aims and expectations and settled down to a lower mindset. From the great knowledge givers to the world and richness, we came down to the lowest strata of prosperity, when we got the freedom. It is time to regain our heritage and wisdom to enrich our lives. We need to home-grow our own model of development, based on our inherent strengths to tell the world that Indians are great people.
I would like to state an example of how we had overtaken the advanced countries in the area of high technology weapon – the Supersonic Cruise Missile BRAHMOS by leap-frog.
BrahMos Supersonic Cruise Missile – The Brahmastra
The Gulf Wars from 1991 gave us the message that cruise missiles are very important to destroy the enemies’ assets on the very first day, without even the enemy knowing. Cruise missiles are stealthy, fly at very low altitude and are very precise to hit their target. American Tomahawk missiles were dominant during the Gulf Wars, but it has a subsonic speed. India decided to go for cruise missile development, with a difference. When the whole world was using subsonic (i.e. speed less than that of sound) cruise missiles, India decided to go for supersonic cruise missile, 3 times faster than the speed of sound. To cut short the time of development and inherit very high level of technology, India joined hands with Russia making the BrahMos joint venture. BrahMos is responsible to design, develop, produce and market a world class cruise missile. A new generation young scientists from the Indian institutions with the help of experienced Russian specialists, formed a consortium with industries of India and Russia, made it possible to create a wonderful product, i.e. BRAHMOS. It is a supersonic cruise missile, which can be launched from any platform on land, on sea, underwater and in the air with multiple missions against land and sea targets. The unique nature of BrahMos with its universality made Indian Armed Forces, the first in the world to possess supersonic cruise missiles. Various versions of BRAHMOS have been developed, produced and inducted in the Indian Armed Forces on ships and on land. The best students from more than 200 upcoming National Institutes including NIT, Kurukshetra are those who have created history by making this wonderful product, which made India the world leader in the cruise missile family. The developed world got astonished to see the Indian might through this Brahmastra. We together established that “We can do it”.
Hypersonic Reusable Cruise Missile–The Sudharshan Chakra
Lord Krishna took Viswaroop at Kurukshetra, with his mighty ever-moving Sudharshan Chakra on his right index finger. The importance of Sudharshan Chakra was its ever readiness to destroy the enemy and come back. If this is so, the idea came to us that why not we create a hypersonic cruise missile which destroys the target and flies back to us for re-use. Going at a speed of Mach 7, deliver the warhead, assess the destruction of the target, come back and get ready to go again, i.e. Hypersonic Reusable Cruise Missile, the next version of Sudharshan Chakra. This is the BrahMos-II programme and it has been started with its design and basic technology development. Our dream of achieving this extraordinary project will come true with the help of young engineers like you.
Brain Power of Indians & the standard of Indian Institutions
As we have seen from the above example, the brain power of India is enormous and there is no equivalent force to it in the rest of the world. Talents of the students who pass out from Indian technical institutions are well recognised in the Western world. Whereas, these “Institutes of Excellence” of India i.e. IITs are ranking at 200 plus spots. According to the QS University World Ranking, IIT Delhi and IIT Kanpur have attained a position of 212 and 278 respectively in the world ranking chart. IITs get funding to the tune of Rs.900-1300 crores each for the education of its students. Near about Rs.1.7 crore being spent on every student and almost all migrate to the developed countries. Which means the knowledge gained by them is being used for the development of the countries other than India at our cost.
Comprising thirty autonomous institutes located in one each major state/ territory of India, NITs are the main resource of technical manpower of India fulfilling the need for quality manpower in the field of engineering and technology. All NITs have shown continuous improvements in fine-tuning competitiveness of student, administration structure, academic research and student placements. Students who are passing out of NITs have become the major brain resource for the nation’s important mission mode programmes. We thank you for contributing for the country’s missions.
Student – Teacher Relation
In the present day contexts it is not enough for teachers to merely give information and knowledge to students. This is, of course, basic. But more than information and knowledge, human beings need wisdom. They need character. In the imparting of values, teachers play a major pivotal role. Hence, our emphasis is not only on expansion of and providing access to the educational system of all those who seek to study but more importantly also on improving the knowledge base and quality of our teachers. Let us not forget that good teachers are costly but bad teachers cost the nation even much more.
There should be a good combination of faculty and students. Bhagavat Gita does mention how such a noble pairs behaves. A yearning aspirant (students) seeking higher knowledge humbly bows down to the Teacher and learns. The compassionate Teacher describes and culminating into the true knowledge. As the Guru (Teacher) speaks, so does the aspirant (Students) experience the Truth contained in those words. Such a combination of faculty and students will result in the acquiring of knowledge by the students which ultimately puts the Institution on the path of progress.
Vision for NIT Kurukshetra
Today the world is going through an economic recession, particularly the developed countries in the west. The impact is seen in some countries in the east including India. Technology contributes for the societal development and economic prosperity. India as a nation with rich natural resources and 580 million youth, has a great chance of dominating in the comity of nations as the time is ripe, when the developed countries are in economic recession. Therefore, technological institutes like NITs must concentrate on establishing high technology competence in core sectors with new products excelling those coming from the developed countries. This will make our country to overcome the current problems of economic slow down especially in Industrial outputs. So the vision of NITK should be to establish technological competence in a few selected areas, involving research and teaching.
So friends, let us see the possible areas that the Institution should concentrate:
- Providing world class research based education in a cost effective manner, encouraging students through innovative programmes
- Providing support to mission mode R&D projects of the country becoming a partner in Nation Development
- Development of quality technical manpower in association with industries, providing competence in new product development
- Choice of syllabus that cater to the need of the rapid change in technology development and periodic updating of syllabus.
- Encourage the faculty for the concept of Teach-Research-Teach
- Establishment of centres of excellence and advanced studies in niche areas of science and technology
- Explore the possibility of international and national collaborations and joint ventures in the knowledge exchange programmes
I am sure that this institute will prove to be on top of ranking charts in the years to come and will continue to excel in academic technical education and will bring out highly talented engineering graduates who will transform India to a competitive country among the comity of Nations. To be amongst top ranking institutes of the world, NIT Kurukshetra should attract International students.
So friends, everything is in your hand. You must make yourself ready to do a remarkable work, which will find a place for you in the history of the world. You know that history is not written for cowards and also for those who think small. If you think big, if you have a vision, if you help others, if you do a great task or invention, or a great project, you will find a page written for yourself in the history of the world. I wish the names of those who are at NIT, Kurukshetra are imprinted in that book.
Friends, if we can do great things and create history, what is that we are missing? What is that we need to correct? There seems to be an attitude problem. We are not able to shake ourselves. We have a settled mindset for limited achievements. We must break the bounds and establish a mind to achieve, a mind to be revolutionary, a mind that does not accept the evils of today, a mind to reform the society and a mind to live with righteousness.
Our cultural heritage from Mahabharat till today is a highly valuable asset. The responsibility of using this value system with outstanding skill is with the youth of today, to establish a modern India, which is prosperous, safe to live and highly secure. As youth of today, you, the young minds, are responsible to build the global leadership for India to become a model among the comity of Nations. With 580 million youth, India has the greatest asset, which can definitely make it a Developed Nation.
Sir CV Raman says,
“Success can only come to us by courageous devotion to the task lying in front of us. What we lack is perhaps courage, what we lack is perhaps driving force, which takes one anywhere. We have developed an inferiority complex. I think what is needed here today is the destruction of that defeatist spirit. We need a spirit of victory, a spirit that will carry us to our rightful place under the Sun, a spirit, which can recognise that WE, as inheritors of a proud civilisation, are entitled to a right place on this planet. If that indomitable spirit were to arise, nothing can hold us from achieving our rightful destiny.”
I wish you all the best for your future endeavours.