2013 Alumni Meet at New Jersey
Minutes of the Annual Meeting held Saturday, 27 July, 2013
Indra N. Jha, Member Ad Hoc Committee
Saturday, 27 July, 2013 was a historic day in the life of BIT Sindri Alumni Association of North America (BIT SAA, NA). A decade long oblivion of the Association was ending as if a new light was switched on. The Association was in lime-light again!
Once very active under the guidance of Dr. T. Prasad, Dr. N. K. Sinha and led by Dr. Uday Sinha and the group of BIT alumni, those early immigrants of 60s & 70s, the Association had lost its attraction by the time it was YK2 and it was moving fast into a status of oblivion in the following decade. Then Dr. Yogi Chadda came as President and, he started plans to resurrect the Alumni back to life; and in 2012 Annual Meet on 15 September, he formed the Ad Hoc Committee of Indra Jha, Amar Mishra, Neil Pundit, Ranjit Sinha to rejuvenate the Alumni Association and bring it back to its glorious past. The Committee worked diligently hands in hands together and this Annual Gathering was a show-piece of its efforts and promise. Leaders of the Ad Hoc pack, Dr. Chadda and Dr. Neil Pundit published the agenda for the day and the Annual Meet was afoot. As envisioned, a large attendance (official count of 60+) of Alumni was buzzing in the hall. They came from Texas, California, Midwest, Florida and North-east; from all over the US; all happy faces; and little chaotic at times. The day was filled with happy moments for all Alumni, young and old; and indeed, it felt like the day of a new beginning.
The Minutes of Meeting has been put together by Indra Jha, is presented categorically alongside the agenda items (see agenda items in small fonts). Please refer to Appendices for reports and read on.
From: Neil Pundit
To: BIT Sindri Alumni in US and Canada Date: Tuesday, 23 July 2013
AGENDA (updated July 22, 2013)
Subject: Notice of Annual Meeting and ELECTION
As announced earlier, the PLACE for our Annual Meeting and Election on July 27, 2013, SATURDAY, is Crown of India Restaurant, 660 Plainsboro Rd, Plainsboro, NJ 08536, ph 609-275-5707. Their website is www.crown-of-india.com . It is in the Princeton Meadows Shopping Center.
9:00 am: Registration - collect badge and handouts (coffee mugs for early registrants)
Caution: Divy Raj and volunteers will help us keep on track with Time Remaining Cards and finally buzzer!
9:30 am WELCOME & OPENING REMARKS - President Dr Chadda (57 ME), MODERATOR: Dr Anil Singh (64 MET)
President Chadda welcomed the guests and introduced Dr. Anil Singh to the audience. Dr. Anil Singh had come from California to participate in this Annual Meet. He took over from here on and conducted the proceedings of the Meeting.
Secretary's Report: Keerti Prasad (90 E&C)
Treasurer's Report: Sudhaker Raj (87 EC), Neil Pundit (61 TC) ACCOMPLISHMENTS & CHALLENGES - Dr Chadda
Please see appendices for details of these reports.
Memorium: one minute of silent prayer for the departed souls (list and details on website under Departed Souls)
All attendees stood up and observed one minute of silence in memory of friends who had already travelled to higher world.
10:00 am CURRENT INITIATIVES & UPDATE: MODERATOR: Raj Verma (70 MET)
a. Exchange with U of Manitoba , and Env Engrg Initiative - Dr chadda
Dr. Chadda updated the audience with efforts put forth by Bidhu Jha for Educational Exchange between BIT Sindri and Univ. of Manitoba; and another effort by Ranjit Sinha for initiative to include Environmental Science Education in the Civil Engineering PG-curriculum at BIT Sindri.
Please see appendices for details of these reports.
b. Rejuvenation Committee Report - Amar Mishra (62 CE), Indra Jha (63 CE)
Amar Mishra and Indra Jha presented the arduous efforts made by the Ad Hoc Committee to make this Annual meet a success. They looked around and declared .. it is a success!
Here Is Yogi Chadda who presided over the Rejuvenation Efforts; Here is Neil Pundit who has worked all waking hours of his life after July 29th. 2012. Today where we are is the fruit of his "Bhagirath Praytna". Here is Ranjit Sinha who never missed an opportunity to provide compliance with Federal law and our Alumni By-laws. Here is Amar Mishra who got on phone, and Here is Indra Jha who fought and worked with these gifted Ad Hoc Members towards the big tent open Structure to make it accessible and transparent for one and all. And of course, here are Sudhakar Raj and Keerti Prasad who helped all these happen!
Objective No 2 ...to provide structures and stability ... has been initiated; Look at our Slate of Directors ... quite impressive! Is not it! And, Objective No. 3 .. thought of the Continuity of BIT Pride?.... of its Grandeur? … Of course! Well, we cannot bring back Dr. Despande! Nor, Dr. T. Prasad ! Nor, Dr. N. K. Sinha ! But we can do what we saw them doing --- help make BIT a Prime Institution! --- bring continuity to the cultures of giving, initiated and glorified by Dr. Uday Sinha and the Committee he had organized.
Now it is our turn, to show something happening!
This is our 3rd., 4th., 5th. ... and nth. Objective! We should learn to give! ... to BIT Campus. We should devote our time to impart some of our experience to the Graduating Class. We should initiate many constructive projects at BIT Campus. Like, Ranjit Sinha initiating Environmental Education for Civil Engineering curriculum…. Like, Bidhu Jha initiating Manitoba Collaboration.
Please see appendices for details of these reports from Ranjit Sinha and Bidhu Jha.
c. Website Update and plan - Naresh Sahu, Sudhaker Raj
d. Interactions with Alumni worldwide and nostalgia - Divyanshu Raj (91 MET)
e. Summary of Bylaws - Ranjit Sinha (62 CHE), a past President. Short Break
Please see appendices for details of these reports.
11:15 am ELECTION SESSION - Dr Chadda; MODERATOR: Shiva S. Tripathi (59 ME) The Slate; Nominations from floor; Voting; Results Announced by Dr Chadda
Farewell by outgoing Directors: Keerti Prasad, Sudhaker Raj, Dr Chadda Elected Directors - what do you wish to accomplish (in 25 words or less)
The following SLATE of CANDIDATES was presented to the General Body present there in the hall and the Slate of Candidates was voted and accepted and thus confirmed the election of the Board of Directors to manage and run the affairs of the Alumni Association for a two year term, 2013 to 2015. Here is the Slate of Candidates:
As required by the Bylaws, President Dr Chadda presents the following SLATE of Candidates for Directors for a term of 2 years. Nomination of additional candidates is welcome from the floor. While the newly elected Directors can decide by election within themselves who would hold what office, Dr Chadda suggests a particular officer position for each candidate. All the candidates are on LinkedIn, and you may contact them directly by email.
1. (1961 TC) Neil Pundit, from Fort Lauderdale/Miami area, FL, current VP, and also a past VP. Proposed officer position: President. Neil is a retired Supercomputing R&D Executive from Sandia National Labs. firstname.lastname@example.org
2. (1961 CE) Raj Dubey, from Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, as Regional Vice President.
Raj is a Professor Emeritus at the U of Waterloo. email@example.com (unable to attend)
3. (1971 EE) Ramesh Yadava, from CA Bay Area, as Regional Vice President. Ramesh has been a key organizer of West- Coast Meets.
Ramesh is a Technology and Social Entrepreneur. firstname.lastname@example.org
(unable to attend, Ramesh and Neil will attend the west-coast meet on Sept 14 in San Jose, CA)
4. (1974 EE) Bharat Sahay, from Greater Rochester, NY area, as Regional Vice President. Bharat is in Software consulting business. email@example.com
5. (1984 EC) Dilip Gupta, from Dallas, TX area, as Regional Vice President.
Dilip is a past Secretary; a Project Mgmt professional, exploring new opportunity. firstname.lastname@example.org
6. (1990 MIN) Naresh K. Sahu, from greater Washington DC Area, as Secretary. Naresh is designing and managing our website. He is an expert web designer. email@example.com
7. (1991 EE) Arunima Thakur from greater Detroit area, as Vice President, and also as Regional Vice President.
Arunima is a Quality Control executive. firstname.lastname@example.org (unable to attend)
8. (1991 MET) Divyanshu (Divy) Raj, from greater NY/NJ area as Treasurer, and also as Regional Vice President. Divy is a AVP with Citi, and has worked on many financial products. email@example.com
9. (1995 ELC) Alka Srivastava, from Atlanta, GA area, as Regional Vice President.
Alka is a Database Senior Manager. firstname.lastname@example.org
(unable to attend; She and Neil will meet with Atlanta area alumni on August 2)
RE: 2014 GET TOGETHER: July 26 (last Saturday in July)?
The Date July 26, 2014 was unanimously accepted and confirmed.
Among several suggestions for the venue of the next Annual meeting … Orlando - Host Vijay Kumar (75 ME); Miami/ Ft. Lauderdale area - Host Uday Sinha (60 MET); Huston; Vancouver Canada – Host Satya Taneja (62 CE) and NY/NJ area for its central location; ------- The venue of NY/NJ area was accepted for its central location and confirmed as venue for the next Annual Meet of July 26, 2014.
c. 12:00 noon ………LUNCH …. LUNCH
01:00 pm DISCUSSION: WHAT IS HIGH ON YOUR MIND? MODERATOR: Dr Onkar P Sharma (59 EE), planning a visit to Sindri in September
Ideas Heard on FaceBook and from emails and phone calls: Neil Pundit What else can we (alumni in US & Canada) do for our Alma Mater? - all
Dr. Onkar P Sharma took the podium and spoke at length his experience in trying to do any collaborations and or partnership to help institutions in India. Some of the renderings, to quote him verbatim, are as follows: --- “I expressed my frustration in working with Indian Institutions on establishing academic partnership because of bureaucratic and archaic academic system.
Institutions, particularly at college level, have very little freedom and flexibility on matters of external relationships. They are controlled by UGC (University grants Commission) and also AICTE (All India Council Technical Education) if they award Engineering and Management degrees. One such example is that of an institution in Hyderabad. AICTE first approved the MOU and then cancelled it. The Indian institution has gone to court but the case has not come up for hearing for three years now.
There are additional problems with institutions like BIT which are government-supported and government-controlled. Then Government secretaries and directors come in picture. These officers, as we all know, are mostly interested in advancement of their career rather than the State they serve. I will give examples. I wrote more than once to director, NIT Patna, Director BIT Sindri, as well as director of Technical education/ concerned Government department secretaries in Ranchi and Patna but never got a response. This was my experience of working with government (public) colleges in India.
Private institutions do take some interest but goal is to make money and not the advancement of the institution vis-a-vis students and faculty. I have worked with two such institutions with exactly the same experience. I don't know if I want to give out the names. One was in Delhi and the other in Pune. After spending time, money, and effort, the MOU which was signed was cancelled. These institutions were not prepared to spend money in promotion and advertising up-front which was their responsibility as laid out in the MOU.
I am currently working with a private University in UP. Universities seem to have some authority. I was personally impressed by the VC of this university who, like me, is a Fulbright Scholar and was placed in USA for a year, I believe.
Programs which I work on are; two-plus-two where students will complete 2 years in India and last two years in USA and get US Bachelor degree, two-plus three where students complete 2 years in India and three years in USA and get US Bachelor and Master degrees, offering US curriculum and Bachelor and Master degrees on the campus of partner universities, faculty exchange, student exchange, and some others. Private institutions are not very interested in student transfer programs for loss of tuition money for 2 years. They get fixed quota from AICTE.”
Summing up his inputs to this minute of meeting, he wrote:
“Jha Ji, I could go on and on if I start detailing all the intricacies involved in establishing partnership.
Select whatever information you consider relevant for the minute.As regards BIT Sindri, I will shy away from any talk of establishing partnership but will do my best to help those students who desire to come to my institution for higher studies.”
I sincerely applaud his candid overviews of the state of things in India; and I intend by presenting them here with only intension to get the message and follow it in our efforts.
01:45 pm INSPIRATION # 1: Experiences of an Immigrant Entrepreneur
by Dr Krishna Pal Singh* (67 ME), Founder & President of Holtec International Introduction by Dr Lakshman P Sinha (60 EE), Retiree of Bell Labs and AT&T.
Dr. Singh will share his personal perspectives based on the experiences gained from three decades of technological entrepreneurship that may be relevant to other immigrants to America.
Q&A, Short Break
Dr. Lakshman P Sinha spoke very highly of Dr. Krishna Pal Singh (67 ME) while introducing him to the audience. Dr. Sinha knew him as PG student at U- Penn. Dr. Sinha added that he does not see these days, students coming from BIT Sindri of the caliber – of the class and qualifications as of Dr. Singh. There is no surprise to see Dr. Krishna Pal Singh so successful as Founder/Owner – President of Holtec, a multi-billion dollar enterprise specializing in processing and disposal of Nuclear Waste. Dr. Singh holds many patents in the complex science of Nuclear Energy. He is a member of NAE (National Academy of Engineering), and a Trustee of U- Penn.
Dr. Singh got up and gave a very personal account of him-self as he was growing up in India. He expressed an admiration for his teacher, a missionary from Hungary, who asked him to read Sanskrit, Kalidas and Meghdoot. He said he attended U-Penn to learn Nuclear Science and Business of producing energy but all of the engineering he learnt was at BIT Sindri. To me his life story was very inspiring and still better as it was spoken so lucidly; the audience was spell-bound listening to this man of success. I also happen to know him personally and I congratulated him on his grand success by saying “we all knew you were going to be a success, but we (Dr. Diwakar Mishra and I) did not know, you will be such a grand success”!
People heard him and took with them what they saw in him.
Dr. Chadda recalled “he gave us a talk sharing his life experiences as an immigrant entrepreneur but reminding us of his humble beginning growing up in a village in a poor family where his diligence in studies kept him focused. While attending a missionary high school in Ranchi he was much impressed by a teacher, a Hungarian Sanskrit scholar, who imparted much wisdom by having him read the Sanskrit classics, which he enjoyed. After his PhD from UPenn, he worked for a company but soon after he founded his own company Holistic Technology, shortened as Holtec International in NJ, which is now an international company with offices in many countries worldwide. He shared the struggles he faced in developing his business, (with) his wife (and) Martha (was) more stressed than him. Prudent risk taking with self confidence in the undertaking is the essential step to success in entrepreneurship. He briefly touched upon his current efforts in ultra-safe self-contained nuclear reactors that his company is installing worldwide. He mentioned that he has committed to India that all the nuclear installations in India would be at the cost - no profits.
His humbleness, integrity, and down to earth manners were a pleasant surprise to the audience which showered him with a lot of questions, and he answered all with utmost sincerity and patience until the time ran out. Apologizing Neil asked the alumni whose questions could not be entertained to email him their questions, and he would relay Dr. Singh's answers”.
This was a unique experience for us all alumni - so uplifting, so heartwarming, and it made us all so proud of our Alma Mater BIT Sindri, and our motherland India.”
This is how Neil Pundit recalled Dr. Singh speaking:
“He spoke about the products of his company: Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management and specially about Manufacture of "Modular Power Generation System using Nuclear Fuel for providing Safe and affordable energy" and "Storage and Transportation of Nuclear Fuel etc. He discussed how he got involved in these activities (These are part of his Ph.D. Research. He has 10 patents in his name on the Storage of Nuclear waste) and he has companies all over the world including India. He explained his plans to remove the energy shortage of India by installing Modular Power Generating system which are safe. He is a philanthropist and all his earning goes to charity in KPS FOUNDATION. Because of this he expressed his desire to improve the SANITATION system of India, specially starting from his State of Bihar. He has made starts in Bihar but with some disappointments. There were interesting questions from the audience which were politely answered.”
“ After achieving the highest point as an entrepreneur, KRISHNA Pal is very modest in nature.”
02:30 pm INSPIRATION #2: Intelligent Way of Living to Reach Human Goals
by Shri Vijay Kapoor*(61 TC), Founder of Arsha Vidya Center and a disciple of Swami Dayananda Saraswati Introduction by Gurdeep Singh Dhanjal (61 ME)
Shri Vijay Kapoor will analyze and shatter a common flaw in our life: Our hunger for food is fulfilled but our hunger for unconditional happiness is NOT fulfilled!
Shri Vijay Kapoor was the second inspirational speaker. All in one word, he is an “Engineer turned Swami”. In my recollection of the college days, I remember him as inventor of “bolo re bhai bum … bolo re bhai bum … bum bolo” that he came up during a cricket match with arch-rival, ISMAG. What a turn a life takes; in his case it is unique and definitely for better!
Shri Vijay Kapoor (61 TC) did his MS at UC Berkeley, and worked for high technology companies like IBM and HP. In early 1970's he personally met and was influenced by Swami Chinmayananda and Swami Dayanand Saraswati. He became an early disciple of Swami Dayananda, went through years of devoted learning in upstate California, and finally founded Arsha Vidya Center in Silicon Valley, taking early retirement from HP. He teaches two courses in Vedanta philosophy and one course in Sanskrit.
I am quoting Dr. Chadda the way he recalled him speak:
“What he chose to speak to us about is a paradox in our lives. We are born with hunger for food, and we know how to satisfy the hunger by eating. Similarly our thirst is quenched by drinking water. We all also have a yearning, a hunger or a thirst for unconditional happiness in our lives but most of us are unable to satisfy this yearning. This observation is a paradox, a puzzle, a mystery, and a disappointment for most. Shri Vijay Kapoor has found the answer in ancient Indian writings upnishads & shastras, as have many before us. He meticulously articulated our failings and how we can overcome”. This was a sublime moment as we delved into the wisdom of a mere mortal before us, one of us, a fellowalum”.
Now I am quoting Neil Pundit the way he recalled him speak:
“Mr. Vijay Kapoor did his MS in EE from , UC BERKELEY, worked with IBM and took an early retirement. He is an early disciple of Swami Dayananda Saraswati of PA and founder of Arsha Vidya Center in Silicon Valley. He teaches Sanskrit and Vedanta.
He spoke essentially on fulfillment of human desires which vary with individuals. But the desires which are given to us by nature such as "Hunger" and "Thirst" can certainly be fulfilled. Even then, we are unhappy though the fundamental desire to be unconditionally happy is also given to us. We create our own desires and human goals and they are not fulfilled. He explained that our Shastras only provide the answer.
In his talk he examined the problem and tried to explain that happiness is your own internal bliss. The time was not enough to complete this "EXCELLENT" spiritual discussion. He was the last speaker and we had to clear the hall for the other group party in the evening. He cut his talk short. We were running late, and we could not entertain any questions from the audience. However, Vijay had assured his friend Neil that he will answer questions..
With his presence, California was well represented”.
The meeting was adjourned at 4.30 PM of SATURDAY, JULY 27th, 2013.
It was a great get together.
Alumni as far as Vancouver, Canada, came. Mr. Satya Taneja our Alumni(62-CE) happens to be owner of famous " NANAK SWEETS'. He was kind enough to get 100 packets of sweets to be distributed to the Alumni.