Eighth Annual Convocation-2011

of

National Institute of Technology,Warangal

 

CONVOCATION ADDRESS

By Prof. K.L. Chopra, Former Director, IIT, Kharagpur

 

 

Dr B L Deekshatulu, the  Chairman , Board of Governors ,Members of the Board of Governors, Prof  T Srinivasa Rao, Director of  the Institute, Members of the Senate and Faculty, Award and  Degree Recipients,Distinguished Guests ,and Ladies and Gentlemen

 

Convocation is a joyous  occasion to celebrate the reaching of a milestone  in the form of  recognition  of a  hard earned degree by our young  citizens  and future leaders. It is also a solemn  occasion when the Chief Guest is expected to share his views  with a message on what lies ahead in further academic  or professional life for the degree recipients.

 

To deliver a convocation address on such an occasion is a privilege given to a few. I am grateful to the Institute for  doing me this honour.  First and foremost, may I  congratulate  all the degree recipients and the award winners on their  noteworthy achievements.Let this milestone be the harbinger of many new ones to come.

 

Degree recipients :you are very privileged in this country  to receive higher  education at this institute of national importance . Today , the huge Indian   economy ,being the   2nd most rapidly growing one   in the world ,offers  you  phenomenal opportunities  for  pursuing  higher studies,   or for taking  up  a professional responsibility. Whatever be your choice,  your engagement with the  future is going to be very competitive ,challenging and demanding  in the rapidly evolving and changing  era of Knowledge and Mind power.India is one of the major beneficiary of this Knowledge power.which has moved  the country into a trillion dollar globalised economy over the last two decades. The  5-  M’s of  Money, ,Materials,Manpower,  Machinery and Marketing of the old economy  are now being dominated by   the 6th M of Mind and Knowledge  power .You will undoubtedly be required to play some role in this evolving system.

What is  Knowledge Power ?

Science is knowledge- power based on  data and relationships covering vast areas of information derived from observations, analysis,and manipulation of natural phenomena .Technology is the application of scientific or knowledge power  through  best engineering practices in order to achieve a specific purpose of utility by creating and changing things and processes

 

The concept  and meaning of Knowledge   has undergone extraordinary changes in recent times.. In simple terms, Knowledge means “to know” Traditionally, Knowledge is judiciously distilled information extracted from observations /analysis of nature / natural phenomena, concepts, beliefs, perceptions, judgments etc.In the Knowledge Era ,it  is an integrated power to create/innovate usable and exploitable information  to provide new solutions for human needs.Consequently , Knowledge is now a convergence of   multidimensional basic Sciences (including social sciences), Technologies, Engineering, Manufacturing, Marketing, Management, etc. And , the  Knowledge Power is creativity through human resources,  innovation through R&D   and  capital through IPR . Some management gurus would like to define   the  Prosperity (E)of a nation by a version of the well-known Einstein equation, E= M C2  ( where C is creativity and M is the no of creative workers)

In  view of these definitions ,“translational” , and “integrative”are the new keywords  for creation , dissemination, and assimilation of knowledge. These fanciful terms are not just the creation of management gurus. These concepts are already beginning to impact our educational  and professional systems which will  play  a  defining role in what you do in your future  career .

 

Creation of Knowledge :

The power of knowledge  is intimately connected with our  educational system and the teaching-learning as well as research and development processes. Academic institutions which continue to teach and teach only , and that too by what is called a “broadcasting method” generally employed by an old- fashioned  teacher are  becoming increasingly  irrelevant and obsolete . A good academic institution has to provide an ecology  for a student to  learn what he/she wants to learn, learn to learn creatively, learn to  do something useful with the knowledge ,and  learn to be a responsible  member of the society.What makes an IITian tick is an often  asked question.. Shocking though it may  appear to be , Indian Institutes of Technology  donot teach Technology, or, for that matter, not much of  hard core engineering either. What they teach  are strong fundamentals  which  provide tools and inspiration to  make a student not only learn  but also learn to learn, learn to solve problems,  learn to work together as a team , and learn to create knowledge  .

 

One of the most satisfying  part of higher education is the creation of knowledge through research and development in all types of physical , chemical , electrical and electronic sciences, engineering and technology.  Today ,knowledge is expanding  at an exponential rate. Therefore , pursuit of R&D has never been so exciting.The present frontiers of science and technology are literally creating  newer and multidimensional frontiers .As an example, the ever -expanding telecom revolution  is the result of  the confluence of micro- and nano-electronics and photonics , information sciences, pure mathematics,computers ,etc.An example of  integrational revolution  sweeping the world  is   the magical name of Nanotechnology. Never in the history of science and technology has so much euphoria  and hype been created by  the word “Nanotechnology”  among scientists of  varied disciplines, educationists, science policy designers and makers, funding agencies and even   politicians .Infact,Nanotechnology  is being projected by science policy makers as the solution  to   all the problems of humanity Much of the hype  is based on false myths.that it is a new, safe and cheap technology.Nanotechnolgy is absolutely not a new field. Nor is it  cheap  or safe  unless suitable measures are taken for the purpose after considerablr R&D. Some of us  have spent our lifetime for the last  50 years in developing this field  which has made possible the  present day computers ,  telecom services,nano-analytical instruments ,among a host of other commonly used  technologies.What is new is the  more scientifically rigorous and precise way the  nanotechnology  of nanometric  size materials  is  being pursued today.  The  newly developed  nano- analytical tools allow one to literally see  the building blocks of matter , namely atoms and molecules,both living and non-living. It is possible to create  a variety of matter  in nanometric sizes in various shapes and forms of thin-films,wires and fibres,and powders. Such nanomatter can be further functionalized  and tailored to yield designer materials for very specific applications. Almost all the electronic and photonic devices and gadgets in common use today are the products of this technology. One can  now manipulate single atoms, single electrons, single spins ,single  photons , single phonons,etc..It is now possible to see the  living cells  and  the working of proteins in these cells .The possibility of ab-initio creation of  living cells in laboratory is no more a very distant dream. Biosciences and biomedical sciences are one of the  most important beneficiary of nanotechnology.But ,perhaps the most  significant development is  that life scientists, physical and chemical scientists, engineers , and technologists  have now come together to shake hands  and create a new multidisciplinary frontier in the Knowledge Era . I am sure some of you will be attracted to this frontier in your higher studies.

 

 

Creators and Disseminators of Knowledge :

Being the creators,innovators and disseminators of Knowledge,academics are one of the most important pillars of the evolving Knowledge Society.Teaching  higher education is a very noble,respectable, and rewarding profession.This is one profession in which  the more you give ,the more you get back to grow more.Psychic rewards are more important in life than financial ones.There is a great demand for qualified , competent and committed  faculty in technical  institutions. India produces hardly 1000 PhDs and around 5000 MTechs in engineering disciplines every year There exist over 30,000 vacancies for postgraduate faculty in the country.And ,yet, we know that very few of  the degree recipients from premier institutions will opt for a teaching career.Ask your- self :who will teach the next generation of your children ? I hope some of you will ponder over this question and will decide to join teaching profession.

 

Entrepreneurship Challenge :

The shining example of the  trillion dollar economies created and nurtured by the innovative machines of the Silicon Valleys of the world are a testimony to the spirit of entrepreneurship .The phenomenal growth of the IT industry in India owes  almost entirely to our new generation entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship   strengthens the knowledge system, converts knowledge to intellectual property, promotes techno-ventures for commercialization of technologies, creates wealth and enhances technology competitiveness and the tech-image of the country.It creates new business and creative opportunities, jobs and services, and thus promotes regional/ local development.This is yet another option and opportunity for the degree recipients . A number of science and technology parks (STEP), and incubators have now become integral part of many academic institutions in the country and are beckoning  the innovators and risk-takers  among you  .

 

Ethical  Values :

The Knowledge era has sharpened our focus on ethical issues in science , engineering and technology. Ethics  is the science of moral rules and principles.Personal and societal ethics are fundamental to any civilised society. Ethical values are central to the creation  of scientific knowledge A professional scientist/engineer/technologist  is expected to  to have personal ethical values of Integrity, Honesty ,Loyalty, Respect , Justice ,Compassion,Commitment,and Competence. He/She is expected to contribute to the  progress and well-being of society  in a sustainable    environment through creation and dissemination of knowledge, and  by using  S&T knowledge and skills to develop  technologies , products  and services, consistent with an accepted ethical code of conduct.  Professional morality ensures that the privilege of the      profession is used to create individual and group excellence.  It assures collective responsibility and benefits the organization by one’s service.  Successful organizations are those, which clearly define professional codes of ethics and conduct and bind each individual to these codes of practice.

 

Now that Knowledge is a marketable and saleable commodity , the intellectual property rights of global  innovators  and inventors need to be protected.As a result, globalized economies and technologies demand adherence to   internationally acceptable ethical  values  and code of conduct in the emerging Knowledge Era. Let us be reminded that :

History of the world civilizations shows that societies have risen to a higher level not through mechanical or technological efficiencies but by practicing sound moral and ethical values”

          ( Quoted  from Gita & Management by Swami Bodhinanda)

 

                             

 Lifestyle Values ;

 Lifestyle values  have a major impact on what  heights one achieves in one’s career. Simple and commonplace though these are,  our young degree recipients need to be reminded over and over again. I take this opportunity to focus on a few of such  values.

1.      Be Yourself ; 

You know what you are today. But , you don’t know what you will be tomorrow. Project yourself as what you are today , and  what your strengths and weaknesses are. Keep in mind that no human being is perfect enough to  have all the good qualities.Be honest to yourself and to your  profession.

2.      Be Prepared for Change of Life :  

For a successful life , continous generation of intellectual and creative energies are  essential requirements in the rapidly changing world  of knowledge . Multi-tasking  in a   multi-dimensional  knowledge  environ demands  a commitment to  life-long learning . which means  that you be prepared to be   a  learner all your life

3.      Work Hard :

There is no substitute for  hard work , particularly which makes you   perspire in achieving success. Perspire and you will inspire others.Whatever you do  , do it with passion and commitment, or else do not do it at all.

4.      Be Organised, Disciplined and Focused:

In some appropriate words of wisdom of  Harry Emerson Fosdick :

”No horse gets anywhere unless he is harnessed.No stream or gas drives anything unless it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled.No life ever grows  great until it is focused, dedicated and disciplined”

5.      Be  Ethical in your Life Experiences and Profession :

Knowledge workers  apply science and technology for progress and prosperity of society The privilege of the profession demands unconditional adherence to defined codes of practice and to its moral and ethical values.  

6.      Respect your Colleagues :

Working together as a symphony orchestra requires an organized team work .You must accept that everybody in an organization  or a group has an important role to play, and as such none is low or useless.To get the best out of  your colleagues, treat all with due respect and inculcate the spirit of  a team work.

 

7.      Be a Problem Solver : 

To be negative in your attitude and perception does not require much of intelligence.On the other hand , to be positive  in pursuit of solving a problem in your workplace requires courage ,mature analysis,  and high intellectual inputs.Create solutions rather than problems.And , donot compete with our babudum so  famous for  wrapping others  in red tape and corruption.

8.      Lead from the Front ;

As and when you have an opportunity to  head a group of colleagues, lead the group from the front  by setting an example yourself. Donot expect others to do what you are not prepared to do yourself.

9.      Be Transparent :

Honesty of purpose  and transparency in what you say and what you do are one and the the same trait of a person of integrity.Manipulations by an individual for whatever purpose invariably get exposed and create distrut and disharmony in your functions

10.  Be Punctual :

Not keeping time  or practicing elastic time in your workplace or any other activity is plain elemental discourtesy to  others.Punctuality also means  completing  your  reports and assignments ,  and  reaching your goals on time. .Remember, punctuality inspires satisfaction and spirituality, and  raises your  professional esteem in the eyes of others working with you.

 

May I conclude by  wishing  all the degree recipients a bright,meaningful and fruitful  professional career   which  will make your almamater  and the  country proud.

 

-         JAI HIND -