IIT Kharagpur Director V.K. Tewari reflects on the year 2020
Director IIT Kharagpur Facebook Page (December 31, 2020)
2020 - the year which will go down in our history has left us so many memories, some are our own, some are social. But more so the year 2020 has reminded us how frivolous we can be when challenged by a submicroscopic infectious agent yet it has proven our fortitude, valor and compassion. The year has reflected on our lives, our career and made us contemplate on the path ahead hoping for metamorphosis to a new normal lifestyle, and a construct of life integrated more with people around us.
At IIT Kharagpur we have gone through transformations at all levels of our lives - it started with the air getting cleaner, but the campus going quieter till a silence prevailed - the students had to leave. While we were caring for the 5500+ students during the initial phase of the lockdown we only took a breath of peace after each one of our students reached their homes to their parents, safe and sound . . . “You are precious to us, as you are to your parents and to the rest of the country and we are eagerly waiting to bring you back and keep you safe . . .” But life did not stop for any of us. We are continuing with the online classes and were able to complete the Spring and Autumn semesters, carry out R&D work within the limited means with fast-track delivery of healthcare innovations and answering the dire call of billion+ people. We developed a low-cost alternative to the gold standard viral diagnostic technology - COVIRAP. We developed telemedicine software to make healthcare available at the patient’s doorstep. The physical distancing tracker at the campus market which cautions us to maintain safe distance was developed by a group of young students at the AGV lab. The Centre of Excellence for Advanced Manufacturing Technology offered several patented technologies to adopt the new normal of the industrial sector - Industry 4.0. Soon the students may be able to connect to their classrooms despite low bandwidth internet networks, as we work on commercializing Deekshak, our e-classroom software. Meanwhile, the bioactives and nutraceuticals developed by us will keep boosting our immunity while our technologies for the farm and non-farm rural sector will address the concerns for the village communities. And while we do all these, our alumni keep sending their help to the economically weaker sections of the society who are dependent on the IIT campus for their livelihood and have been affected during 2020. We are organizing relief camps to distribute aids funded by the alumni led by IIT Kharagpur Foundation USA.
Amidst all these, I completed a year in my current position. I must say, the journey could not have been more eventful. It started with the world going down to an enemy invisible to human eyes. We have hit our lowest point with 1.8 million deaths around the world. Now with the awareness, vaccines, and stronger healthcare system, our life path is once again radiating the optimism of human character. It shone brightly with 1100 of our students placed at top companies in India and abroad and we are hoping for better results as we progress in 2021. We are making further plans to bring back our students in a phase-wise manner, for engineering cannot be perfected anywhere other than the labs. The time is close for the cycles to start rushing through the campus roads. We welcome the new beginning by blowing the conch for our biggest annual event - join us in January 2021 to celebrate the 66th Convocation of IIT Kharagpur.
Wish you a very happy, healthy, safe and prosperous new year 2021!
Watch 'The Year 2020 @ IIT Kharagpur' to review the key activities at IIT Kharagpur in 2020.