On the shoulders of Giants-part1

(This is the edited version of the felicitation speech delivered by me  on 26th Feb 2019 held in CEERI,Pilani to honor Mr.Raj Singh currently the acting director and Dr.S.C Bose, area coordinator CEERI )

I am an accidental teacher so even though I may be a teacher my articulation skills are not that good to express my feelings.But that does not mean that I do not have any feelings or they are limited.

My favorite author in English ,Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran in his book The Prohet says”Your friends are your needs answered”

Let me begin with a story of Kalidasa(there are different versions of it.I am narrating what I was told during my school days in Kerala.It goes like this :In certain kingdom there was  a princesses who was very learned  and unlike many learned (Vidya vinayam-knowledge gives humbleness) was very arrogant about it.She put a condition that she will marry only the person who will defeat her in a debate.Many scholars came and lost.They got together and decided to teach her a lesson.They went out to look for the most stupid person around.They found an young lad cutting a branch on which he was sitting.They caught hold of him.He was a shepherd boy.Cleaned him up and got him well dressed and took him to her place.There she was sitting in front of a beautiful portrait of King Ravana. On seeing a portrait of the king of Lanka, the boy  pronounced Ravana as Rabhana;(he could not pronounce it properly) This made the princess burst into peals of laughter.  His accomplices ably defended the stupid fellow.Their defense was  – the names of the Lanka monarch’s brothers are Kumbhakarna and Vibhishana, therefore Ravana, born in the rakshas  family, has to be Rabhana and not Ravana. The learned princess was impressed by the logic and agreed to the marriage.(What happened after marriage and how he became Kalidasa is another story which I am not going into.Probably ladies sitting here may look for it.)

Why this story? A man is made/known  by the company he keeps.My case is also not different from that boy. In fact my surname itself is ”Budthu-the stupid-Fortunately like that boy I also came across many scholars and made me what I am today.A few of scholars in that list come from CEERI.I will mention about two of them today  for understandable reasons.

I am a great proponent of gurukul system of teaching.I like gurus not teachers.I come from a small village in Kerala.I was lucky to have gurus at school level on wards. Very closer and broader perspectives of subjects could be learnt in that fashion.In early nineties I ran into a void when all of a sudden I lost my guru in kurukshetra.Prof.Chattopadhayaya.In fact it was a kind of shock because we had interactions till about 1 PM and then evening of the same day I was told that he is no more.I remember vividly the interaction we had on that day especially what he told me about the quality of a good teacher.He said as you are coming from Kerala he took the example of jack fruit. He said a good teacher should be like a ripen jack fruit.Outwardly having thorns and looks tough but inwardly sweet. I was in dark.During that dark  period I met Dr.Bose and he introduced me to Dr.Chandrashekar first as my PhD supervisor thereafter he became my guru as I believed he is truly a ‘”panditji”.

Dr.Bose made sure that I finished the assigned task in time.In the meantime I got married and he became close to my wife and helped us to lead a happy married life.One of the striking feature of his which most us do not have is the negative feedback.The gathering here is having sufficient back ground of electronics/control systems and we understand how important the negative feedback for stability.He always had a perspective about everything which was opposite  to mine.I could never win an argument with him.Even though it was a bit frustrating in the beginning with passage of time I understood its importance.I am grateful to him for that.

When I started coming to Pilani the second person Bose introduced was Mr.Raj Singh.(Bose is responsible for my all links in CEERI). He has been a great help during my thesis period.He was the system admn the IC design group that time. I was a novice to computers itself and every time I was “justifying” my surname.In fact I didn’t have any knowledge of computer programming etc.Here the credits goes to panditji who taught me the essence of computer prograamming and C’ language in about a week time.I remember vividly one incident in which I mistyped  the condition in for loop and code ran into infinite loop I din’t know what to do.He came and ”killed’ the process.Those days it was the practice in the group that any documents before   it goes to public domain it will be examined by Raj singh.He has helped me in rectifying many mistakes in my thesis.Evidently I am grateful to him for that.

But I am grateful to him for one more thing.As Prof.Dinesh has mentioned earlier he is like a “walking encyclopedia”In fact he has been a great help in deciding the text books in our department.I have been working as a faculty member in Kurukshetra university since 1990. Initially I was very excited about my teaching and research.But gradually got bored with the routine.Then around 2010 along with another project student from VIT, Mr. Abhimanu started a discussion group called the quest forum. I was not clear how can I continue with it.But Raj singh came to my rescue.He not only provided me with various resources to run the program but actively attended the forum activities whenever he visited kurukshetra for some official assignments.TED talks to forum was introduced by him.When ever I discussed with him about the poor attendance he motivated me to persist with the efforts.Since this forum is something very close to my heart I am greatly indebted to him for its continuance.

Both these persons are very important in life for various reasons.Over the passage of time both of them as well as their family  has become members of our joint family and it is to continue that way even if they leave CEERI. I wish them all the best.

(Thank you all for listening patiently  my blabbering!!)

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