Social interaction on the country’s oldest IIT campus is going to get a makeover with a gift from the 1970 alumni batch of the institute.
ADDA, a spot where students can meet and exchange views and ideas, and an Alumni Clock Tower are the latest addition to the list of gifts to the institute from its ex-students. Around 150 members of the batch of 1970 congregated from all over the world to celebrate their 50th graduation anniversary in a grand celebration titled the ‘Golden 2020 Reunion’ and their gift to their alma mater is the “first-ofits-kind” social donation.
The alumni were lauded by MHRD secretary Amit Khare for their thoughtful gift to the campus community through the construction of the Alumni Clock Tower. “As the District Collector of Darbhanga, which had two clock towers, I often wondered about the need for them when people had their wristwatches to look at the time. I soon realized that they were great socializing points. Both ADDA and the Alumni Clock Tower would be places of interaction and exchange of ideas, which is what great institutions facilitate,” said Khare.
Celebrated alumnus Arjun Malhotra, a pioneer in the Indian software industry and co-founder of HCL who has been a top fundraiser among the Batch of 1970, suggested to bring out a commemorative postage stamp in honour of the first IIT next year on occasion of IIT Kharagpur’s 70th anniversary.
The Clock Tower has been designed by renowned architect and alumnus of the institute, late I.M. Asthana, for whom this tower was the last project. Director of IIT Kharagpur, V.K. Tewari, said, “The Clock Tower may be made to display more features in the future, such as digital display of the temperature, humidity or announcements of major events.” The IIT Kgp residents added that this Clock Tower will emerge as an iconic spot in the institute.
‘ADDA’, the batch’s gift to the campus on their golden anniversary, is an expansive area with a sculpted garden and varied seating arrangements. Renowned architect Abin Chaudhuri designed the gigantic red emblem that marks out space.
Earlier, the alumni from the 1970 batch have set up iconic Schools and Centres – G.S. Sanyal School of Telecommunications, Ranbir and Chitra Gupta School of Infrastructure and Design, PK Sinha Centre of Bioenergy, MN Faruqui Innovation Centre, an endowment of Rs 1.1 crore, chair professorships, various flagship programs of the Institute, workshops, advanced tech labs, for yet to be instituted schools and academies and have also pitched in, together with other alumni, to reach internet connectivity to the hostels.
Ranbir Gupta, President of the IITKGP Foundation USA and reputed US-based architect, pointed out that ‘ ADDA’ – which reads the same from left to right and right to left – means different things to different people, but it belongs to the IIT Kharagpur’s alumni, its students, its faculty, the staff and the entire community of IIT Kharagpur. “This beautiful piece that sits at the crossroads on the campus is a small token of our appreciation for the Institute. This is going to serve as a beacon for the entire campus,” said Gupta, who has led the fundraising efforts. On behalf of his batch, Gupta also promised to fund a ‘Center of Happiness’ and a ‘Hall of Fame’ in the premises of the Technology Students’ Gymkhana.
“The Center of Happiness, to be established in association with the Rekhi Centre for the Science of Happiness, will be a huge space at the Gymkhana devoted to students’ wellbeing where they can pursue their individual interests, be it listening to music or practising yoga,” said Prof. William Mohanty, President of Technology Students Gymkhana. The Hall of Fame at the Gymkhana will record the major extracurricular achievements of the students.
Source: Times of India