Word - Indian Institute of Technology Delhi by fionan


									A Publication of NRCVEE, IIT Delhi

SEP/OCT 2005

Vol 2. No. 2


The beginning of this academic session was marked by unprecedented rains in Mumbai which raised numerous questions about the sustainability of megacities and exposed the hollowness of our disaster management techniques. The city survived this natural holocaust only due to the values of compassion and generosity displayed by the common citizens. One of our colleagues of NRCVEE had a first hand experience of this. She had to take evening flight from Mumbai to Delhi on 26 th July and was stranded on Nashik-Mumbai highway. We bring in this issue a brief account, not just of her travails, but the extra-ordinary sense of camaraderie she witnessed during the two days spent on roads. The water logging of Mumbai has brought to the fore numerous challenges for architects, town planners and civil engineers who design the drainage and sewage systems. The quantity of rain that poured in Mumbai in those fateful 24 hours was, of course, much beyond the capacity of the drainage systems, but the blocking of the natural drainage systems like the mithi river (in whose bed the builders have developed housing colonies) played a major role in exacerbating the woes of citizens. The fact that in some parts of Mumbai water logging continued for many days even after the rains had stopped, speaks volumes for the quality of design of waste water drainage systems. No wonder these colonies have been worst affected by water borne diseases that followed the downpour. The civil engineering professional societies need to learn the right lessons from this tragedy in which over thousand lives have been lost in Mumbai and suburbs till now. Recently, we had an opportunity to meet a 1967 alumnus of IIT Delhi, who just retired from NDMC as chief engineer. His story of long drawn battles against corruption was greatly inspiring. Fortunately, his story had happy ending, thanks to the intervention of the judiciary. His efforts in cleansing public life have been duly recognized. He was honoured with Red and White bravery award in 2002 and then the prestigious Giraffe award by Giraffe Heroes Project, USA. We bring in this issue, a brief account of his battles, in the hope that it will motivate the readers to work for networking of engineering fraternity so that such courageous engineers do not have to fight lonely battles against this malaise. A new column is being introduced from this issue of newsletter titled “INTERNET SURFING”. We shall draw the attention of readers to some interesting sites which contain material likely to be useful for value education of engineering students. In this issue we give some information on the site www.goodnewsindia.com wherein are recorded many inspiring stories about some known, but mostly unknown, Indians who have worked selflessly for the society against heavy odds. The fact that this portal has been hosted by a senior citizen using his hard-earned personal money, only added to our inspiration. This reminds us of the inspiring lines of a Ghazal bd u bd 'kek va/ksjs esa tyk, jf[k,] lqcg gksus dks gS ekgkSy cuk, jf[k,A …… keep at least one lamp lighted in darkness, the morning is just round the corner, keep up the environs!

RECENT ACTIVITIES LECTURES :  A lecture-cum-practice session on “Meditation

Second Workshop on Healthy Interaction
Interaction between freshers and seniors continues to be of concern to the educational institutes of the country. NRCVEE had taken a concrete step towards promotion of healthy interaction by organising a workshop of first year students in April 2004. Positive response from the workshop led to the organization of the second such workshop held on April 2, 2005 in Dogra Hall. Attended by more than 300 students, the workshop was used as a platform to address wide ranging issues related to hostel and academic life in the institute and their close linkage with the value system of the people. A very important part of this workshop, as of the first one, was the questionnaire filled by each participant on the nature of interaction they had as freshers with their seniors and its impact on the academic environment of the institute. The questionnaires shall be analysed soon. At the beginning of the session 2004-05, many steps were taken by the institute management, some of them jointly with NRCVEE, to curtail unhealthy interaction and promote a healthy one. These were prominently brought to the notice of the participants during this workshop. They were asked to discuss the effectiveness of these steps and the mode of interaction that took place when they were freshers. Subsequently each hostel was asked to make a presentation of their feedback as well as suggestions for further improvement. This would help bring in students‟ point of view in the planning of interaction period by the institute management in future.

on March 29, 2005 in II LT-2, IITD.  An Introductory Session on “Sahaja Yoga Meditation” by Gen. V.K. Kapoor (Retd.) & Mr. John Fischer on April 7, 2005 in Seminar Hall, IITD.  A lecture on “Self Management” by Sh. Rajan Kumar on August 10, 2005 in IV LT-2, IITD.  A discussion with students jointly with BSW (Board for Students Welfare) in Vindhyachal hostel on “Ethics in IIT students”, on September 7, 2005 : Eight Students put forth their views to initiate the discussion in which about 30 students, participated along with faculty of NRCVEE. The discussion brought out the prevailing confusion among students on the issues of ethics and the need for organising wider debates and discussions involving larger sections of the student community.  A talk-cum-demonstration on “Holistic Health through Yoga and Meditation” by Yogacharya D.K. Mehta on September 27, 2005 in Seminar Hall, IITD. WORKSHOP :  A Workshop on “Fresher-Senior Interaction” on April 2, 2005 in Dogra Hall, IITD.

for Enlightened Living (Anapana-Sati Meditation) ” by Bramharishi Subhash Patri Ji

FORTHCOMING EVENTS  A workshop on “Art of Mind Control” by ISKCON on November 10, 2005 in NRCVEE.  A workshop is proposed to be held in January, 2006 on “Recent Development in Science and Ethical Challenges” in NRCVEE in association with Indian Institute of Science and Religion (IISR), Pune. .

Think It Over
Asceticism is not that you should not own anything, but that nothing should own you. Ali Ibn Abi Talib

Internet Surfing
www.goodnewsindia.org This website set up by Shri D V Sridharan in June 2000 using his own resources is an eye-opener for all the west gazing Indians who see only superstition, filth and poverty in rural India and corruption, crime and pollution in the cities. By showcasing the heroic efforts of thousands of little known men, women and institutions, it attempts to dispel the cynicism and bring hope about future of India. The case studies presented have been well researched and the data can be relied upon. We are using some of these stories in our class in courses “Science and Humanism” and “Human Values and Technology”. The story which was the most inspiring (from those that I had read till then) is about a school and a college set up in Ghatkopar, Mumbai due to herculean efforts of a postman, Nand Kishor Singh Thakur. Imagine a postman carrying along with his postbag a small box in which people would drop anything upward from a paise (1/64th of a rupee) for infusing life into a decaying school! This treasure of a story cannot but touch the heart of any sensitive reader. This site is full of many such stories and we should motivate our colleagues and students to visit this site and read a few case studies : surely this is a site of news of “positive action, steely endeavour and quiet triumphs news that is little known”. Our salutations to Mr. Sridharan!!

Humanity in Floods
On my way from Igatpuri to Delhi via Mumbai, in the difficult week of July 2005, I set out alone on my journey, full of apprehensions. Soon, all the apprehensions were replaced by amazement at the manner in which complete strangers reached out to me like family members. It started with a middle-aged couple who kept me with them, when we seemed to get stranded in Kasara; continuing with the truck-driver-cleaner team, who converted their truck into a comfortable public transport out of Kasara - spreading out carpet-like dry covers underneath to enable small children to even sleep in the midst of the drenching rain; and the truck driver going out of the way to help us move forward by shifting some of us to a passing -by milk tanker. The small cabin of milk tanker carried 10 of us with everyone trying to make a little more space for the other by squeezing in a bit more, rather than grudging the presence of others for a more comfortable journey. What a contrast to the transport buses in Delhi!. When our truck was stuck due to massive water blockades at Bhiwandi-Thane bypass, and my companions decided to go back to Igatpuri, for sometime I thought I was totally left alone. But the next moment I was a part of a bigger family, each member of which was a stranger to each other only a short while before! We were five - a young girl from Bangalore; a Mumbai-based jeweller, a teenaged girl with her father and myself. This “family” was together for the next 20 hours through its efforts to hire a hotel room on that highway, search for a „decent‟ restaurant, attempts to contact our families (with the owners of the few mobile phones instantly shedding their ownership), the prospective plans to move closer to Mumbai and help the medico reach Bangalore in time for her exam and cheering her up amidst her breakdowns, dealing with rumours of the water getting released to submerge our hotel, generator failure at night and many others. The next day brought hope with the water level having receded somewhat and bigger vehicles being able to move to the other side. The most cheering time for us along with many others was the 10 minute ride through the water on board a tempo on the bed of iron bars, with local villagers directing the traffic non-stop. And the most memorable moment for me was the time when I opened my purse to pay the tempo driver some token amount and he just folded his hands before driving away. While I was still recovering from all that experience, suddenly a car with some people stopped next to us and a man shouted, “Anybody needs to go to Borivali? We have some space.” Immediately the father and the daughter were ushered in. I was sure this time, that was not any taxi service but just a helping hand… The final parting of that „family‟ had to be with a cup of tea at the jeweller‟s home and he putting the rest of us in autos and buses to make sure we reach our destinations safely. That had to be the right finale to this absolutely unique experience in comradeship. I was still under the spell of the whole experience when I was shaken up by a total contrast at the airport, only to make my earlier experience even brighter. At the airport, I witnessed complete chaos and lack of patience and cooperation. Amidst the mismanagement by the authorities, the passengers exhibited primarily one attitude „me first, whatever may happen to others.‟ This behaviour of the „elite‟, I witnessed made me hang my head in shame. However, whenever I recall the behaviour of the “common man”, I saw during those 30 hours on road, my head bows with respect and gratitude. - Sangeeta Kohli

Crusade for Upholding Values in Engineering Profession
In 1969, a new graduate from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi joined the New Delhi Municipal Council. As an Assistant Engineer, young Vijay Saluja's goal was to help responsibly develop the capitol city. He thought his job would be to design and maintain municipal projects; to correct traffic problems and fix pot-holed roads; to clean-up garbage, pollution and overflowing sewage as he worked on planning, design, construction and maintenance of vital municipal projects. He hoped to improve overall living conditions for the people of New Delhi, which many residents described as "a nightmare." It wasn't long before Saluja found his goal was not shared by his superiors. He was appalled by the corruption he saw within the New Delhi Municipal Council, India's richest civic body. He found money misspent on faulty public buildings, and more money squandered on incompetent road repairs. Charged with reducing the city's urban troubles, the Council instead fostered practices that led to huge time and cost overruns on projects, often resulting in huge arbitration awards. Hundreds of corruption cases were pending against officers in the organization. Saluja began fighting against the system; his crusade continues to this day. He started by writing letters to his supervisors asking that quality control measures be enforced so that public taxes actually served the public good. He appealed to the Lieutenant Governor Delhi, to the Home Ministry and the Prime Ministers of the country. Nothing changed. Instead, Vijay Saluja became a target of harassment. False complaints, departmental inquiries, transfers, and suspensions faced him at work. At home, he got a death threat from a contractor that Saluja had refused to pay for sub-standard and defective work on a Council contract. For nearly 20 years he was denied promotions and benefits. He suffered financial strain, mental and physical stress. But in the end, friends say, every action taken against him merely strengthened his resolve to end the corruption. In 1993, Saluja filed a civil petition in Delhi High Court citing his superiors' abuses of power, including massive squandering of public funds, and the damages to Saluja's career. Stall tactics by the Municipal Council's lawyer dragged the case on till March of 2001, when the court awarded Saluja punitive damages. Thanks to still more stalling from the Council, the court's orders were ignored until 2004, when Saluja finally got his back promotions. Despite a hostile work environment and obstacles at every turn, Vijay Saluja has managed to oversee many exemplary roads, buildings and redevelopment works. He is respected worldwide for his work on urban management, municipal engineering, urban poverty and the environment. His countrymen acknowledged his work with the 'Red & White Bravery Award' in 2002, recognizing his exceptional acts of social courage. Vijay Saluja, has not given up. "I have not lost heart. Callous waste of public funds, when abject poverty abounds, literally appalls me." For this crusade to uphold values in engineering profession Vijay Saluja has been honoured by Giraffe Award by Giraffe Hero‟s project USA. {adapted from www.giraffe.org}

Published by National Resource Centre for Value Education in Engineering, IIT Delhi http://www.iitd.ac.in/htmlpages/first.htm Editor : Prof. P. L. Dhar

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