JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Volume VIII, Issue I
Spring 2006 Page 1
Jadavpur University Alumni Association
Washington Metropolitan Area
In this Issue….
From the Editor’s Desk…
With great pleasure, we present the Spring issue of the 2006 newsletter of
the Jadavpur University Alumni Association, Washington Metropolitan Area chapter
Editorial JUAA-WMA has been experiencing a steadily increasing visibility in the US
Page 1 as well as in India. “Sanskriti”, the premier Bengali association in the Washington
Metropolitan area expressed interest in organizing joint events with JUAA-WMA.
President’s Message Coordinators of the newly-formed JUAA-Atlanta chapter approached us to explore
Page 2 the possibility of routing their contributions (life-memberships, annual scholarships,
donations for special causes, etc.) to the JUAA-Kolkata Headquarters through JUAA-
Local Chapter Activities WMA, before they obtain a tax-exempt status. Even a commercial website, electronic
Page 3 greetings card portal www.123greetings.com, has shown interest in having a mention
at our website in exchange of a link to our website at their site. JUAA-WMA Board of
Upcoming Events Directors and members are enjoying a tremendous sense of camaraderie and
Page 8 responsibility, which is the foundation of any alumni association.
Member News JUAA-WMA members elected five new Board members during the Fall 2005
Page 8 general election. Jayati Dasgupta (‘84/Arch.), Sudipta Sarkar (‘96/CSE), Atish Ray
(‘89/Mech. E.), Bidyut Chakravarty (‘72/ETCE), and Sharmila Ghosh (‘98/Comp.
Campus News Lit.) have joined incumbent members Aniruddha Bhattacharyya (President, ‘52/Ch.
Page 9 E.) and Tapash Ghosh(‘79/Pharm.) in the Board of Directors. The special Advisory
Board consisting of Mihir Mitra (‘51/Mech. E.), Asok Motayed (’67/Civil E.) Rama
Featured Articles Saha (‘75/M. Ph.), Dilip Paul(’61/Tel. E.) & Somnath Som(‘67/Civil E.) continues to
advise the Board President on all relevant matters, including the scholarship fund.
Kolkata through the
Photographer’s Lens In addition to the regular sections of JUAA-WMA newsletter including the
Page 12 local chapter’s activities and scholarship-related information, this issue proudly
features two very different Jadavpur-related original articles contributed by Ms.
Quizzing @ Jadavpur Marilyn Blois, who has recently visited the Jadavpur University campus with a
Page 14 delegation from the Northern Virginia Community College, and by Dr. Abhijit Gupta,
a current Professor of the English Department at Jadavpur University. I had an
Alumni Association opportunity to take a brief interview of eminent writer Nabaneeta Dev Sen during her
Accounts 2005 recent visit to Washington DC. This issue features the interview.
I express my gratitude to Aniruddha Bhattacharyya, Anjali Bhattacharyya,
Contact Information Atish Ray, Debabrata Das, Mihir Mitra, Dilip Paul, and Anirban Chaudhuri for
Page 17 helping with the creation of this issue of the newsletter in various capacities.
Keeping with the tradition of the last few years, this issue of the newsletter is
published at a perfect time to remind our members about the upcoming picnic, which
will be held on June 3rd, 2006 at the Rock Creek Regional Park in Rockville, MD. Be
there with your friends and family. Wish everyone a fun-filled summer ahead.
-Madhumita Datta (‘95/Elect.E.)
JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Page 2
Message from President of the JUAA-WMA Board of Directors, 2005-06
I take this opportunity of wishing you all, once again, happiness, prosperity, and success in life. I
am proud to be a JU alumnus and I sincerely hope all our members feel the same way.
I am very happy to see our 2006 newsletter being published. I thank our active member
Madhumita Datta for taking the lead in editing and publishing the newsletter.
I must start my message thanking our 2005 Board members: Anirban Chaudhuri (‘01/EE),
Sudeshna Dutta (‘98/Pharm.), Kausik Kundu (‘96/ME), Dhruba Chatterjee (‘90/Pharm.), Tapash Ghosh
(‘79/Pharm.), Pradip Mondal (‘93/MCA) & Biswajit Sen (‘79/Arch.). Their support and hard work made it
possible for us to go ahead towards our goal. Five Board members completed their term last year and I
thank Madhumita Datta, our election commissioner, who spearheaded the election process, for arranging
to fill up the vacancies. I am proud enough to announce the new Board, consisting of Jayati Dasgupta
(‘84/Arch.), Atish Ray (‘89/ME), Sudipta Sarkar (‘96/CSE), Bidyut Chakravarty (‘72/ETCE), Sharmila
Ghosh (‘98/Comp. Lit.) and Tapsh Ghosh (‘79/Pharm.). We are always together in our activities, and I
am overwhelmed by the support I get from this young group with unlimited energy.
In 2005 and 2006, so far, we achieved the following:
• We received IRS approval considering JUAA WMA as a public non profit organization. This gave
the organization permanent tax exempt status.
• We opened two bank accounts: a checking account, and a savings account in the name of JUAA
WMA as a public non profit organization.
• We added an amendment to our by-laws. This 1st. amendment sets aside the money in the savings
bank account for use for JU scholarships only. The money in the savings account will accumulate
till the fund assets reach $ 20,000.
• For the first time we provided grant money to a JU alumnus Pranab Sardar, for submitting
applications seeking admission in US universities. We are proud to announce that Pranab got
acceptance from four universities with financial assistance.
• We are aggressively moving forward in tracking new JU alumni in the area and update the
membership list as far as practicable.
• We are continuing with our membership collection and scholarship fund raising drive. We are
attempting to open and expand direct channel of communication with the members mainly
through telephone calls.
• For smooth operation, we have added the positions of Vice President and Joint Treasurer in the
• We have changed the host for our website. We have also formed a website subcommittee
consisting of Debabrata Das, Sudipta Sarkar, Atish Ray, Madhumita Datta and Subhra Ghosh.
They are in the process of upgrading the “JUgraduates.org” website. We hope we will succeed in
attracting JU alumni to visit the site more frequently for updates and new announcements.
• We are attempting to improve our account keeping. With help from Debabrata Das, we have
installed a Quick book account keeping format to maintain our accounts as desired by IRS.
• We had our General Body meeting during the annual picnic last year. In 2006 we will again have
the general body meeting during the picnic.
• JUAA WMA participated with Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) who had a
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) done with JU for having an exchange program. Dr.
Ajitava RayChaudhuri, head of the economics department of JU visited NVCC in September
2005. JUAA WMA offered a reception for Dr. RayChaudhuri when he was here.
• I attended a similar session when the NVCC representatives, led by Dr. Beverly Blois (Dean),
visited JU. We all visited an NGO in Baghnan, Howrah, supported by JU for engaging high school
graduates for providing hands on experience on trades including computer training and training
in spoken English.
JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Page 3
• I also visited JU and met with Pro Vice
Chancellor, Prof. Shyamal Kanti Sanyal and
head of the department of Chemical
Engineering, Prof. Siddharatha Dutta, on
several occasions. My objective was to direct a
large US company to select JU Chemical
Engineering department for their outsourcing in
research activities in the field of Environmental
Engineering. I felt, JU needs significant face
lifting before a US company could be attracted
to develop any research relationship with JU. I
had a meeting with the Registrar, Prof. Rajat
Bandopadhaya to specially discuss the issue.
The students of the Chemical Engineering
department held a reception for me where I Aniruddha Bhattacharyya (second from left) with JU
spoke. My wife Anjali and I also answered Chemical Engineering Dept. Head, Prof. Siddhartha
questions from the students. Prof Sanyal and Dutta and students
Prof. Dutta were present in the reception. I must
also add here that Prof. Siddhartha Dutta will be visiting Washington DC in September 2006 at
the invitation of NVCC.
Last but not the least, I wanted to mention that three of our outgoing Board members got married in
2005 and 2006. They are Kausik Kundu, Sudeshna Dutta and Anirban Chaudhuri. We missed
Sudeshna’s wedding in Naihati, but made it up by attending Anirban’s reception in Kolkata. We sincerely
sincerely wish the newly-weds a very happy and prosperous long married life. ♦
-Aniruddha Bhattacharyya, ‘52/ChE.
Local Chapter Activities
• Annual Picnic, 2005
The JU Alumni Association’s annual picnic was held on
May 21, 2005, at the Cabin John Regional Park, Rockville,
MD. The participants enjoyed a great time and a sumptuous
lunch. About 75 alumni attended the picnic. JUAA-WMA
general body meeting was held during the picnic.
• Meeting with Professor Ajitava
RayChaudhuri Gathering at 2005 annual picnic
Members of JUAA-WMA met Dr. Ajitava
RayChaudhuri (Professor and Head of the Department, Economics, JU) along with a delegation from the
Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC) of Loudon County, VA, comprising Dr. Robert G. Templin
(President), Dr. Beverly Blois (Dean) and Dr. Meena Nayak (Professor of English), on September 10,
2005. The members took part in a discussion regarding the exchange program between JU and NVCC,
and informed Dr. RayChaudhuri of JUAA-WMA’s activities. Dr. RayChaudhuri is a former student of
Jadavpur University and also an alumnus of the American and Yale Universities. He was invited by the
NVCC to visit Northern Virginia in September 2005 as the College’s official guest. During his visit, Dr.
JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Page 4
Raychaudhuri attended a number of meetings and seminars organized by NVCC in association with the
World Bank, George Mason University, and American University. The meeting with JUAA members was
held at the residence of Mr. Asok Motayed in Potomac, MD.
• Bijaya Sammelan, 2005
The Alumni Association celebrated annual Bijaya Sammelan on November 5th, 2005, at the Kingsview
Middle School in Germantown, MD. The evening featured fantastic dance performances by local
youngsters, and a captivating “shruti natak” performance by Soubhik and Mousumi Sengupta from
Cleveland, Ohio. The evening held a special significance, because a number of attendees were not JUAA-
WMA members, which reinforced JUAA-WMA’s position as a premier cultural forum for the Bengali
community in the Washington Metro area. Sumptuous snacks and dinner were served, and contributions
from the members were collected.
The newly elected members of the JUAA Board of Directors, Jayati Dasgupta, Atish Ray, Sudipta Sarkar,
Bidyut Chakrabarti, and Sharmila Ghosh were introduced during this event.
• Financial Assistance to Ex-Student Pranab Sardar
JUAA-WMA is proud to coordinate the collection of $300.00 (in addition to personal
contributions from individuals) to assist Pranab Sardar, a brilliant ex-student from the Mathematics
department of JU, to pay his graduate school application fees. Pranab got admission from 4 US
universities, and accepted a prestigious fellowship offer from the University of Missouri at Columbia for
his doctoral studies. Pranab acknowledged the assistance he got from JU seniors in an email in April,
2006, part of which is quoted below:
“My sincere thanks are due to JUAA-WMA for its generous financial help. I am also heavily
thankful to Supratim da (Supratim Sanyal) and Sisir da (Sisir Mondal) who have been of tremendous
help to me at the hours of need. My special thanks go to Dilip Paul for his comments and important
advice about studies in US. In a word whatever has been possible today, involves an extremely
important part played by the contribution from my seniors from JU. I owe a lot to them.
I have already sent the acceptance letter and waiting for the visa papers etc to receive from them. I am
supposed to join MU around the first week of August.
I hope with all of your blessings, I shall come up with a success as this one, in the next stage of my
We wish Pranab success in his scholarly pursuit.
• Meeting with Journalist Madhumita Datta
In association of the Sanskriti Youth Group, JUAA-WMA organized an informal reception for
journalist Madhumita Datta, a chief reporter of the popular Bengali daily Aajkaal. The event took place at
Anjan Guhathakurta’s place in Rockville, MD, on April 9th, 2006. Madhumita is spearheading a program
that brings out to our attention the touching stories of some very bright students in West Bengal, who are
on the verge of discontinuing their education for short of funds. Madhumita, along with photojournalist
Kumar Roy, has recently made a documentary about some of these brilliant students, who despite
struggling with destitution, have done extremely well in Madhyamik. More about this documentary can be
found at the link: www.aajkaal.net/tara.php. Madhumita brought VCDs of the documentary with her.
Board members present at the reception discussed with Madhumita how JUAA-WMA can work with her,
so that these students can continue with their studies. Apart from channeling financial contribution,
there were discussions about possible outreach programs organized by the Sanskriti Youth Group (which
includes children of JUAA-WMA members). Ideas for the outreach program include establishing pen-
friendship between students from the Washington Metropolitan area and the needy students of West
Bengal, and visiting the students’ home and school in West Bengal when local students make trips to
India with their parents.
JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Page 5
• Reception for Nabaneeta Dev Sen
Soma and Sandip Mukherjee, both JUAA-WMA members, arranged a reception for renowned
poet and writer Nabaneeta Dev Sen on May 20th, 2006 at the King Farm Community Room in Rockville,
MD. Prof Dev Sen is a JU alumna and a recently-retired professor of the JU Comparative Literature
department. JUAA-WMA (Aniruddha and Anjali Bhattacharyya deserve special mention) extended their
full support to organize the event. Professor Dev Sen has published over 60 books, both in Bengali and
English, and has won numerous prestigious awards. She is a stellar personality in contemporary Bengali
literature, and is adored by readers worldwide, as was evident during the reception.
The event started with Soma and Sandip Mukherjee introducing Prof. Dev Sen through a very
entertaining conversation-style colloquium, where Sandip Mukherjee recalled stories from his JU days
when he was a student of Prof. Dev Sen in the Comparative Literature dept. Nandita Dasgupta, also a JU
alumna, then took over as the emcee for the rest of the event. She described Prof. Dev Sen’s many
accomplishments as a writer, poet, and literary scholar. JUAA-WMA president, Aniruddha Bhattacharyya
delivered his address, where he proudly claimed Nabaneeta Dev Sen as ‘one of our [Jadavpur University’s]
own’. Anjali Bhattacharyya, a poet herself, talked about the blend of humor and insight in Nabaneeta Dev
Sen’s writing, quoting a number of excerpts from her various literary works. She pointed out how
Nabaneeta Dev Sen holds a pioneering position in Bengali literature by stepping into the traditionally-
male-dominated domain of intellectual humor and wit.
Professor Dev Sen said that she was moved by the sincere adoration. She engaged in a
conversation with the audience. The conversation was rich with her characteristic repartee. She narrated
quite a few personal and family anecdotes, talked about her various awards, her bond with her mother,
and read a number of poems of her own choice and from the audience’s suggestions.
A ‘shruti natak’ based on Prof. Dev Sen’s
short story “Porikkha”, was presented by Swati and
Sarbajit Sinha, and their daughter, Sreya Sinha. The
audience enjoyed the presentation very much. Swati
also read from Prof. Dev Sen’s travelogue, “Karuna
tomar Kon Path Diye”.
The event ended with Prof. Dev Sen
answering questions from the members of the
audience about her life and writing.
On 21st. May, 2006, Nabaneeta Dev Sen
visited Aniruddha and Anjali Bhattacharyya’s home
in Fairfax Station, VA, for an informal musical
evening and dinner. She was accompanied by her
Nabaneeta Dev Sen (seated) with JUAA-WMA members adopted daughter Srabasti Basu, who is a JU alumna
herself. Among others, JUAA-WMA members Debabrata Das, Debjani Sarkar, Jayati Dasgupta, Soma
Mukherjee, Sandip Mukherjee, and Madhumita Datta were present there. Madhumita had an opportunity
to sit down with Prof. Dev Sen for a brief informal interview, excerpts from which follow:
Madhumita Datta (MD): What are your thoughts
on the role that Internet plays in spreading literary
Nabaneeta Dev Sen (NDS): I am strongly pro-
Internet. I think the Internet is doing a wonderful job of
connecting people across the globe who are like-minded in
terms of literary appreciation. However, I am concerned about
the lack of control and regulation over the authenticity of
information available on the Internet. Misleading or incorrect
information can proliferate really fast online, running the risk of
corrupting readers’ minds.
Nabaneeta Dev Sen with Anjali Bhattacharyya
JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Page 6
MD: You have covered a lot of genres in your writing including novels, short stories, poems,
travelogues, critical analysis of literature, children’s literature and more. Have you ever thought of
writing weblogs or ‘blogs’, which are really popular on the Internet these days? Anyone can write a blog
on just about anything. A large number of blogs, an example of which is the “Sulekha Blog”, emphasize
on common topics from day-to-day lives, which we see in your writing as well.
NDS: No, I don’t see myself writing blogs. I rarely even read blogs. Many of my students regularly
write blogs, and some of them forward interesting blog entries to me. I myself am not too much into blogs.
MD: You have written both in Bengali, and English. Bengali being a regional language, it might
be necessary to encourage more translation of your work to achieve wider readership. What are your
thoughts on that?
NDS: My experience with translation of my work by others has not been very positive. It is not
possible for me to always supervise what is being published as a translation of my original work. I have
noticed nightmarish mistakes in translated works, not only in terms of failing to convey the inner
message, but sometimes as basic as failing to represent the correct gender of a character! Some of the
translated works are good though, such as the translation of my story “Porobrit” in Sanjukta Dasgupta’s
collection of translated short stories of the twentieth century women writers, titled “Her Stories”.
It is rather difficult to translate the humor in my Bengali writing into any other language.
MD: How do you feel if someone wants to make a film based on your writing? Your daughter
Nandana said in an interview that she would love to make a film portraying her grandmother’s, i.e.
your mother Radharani Devi’s life. She will certainly get a lot of material in your writing.
NDS: Film and fiction are two different media. A couple of telefilms have been made based on my
stories, but not too many of my novels or stories have been made into films. My daughter Nandana
studied literature in Harvard. She was a great student, a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and an editor of a
literary magazine. But then she decided to pursue acting. Of course, I have supported her decision. I went
to the opening of her off-Broadway performance as a leading lady in York Theater’s “Modigliani.” It will
be interesting to write a full-fledged memoir on my mother. I don’t know if it will be suitable for a film.
MD: Your writing reflects a lot of autobiographical elements. Have you ever thought of writing
an official autobiography? Or, if someone wants to write a biography of yours, what would be your
NDS: Nobody has approached me yet with a request to write a biography of mine. I don’t know
how I would respond. I haven’t thought about writing an autobiography either. I may consider writing one
MD: Do you ever suffer from the proverbial “writer’s block”? How do you dissolve that?
NDS: I do suffer from “writer’s block”. Author Buddhadeb Guha once gave me a great piece of
advice to counter “writer’s block” --by translating other writers’ work until you get your creativity back. It
really works for me.
MD: Your daughters and their antics seem to be a favorite topic for your writing. Do they ever
complain that their lives get too much public exposure through your writing?
NDS: They didn’t use to complain before, but now sometimes they do feel like they might use
some privacy. I really miss writing about my daughters, because I was so used to it. I am thankful to my
daughters Antara and Nandana for providing me with endless material to write about. Now my adopted
daughter Srabasti, who is very mischievous, keeps me busy.
JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Page 7
• JU Scholarship
Keeping with the long-lasting tradition, JUAA-WMA contributed $500.00 in the year
2005 towards the scholarship fund for meritorious but needy JU students. The students were
selected by the parent body of the Alumni Association (JUAA) in the Kolkata Headquarters. A list
of donors for the 2005 scholarship fund is presented below:
Aniruddha Bhattacharyya (‘52/ChE) Sujan Bhattacharya (‘78/ME)
Champa Bhusan (‘64/Tel. E.) Anirban Chaudhuri (2001/EE)
Debabrata Das (‘94/Printing) Debjani Sarkar (‘94/Printing)
Partha Dasgupta (‘68/EE) Madhumita Datta (‘95/EE)
Amarendranath Datta (‘51/ME) Debdas Ghosal (‘65/EE)
Jogabrata Majumdar (‘76/ME) Pradip Mondal (‘93/MCA)
Asok Motayed (‘67/CE) Dilip Paul (‘61/ Tel. E.)
Alakananda Paul (‘61/Tel. E.) Sibsankar Rana (‘63/EE)
Atish Ray (‘89/ME) Somnath Som (‘66/CE)
Haripada Saha (‘70/CE) Rama Saha (‘75/MPh.)
Sudhansu Saha (‘69/EE) Rita Sen (‘71/Arch.)
Raj Shrestha Oindrilla Roy
A. B. Pal, Honorary Secretary of the parent body of the Alumni Association in Kolkata has
provided a list of students who has been awarded scholarships in 2005 from funds received from the
List of students awarded scholarship (Rs 1500/- each) from JUAA-WMA funds in 2005
Name, Place Department, Class
1 Sabyasachi Tripathi, Purba Medinipur Economics, PG-I
2 Md. Asifuzzaman, Murshidabad History, UG-I
3 Debabrata Jana, Purba Medinipur Bengali, UG-III
4 Sujit Saha, Burdwan Bengali, UG-II
5 Tridwip Roy, Cooch Behar Bengali, UG-II
6 Sambhu Charan Mondal, Purba Medinipur Pharmacy, UG-II
7 Manasi Sahoo, Purba Medinipur History, UG-II
JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Page 8
8 Prasenjit Ghosh, Bankura Bengali, UG-II
9 Abhijit Nayek, Hooghly Mathematics, PG-I
10 Tushar Kanti Halder, South 24 Parganas Power Engg, UG-I
11 Tuhin Sanphui, South 24 Parganas Printing Engg. UG-I
12 Arpan Kayal, Howrah Construction Engg., UG-I
13 Yasir Arafat, Kolkata Construction Engg., UG-I
Notably, the scholarship distribution is somewhat uneven with none going to any major
engineering department. As the major source of the scholarship donation here is from our local engineers,
JUAA-WMA has been contemplating attaching some rules regarding the scholarship distribution criteria
by which JUAA should select their candidates from 2006 onwards.
JUAA-WMA requests you to contribute generously towards the scholarship fund. As mentioned
in the President’s message, our goal is to collect a total sum of $20,000 for the scholarship fund over the
next few years. Until then, we will continue to provide the annual contribution of $500 to JUAA
Headquarters in Kolkata.
• Annual Picnic 2006
The Alumni Association’s Annual Picnic for 2006 will be held on June 3rd, 2006, at the Rock Creek
Regional Park, Rockville, MD, from 11a.m. to 5 p.m. Shelter ‘C’ has been reserved for this purpose. All JU
Alumni Association members and well-wishers, along with their families are welcome to attend. The day
will be filled with lots of activities and fun-filled events. Lunch and snacks will be served. Picnic shelter 'C'
has been reserved for this purpose. Annual General Body Meeting of the JUAA –WMA will be held during
the picnic. Please visit our website for directions and other details: www.jugraduates.org/events.html ♣
• Bijaya Sammelan, 2006
The Bijoya Sammelan for 2006 will take place on December 3, 2006 at Burtonsville Middle
School. Details of the program will be provided at a later date at our website.
• We are proud to announce that two poetry books authored by JUAA-WMA patron Anjali
Bhattacharyya, have been published in 2005. The first book, "Pakha Mala Kathar Jhak"
(introduction by Sunil Gangopadhyay) has been published by Biswajnan, a publishing house that
publishes only little magazines. The second book, "Dheu Samudre Sarak Bhenge" has been
JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Page 9
published by Proma, another very well known publisher who publishes quarterly magazine and
also books of poems and non fictional prose.
Though not a JU alumna, Anjali Bhattacharyya (along with her husband, Aniruddha
Bhattacharyya) has always been an active supporter and organizer of JUAA-WMA events. Anjali
got her BA and MA in literature from Calcutta University, MS in Social Science, and MA and her
Ph.D. in Anthropology from the State University of New York, Buffalo. Anjali formerly taught at
the Antioch University and the Cleveland State University. She was the Director of Total Quality
Management for a Fortune 500 company in Pittsburgh, and President and CEO of ABS Inc.
Anjali publishes in various prestigious journals and little magazines in USA and Kolkata,
including Proma, and Sunil Gangopadhyay’s little magazine “Krittibaas”. She has been invited to
read poems at Nandan, Durdarshan, Banga Sammalon and other literary organizations. She also
writes literary articles and “Sruti Natak”. One of the Sruti Natak was staged (directed, produced
and acted by her) at Banga Sammelon, 2004. Anjali is also the founder of Gadya Padyer Asar, a
quarterly literary circle in greater Washington DC.
• We are happy to announce that Pratul Bhattacharya (‘67/BEE, ’70/MSc.), an active
member of JUAA-WMA, has compiled and published a wonderful collection of articles on his
beloved teacher, the legendary Professor Triguna Charan Sen, Father of Jadavpur University. The
book was published in November 2005 on the occasion of Prof. Sen’s birth centenary, with
support from the Jadavpur University Global Alumni Association (JUGAA). The book features a
biography of Prof. Sen, tributes from a number of Professor Sen’s former students, including
former JUAA-WMA President Mihir Mitra (‘51/BME), and a memoir with excerpts from an
interview with Prof. Sen conducted by Pratul Bhattacharya in 1995.
• We grieved the untimely passing away of our fellow alumnus Goutom Roy of 11213
Fruitwood Drive, Bowie, MD 20720. He was a JU graduate of 1968 CE batch. On May 15, 2005,
Gautom Roy passed away at the age of sixty three. He succumbed to the effects of brain cancer
after a five month battle with the disease. He is survived by his wife Gopa, his daughter Renee,
and son Aneek. Goutom was a devoted family man who relished spending time with his wife,
children and his work. He was humble and was very active in community and in JU Alumni
activities. He left many friends. He is deeply missed by everyone.
News from around the Campus and the Media
The Mechanical Engineering department of JU has started celebrating its centenary from March
18th, 2006. For details, visit:http://www.jadavpur.edu/academics/centenary.htm
The Electrical Engineering department of JU will start celebrating its year-long centenary from
July 25th, 2006. For details, visit: http://www.jueecentenary.org/index.htm. It has been decided
to install the bust of legendary Prof. H. C. Guha in Electrical Engineering Dept. in July 2006 on
the occasion of centenary celebration. One of the leading sculptors of Kolkata. Sri Anit Ghose, ex-
professor of Govt. Art College, has been entrusted with making the bust. (Source: A. B. Pal,
Faculty of Engineering and Technology at JU celebrated its annual cultural event “Sanskriti” from
March 28th-April 1st, 2006 on JU campus. Programs included performances by the Jogesh Dutta
JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Page 10
Mime Academy, Marich Sangbad, a play by Chetana, a Kobir Lorai, a stint by Shiva, and the
main attraction at the Open Air Theatre, a concert by Ali Azmat Butt, formerly of Junoon.
(source: FETSanskriti newsgroup)
A national seminar was held at JU on 17th & 18th March 2006 on "Building Industry in India –
Present Trends". Experts from booming construction Industry presented valuable papers on
various aspects of building industry on four topics i.e., High Rise Structures, Building & Services,
Green Building, Role of Financial Institutions. (Source: A. B. Pal, Alumni Newsletter)
The School of Design, Engineering & Computing (DEC) at the Bournemouth University in UK has
been awarded a two year grant by UK’s Higher Education Link Program scheme to fund a joint
project with Jadavpur University. The project involves 'Design, Implementation and Evaluation of
a Multimedia Database System with Adaptive Hypermedia Interface for Delivering Web Services'.
A commemorative stamp on JU was introduced in
2005 by the Indian Postal Service.
The concluding function of Dr. Triguna Sen’s Birth
Centenary Celebration was held on 23rd December
2005 at the H. L. Roy auditorium of the Indian
Institute of Chemical Engineers. Chief Guest
MahaMahopadhyaya Sri Gobinda Gopal Mukhopadhya gave a lucid account of his long
association with Dr. Triguna Sen and paid homage to the memory the great visionary. Other
speakers were Prof. S. K. Sanyal, Pro-VC, Jadavpur University, Sri Pranab Kumar Sen Sarma, Sri
Pratul Bhattacharya, Sri Nandan Bhattacharya, Sri Debabrata Roy & Sri Narahari Sikder. In the
second half a seminar was organised on "Role of Bio-Diesel in Present & Future Energy Scenario".
The programme was sponsored by the West Bengal Renewable Development Agency, courtesy Sri
S. P. Gon Choudhury, Director WEBREDA & special Secretary Power Govt. of West Bengal.
Delegates from Govt, academia & industry participated in large numbers. (Source: A. B. Pal,
The annual convocation of Jadavpur University for the year 2005 was held on 24th December
2005 with a colorful ceremony. The Chief Guest was poet Sri Nirendra Nath Chakraborty.
(Source: A. B. Pal, Alumni Newsletter)
The Golden Jubilee Celebration Committee of Jadavpur University organised a ceremony on 13th
July 2005 at 10 a.m. at the Open Air Theater of the University. The chief guest was the President
of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. Memorable quotes from the speech of President Kalam include:
"The University [JU] indeed has created many eminent teachers, professors, scientists,
economists & many persons of excellence. I also recall how Jadavpur University contributed to
the Satellite Launch Vehicle programme of ISRO & LCA program of DRDO. ……….. At this critical
juncture of universal turbulence & instability, arising out of mutual distrust and hatred leading to
violence, time has come for us to have an institution to attract international scholars for research
& teaching. Jadavpur University has all the profile to become a modern Nalanda. " (Source: A. B.
Pal, Alumni Newsletter)
Jadavpur University (JU) and Hewlett-Packard (HP) have announced a collaboration, to provide
educational platforms to support mutual exchange of knowledge in the field of mobile computing.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to this effect was signed in November, 2005, between
Rajat Bandyopadhyay, Registrar of JU, and Biswanth Bhattacharya, director - public sector, HP,
JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Page 11
India. Ajay Gupta, director, HP Labs India, said, "A significant hallmark of this relationship is the
innovation brought to bear by HP Labs. HP Labs is working on developing cutting edge
technologies in the areas of mobile computing and data networks, and their applications in areas
such as distance education. …Jadavpur University, with its long tradition of working with
industry, is an ideal partner to collaborate with. This relationship builds on the successful
implementation of a digital library by HP, jointly with Jadavpur University. This library was set
up by deploying dSpace Open Source Digital Library. HP is keen to take the digital library
solution to other premier educational institutions across India". Under this initiative, HP will
install leading server technologies and provide IT infrastructure support for the computing lab at
the University. (source: http://www.techtree.com)
Plea for Life Membership
All JUAA WMA members are urged to become life member of the parent Alumni association at
Kolkata, India, by paying a nominal one-time fee of US $40.00 to the alma Mater. For application forms
and other details, please contact Dilip Paul (’61/ ETCE) at e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; ph: 301-365-0146
JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Page 12
Kolkata Through The Photographer’s Lens
by Marilyn Blois
India, from as far back as I can remember, always conjured up visions of a magical and vibrant
land that I longed to visit. During my years working for an international telecommunications company, I
always thought an opportunity to do just that would present itself; alas not. Then almost two years ago,
my husband, Dr. Beverly Blois of Northern Virginia Community College (NVCC), initiated discussions
between Jadavpur University (JU) and NVCC which resulted in a visit to Virginia by Dr. Ajitava
Raychaudhuri in the fall of 2005 and an invitation from JU for an exchange group this past February.1
Although not a part of the NVCC staff, JU invited me to accompany the delegation. I used my time to
photograph the historic events happening around me and to drink in all that Kolkata had to offer.
Our first morning on the campus we set-out on a walking
tour to get our bearings. The playing field had a cricket game going;
plastic free zone signs were everywhere, new buildings construction
abounded, the gardens in front of the Aurobindo Bhavan were in full
bloom, the weather was a perfect mixture of warmth and cool and
the tranquility of the pond by the guest house welcomed us.
Our good fortune
had us in Kolkata during the
celebration of the goddess
Saraswathi. We adopted her
as our patron, conducting
puja so that not only would
our work at JU be as highly
successful as everyone
hoped, but that we not be
laid up with any maladies Aurobindo Bhaban
during our stay. She blessed
us in both regards. The
Jheel-side Guest House at JU
display of offerings to Her
on the campus probably
numbered over a dozen, all of them unique, beautiful and
fascinating. The night before the formal celebration, the women in
the dorm next to the guest house where we stayed, decorated and
partied through the night. I was so intrigued and regret not just
walking over to join in the fun.
The formal signing of the MoU was held in the office of Dr.
Basu. Mr. Aniruddha Bhatacharyya, president of the JUAA-WMA
was also in attendance as he was traveling in West Bengal at the
time. He was also able to accompany us to a JU extension
operation in Bagnan, on the grounds of Ananda Niketan wherein a
Dr. Blois with Vice Chancellor Dr.
partnership training program for a BPO course and a development
project for extraction by totally natural, non-chemical process of
marigold dye for end uses that include textile manufacture were conducted.
JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Page 13
Our delegation also had the opportunity
to visit the WIPRO call center compound in Salt
Lake. As we had seen all around the city, and on
the University campus, new construction
abounded everywhere. I picked up and read
Chetan Bhagat’s novel, “one night @ the call
center”. Having run call centers in a former life,
I loved the book; Professor Meena Nayak, a
member of our delegation and author of two
books, however, did not.
Coming from Northern Virginia,
Kolkata’s traffic was no shock. I was greatly
impressed with what at first looked like the
JU outreach in Howrah random use of all available road space. In fact, it
turned out the there was some logic to it all,
albeit only known to the drivers. Instead of
wasting what surely would have been more time in traffic jams, things moved much faster than here in
our area. Perhaps this is something the planners for the Capital Beltway might want to look into.
Ambassador cars were everywhere carrying business travelers, families and lots of luggage; just like the
reassuring yellow cabs in New York City.
We managed to get to Park Street several times for either a little R&R to assist with the end of a
day debriefing, dinner or shopping. We couldn’t resist buying a little something extra at Flury’s even after
a great meal at Barbeque or Prince of Cal.
As we were planning this trip, we received cautionary advise
from many folks regarding the number of people would we encounter
daily. That phenomenon however, never seemed to occur. I remember
asking our host Dr. Raychaudhuri “where everyone was.” It proved
harder to navigate around Leicester Square in London during some past
summer trips then anyplace in Kolkata. The Kolkata Book Fair
probably offered the largest collection of folks in one spot. Of course
I’m not sure a “gaggle of bookworms” indulging in their passion for
books was a true representation of mass humanity on the loose. What
did strike a cord, however, was that no matter where you were or what
circumstance you found yourself in, there was always someone around
to lend a hand.
The amount of commerce on every street corner and sometimes
in the street while waiting for a light to change, just kept my head
moving constantly like a cupie doll. It was noted in our lofty
conversations of world economics, that 90% of India’s economy comes Book Fair banner
from informal business, such as the vendors found on every street. As a
visitor, the variety offered by all these “informal business providers” was staggering. The flowers, food,
clothes, household goods, phones, do-dads and thing-a-ma-bobs offered a window to the enormous
entrepreneurial spirit we saw everywhere.
Having my first trip to India not only provide witness to what I predict will be deemed an historic
event by both institutions, it also provided me the luxury of making new friends whom I now consider
family. The hospitality we were showed gave us experiences beyond anything a mere tourist could expect.
NVCC continues to prepare for the first of the exchange participants this September. The work that has
gone into this project by both colleges is a testament to the mutual commitment for success. ♣
JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Page 14
JUAA/WMA Newsletter, Spring, 2005, “Broadening Horizons: A partnership between the Virginia Community
College system and Jadavpur University,” Meena Arora Nayak.
About the author: Marilyn S. Blois is former director of network operations for Cable & Wireless, LLC
and vice president of network services for Arbinet—The Exchange. Now retired from the telecom
industry, she resides in Vienna, Virginia and contributes occasional travel articles to Élan Magazine.
Down the Memory Lane......
Quizzing @ Jadavpur
by Abhijit Gupta
I joined JU as an undergraduate student exactly 20 years ago, in 1986. By then, I was already a
seasoned quizzard, having first cut my teeth in the Chuchura-Chandannagar circuit and then as a member
of the St Lawrence school team during the Higher Secondary years. As a school team we did not fare very
well in the festival circuit but all that was to change dramatically at university.
One of the first quizzing events I remember from university was the freshers’ quiz, organized by
the Arts Faculty Students’ Union. I teamed up with Saurav Sen from the history department and we won
with ridiculous ease. Saurav Sen was then easily the most formidable database of recondite information
on both sides of the jheel. At IIT Kharagpur’s Spring Fest the following year, he reduced keen engineers to
tears by describing the workings of the Wankel Rotary Engine in merciless detail, and by his perorations
on the push-pull amplifier.
Like India and Pakistan at cricket, there were then two great quizzing nations in the university,
the Arts-Science and the Engineering. While Arts-Science were dominated by English, Economics and
Mathematics, Engineering drew its strength from Electrical, Electronics and Mechanical. In those early
years of jheel-side rivalry, the Arts-Science faction would pour scorn on the engineers for being of the
‘rock handbook’ school of quizzing—implying that their of knowledge of western music was derived not
from hours of dedicated listening but from handbooks and encyclopedia. The engineers did not take this
lying down and jeered the Arts-Science camp for knowing next to nothing about sports. In the fullness of
time, these rivalries would be forgotten as friendships flourished across the great divide and the two
camps united in the common goal of preventing the SFI from taking over the Debating Society and Quiz
The DSQF—then as now—was the official face of quizzing in the campus. Quizzing comprised 100
% and debating approximately 0 % of its activities. Arup Ghosh (currently head honcho at ITC) of the
English department ran it like a mafia boss, and we merrily stringed along. One of its yearly events was
the Ranajoy Karlekar Memorial Inter-Departmental Quiz, usually held on the basketball court. There was
a shield for the event, though no one now knows where it is. (For those of a post-Eighties vintage, Ranajoy
Karlekar of the English department was one of the most legendary teachers of his generation and died
prematurely in 1985).
JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Page 15
But the most intense rivalry was reserved for the college festival quizzes, where there were cash
prizes to be won. I still remember winning the princely sum of Rs 151 at one such quiz and the subsequent
immortal comment made by teammate Vinay Rao (Math): ‘Ah, a square meal at last’. The math team was
probably the strongest in the university, with Vinay being partnered by basketball-team captain Joy
Bhattacharya and ancient mariner Debkumar Mitra, aka Debuda. Joy and Debu-da were probably the first
quizzards ever to make a career in quizzing post-university—Joy, particularly, during his ESPN years.
Debuda on the other hand was widely rumoured to have being around since the Flood and we would
probably not have been surprised if the university vice-chancellor also chose to call him Debuda.
But I digress. College quizzes soon became as predictable as Left Front victories in West Bengal,
as JU swept first, second and third places in most of them. Alarmed, fest organizers said that they would
allow only two teams from JU to participate. Armageddon ensued: which were the two best teams in the
university? To ascertain this, a dark and barbaric ritual known as ‘seeding quiz’ [more popularly known as
bi(n)chi quiz] was instituted. Every Friday, the tribe would gather at the now-demolished Gandhi Bhaban
(yes, you read right, GB has been torn down to make way for a modern auditorium) and one of the
competing teams would act as the quizmasters. A complicated percentile system was devised to keep
scores which no one other than the mathematicians understood. Quizzes went on for 10, 20, 30 rounds
and till late evening, with an audience of one scorer, one timekeeper and somebody’s bored girlfriend
(quizzing was then, alas, a ruthlessly male bastion). Some of the most difficult questions in the history of
humankind were asked at these quizzes, as teams sought to undo each other in esoterica.
The seeding quizzes also saw the birth of two of the brightest stars of the Engineering faculty,
Aniruddha Bhattacharya and Amitava Banerjee (currently a colleague in the Electronics department).
Their knowledge of Hindi film funda—and particularly film music—was frightening: I still believe that
there is nothing that they did not know about the Bombay film industry. But as far as star billing went, it
was Arani Sinha of Electrical who shone the brightest (Arani, if you are reading this, please forgive me
once more). He was the most talismanic of engineering quizzards, taking slow boats to Shibpur if
necessary to reach a quiz on time. Along with his trusty comrade Kalidas Ghosh of Mechanical (currently a
hotshot banker with Citibank), Arani went forth to give battle wherever there was a whiff of quizzing in
the air. Such mundane matters as floods, insurrections and fall of governments completely failed to deter
his quest for the final answer to the life, the universe and everything.
It was not inappropriate, therefore, that the only novel ever to be begun on quizzing was called
Arani Quizzed. Four chapters of this incomplete novel were co-written by yours truly and Rimi Chatterjee
(novelist, English teacher at JU) in the summer of 1990. The first chapter was ‘published’ (photocopied
and sold to quizzards) on the first day of AGON, the fest of Calcutta National Medical College. Three more
chapters were inflicted upon an unsuspecting world before Arani got wise to what was happening (he had
by then shifted to ISI) and threatened the authors with dire consequences if they did not stop writing
novels about him. For those interested, the first chapter may be found at
Roundabout this time, quizzards made common cause to prevent the SFI from taking over the
DSQF, which was about the only club in the campus it did not control. This was attempted by the very
simple expedient of enrolling a large number of students (who were innocent of any quiz-ly act in all their
lives) and voting a new committee in. One morning at nine, we (Kalidas Ghosh, Rajsekhar Mitra and I)
met the vice-chancellor and requested him to intervene. This he did and the crisis was averted for the
nonce. However, there was nothing we could do when similar tactics were employed by the SFI the
following year. In fairness, it must also be said that we ran DSQF like a para club and did little to increase
By 1991, most of the students of my generation were on their way out and a brave new breed set
their sights on the open quizzing circuit. Names like Rathindra Basu (Electrical) and Jaideep Mukherjee
(International Relations) began to do the rounds; happily, a number of women quizzards from the English
Department began to challenge the male hegemony. The early 90s also saw a brief period of what can only
be described as militant trade unionism on part of university quizzards. There were repeated boycotts of
JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Page 16
festival quizzes to protest organizational high-handedness, or incompetent quizmasters. Parallel quizzes
would be held at the festival venue at very short notice, and the actual event would have to be cancelled by
the organizers. The first of these ‘rebel’ quizzes were held at Xavotsab, followed by Dental College,
Presidency College and JU itself—in the latter case to protest the quiz mastership of Krishnendu Banik at
the Arts SanskritiTwenty years on, the DSQF still exists and a new bunch of enthusiasts—mercifully
unmolested by any political outfit—runs the club from the first floor of the Amenities Centre. I do not
know whether they write novels about themselves or hatch plans of world domination in their little room.
But sometimes, when I walk across the campus at dusk, with the sun setting over Bengal Lamp, I can see a
light burning on the first floor of the AC Canteen. And I like to imagine that they are engaged in some
completely useless research about the name of Attila the Hun’s pet dog or Bill Clinton’s brand of cigar, a
comforting thought in a world which has little time for the irrelevant, the unproductive and the downright
About the author: Abhijit Gupta a reader in the Department of English at Jadavpur University,
where he has been teaching since 1999. Abhijit has a long-standing connection with Jadavpur University.
Prior to receiving his Ph.D from Cambridge University in 1996, Abhijit received his Bachelors’ (’89) and
Masters’(’91) of Arts degrees in English, both from Jadavpur University.
Editor’s note: The articles are published unedited in the newsletter as received from the authors, and
they reflect solely the authors’ view, which may or may not be JUAA-WMA’s view.
JUAA-WMA Newsletter, Spring 2006 Page 17
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