A Humble Heart with a Diligent Soul

One of the most well-known faculty members of the Department of Planning and Architecture at NIT Rourkela, the sight of Dr. Arup Das fills a smile in the hearts of everyone at the Department.

He instills a vibrant energy into all the students around him and motivates them to work seamlessly all day long, without any hitch. In the evening when all other professors of other departments leave for their respective home, Dr. Arup Das spends time with students in the studio, evaluating their designs and enriching their knowledge with his vast wisdom. A humble person at heart, he thinks his achievements are his students. The joy of his students winning something is more than his own achievements and he believes these moments are the proudest ones of his life.

Prof. Arup Das is indeed a man from a lot places as they say. As a child, he has stayed at different places owing to the job of his father in the army and hence had a cosmopolitan upbringing. He did his schooling at Barackpore, which is a historically important place being the origin of the Sepoy Mutiny and having the largest cantonment of India. As a young school student, he describes himself as lazy and notorious, and loved playing football.

He went to BESU Shibpur (now IIEST) and completed his B.Arch. degree in 2005. He chose to study architecture because he did not want to follow the flock and wanted a wide scope to work beyond academics and got sufficient exposure and hands-on exposure during his stay at Shibpur. He went on to do his Masters at IIT Kharagpur, which gave him much perspective towards academics.

Prof. Das says that at one point of time he did not intend to study beyond B.Arch. He got a job in DTZ, which is an internationally renowned property consulting firm. But, a corporate job did not suit his taste and he found out that he was more suited to academia. This prompted him to join PhD in 2008. Subsequently, he taught at BIT Mesra for 1.5 years and then joined NIT Rourkela.
While NIT Rourkela had good engineering departments, a good architecture setting was largely lacking. This challenge made him move to NIT Rourkela. His previous job which was in a private college presented many barriers for conferences, research activities, paper writing etc. His transition to a government institution has eased out this barrier. He considers that the phase lag between the architecture department in NITR and IITs is the least compared to other institutes and wishes to cover the lag in the future. He feels that the pace at which the infrastructure of his department is being developed is very slow so he would like to speed up that process.
On asking why he is leaving the institute the next session, he said that he wants to spend more time with his family and hence he is moving to his Alma Mater, IIT Kharagpur. Also, being an established department there, he thinks it’s better for him as he is well aware of the part he has to play there.

Getting into IIT Kharagpur was an important checkpoint in his life as he would not have studied further, he recollects. He met some of the best teachers in the world there without whom he would not have been where he is now.
Another milestone would be when his first paperwork published in one of the best journals of civil engineering. It was rejected in several different places before but yet he dared to send it there and the feedback was amazing. Whenever he is low and meets a research deadlock, he goes through it and this always puts him in a better mood. He considers NITs to be much more nation building than IITs and feels there has been a significant shift of focus in IITs. And the plus point on our part is that we are more intimately involved in innovative work from the engineering prospective and we should continue doing that.

The more cosmopolitan a fraternity is, the better it is. He thinks NITR has an edge over other colleges when it comes to this. It saddens him to see regionalism in the college. The only message he would like to convey is to keep the environment as cosmopolitan as possible. He believes that this institute will be providing some of the best citizens to our country and if we are not cosmopolitan enough, the country will be in shambles.