Reviving, Reliving, Reminiscing Their Golden Days: '69's Homecoming
“As truth be told, homecoming never gets old.” - Hlovate
It was truly a nostalgic moment at the Golden Jubilee Celebrations Programme of 1969 batch of NIT Rourkela (erstwhile REC Rourkela) for all ex-students as they gathered at Bhubaneswar Behera Auditorium (BBA) to celebrate their reunion with the prime agenda to interact with the budding engineers of their beloved Alma Mater and give them some career-related tips. Having worked in the core sector for several decades, with many even retired from the services of Director or Chairman, these alumni exuded knowledge, power, experience, and good-will amidst a feeling of homecoming.
The event which was scheduled at 4:30 pm commenced at around 5 pm in the evening at BBA after garlanding the photo of Late Professor Bhubaneswar Behera. The Chief Guest of the programme was Padma Shri Nalini Ranjan Mohanty, an alumnus from the first batch of REC, 1965 and a well-known figure in the aviation industry of the nation who has served as the former chairman of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). He was conducted to the dais along with the esteemed Director Prof. Animesh Biswas, Prof Sukadev Meher (Dean Alumni Relations), Dr. Ashok Tripathy (President of 1969 Alumni batch), Er P.C Sahu (Vice President of 1969 Alumni batch) and Er Dasarathi Behera (Secretary of 1969 Alumni batch). The red carpet was rolled out for a few professors who taught the 1964-1969 batch of students: Professor N.C Sahoo, Professor R.D Bura, Professor K.K Jain, Professor Bimbadhar Satpathy as the alumni members felicitated their beloved professors. The volunteers presented bouquets to the members of the dais. This was followed by the lighting of lamp ceremony and a one minute silence was observed in the memory of the departed souls of the batch mates and their spouses.
Dr. Animesh Biswas expressed with elation,
I am indeed thrilled to see the energy that these gentlemen carry and it is a matter of immense pleasure to me that they haven't still forgotten the alma mater even after 50 years of graduating from the institute and having established themselves successfully in their lives. I salute the commitment with which they have come all the way from different parts of the country and across. I have personally requested them to interact with the students and they have happily agreed to do so.
The welcome address was delivered by Vice President of 1969 Alumni batch Er. P.C Sahu who said,
We have worked in various organizations in India and abroad and made our presence felt after graduating from REC. When we look back into the past, we feel indebted to our beloved professors who went an extra mile to mould our professional lives. During 1969, jobs were scarce but the dedication and determination of our professors to ensure their students got recruited are praise-worthy. In fact under the care and guidance of Prof. Pani, the former HOD of Metallurgy and Materials Science department we had the maximum recruitments as authorities in the Steel industry in the year 1969. It still feels nostalgic remembering those days when we stood under the Banyan tree with our loving Professor Bhubaneswar Behera who warned us never to go wayward in life.
The Annual Alumni Report was submitted by the Secretary of 1969 Alumni batch Er. Dasarathi Behera who acknowledged that the college’s main building has grown by leaps and bounds and some of its alumni members are still active in various prestigious organizations as advisers, professors, entrepreneurs, etc. Following this, the 1969 Distinguished Alumni awardee and former Director of Khadi Board, Er. Gopikanta Ghosh and Santilata Memorial awardee Dr. B.N Dash addressed the audience about Application Technology, Rural Development, and Environmental Issues.
According to Dr. Ashok Tripathy, the President of 1969 Alumni batch,
When we visited the campus after 50 odd years, we realized how it has undergone colossal transformations. Earlier we had tougher subjects like Mechanical Design that was pumped into us. Now you have more yet easier subjects. Although we might have resented back then, studying such subjects prepared us to solve problems in the core sector and handle situations with maturity. There is a sense of permanency in the core sector that is its greatest advantage. Irrespective of the engineering streams, you can always contribute to the core sector. We are here to guide you in this regard.
Professor Sukadev Meher, Dean Alumni Relations hailed the 1969 Alumni batch as it is the first batch to celebrate its golden jubilee at its Alma Mater and then Director Prof. Animesh Biswas complimented all the professors of those times whose commitment towards teaching and research were of the highest standards in his address.
Following this, a cheque of Rupees 2.5 lakhs was presented by Dr. Ashok Tripathy to the Director towards a fund that caters to the medical needs of the students in distress. He promised that the association would contribute generously to this open-ended fund every year. Then the Chief Guest released a souvenir.
An Interactive Session with the students:
An interactive session was conducted with the students involving our distinguished alumni from a plethora of domains. Dr. Ashok Tripathy, former DG CPRI spoke on the Power and Energy Sector and stressed upon the need to produce more hard-core engineers instead of software engineers.
Er. Gopinath Ghosh who spoke on Application Technology and Rural Development mentioned:
We need a combination of both mass production and production by masses. Mass production involves lesser manpower and more technology. We should apply engineering to develop technology and not ignore the rural masses. Association for Social Research and Association (ASRA) has been doing a commendable job in this regard. I think our students realise this much better nowadays.
Dr. B.N Dash, a consultant spoke on Environmental Issues. According to him,
We need to control and manage pollution. Through high-end research labs, we can keep an eye even on micro levels of pollutants. Apart from this, to succeed in life, three T’s are indispensable: Team Work, Technology and Transparency.
While Er. P.C Sahu, former CMD of Nilanchal Ispat spoke on the lucrative PSU jobs for various streams of Engineering as well as the need to expand the Manufacturing Sector and Er. Padmanabh Mohanty spoke on Industrial Safety, Disaster Management, and Safety.
Colonel Samarendra Mohanty, an alumnus from the 1969 batch of Mechanical Engineering and Arun Kumar spoke on Defence.
According to Colonel S Mohanty (Retired),
I joined the army right after my graduation. I had the opportunity to serve my nation for about 33 years. After that, I joined a few of the private and semi-government institutions which gave me an insight into different aspects of management, leadership, etc. and expanded my knowledge of different domains. We need to sharpen our fighting skills with the use of more advanced technology. When you serve in the army, you learn to be disciplined, develop a sense of commitment and acquire leadership qualities. This enables you to live a perfectly normal life as a civilian thereafter.
This interactive session concluded with a positive note with several questions being asked by our budding engineers pertaining to work culture in PSUs, Steel manufacturing industries, the contrast in living conditions of a Defence officer and that of a civilian, etc.
One of the students expressed with delight and a sense of satisfaction,
I was amused to see how these young men (by young I mean the enthusiasm they carry) are committed towards the alma mater and the vision that they still carry. I am glad that the institute conducted this meet and the interactive session where we got our queries cleared from such eminent people of the country
The audience was treated to one of the most awaited speeches of the evening.
The Chief Guest Er. Nalini Ranjan Mohanty turned emotional as he recalled his fond memories and shared his experiences with the audience,
I am experiencing a series of emotions that follows a sinusoidal curve of highs and lows as I deliver my speech. Just after I graduated in 1965, I joined REC as a lecturer in Mechanical Engineering. During that time, the relationship between the professors and the students was incredibly strong and beautiful. I still remember the day I informed Professor Bhubaneswar Behera that I had secured an AIR of 2 in IES exams. He congratulated and hugged me out of sheer joy and excitement. I still feel honoured and proud when he once said that he felt that I had surpassed him as a student. I believe here every student has his own version of a fairy tale to share with the audience. During my time, we had three streams- Electrical, Mechanical and Civil with a total of 120 students but now this institution has grown by leaps and bounds with around 21different streams and flaunts a student strength of around 7000. ‘Small is always beautiful’, our institution has evolved from beautiful to bountiful. From the last 3 years, we have been organising a global meet of our alumni at different locations like Hyderabad, Delhi and Pune. We hope to bring our students back home to NIT Rourkela for a global meet someday. In the recent NITRAA Global Summit Meet in Delhi, we discussed our ‘Vision 2025’ which aims to feature NIT Rourkela as one among the top 10 technical institutes of the country by taking into account seven different domains.
He was clearly disheartened by the poor turnout of the audience. This was followed by Prof. Sukadev Meher’s address who appreciated the energy and engagement of the 1969 batch of students in spite of all odds and their way of paying it back to the institute by starting an open-ended fund for the underprivileged students.
Prof. Meher added,
This is the first time that the alma mater witnessed a golden jubilee and the auditorium was filled with rejuvenated memories and youthful energy that these old men still carry with themselves. They might be old in age but are younger than even some of us in terms of energy. The batch has also donated an open-ended fund of 2 Lakh, fifty thousand rupees which the Director can use for distress management. He can give it to any student who is in utter need of it as per his discretion. All of them have been contributing to the institute in whatever way they can we cordially invite them to their home once again.
The mementos were presented to the Chief Guest, the Director and the Dean of Alumni Relations. The vote of thanks was delivered by Dr. Ashok Tripathy who shouldered the responsibility of coordinating the meet.
Alumni volunteers, faculty, senior administration, all pitched in to make the endeavour a successful one.
he added to thank everyone involved. In the end, the national anthem was sung by all in the auditorium that instilled among all, a sense of patriotism and belongingness to one’s country as well as to the institution.
Team MM caught up with the Chief Guest of the evening, Er. Nalini Ranjan Mohanty as he expressed and envisioned a greater future for NIT Rourkela,
It is a very good move by the institute where they are giving us a chance to revisit our alma mater and witness the progress that is happening by leaps and bounds.The institute has moved ahead in different aspects including entrepreneurship where women have equally contributed to the success. We have a vision for the institute and we believe we can bring our dreams closer to reality with the help of the administration and the students as well as make NIT Rourkela a world leader in creating technologies and technocrats. I would have loved to see a larger student mass participating in today’s meet because it would have been a great learning experience for them.
Everyone was overwhelmed and lost in the old memory lane of their college days at the Golden Jubilee Celebrations. Those days gave evergreen memories to all as all of them remembered friends, teachers, assignments, punishments as well as all the fun and bid farewell to each other only with a promise to meet again soon.