Climbing His Way to Success: Tapan Misra
Sriniketh Shankar | Nov 11, 2019
Shri. Tapan Misra, senior advisor to the chairman of ISRO was humble enough to grace us with his presence for Innovision 2019. Team Innovision organized a guest lecture by him to enlighten us with his vast knowledge of multiple avenues. He has a record of excelling in any task which he took up. Starting from humble beginnings in Rayagada, he went on to achieve an AIR 85 in IIT-JEE. Instead of choosing IITs like everyone else, he chose Jadavpur University, where he pursued Electronics and Telecommunications engineering as a prestigious Sir JC Bose Scholar.
The guest lecture was scheduled to start at 4:00 pm at BBA on Day-2 of Innovision but started at 4:30 pm. He started off talking about the importance of innovation in modern society, emphasizing the fact that no matter how small it may be. He believed that these small innovations clump together to become something revolutionary. This was the core value with which he pursued his career in ISRO and the results he got were astounding. He also gave the example in which he required a specific piece of technology that was not available anywhere in the world except Jet Propulsion Laboratory(JPL), NASA. The technology exchange would have cost hundreds of crores of rupees which he could not afford. Even after all his superiors mocked him for his attempt to develop it indigenously, he still tried. In the end, he ended up successfully developing it within 50 lakhs INR. Such innovation is what he expects from all the students and professors as well.
He also shared his view about leadership in management positions. His opinion was that an organization should always keep a goal that seems impossible then. This was how ISRO came into the picture. Dr. Vikram Sarabhai set up ISRO and the various industries related to it employing thousands of people keeping a goal in mind which seemed impossible then. His goal was to send hundreds of satellites to outer space with applications ranging from infotainment to spying. This seemed impossible at that time but is a reality today thanks to his sacrifices and innumerable contributions to the space industry.
Mr. Misra also addressed the issue of Indians going abroad for education or jobs, but not returning to India. This makes India lose a huge talent pool that the country has invested in, but end up working for other countries. He urged students to rethink before moving abroad and settling emphasizing the fact that having such talented people in India would change the landscape of the nation.
Team MM had the opportunity to have a chat with Mr. Misra and this is what he had to say:
MM: Please shed some light on your aim in school and your time before and after joining Jadavpur University
Mr.Misra: To be honest, I had no specific goal in school, but was an ardent lover of math. Before I joined Jadavpur University, I enrolled myself in IIT Kharagpur. I got All India Rank 85 in the IIT exam but had to join JU because of my father. I wanted to do a science course but ended up doing engineering. My subject was Electronics and telecommunication engineering at JU. After graduation, I wrote the GATE exam and secured a Rank of 20. At the same time, I got 3 job offers as well. I was supposed to buy a ticket for Bangalore but ended up getting a ticket for Ahmadabad. In my initial days, I didn't get any major posts like INSAT, TELESAT, etc because everyone assumed that I was a crazy person. It was Mr. Kiran who allowed me to work on a major project. He was the person who made me work on radar. The irony was that radar was the subject that I evaded in college. He wanted me to make future in radar. I had my first job to convert a seaborne radar to an imaging radar. This also includes the development of digital display. From here, I started my journey on Radar Satellites and other applications. I also teach the radar subject in IIT Kharagpur. I had to develop my skills in everything as I had to be adaptable in every situation from tightening screws to programming algorithms. I'm credited with writing the first grid program in India. I still like and do programming as I feel I should do something apart from my administrative responsibilities.
MM: How was your experience as a Sir JC Bose talent search examination scholar?
Mr.Misra: One of the main advantages was that I could acquire any book that I wanted for free. Also, I got RS.250 which would be equivalent to 10,000 rupees today. The best part was that we were taken on an academic trip every year which was very technically enlightening. The exam tested the IQ of the students and the interview tested your fundamentals in the subject with tricky questions.
MM: Please share with us the various posts you held in ISRO.
Mr.Misra: I am a radar person and I grew within ISRO. I wanted to do a lot of things. I developed the SAC technology, cryogenic black body targets, array antennas, hybrid polarimetry; triggered innovation, however small it may be, as such small innovation leads to bigger innovation. As the director of the Space Applications Centre, I managed to increase the budget from 410 crores to 1200 crores per year. I am an expert in developing High throughput communication satellites.
MM: What issues do you address aa the senior advisor for the chairman of ISRO?
Mr.Misra: Presently, I am advising the government on how to run talent incubation centres, how to change and update the curriculum, how to bridge the difference in what is being used in the industry and what is being taught in class. As I am a teacher, and a student at the same time, I feel I have a better understanding of the students’ mindsets and their requirements. I also write educational blogs, as they are in trend nowadays and cater to a bigger crowd. I feel that no matter how complicated any subject or topic in science maybe, but it can be explained in simple terms and this is what I want to implement while I hold this post.
MM: What is your message to the youth of the nation?
Mr.Misra: I have only one message to them. That is to Study, Work hard and contribute something for the nation. Most of the students nowadays go abroad for education or job opportunities but don’t return to India. So, India loses so much talent in foreign countries. Imagine, if Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella or Indra Nooyi were in India, there would be another Google, Microsoft or PepsiCo in India right now. This even applies to the Indians working in prestigious universities like MIT and Harvard. If there were in India, the number of opportunities they would create are countless.
Team MM expresses its gratitude to Mr.Misra for attending Innovision 2019 and wishes him success in all his future endeavours.