A letter to B.Tech’12 Batch| IIT Gandhinagar by Prof. Shivakumar Jolad

Dear Students,

I feel very nostalgic to see you complete your journey at IITGN. I am writing to you to share my thoughts and observations on your batch over the years.

I started my journey at IITGN at the same time as you did, July 2012. The Physics 101 course was also the first large class I taught in India. About the course, I think most of you would have forgotten now! But I still have nice recollections of it. To be frank, this was the course I always dreamt of teaching since as a student I thoroughly enjoyed learning electrodynamics through Griffiths and Feynman Lectures. I worked quite hard to convey the same level of excitement I had to you. But looks like, I totally failed. Barring few, I think many felt it as something which just has to be done with it and focus on engineering or other subjects. There were some who were keen to listen, and I thoroughly enjoyed teaching and interacting with them. The toughest time in the course was when I had to finalize the grades. Few students were failing no matter how low I set the minimal passing marks. Some of those students were crying in front of my office, pleading for some extra marks to pass. Failure hurts ego and lowers self-confidence. I too cried that day, as I felt that for the first time my decisions may have a severe consequence on student’s life and career.

But now when I think of it- in the grand scheme of things called life- the course is just one comma which is eventually ignored. What remains though is the shared experience and bondage it creates. I got to know some of you well through the course, though conversations were limited mainly limited to the academic discussions. But over the years, I observed you (though mostly passively) grow and mature.

I feel your interests and passion got the new lease of life at IITGN. It gave the right environment to showcase your multitude of talents and skills. I had close interaction with some of you who had an interest in education, social work, and rural development, and awed at your dedication and commitment to the cause you believe in.

At the end of four years, I see you coming out with multiple colors. Among you, I see a budding diplomat, a social worker, educationalist, future civil servants, fine managers, entrepreneurs, technocrats, coders, debaters, writer, poet, and columnist. How on earth one can believe that a small batch of 120 engineering students can have such a wide spectrum of talents? I have no doubt that you guys will excel in whatever path you choose and some may even be headline makers in future!

But understand that you don’t fully own your success. Apart from your talent and hard work, a nourishing environment and support of hundreds of people- right from your family, friends, teachers and even janitors and mess wala’s would have contributed to your success in one way or other. As Albert Einstein once said: “A hundred times a day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead and that I must exert myself in order to give in the measure as I have received and am still receiving”.

You are among the top 0.1% of the population on which nation and its people have invested heavily, and have high hopes on your future endeavors. As you move forward in your journey of life, I hope you look back and wonder why a vast majority of the country’s children do not have the privilege of education and opportunities that you got. I hope you invest some of your talent and wealth in creating those opportunities for those who don’t have it, giving a true meaning to the education you have received.

Good luck and Best wishes,

Shivakumar Jolad

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