Nothing - Something - Everything

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes

I made a big decision a little while ago.

I don't remember what it was, which prob'ly goes to show

That many times a simple choice can prove to be essential

Even though it often might appear inconsequential.

I must have been distracted when I left my home because

Left or right I'm sure I went. (I wonder which it was!)

Anyway, I never veered: I walked in that direction

Utterly absorbed, it seems, in quiet introspection.

For no reason I can think of, I've wandered far astray.

And that is how I got to where I find myself today.

Explorers are we, intrepid and bold,

Out in the wild, amongst wonders untold.

Equipped wit our wits, a map, and a snack,

We're searching for fun and we're on the right track!

My mother has eyes on the back of her head!

I don't quite believe it, but that's what she said.

She explained that she'd been so uniquely endowed

To catch me when I did Things Not Allowed.

I think she must also have eyes on her rear.

I've noticed her hindsight is usually clear.

At night my mind does not much care

If what it thinks is here or there.

It tells me stories it invents

And makes up things that don't make sense.

I don't know why it does this stuff.

The real world seems quite weird enough.

What if my bones were in a museum,

Where aliens paid good money to see 'em?

And suppose that they'd put me together all wrong,

Sticking bones on to bones where they didn't belong!

Imagine phalanges, pelvis, and spine

Welded to mandibles that once had been mine!

With each misassemblage, the error compounded,

The aliens would draw back in terror, astounded!

Their textbooks would show me in grim illustration,

The most hideous thing ever seen in creation!

The museum would commission a model in plaster

Of ME, to be called, "Evolution's Disaster"!

And paleontologists there would debate

Dozens of theories to help postulate

How man survived for those thousands of years

With teeth-covered arms growing out of his ears!

Oh, I hope that I'm never in such manner displayed,

No matter HOW much to see me the aliens paid.

I did not want to go with them.

Alas, I had no choice.

This was made quite clear to me

In threat'ning tones of voice.

I protested mightily

And scrambled 'cross the floor.

But though I grabbed the furniture,

they dragged me out of the door.

In the car, I screamed and moaned.

I cried my red eyes dry.

The window down, I yelled for help

To people we passed by.

Mom and Dad can make the rules

And certain things forbid,

But I can make them wish that they

Had never had a kid.

Now I'm in bed,

The sheets pulled to my head.

My tiger is here making Zs.

He's furry and hot.

He takes up a lot

Of the bed and he's hogging the breeze.

Ascent of the East

PURVODAYA, the first national level conclave hosted by any IIT, took place on the 7th and 8th of April at IIT Kharagpur. The conclave was conceived by the Vinod Gupta School of Management (VGSOM), with the objective of providing ideas for the development of Eastern India, in partnership with the Steel Authority of India Limited, with Era Group and The Times of India as the associate partners.

The conclave was inaugurated by the Director of IIT Kharagpur, Prof S. K. Dube, with the director (Personnel) of SAIL, Mr. G. Ojha as the chief guest. The occasion was also graced by Prof. G S Sanyal, the “Bhishma Pitama” of IIT Kharagpur, who has been involved with IIT Kharagpur since its very inception.

During the 2 day conclave several luminaries representing the government and the industry spoke on diverse subjects, from Mining and Manufacturing to the challenges faced in developing the Services Sector in Eastern India. These included Mr. Sethuraman Sivaram, Director, Deloitte,Mr. B D Mundhra, Chairman and Managing Director, Simplex Infrastructure limited, Prof. Prakash Apte, Director, IIM Bangalore, along with Mr Sunil Mitra, the Principal Secretary, Power, from the West Bengal government. These were some of the eminent personalities and experts who each delivered their vision of the future of Eastern India. The entire conclave was conceived and executed entirely by the students of Vinod Gupta School of Management in order to stimulate the ideas of the student community that is going to carry out the plans of today tomorrow.

During the discussion on MINING, a broad agreement was reached on the importance of keeping mining and the subsidiary manufacturing industries close to each other to create value, rather than merely exporting commodities. The quantum of the investment that was expected in the Eastern states was pointed out, with the commitments of both foreign and domestic investments in the mining industry being laid out. The ex-CEO of Mittal Steel Kazakhstan, Mr. N K Choudhary drew attention to the quality of ore deemed exploitable, and demanded higher efficiencies in ore extraction, along with utilization of a lower quality ore.

This was followed by the Panel Discussion “MANTHAN”, where Prof. Prakash Apte, Director IIM Bangalore pointed out the dichotomy of providing higher education subsidies while primary education across the country continues to languish. He recommended a market based solution to this problem, with opening up of the higher education sector, while providing targeted subsidies to primary education in the country, especially for rural India. Mr. Hota, ex-CMD of IDCO, mooted an ambitious plan to develop a coastal infrastructure of ports stretching from West Bengal to North Andhra Pradesh, which would be connected to the hinterlands of Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar by speedy rail transportation. These would lead a paradigm shift in the evolution of Eastern India’s development.

The INFRASTRUCTURE SESSION saw Mr. Sunil Mitra, the Principal Secretary for Power from the West Bengal government outlining the power sector reforms that are currently proceeding apace. He pointed out the success of this programme, which has led to profits being generated by the Public Power Sector, as a perfect example of the Ascent of a resurgent east, which has gone almost unnoticed by either the media or general public. These efforts in public reforms are not given wide publicity, but are tremendously effective. The development of other social infrastructure, including the lack of adequate educational infrastructure was lamented, and a suggestion was made to set up more quality ITI’s where the workers that would drive India’s manufacturing sector could be trained.

The session on the growth of the SERVICE SECTOR was clearly dominated by the discussion on the differentiators that led to the emergence of Eastern India, and Kolkata as an alternative for the major companies to set up offices there. A point was made about the lower cost of land and quality labour, with institutes such as ISI and Jadavpur University, but the future availability of talent was again noted with concern.

The session on SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT also pointed out the need to bring the fruits of development down to every individual, while at the same time, ensuring that this security could be ensured for the coming generations as well.

In Parallel, there were also the case study and Paper Presentation on TOURISM DEVELOPMENT as well as LAND ACQUISITION POLICY. Innovative plans and solutions were given by students from all over the country over these emerging sectors and challenges.

In his concluding speech, Prof. Probir K Gupta, Dean of the Vinod Gupta School of Management summarised the conclusions of the conclave, with a special emphasis on the need for inclusive development, and the need for every individual to draw upon his or her skills to make their own dreams come true to bring development to the east. It is this expression of individual desire that will bring Purvodaya, a new dawn indeed for Eastern India.


Sunday, April 01, 2007


National Conclave @ VGSOM

With rich natural resources, an ample and able talent pool and carefully engineered industrialization, Eastern India stands poised to take its place as an economic hub.

Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur, has conceived a platform where policy-makers, corporate doyens, academicians and the student community can bring this grand vision to fruition.

PURVODAYA - National Conclave is where both the opportunities and obstacles that line this path can be explored.

While economic growth is important, it is imperative that the development process is all-inclusive and the spin-offs of the process trickle down to all sections of society. Several issues like striking a balance between agrarian and industrial interests, SEZs, need to be explored and debated to enable informed decision-making. It is such strategic, social and geo-political issues related to the development process that will be set before the galaxy of distinguished speakers at PURVODAYA.

The conclave would encompass vital sectors, which would play a prominent role in "Ascent of the East". The program is divided into four sub-themes each focusing on a key area namely Mining & Manufacturing, Infrastructure, Service Industry and Sustainable Growth along with Manthan – The Panel Discussion.

Speakers who have confirmed participation (till date) include dignitaries like:

1. Mr. Sunil Mitra
• Principal Secretary, Power, West Bengal Government

2. Mr. Ashim Burman
• Chairman, Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC)

3. Mr. Debashish Som

• Managing Director, WBIDC (West Bengal Infrastructure Development Corporation)

4. Mr. G. Ojha

• Director Personnel, SAIL

5. Mr. Vivekananda Pattanayak, IAS (Retd)

• Ex- Chairman, Orrisa Public Service Commission, presently Head Bhubaneswar Stock

6. Mr. R Srinivasan, Board member, ITC.

7. Mr. Prakash Apte, Director, IIMB.

8. MR B.D. MUNDHRA , Chairman and Managing Director, Simplex Infrastructures Ltd

9. Dr. A. K. Chanda, Chairman Calcutta Port Trust

10. Senior Speakers from

• Development for International Development (DFID), UK
• Senior Partner from Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC)
• One more speaker from ITC.

In addition, the event also includes a challenging competition for students across the nations. Titled SARVUNNATI it aims to bring together the future leaders from different B-schools across the country to present their innovative ideas on various issues of the resurgent east.

PURVODAYA, we hope, will generate ideas that will leave their impression on the "sands of time" and give solution to those outstanding issues that act as roadblocks to the growth of the East.

PURVODAYA welcomes you to shape and share its vision for the Ascent of the East.

To know more about the event click here.