Our Founder: Dr. H.D. BistHIMWATS:SAVIDYA
H D Bist
2911 Sevyson Court,
Palo Alto, CA-94303 (USA)
(Email: haribist @yahoo.com)
This is a real story of the “gifts” or “lotteries” through hard labor, in the life of a typical child (H D Bist), born about 75 years back in a poor family in a village (Darah, Champawat,) in Uttarakhand, India. Timely help from relatives, friends, teachers, local philanthropic fund, political luminaries, and inherent governmental support system for education) after independence in India, helped him to overcome the hereditary monetary impediments on his way to get education. A determination to get the desired goals by hard work, needed some extra “inputs” and turning points in life, making the ” output” seemingly natural The critical turning points and circumstances to lead his way to IIT Kanpur (and beyond) are depicted here.
Early childhood: Class 1 at age of 8years (1942), Winter-Migration and Class 4 in (1946)
I am the first child to my parents Sarashwati and Amba Datt Bisht. My grand father, Shri Shib Datt, had expired when my father was only 7 year old. Father had only Class 4th certificate from Champawat Primary School.
I also started to go to the same (only) Primary School in Champawat town at a distance of ~2 miles from Darah in 1942, when I was 8 years old. My real date of birth (August 7 1934, I knew after retirement through my horoscope) is June 13 1935 as officially recognized (class IV certificate record goes automatically to High School Certificate, which is taken as official birth day). There was a natural barrier of a hilly rivulet (Garh-Chattar) between the school and the village. During the rainy season my grandmother used to come up to the Chattar rivulet to help us cross it at the time of going to (and coming from) the school.
There was no agricultural work to be done in the fields by the villagers during winters, due to extremely cold weather conditions, around Champawat. The villagers (including our family) used to migrate for ~ 3 months (December- February), to village Gyan Khera near Tanakpur (the last train station) of Indian railways. During this temporary migratory period, some of the members in migratory families were able to get temporary manual jobs in some or other vocation (farms, timber industry etc) My father, used to exchange Indian and Nepal currency for the people coming from (and going to) Nepal while in Gyan Khera. Additionally, he used to purchase home made Ghee, chilies, turmeric etc. from the persons from Nepal or Kumaon Hills bringing these items for sale to Tanakpur He will sell them to bigger dealers on marginal profit to earn some daily family expenses. From the temporary residence (a hut), my grand mother used to take me (even during this migratory period of our family) on her back to a Govt. Primary School, situated near the banks of Sharda river, in Tanakpur for continuing my education and schooling.
After I passed Class 4th from Champawat Primary School in 1946, I had to stay in my village, taking care of my younger brothers -sisters, the cows (some times a buffalo), bullocks and the family agriculture in the village. I was participating and helping the family for performing various odd jobs in the village. I remember preparing sweaters with home spun wool thread with my hands (the fastest preparation was one side of the sweater in one day!). Likewise, at the age of ten, I used to climb the large trees in Tanakpur for cutting leaves for fodder of our buffalo, given to us by our maternal grand father for milk.
Turning Point 1: Joining Sanskrit Pathashala (1946 -49): My father (and Grand mother) valued the importance of educating a child. They sent me to a Sanskrit Pathashala in the Champawat town, as the family could not afford to send me outside Champawat. In the Pathashala, I got a mentally challenging and healthy academic environment for reading and writing. In addition to Sanskrit, one teacher, Sri Madho Singh Taragi, used to teach us some English and some Mathematics. This continued for three years, when Sri Madho Singh Jee told us that he would not teach beyond class 7th books. On getting this news my father told me to go to same Sanskrit Pathashala to repeat and revise the 7th class. He told me I will be stronger in all the subjects by repeating class 7th books and more knowledgeable for class 7th. He made me hope that in the next year, some teacher in the Pathashala may also teach class 8th books. He was a Salesman in the co-operative society, getting a monthly salary of ~Rs 40 pm, and he had to supplement the expenses of a family of 11 members in our house. Hence the question of sending me outside Champawat could not be imagined in 1949.Later; I realized that admission to Sanskrit Pathashala helped me in not loosing 3 years for continuing my education due to my training in Mathematics and English besides Sanskrit in the Pathashala.
Turning Point 2: High School (1949- 52)
During summer of 1949, Sri M K Joshi, Dy S P (my respected late Mama Jee) – a nephew of my maternal grand father Shri PN Joshi- came to meet us in our village, after visiting his village in Latoli. He respected and loved my mother, as his real sister. On seeing me sitting idle in the village, almost discontinuing my education; he advised me to go to Pithoragarh, where his father Sri N D Joshi (brother of Shri P N Joshi) was a Manager at Branch office of NainiTal Bank. Sri N D Joshi had only two room residence for his 5 member family; with two sons and a daughter. I was added as a fourth person in the second room sharing with three children. Nana Jee took me to the private S S D S Higher Secondary School, Pithoragarh for admission and he succeeded in admitting me, after an interview by the admission committee, to class 8th. I stayed with his family till I appeared for my High School Board examination. All along I shared their second room with three of his growing teen age children. I passed High School Examination, barely getting a first division, in 1952 from UP Board.
During vacations from school, I used to work in our village, helping parents in all possible odd tasks there; taking care of the family jobs, working in the fields (that needed to be prepared for various types of Rabi and Kharif crops), taking care of the live-stocks etc, (and preparing sweaters for self and others as a hobby, while taking the cattle for grazing in the adjoining forest land). I used to sell oranges from our tree and Kafals picked up from jungle-trees, in the market of Champawat, especially during 11 am to 2 pm (then Gate time of the Buses in Champawat, coming from Tanakpur and Pithoragarh sides). The summer vacation period in Schools, was the season for selling preserved oranges (from our huge tree near the old parental house) and fresh Kafals from near by forest. These, home professions continued even at the later stages of my educational career. I was amongst the first few persons to introduce the trade of selling of Kafals at “gate- time” at Champawat bus stand. I used to lead some other kids, of our and near by villages to come to bus stand to sell Kafals (small blue/black tiny wild fruit) from trees around 1950. This petty business is now flourishing in the city and all around Uttarakhand on a larger commercial scale. This habit to earn money from natural wild trees and passing the high school examination in First division with out much efforts, generated enough self-confidence and a desire to continue my education, at any cost,, even if I had to live by eating just grams, given to horses for their food.
Turning Point 3: Intermediate science 1952-54.
The first year of the two years (1952-54) was most difficult and full of trying circumstances in my whole life. This was also the time of maximum, hope, determination, excitement and hard work for me with some internal urge always pushing to succeed. During this period I got help from relatives, friends, teachers, local philanthropic fund and political luminaries.
I had made up my mind to continue my education beyond tenth standard. When I reached Pithoragarh in July, my Nana Jee there naturally wanted me to live in some other place as his teen age daughter and two sons had only one bed-cum- study room. He promised me to provide Rs10/ pm for my food, but I should ask some of my class-mates to give/share a room for living (The other alternative he suggested was to get married to the daughter of a local neighbor, who could support my intermediate study expenses). Since I could not digest his second proposal, I started to ask about a dozen of my classmates about his first proposal. As a result of this effort, my class mate, Shri Satish Joshi requested his father to offer a room for residence, in his three story vacant house at Takora village, about 2 km away from the Government Inter College, Pithoragarh. I decided to take this free offer of residence to continue my intermediate science first year study. I stayed in the lowest storey (Goth) of Satish Joshi, making bed out of one straight plank, placed over two sturdy stones. A kerosene lamp was used for lighting the room for studies. I cooked my own single morning food “Khichari” in the morning for six days and “Churukwani- Bhat” on Sunday for almost nine months in that year. In the evening, one aunt of Satish, who was a poor widow, used to cook “rotis” for me, which we used to eat with potato soup (Chechuwa- Pani). As an exchange for the time spent by her for my cooking, I used to teach her only son during that time, in my bed-cum kitchen room under kerosene lamp light, sitting on my plank bed. In the evenings, I remember very vividly, taking many children of the village to the top most places near the village and all of us used to laugh ;( Ha…Ha Ha…Hee…Hee… Heeh…) to our hearts content – evidently to release all stress of the tough daily routine.
On my determination of continuing education beyond High School under any circumstance, the then Principal of Govt. Inter College (GIC), Shri Kala Nidhi Pande, offered me free-ship for college fees. He showed his inability to do anything more, as there were three other students, with 1st division in their High School, admitted to the 11th class, in the GIC, who had obtained more marks than me, in their High School Board examination. Naturally, they will get other privileges of scholarships etc. He advised me to apply for the Beni Ram Punetha Scholarship from Lohaghat (given to poor, bright children from Lohaghat/Kumaon region), and the Chief Minister’s Discretionary Scholarship given to poor students in UP. I followed his kind instructions and applied for both the scholarships.
The first six-monthly examination at GIC Pithoragarh showed that I stood first in the whole of 11th class. Principal Kala Nidhi Jee called me to his office some time around March and informed me that I had been selected for the B R Punetha scholarship ( Rs 15/pm from Lohaghat and the Chief Minister, award (Rs 10 pm) from UP. He advised me join the College Hostel, from the beginning of next year starting in July 1953. It should help me to devote my time and energy for studies needed to perform well in the 12th Board Examination. He also made me free scholar in the hostel, not to pay the hostel rent. I could meet my food and other educational expenses from the two scholarships.
I moved to the hostel of the GIC, located within the College Campus in July 1953. I devoted my whole time for studies. I stayed during winter vacations in the hostel and revised whole course, sitting in open air at a corner of an open field, near the hostel. I remember Mrs. Kala Nidhi Pande, the wife of our Principal, providing a glass full of buttermilk occasionally; when she saw a lonely student studying in a corner of a field near the hostel whole day in the open sun during that winter. In the Intermediate U P Board Examination 1954, I stood first in the whole of the district Almora; getting distinctions in four subjects- Physics, Chemistry, Math and Higher Hindi.
Reflecting back, I consider the year I spent in the Goth at Takora in the first year of Intermediate class was the toughest period for me in my whole life. Likewise, the two years (1952-54), were the most dedicated years for study of course related material by me. After those two years, my life flowed on its own momentum in a natural way.
Turning Point 4: B Sc, M Sc, and Ph D (1954-1962 from DSB Govt. College, NainiTal
The support that I got earlier from relatives, friends, teachers, local philanthropic funds and political luminaries continued after Inter results also. The inherent governmental support system in India after independence, gradually took over the responsibility for my higher education, especially after my continued good performance in all public examinations (B Sc and M Sc.)
Shri M D Joshi, Nana Jee, a younger brother of my maternal grand father, was a teacher in Lala Chet Ram Shah Thulgharia (CRST) Inter College in NainiTal. As soon as he saw the U P Intermediate Board results and came to know that I stood first in the whole of Almora district, he wrote a letter to my father in the village, to send me to Naini Tal and he would take care of my further studies. I was looking for the opportunity and dashed to Nainital, well before the opening date of the D S B College, NainiTal. I stayed with the family (wife and a single daughter Maya) of Sri M D Joshi, who also got me admitted to the first year B Sc science with Physics, Chemistry, Mathematic and English as the taken subjects. He was a very kind man and several of his relatives used to live and eat food in his two bed room house in the middle of the town in TalliTal. My grand mother used to cook food and we ( the young residents- I , and other student relatives of Nana – Nanee Jee)were doing all house hold duties; bringing water from common water pipe located in a corner of the public road at TalliTal, washing dishes and other home tasks, in addition to the B. Sc (first year) studies.
By the end of the first year in B Sc, I had four scholarships; Rs 15 from B R Punetha, Rs 10/ pm from U P Chief Minister G B Pant’s discretionary Fund, Rs 15 pm merit scholarship for standing first in Almora district and another Rs 25/ pm, as the merit bursary from UP Government on the basis of Intermediate Board examination.. My college fees were already waived by college on merit-cum-means basis. By July of 1955, I was persuaded by Professor D D Pant, the HOD Physics in the college, to move to the out-house of Langham House Hostel free of hostel fees, with all the advantages of hostel life. I was able to pass B Sc with fourth position (first division); and M Sc with first division (2nd position) in the whole of Agra University. I was selected for the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) training school, Trombay, Bombay in June 1958, where Prof. Homi J Bhabha used to say “he is taking cream of India” for his Department of Atomic Energy program. Professor D D Pant had a CSIR project-grant for conducting research in Spectroscopic Studies of Uranyl Salts in DSB Govt College (DSBC) NainiTal. He persuaded me to take independent pursuit for Research (and in Life), rather than get committed to a particular Institute in an early age! I joined the project as a research scholar with effect from June 12, 1958. I remained in the Langham House Hostel during my research period as Assistant warden of the hostel, with Dr R D Pande as its Head warden.
Turning Point 5: Joining I I T Kanpur in (1962-63).
While in the third year of my Ph D research program in DSBC, NainiTal in 1961, Professor Putcha Venkateswarlu (PV) , the Professor designate in Physics, IIT Kanpur (then Professor of Physics in Aligarh Muslim University) came as an external examiner to evaluate the then M Sc (II) Physics Students in Experimental Physics in DSBC, NainiTal. During our usual tea – break in the afternoon, on the third floor of Physics Building, he asked me some questions on Physics and Spectroscopy. After the informal discussions, he suggested to me that I should apply to get a Research position in “IIT Kanpur” where they are doing a new unique Experiment to set up a Science based Engineering Institute. I did apply for the research post and was called for interview in mid 1961. On receiving the selection letter in late 1961, I wrote to the Institute that I will be willing to join the Institute after I submit for my Ph D Thesis (by middle of 1962). I did submit the thesis to Agra University, by June 1962 (and obtained my Ph D Degree in December convocation the same year). I was relaxing and enjoying the summer season of beautiful NainiTal after hard work for finishing the Ph D thesis in time as promised to IIT Kanpur,
I got another letter from IIT Kanpur, with a warning in July that unless I joined IIT Kanpur within a month, it will be assumed that I was no more interested in the Research position offered by the Institute. I joined immediately on Aug 16, 1962 the Physics department of IIT Kanpur, located at H B T I campus (as a guest – institute).
The normal procedure of selection committees etc was followed for all recruitments to the IITK. However additional efforts were made by the persons responsible to develop and expand the department to search the talent and capable persons from India and abroad. PV always followed the method of personally searching the desired people in the Institute. (He always tried to keep enough qualified people in his group. Later on some informal discussions, he used to tell that one out of 10 Post Doctoral Fellows he kept in his group developed as Independent Researchers.
While at IITK for about 11 months, I involved myself with various activities of IITK- life given below.
a) Helping to set up the Undergraduate Experimental laboratory for students: PV asked me also (along with other faculty and Research workers) to look for novel experiments for setting up the undergraduate laboratory. I contributed to set up few Optics experiments as per my expertise in the field. I got issued some books and journals giving information on novel experiments for class teaching. Three of these books got circulated in many faculty and Post doctoral research and teaching assistants; helping in this mission and remained under some body’s desk. I had to pay the cost of the books to HBTI when I left for USA next year.
b) Experimental Infra-red work on UR-10 Machine
I also participated in starting the first infra red machine UR-10, for experimental work purchased on rupees funds from East Germany. The machine with three replaceable prisms was giving data from 400 to 4000 wave numbers. A program of collecting the Infrared data on this Machine of all available pure chemicals was started right away in the experimental field. Volumes of data on this machine were collected by V N Sarin, who was made in-charge to run the machine. Dr. V N Sarin got Ph D under my guidance, from IIT Kanpur in 1971, (not on the data collected on this Machine).
c) Research Environment and Support.
The faculty, all Research /Technical (teaching) Assistants of the Physics Department used to sit in two large rooms given in the extended bay of H B T I. A vigorous effort and environment was being created for original research and development by PV and other faculty members who had joined the Department by then. Special lectures, seminars talks, by the faculty, who had already joined the Institute, were regularly being organized after the normal working hours of the Institute. The guest lectures, prospective new faculty from India and abroad were being invited to deliver a series of lectures in the fields of their specialty, which were attended by most of the interested people in the Institute. As an example Dr P T Narsimhan, gave a series of ten talks even before joining IIT Kanpur “each of which was attended even by the Director, Dr P K Kelkar” in December 1961. The notes of these lectures delivered, were prepared compulsorily by assigning duties to research students/postdoctoral fellows. This way the contents of the lectures were disseminated to the audience for better absorption later. I vividly remember the seminar talks by various appointees, (e.g. J Mahanty, BV Deb) and several visitors from India and abroad .Notable amongst them to change my life was Prof Robert S Mulliken (RSM) from University of Chicago who gave a series of talks on Group Theory and Molecular Orbital in late 1962 in H B T I campus.
d) Hand written volume on Linear Combination of Atomic Orbital Molecular Orbital Theory (LCAOMO) and Group theory given by Robert Sanderson Mulliken (RSM) in Late 1062
Amongst notable activities in IIT Kanpur, during my one year stay is a Hand written Volume on LCAOMO and group Theory, based on the series of ~ 20 talks given by eminent and distinguished Professor in this field, RSM, He used to give afternoon talks which were attended by all the research students and faculty members present at that time. I was one of the four (A Ojha, G C Upreti, P K Ghosh and H D Bist) post doctoral fellows assigned by the Head of the Department PV to take notes independently and then collate them and put after two days, a consolidated final version of the talk before RSM for his corrections, if needed. We did the job satisfactorily. A hand written cyclostyled book on Molecular Orbital and Group Theory edited by four of us was given to each of the participant after about 2 months. RSM was a Physicist and Chemist, and was responsible for the early development of molecular orbital theory, i.e. the elaboration of the molecular orbital method of computing the structure of molecules. He received the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1966.and a Priestley Medal in 1983.
Likewise PV had made a plan to send one of the senior Post doctoral fallows to various places in India to be seen (Varanasi, Agra, Srinagar, NainiTal etc) by Prof. and Mrs. RSM in the week ends. I accompanied RSM and his wife to NainiTal – Ranikhet trip. RSM was involved with original active research on “Charge Transfer Complexes” (CTC) and used to give a seminar talks on the topic in the academic centers he visited. He also gave a talk in DSB campus NainiTal on CTC, arranged by distinguished Spectroscopy Professor D D Pant (DDP), who was also the then Head of the Physics Department there. After site seeing in Beautiful NainiTal Lake and city, we (DDP, Prof and Mrs. RSM and I) visited Ranikhet before we returned to Kanpur. RSM and family were residing in “Kamala Retreat” and the boarding support for preparation of food was assigned by PV to Mr. D S Rawat. Rawat was a person in Physics supporting staff, and had wonderful capabilities and experience to do varied types of jobs, including Hotel cooking. After returning from NainiTal trip Mrs. RSM invited me for a dinner in Kamala Retreat with RSM. On the dining table, RSM informally asked me what I wanted to do next. He had seen our notes in the new field of MOAGT given by him and thus developed personal rapport with me. I told him I would like to do Post Doctoral Fellowship (PDF) work in USA, if I get a chance. He got up from the dining table in the middle of the dinner and brought an address of Professor Willis B Person (WBP) in SUI Iowa city (one of his collaborators, who was editing a book on the field and wanted a post doctoral fellow for work on CTC). On the basis of just one letter and reference of Professor Mulliken to Professor WBP, I got an offer of a PDF, and also sent me a draft of US $ 650/ for meeting my travel to USA. I got a Fulbright Travel grant to go to USA later, and WBP enhanced my fellowship by $650 /pa.
e) Hostel Warden, (in-charge of Games/ Hostel -Vehicle/Mess, Peons, gardeners of the only Hostel etc
About 300 students from the first three years (100 each in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd years- the 1960.1961 and 1962 entrants, respectively) were housed in 6 private and govt. buildings around Vishnupuri, TilakNagar, Leather Institute and Textile Institute buildings. The teaching program including class rooms, laboratories, a small library, were in HBTI Building. Additionally, there were a few large rooms (for sitting of the graduate students, post-doctoral fellow, teaching assistants and few faculty members). Few smaller rooms for the heads of departments, Deputy Director and Director were also available in the borrowed extended portions of Harcourt Butler Technological Institute (HBTI), campus near Nawab Ganj in Kanpur. Later by 1962-63, Director Professor P K Kelkar (PKK), had also managed (by the support of UP Chief-Minister, also the chairman of Board of Governors by position at that time), the new wing of the HBTI for his and other offices needed for IIT Kanpur and the new KIAP officials and professors, till the institute moved permanently to the new proposed site in Kalyanpur.
Soon after joining the Institute, in Aug 1962, I offered my services to Director to serve as a resident Warden in one of the Hostels in the city. As per his nature, mindset and belief for delegating powers to the in-charges of various activities, he sent me to Professor Rout, the Head Warden (later known as “Head, Council of Wardens” (COW)), in the Department of Chemistry. In the absence of interest shown by Dr Rout, PKK abstained from appointing me as additional warden on my first request to the Institute. He told me: “if Rout does not want an additional man to handle Hostel affairs, why should I give him extra hands?”
Professor M S Muthana (MSM) joined as Deputy Director (DD), in the last quarter of 1962. PKK gave him full power to handle all administrative responsibilities, specially connected with students and community in the Institute. MSM had come from IIT Kharagpur with a vast experience in tackling inside administrative problems. He was a live wire and took quick decisions. He became a pillar of strength to PKK, as a DD for completing with utmost care and efficiency all the inside institute tasks on general understanding with PKK and on his general directions. He was taking quick independent decisions. He treated the Institute as his baby, since most of the infrastructure was developed under his intra-institute responsibility.
Around Nov 1st, I expressed my desire to MSM to serve as a Warden in one of the Hostels. I told him “I had experience (as one of the resident wardens) , of handling day-to-day problems in Langham House, Post Graduate Hostel, DSB College, NainiTal,. I could use that experience to manage the hostels in I I T Kanpur. Secondly, I was a bachelor at the time and the house-lords in Vishnupuri/ Kanpur area would not lend their house /room to Bachelors, and hence I was in need of accommodation with young people as in hostels”. He listened to my arguments patiently. Immediately, he gave orders that I will be the Warden of two of the hostels in the town- the TilakNagar and Leather Hostels. I used to visit each of the Hostels regularly, on alternate days, in the evenings after the Institute hours. The students from TilakNagar and Leather hostels used to take pet- (rather nick-) names (Teli (for residents of Tilak Nagar and Mochhi for students in Leather Hostel) to each other.
Initially, some of the classes were tried inside the completed portion of Workshop No 1. The students were ferried from the Hostels in Nawabganj, Vishnupuri, Leather and Textile Institute hostels. Plans were afoot to shift students in March 1963 to Hall -1 for Residence of students. MSM was one of the first residents in the Campus. He moved with his small family -wife, daughter Kaveri (Nicked named as DDD or D-cube (Deputy Director’s Daughter by the students), a big dog, and his double barrel gun. Near the IITK campus in Kalyanpur, a criminal’s settlement from around the town, known as Habura Colony was residing. The people from the town were scared to move to the campus. To give them confidence by personal example, MSM moved and asked the young students also to move in March 1963.
MSM gave orders for all the students in all the six Hostels to move to the IIT Kanpur, Hall-1in the campus in March 1963. I was asked to shift, as the first resident Warden in Hall -1 with ~276 students. (Later, after joining as a faculty member, I served as Warden of Hall of two more Halls of residences ( Halls II and III) during 1972 -76 period.)
An interesting dialogue comes to my mind between PKK and MSM on the eve of shifting of students to Hall-1. Prof and Mrs. PKK, Prof and Mrs.MSM and some other wardens, Mr. P S Negi (Officer on Special Duty), etc had come to see the final arrangement in Hall-1 for the students who were ordered to shift the next day. The electric supply in Hall -1 went off while they were near the dining hall of the Mess area. PKK asked MSM “Muthana! Could we postpone the shifting proposed for tomorrow till July 1963? As only about one month’s time was remaining for the end of the final examinations, should not we be better prepared to handle such problems after three months”? MSM answered, as per his nature, instantaneously: “No, Professor Kelkar! We will never know all the problems and difficulties facing us in this new place unless we shift to the campus. We will be prepared well after the experience of this month, to face and handle them in July when the number of students will be larger.” The decision to move to Hall-1 next day remained with immediate solutions for the problem pointed out. To handle the likely problems to be encountered at that time in this secluded place, ~ 10 Km away from the main town and hospital, three steps were taken on the spot
i) 16 Patromaxes were ordered to cope with the situation of the possible power failure, to substitute the electric power at strategic places, needing lighting when city power supply was stopped or interrupted in the Hostel area,
ii) A water hand-pump was installed in the middle portion of the hostel, near the Mess to take care of emergency drinking water needs,
iii) A large bus standing at the gate of the Hall-1was put at the disposal of the resident warden (me), and
iv) One sincere driver Shishupal was deputed on 24/7 basis for hall-1.
Shishupal was a wonderful help for the students during his duties were in the Hall-1; whenever and whatsoever they needed his help. Later (around 1967) he was driving children’s bus to city schools. He participated as volunteer for student Gymkhana and cultural activities for make-up etc after his retirement. He stayed under Lecture hall VII within the academic campus helping and participating in cultural activities (make-up of children etc) in several places in India. Most of the later students (and faculty) knew Shishupal as the cultural help to students Gymkhana.; as he took this volunteering job as a hobby after his retirement).. Shishupal died in the campus around 1999 or so. He was helping Dr K K Saxena of mechanical Engineering before his death.
My duties ,as the resident warden were several: I was assigned the duties: i) In-charge , Games and Sports- MSM assured his full guidance and support to me ,wherever it was needed), ii) Monitor of Peons and Gardeners for the Hostel iii) Guardian for Medical needs of the students; the professional needs were to be seen by Professor K K Sikka (KKS) ,our Medical Advisor in the Kanpur Medical College. I used to inform KKS the room and initial complaint of the sick student (which the student would only tell me almost after the dinner in the Mess, at the middle of night). It was the duty of KKS to take over the problem and solve it. I had great appreciation for KKS’s professional competence and devotion. He used to come to the hostel even late at nights. In one case he took one student at 2AM from Hall -1 in Kalyanpur to the Medical College in Kanpur for an emergency appendix operation; thanks to Shishupal for driving the student and his close friend for help to the Medical College.
The story of appointment of Dr K K Sikka, as the In-charge of IIT Health Center Consultant, Advisor, (which he maintained even after his retirement from Medical College) was also interesting. This story KKS told me only in late 1990’s when he took Dr VP Sinha one night from his residence to a nursing home and saved him from a life threatening situation. He narrated in the nursing home (where I had gone to find out the welfare of VP Sinha, and KKS was also there as per his nature in the nursing home) during the visiting hours.
Story of Dr K K Sikka’s appointment as Advisor to IITK Health In charge runs like this in KKS words:
“One student in one of the residences in the city in 1960 or so was critically ill when Dr PKK brought him to a ward in Medical College Kanpur for treatment. KKS as a fresh Lecturer, in General Medicine, was on duty. PKK told KKS to take care of the student. \PKK visited the student next day or so in the hospital ward. KKS was still on duty looking after the needs of the student recovering from the sickness. KKS did his best professional duty, and the student recovered pretty soon”. PKK asked KKS “if he could permanently work as an in-charge Doctor of IITK student’s in the Medical College in Kanpur”. KKS replied “I am an employee of the UP state govt. and work under Director of the Medical College, Kanpur. So I can not promise any thing until he gets proper sanction”. PKK told him “he will manage that”. KKS began to work on the approval of the Director of the college as the Doctor-“Advisor” for IITK students in the Medical College. PKK requested and wrote an official letter to State Govt to “depute a person, having exactly KKS age, training, experience and qualifications” (except his house number!) The formal sanction from the UP State Govt came after a year or so, and till then KKS was working with out remuneration. He continued as advisor and was responsible for the birth of full fledged “Health- Center” in the IITK Campus.
Visit of Mr. C B Gupta. Chief Minister, UP (Chairman, Board of Governors IITK).
After our moving to Hall-1, The Chief Minister, UP (Chairman BOG) Mr. C B Gupta came to IITK and was desirous to see the arrangements for student’s residence in the Hall-1.
PKK (and MSM) as per convention and IITK thinking / working, used to leave the responsibility to the in-charges of the sections. The duty of showing the Hostel arrangements to Mr. C B Gupta was left to me, as the resident Warden. I remember, talking to Gupta Jee while walking in the corridors of Hall-1, regarding my proposed trip to USA as Research Associate, but having no arrangement till then for my travel money. Gupta Jee, asked me to come to Lucknow in his office with an application for pre-travel arrangements and expenses. I did go to Lucknow to meet him and he granted Rs 5000/ from his discretionary funds for my trip abroad.
PKK-an Unconventional Director; Different experiences and reminiscences may have been given by the Deputy Directors, Deans, Senior Professors, Heads of Departments, Professors and other faculty members who came in his close contact during 1959 1970 in IITK (and prior to and after his formal retirement).. Since I joined early enough and met and interacted with him several times during my one year stay as Research Assistant in 1962-63, I also have several personal reminiscences of PKK. I would like to narrate one of such never forgettable experience that I had when I went to say good buy to him when I was leaving for USA as Post Doctoral Research Associate in July (2nd week)1963..
I went to his new office in HBTI, separate from the main building (where he sat when I joined IITK in August 1962). He asked me to have a seat (with other members sitting around him discussing some Institute problems). (No prior appointment or permission was needed to meet the Director in those early days). PKK was looking at my face and I murmured “Sir I will like to take leave of you to go to USA”. He simply asked me, as if he was taking advice from his colleagues sitting around him “Dr Bist, you have only been with us for a year. Is there any way we can give you leave from the Institute?” I thanked him for the kind consideration; respectfully saying that such an alternative never came to my mind. I should thank him for the gesture expressed. Again folding hands I got up and was coming out of the room. I saw the Director coming with me to the door, He made me stop at the exit door of the room and said with both of his hands raised up towards the sky “All the Best; Come back with acquisitions, Bon Voyage”!
I never forget his laughing face expressing the sentiments at the exit door of his office, to say good buy from the Institute to a “Research Assistant”, who was supposed to work for PV in the Physics department in his Institute! I have never come across such an unconventional behavior of a Director shown in his office to a RA in the midst of his subordinates working with him in the room! I myself could never repeat that type of behavior, although I wanted to; when I was in NainiTal as Director of Kumaon University Campus (between 1977-79).
The handling of various academic and civil problems in a growing Institute (IITK) with guidance of MSM gave me tremendous self- confidence and self -reliance during this period August 1962 to July 1963.Additionally, the association with Robert S Mulliken, the future Noble Laureate, gave me a chance to go to State University of Iowa, Iowa City, as a PDF (and a Full bright Awardee) in 1963.
Turning Point 6: Getting married (July 1 1963; before Leaving for USA).
I went to my village in the last week of June 1963, to inform my parents (and Grandmother) that I was leaving for USA on July 21, 1963, as a Post Doctoral Fellow and a Fulbright scholar for two to three years. My father wanted me to get married, before I went to USA. He arranged the marriage within a week with the suggestion of my maternal aunt, Maya Joshi, who new a “beautiful girl” in NainiTal, whom I had seen and informally agreed to her jokes to marry her (as my back village-ground and monetary status was very different from that of the girl who was born and brought in Nainital). My father did not sleep the night I was in the village and went to NainiTal next morning with the intension to fix the marriage. I left for Kanpur the same day from Champawat, as I had to do several last minutes handing over formalities in IITK. On telephonic instructions on 30th June, I was called from Kanpur to reach NainiTal on morning of July 1st. I reached NainiTal by Night train from Lucknow in the morning of July 1, 1963; and same evening Asha and I were married with Vedic rites. This marriage enabled me to devote whole of my working time for academics; since Asha has been taking care of all non – academic family responsibilities as an ideal Indian Housewife, right from the day of marriage till to day.
Before leaving for USA the period between July 1st-21st , I spent with Asha traveling; to meet family and friends with one /two night stays on our journey, in village resting places in Panuwanola, ( Almora), Darah ( Champawat) , Almora town, NainiTal, Lucknow , Kanpur( where I had to surrender the charge of various responsibilities, including my residence ( double room] in the ground floor of Hall -1 of boys residence, in I I T Kanpur campus.
Dr K K Sikka, Duty, beyond call of Duty: Asha visited Kanpur for few days in first week of July1963 with me. I arranged our temporary stay in a small room of one land lord Gupta Jee in Vishnu Puri. The sultry weather and heat made her sick. I called Dr Sikka, as I used to do for students in the hall -1, in the night, informing him that she was running high temperature. KKS came to the room in Vishnupuri and after examining her gave medicines. He remarked “Kahan Rah Rahe Ho Yar”. I spent more than three decades in IIT Kanpur. Only Dr Sikka used to visit the homes of individual members of Campus community, whenever he was called. (After our Health Center was created, the doctors resolved that they would not visit individual homes, as they were not equipped with instruments. Dr Sikka had his hands and eyes to detect the ailments for every age. This was also a discovery of PKK, as written earlier.
I left for Mumbai as per pre-planned scheduled; leaving Asha at NainiTal with her parents.
Turning Point 7: Fulbright Award, Orientation Program, and Research Associate ships.
a) Experiment on International Living
I had submitted the application for the Fulbright Travel award, almost on the last date for the application in New Delhi. I was selected for the award and we had to undergo three day orientation program arranged by Ms. Riddick (Director of United States Educational Foundation in India (USEFI), handling this award. After leaving NainiTal, we spent two days to reach Mumbai for the orientation program of USEFI for all Fulbright Scholars going to USA. About 300 scholars left Mumbai by ship Orsova to London; ~ 150 of the scholars in our group took the second ship Queen Elizabeth from Southampton to New York. The orientation for Experiment on International Living continued in the whole journey period in the two ships. Subsequently, each Fulbright scholar had to stay in an American family up to a period of about 1 month before joining their institutes/universities for further studies /employment. My pre-assigned family for a home stay for a week was that of Dr and Mrs. OL Sievert in Aurora near Chicago.
I reached Iowa City on August 21 and started working in a completely new field in Chemistry, “Charge Transfer Complexes” in the laboratory of Professor Willis B Person (WBP)
b) Spectroscopy, Professor Willis B Person (WBP), 1963-65
My association with Professor Robert Mulliken (during his lecture series in IITK) gave me a chance to join WBP as a Post Doctoral Research Associate in the Chemistry Department of University of Iowa, Iowa City in 1963, on my single letter written for the job to him. WBP was a very nice person. He had arranged my stay in graduate dormitory and had come to train station to help me settle in the new place. He had a research group of 4 graduate students and two PDF working on the CT Complexes. He asked me to choose a topic to work on visible /ultra violet and Raman spectroscopy on CTC.
I started working on ICN Complexes. The spectroscopic studies were really interesting and engrossing to me, but the chemistry part was all new, I completed my two years assignment in Iowa City. We could add original contribution to the world literature and published several papers jointly with WBP.I also attended International Conference in Denver, where I came across several stewards of the field; RSM, Hildebrand, Nagakura etc. I visited several laboratories and the usual annual Spectroscopy Symposium in Columbus, Ohio. Professor Nara Hari Rao was in-charge for organizing this annual spectroscopy event in Columbus. It was attended by the entire Spectroscopist from USA and abroad
Asha took ~9 months to get Passport, Visa and make travel arrangements to come to USA to join me in Iowa City through New York, Aurora, Illinois (my US family), in March 1964. We were blessed with our daughter, Sangeeta, on June24, 1965 in that city.
c) High Resolution Spectroscopic Studies
Professor JC D Brand in 1965-66
When I applied for another post doctoral Fellowship/Associate ship around January 1965, I had three offers, but I chose to join the research group of Professor JCD Brand (JCDB) in Vanderbilt University, Nashville Tennessee. JCDB was an accomplished world renowned Spectroscopist. He had a group of 3 graduate students and 2 PDF in his group. He was also collaborating with professor K K Innes (KKI), in the same section of the University. KKI also had similar group of Graduate students and 2 PDF’s with him. We were able to do some world recognized high resolution infrared, Raman, and high resolution spectroscopy in medium large molecules in ground and excited states , in collaboration with D R Williams, a good theoretician trained in the laboratory of Professor Murrel in England. The work in the ground and excited states of phenol and other aromatic molecules provided a basis for my later interaction with world Spectroscopist in subsequent years. Prof JCDB invited me twice while in IITK and in the last occasion he gave the Key of his laboratory, as a symbol to say “I was welcome to his laboratory any time”.
Turning Point 8: Rejoining I I T Kanpur (1967-2000)
Lecturer in IITK
a) Pool Officer. I rejoined IIT Kanpur in January 1967 as a CSIR, Pool Officer, in the Physics Department of IITK. The position was given to me on the basis of my application to CSIR from Vanderbilt University, Nashville Tennessee.
I took over the charge of managing Infrared and ultraviolet – visible optical spectroscopy laboratories of the department. I also took the teaching and other assignments given by PV and the department during this temporary period.
Around March 1967 the interviews held for recruitment/promotions in Physics Faculty were held. I was informed by V Subha Rao (Chemical Engineering) that I have been selected as Lecturer with a salary better than that of a starting Assistant Professor. At that time the grade of Lecturer was 400-700/and that of Assistant professor was 700-1200. Later I came to know that my salary was fixed ~ Rs 760/pm basic. Such unique instances were possible only in the free then prevalent environment of IITK. The respect and sensitivity shown by PKK to the prospective faculty members will also be seen in the following anecdote.
c) First CSIR Project before joining as Faculty
I wanted to submit a Project to CSIR for research support. I could not do that unless I was a regular faculty member in IITK. With the information given informally to me by Prof V Subha, that I have been selected as a faculty member in IITK, I went to meet PKK in his office in the third floor of Science Building in the morning on May 31st, 1967. I requested to PKK “could I get the appointment letter for Physics faculty position in IITK”, (a candidate who had appeared for the interview for a post in IITK, was asking the Director of the Institute to give appointment letter! I am sure this could only happen in IITK on those days? He simply asked me “what was the hurry?” I told him “I want to apply for a CSIR Project, and can not do so till I am a regular faculty member of IITK” .He told me “I could wait”.
I came back from his office. Next morning I got the appointment letter and I joined the same day before noon as lecturer (The selection committee recommendations had to be approved by Chairman BOG at least. The Chairman BOG was Sir Padmapat Singhaniya at that time and was residing in Kanpur city. I think PKK with his sensitivity for new faculty members arranged to get the signatures of the Chairman and issued letters to the selected candidates the same afternoon.
I did apply for a CSIR Project and it was approved for work at IIT Kanpur. Mr. Y S Jain (student, JRF), Mr. M M Rai (SRA) and Dr VS Tomar (PDF) were the three students and post doctoral fellows in my first CSIR Project (1968).
d) Duties of: Convener (Central Spectroscopy Laboratory, CSL), In-charge Microwave, Infrared and High Resolution Spectroscopy Laboratories and v) Member, Departmental Space allocation committee in Physics.
Professor PV and Dr D R Rao, the two pillars of spectroscopy in the department at IITK at the time were both going to Canada (National Research Institute) and USA (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), respectively, for sabbatical type assignments. PV, the then head of the Physics Department had to make arrangements for the vacuum type situation in Spectroscopy. Dr BDN Rao (NMR), G C Upreti (EPR) were there with their specialties. Dr Lalita (Sircar, later after marriage) had her field PMR) and I was made the in-charge of Microwave, Infra red and Optical Spectroscopy (including the Convener, Central Optical Spectroscopy Research (COSR) facility.
The help provided by Professor CNR Rao, and M V George, as members of COSR Facility was of great help to systematize the working of the COSR facility. I could do the other responsibilities also in all the fronts to the best of my ability with the help of the colleagues like V N Sarin and other supporting staff in the Institute Central facilities. Including the Director PKK who told me in one of the meeting “You are the Director of your group; if there is some thing to coordinate I am there”.
The new equipment (Perkin Elmer-521, Beckman IR-11, Carry – 14 instruments in COS labs had to be commissioned and kept in top operational condition. The arrangement for recording and delivering the spectra to the researchers from all workers ( Ph D students, PDF’s in the various departments, and visitors from all over India desirous to have spectra recorded in these instruments (and allowing the trained students to record their own spectra) was one of my duties. There was a technical assistant for recording and maintenance of the machines allocated to COSR. The Beckman IR-11 machine needed dry air supply and huge dry air storage with an appropriate G E Compressor system was installed in a side room out side the Room 113 built for the purpose. During this period we also established the systems for work at liquid Nitrogen temperatures in the infra red and ultraviolet machines. Additionally the large home made high resolution Grating Spectrograph for spectroscopic research was also to be commissioned in the back of the room, housing the commercial 3.4meter high resolution spectrograph in Room No 113 in Science Block .( This system was demolished around 1994, after Dr Ramesh C Budhani, took over that bay for his new research activity.)
There were several Ph D students and post doctoral fellows working with PV and D R Rao. I was also interacting with them and formally supervising their research work in these areas. I
The normal teaching duties were nominal in the Institute (6 hours per week). I took the Ph D courses in Molecular spectroscopy, Group Theory, Laboratory classes in M Sc and UG classes and tutorials in (Physics-101, 102, 203 and 305) and in the inter departmental UG programs like Material Science and Thermodynamics tutorials.
We used to devote about 16 to 18 hours per day in commissioning. The maintenance of the old UR-10 Prism Spectrometer also needed continuous efforts. Mr. V N Sarin, Y S Jain, Dr V S Tomar and Mr. M M Rai in my project helped in doing the various responsibilities. Mr. A L Verma and Mr. Kamlesh Kumar were assigned the Microwave work, but preferred to work in Infra red area, as the instruments were running and experimental work was easier to perform.
PV had also given me his laboratory office room 215 Sc Block. I had one office in the third floor of the Faculty Building. I used that room only for preparation of lectures, tutorials and examining the answer-scripts of various examinations. The research involvement demanded the need for Lab room in Science Block. I arranged a room for my activity in the Science Block in room 306 (SB) after PV returned from his visit abroad.
e) Family (Personal) Care and Informal Relations in the Institute.
In the morning of April 2 my wife complained of pain in the stomach, and our baby was due. I called the hospital for ambulance, but was told that one of the tires of the ambulance was flat and the ambulance could not be sent. I phoned DD MSM at his residence ~6 am. He asked me to wait at our quarter House No 355. Within minutes Asha was in Type two quarters, where the make shift hospital of the Institute was located in those days. At 7 30 Anurag, was born. I had a class at almost the same time which I did take for UG students.
Raising children was very easy in IIT atmosphere; especially for me due to turning points 7 and 8 given above. I had never to get involved with the task of rearing the children as a part of married life; as Asha and IIT Kanpur campus atmosphere and facilities did the job needed for an ideal upbringing of the children, till they become self-dependent.
Both of our children grew in the free atmosphere of IIT K, and got education in the Campus School (Class 5 certificate), Central School (Class 12, certificate, CBSE Board) and B Tech. Degrees, I I T Kanpur. Sangeeta (MS, Aero-space, Cincinnati), her husband Ananth (an IITK graduate and a Ph D degree holder, with their nine year old brilliant son Rahul, is settled in Palo Alto. Anurag, (MS from Princeton and a Ph D degree holder from USA) with his wife Megha and 4 year old lovely twin daughters, Aashvi and Marisa, is settled in New Port Coast in Ca, USA).
I became an Assistant Professor in 1972. I joined as Professor in IITK (1979) from the position (on deputation) of Professor and Head, Physics Dept (1977-79), and Head of Institution (1977-79), in Kumaon University Campus, Nainital).
e) Regular Refreshing in Research Fields through visits outside IITK
i) Visiting Scientist in UWO, London Canada
I used a short semester leave (combined with summer vacations, to visit the Laboratories of Professor JCD Brand in University of Western Ontario in London Canada in 1972, to continue work on High resolution spectroscopy on medium large molecules. I also availed one full sabbatical visit to his laboratories in 1975-76. The work on High Resolution and Raman spectroscopy of medium small molecules at liquid-He temperatures made original contribution in Spectroscopy. It was also helpful for my future progress in setting up the Laser Raman Facility in I I T Kanpur. After this visit JCDB offered the keys of his laboratories to me; symbolically inviting me at any time in future when ever I could go to his laboratories. This was a great honor by a distinguished professor of UWO, London, Canada to any Spectroscopist in the world.
ii) Head, Physics Department & Head of Institution in NainiTal Campus of Kumaon University 1977-79.
I went on deputation to Kumaon University, when they offered me, on the basis of the name suggested by Dr D R Rao in Physics for the post of Physics Professor. After the formal interview I was offered the twin Positions; a) Professor and Head of Department (HOD) Physics and b) Head of Institution (HOI), NainiTal campus of Kumaon University. When I joined NainiTal, the campus was in turmoil due to burning of Govt Building (NainiTal Club) in MalliTal. Peace was brought to the campus, as it was like my second home, where I had spent 8 years of my youth during my education days. The campus gained a new look with the help of faculty members ,specially professor K S Valdiya, H D Pathak and other heads of departments, in Science, Arts and Commerce faculty supporting my efforts. The teaching work in the campus was given top priority and regularized. The Laboratories and the Libraries were equipped with new facilities. The Physics Work shop was revitalized. Two convocations for conferring degrees were held, satisfactorily; Mr. Prakash Chunder Chunder the Union Minister in GOI, and Mr. Soban Singh Jina, the state Minister in UP, respectively presided over the two functions. (Convocations in NainiTal were not held for past two years or so, before my joining the Campus. Peace and tranquility prevailed in the campus and academic environment was seen everywhere. It was due to these efforts put by me that I was offered the position of Vice-Chancellor of Kumaon University in 1985 (which I decided to forego to avail the one year Visiting Professor Ship in Institute of Molecular Sciences at Okazaki, Japan in 1985-86).
The two year period at NainiTal was very useful to broaden my outlook and experience of a “Director” of an Institute, and to apply it more meaningfully in IIT Kanpur context of PKK for being the “Director” of ones Group. I developed strategy and techniques to deal with bureaucrats and science managers in Indian Scenario. During the VI International Conference on Raman Spectroscopy in Bangalore (1978), I had a chance to discuss with Professor MGK Menon, the efforts needed for equipping and revamping the Experimental Raman Spectroscopy work in India at least in few centers by modern sophisticated equipments. He promised to support “Good” Research Projects submitted to DST during that year. About 10 centers in India got DST grants to establish Sophisticated Laser Raman Laboratories in the country, subsequent to these discussions. IIT Kanpur was one of the beneficiaries where a Modular Modern Laser Raman laboratory was developed between 1980 -1995 under my guidance and supervision. This facility was used for experimental research work by scholars from several Universities (Cochin, Delhi, Aligarh, Varanasi, IACSc Calcutta, NEHU Shilong, Kanpur and Kumaon) and research laboratories (e.g. NPL Delhi etc;) as it was in top operational condition in a record time after approval of the project in 1979 by DST and remained that way for ~10 years even after I left IIT Kanpur.
iii) Summer Visiting Professor in USC Columbia after 1981 in the laboratory of Prof J R Durig(JRD), Dean of school of Science and Mathematics, Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia).
I came to know JRD in the ICORS (VII) in Ottawa, where we discussed our work on tortional barrier with Professor JCDB. He offered me to spend summer of 1981 in his laboratories in Columbia. We did work beyond his expectations during that summer. There after he also gave an open invitation to spend my summer leave of three months in his vibrant group of about 25 people working round the clock with weekly 12 hour booking of each of the available major equipment in the laboratory. JRD was a terrific researcher; with more than 100 PhD thesis by 2000. He had been Dean in USC for more than 25 years. He said the fastest publication from his group was one paper per week in standard reviewed journal. I had the good fortune of collaborating in NSF supports in organizing International Workshops and jointly editing two books through Elsevier in addition to dozens of papers in international journals. I was in the Editorial Board of Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, for which he was one of the Editors. This collaboration continued till I retired. In this connection it may be relevant to state that he visited our lab in IITK (with his group) thrice during 1983-1995.
iv) Visiting Professor, Institute of Molecular Science, Okazaki, Japan 1985-86
The only other sabbatical during my stay in IIT Kanpur was to visit Institute of Molecular Science in Okazaki Japan during 1985-86, as a Visiting Professor, a position second to the Director of the Institute in pay and other privileges, except the Bonus given even to regular professors of the institute. I got this position on the invitation of Professor S Nagakura, the Director of the Institute, who had interacted in International Conference on CTC’s in Denver in 1964 and also our association with professors WBP and RSM.
The research group that I visited had two professors, two assistant Professors, two Research Assistant’s and two technical assistants with each of the Professors and Associate Professors. Additionally, there were research students and visiting researchers with each Professor, depending on capability of the faculty to get research grants from various out-side Institute Sources. The interesting point to note was that there was only one Secretary in the group of ~25 research workers to cater various(non-academic) needs of the group; typing, mail- delivery, cleaning the tea/coffee cups/utensils ,medical needs etc of the visiting scholars from all over the world for research/ International workshops. Another uncommon tradition in the then Institute was to arrange work shops for giving lectures by prominent workers with out any written version of the lecture for future records; the idea was to put only new dreams and future probable aspects in the field.
I took a 16 day leave to visit USA and does some research work in the laboratories of Professor J R Durig in University of South Carolina Columbia. I also attended the bi-yearly conference on Raman Spectroscopy in Eugene in USA during that trip. The demonstration of the Pyro -electricity responsible for Pyro-luminescence in Uranyl nitrate hexa hydrate is my significant achievement in the research field during this visit. Additionally, the concept of organizing the twin events of Raman Birth Centenary year and Diamond jubilee year of C V Raman, in IIT Kanpur in Dec 1987 was also initiated when I was in Okazaki.
iv) Visiting Professor University of San Juan, Puerto-Rico (1992- )
Professor Ram S Katiyar also met me in one of the Raman Conference in Pittsburgh, USA. We had common interest on Semi-, Super -conductors and Raman Spectroscopy. I and Prof. D C Agarwal from IITK collaborated and pushed forward the frontiers in by joint work during summer visits( HDB and DCK) from IITK and winter visits ( RSK) from UP San Juan, and through exchange of students, PDF’s and faculty in the Joint NSF, USA supported project. This collaboration continued even after my retirement from IITK, while I was an Emeritus Scientist in IITK (1995-2000) and continued with DCA participating in the second phase. My students, PDF’s also continued the fruitful collaboration.
v) Emeritus professor, CSIR (1995-2000) and Emeritus Fellow AICTE (2000-03)
I was selected as one of ~ 20 Emeritus Scientist (ES) of CSIR in 1995. The ES are chosen on all India basis from all Indian Academic Institutions One main criteria was the research contributions during last 5 years before retirement. I was fortunate to get the facilities, not only of my established laboratory but also the residence (half of Professor’s Quarter) inside the IITK campus. This was a very fruitful period for original research on Diamond and Diamond like Carbon films and writing/editing 2 books.
For the continuance of AICTE Fellowship and conducting research on “High Power Lasers and High Voltage Engineering” I had to go to Kanpur University and Later to Birla Institute of Applied Sciences in Bhimtal, 2001-2003; as IITK administration did not show the foresight and future vision at that time for things to come. The retirement age became 65 and further extensions even from IITK budget are now given to IITK faculty.
I induced two BIAS faculty members to conduct research on a local environmental problem and obtained some insight into the local weather conditions near NainiTal- Bhimtal area, taking some experimental data from UP State Observatory ( now ARIES ),Manora Peak , NainiTal. A model has been proposed to bring sudden storms and local rain during pre-and post monsoon period in the hills bordering Himalayan Mountains covered with permanent snow.
k) Lasting Contributions
I always valued the four aims of Higher Educations with equal significance:
i) Acquisition of Knowledge: was through books, visits, contacts locally and globally.
ii) Dissemination of knowledge: through teaching of the UG, M Sc and Ph D courses; and discussions with research groups Teaching work was the main “duty” and was always given the top priority. The main idea of low teaching load in I I T K was to carry out the additional civil and administrative duties along with “creation of (new) knowledge” through front line research activity.
iii) Creation of knowledge: was due to our devotion to research; 26 students got Ph D degree based on the work done fully in the research laboratories supervised and set up by me in IIT Kanpur ( out of them 17 were registered under me). Additionally 17 M Sc and M Tech students finished their project work during my stay of ~30 years in the teaching faculty.
iv) Creation of a Value System: The needs of the contemporary society in the field of one’s specialty have to be addressed by every conscious individual in the field. I did feel the needs and have contributed to academic up- grading by taking active participation in following areas.
a) Organizing National and International Seminars, Symposia and Work shops on Lasers, Spectroscopy and Raman Spectroscopy. To disseminate the Lasers and Spectroscopy culture in India, PV had initiated in IITK, four yearly symposia in 1975 and 1979, respectively, to bring the active workers from India ( and abroad) in the field at one place for closer interaction. The work being undertaken at various centers was being exchanged in these meetings, and new directions were being planned. I kept that tradition alive by organizing the three activities almost at regular intervals, as convener of the activities. The experts in each field were invited to write critical reviews, representing the current state of the knowledge in the field, evaluate the progress and suggest new areas for future research. The activities and their outcome is summarized below
a) “Third Symposium on Lasers and Applications” was held on Dec 19 to 23, 1983 with Dr H D Bist as Convener. A book representing the invited (and few contributed) lectures was published, Ed H D Bist and Js Goela. Likewise, a status report of the work being done in India in the purely Research Institutions, in Teaching cum Research institutions, and in mostly Teaching Centers was also published as “Lasers and Applications in the Indian Context, Ed H D Bist et el. Tata Mc Graw Hill (1985)
b) “Workshop on Advanced Raman Spectroscopy” was held in IITK between Dec 7 to 11, 1987 to commemorate the twin events of “Birth centenary of Sir C V Raman” and the “Diamond Jubilee of the discovery of Raman Effect”. For this event we invited the leaders in several inter -disciplinary fields. 91 authors from USA, India, France, Japan, USSR, UK and FRG participated and contributed to the 52 articles published in two volumes on “Raman Spectroscopy- 60 Years on”, ed Bist et al , Elsevier,1989.
c) “Workshop on Advanced laser Spectroscopy” was organized between February 25-28, 1995, with H D Bist as convener as the third national event. The Proceedings were published, along with a Status report on Lasers and their Application- the Indian Spectrum for 2001; Ed Bist et.al; Tata Mc Graw Hill ,1996).
f) The World Beyond
The life was regulated and enjoyable with hard labor, after joining IIT Kanpur for the second (or third) time. I remained a faculty member till I retired in June 1995. I traveled to USA several times as Visiting Professor, Research Scientist, and invited speaker in professional conferences, collaborating in various parts of the world for research and giving lectures. I visited not only USA and Canada for extended periods for collaborative research work in the Laboratories of Professors Willis B Person (Iowa City), J C D Brand (Vanderbilt University, Nashville and Univ. of Western Ontario, London), J R Durig, Univ. of South Carolina, Columbia). Additionally, I spent one sabbatical year as a visiting Professor in the Institute of Molecular Sciences, Okazaki, Japan. I also visited and had collaborative research work in several laboratories in UK, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, China, Hong Kong, USSR etc. several times and gave invited talks in conferences and seminars. I also established a state- of-the-art Laser Raman Laboratory in IIT Kanpur, where 187 scientists worked during my tenure there. We published ~250 research papers in national and international journals. 16 Ph D students earned their Ph D’s under my direct supervision and I published/edited 9 books. .
The book Lasers and their Applications in the Indian Context, jointly edited by me on the basis of the information taken from all the laboratories in India was published by Tata Mc Graw Hill (1986) is the first such book analyzing the Laser related work in India. The book was updated after 10 years again by the similar efforts in 1996. The two other volumes of books co-edited by me with Prof J R Durig and Sullivan as one of the authors, I being the first author were published by Elsevier, on Vibrational Spectra and Structure. They contain state -of -the -art reviews on the various contemporary topics by world renowned scientists in their field of specialty and will be the pride possessions of the libraries all over the world; where any work on Lasers and applications is conducted. The three other books were based on the proceedings of the conferences that I organized as the principal functionary and the Secretary. Three international Conferences were organized by me at IIT Kanpur during 1983-, 1987and 1995. Even after full retirement in 2003, I have edited two books on contemporary topics Higher Education and Corruption in 2005 and 2006, respectively. The 9 books edited/ authored by Dr Bist are given in the end.
In my way of thinking this is enough Contribution for Higher Education from IITK to the world, from a child from a village, unfamiliar with the galloping world before he joined IIT Kanpur.
Turning Point-9. The Paying – Back Phase, the Sanskaras (Imprints).
As a man grows he is guided to behave as per his genes and upbringing, the Sanskaras. In my case also, unknowingly and unconsciously, I think, Sanskaras have worked to a great extent to fulfill my responsibilities and way of working towards various Duties (‘Dharma’).
i) Family Members: All of my younger (four) brothers, stayed for small or longer periods with me/ my nuclear-family for their education and/or training at NainiTal and/or Kanpur, right from the time I was a research scholar at DSB Govt college Nainital.. Tribhuwan came after High School (at Champawat) for education to NainiTal in 1959, when I was a research student and Assistant Warden in the Langham House Hostel. He completed his M Sc at Nainital. He came to USA in 1966 and is US citizen, having taken “premature Retirement” from working in Michigan state. Govind, He joined us after high school at Champawat, and finished his MBBS, at Kanpur and NainiTal. He is an Eye surgeon in Govt. Hospital, NainiTal. Chandra Kant also finished his MA from NainiTal and he is also a US citizen working for the state of Michigan. The youngest of the five brothers, Prem, came to Kanpur only for a short time as by the time, my father was exercising his powers to demand needed expenditure to support children as head of our family. Prem is presently, Professor Physics Department IIT, Chennai, India. Both of my children, after their B Tech from IIT Kanpur are well settled with their engineer spouses in engineering field in the west coast of USA. My father (and occasionally my mother) used to visit us at IIT Kanpur, whenever he felt like coming for few months. My father expired in 1992. My mother, stayed with the three brothers in India, (mostly with Govind in Haldwani) till her death in March 2003.
The whole family did not need any outside help after I succeeded in getting education. There was a gap of 10 years between me and my next brother and a gap of 30 years between me and my youngest brother. We could support ourselves for studies and other needs. All brothers have happy balanced families and are leading a contented independent life-style. Today, I am very proud of all the members of our family, for being self-confidant and self-reliant. They all are contributing to the well being of our village and the society, in a broader sense…
Relatives, Friends and Teachers: Few examples could be cited here again. One of our distant relative, Sri D N Joshi, Director of Technical Education, resided with us at our IIT Kanpur house, for one year in 1967; when he was transferred in the last year of his service to Kanpur and his whole family was living in Lucknow. The family- of my maternal uncle, M K Joshi’s (Mamee and 4 daughters) family, stayed in our three bed room house at IIT Kanpur from May 1967 to 1968 for about one year, while he had to go to North Eastern border area as Battalion -Commandant. Today, all of his four daughters are well settled with their own professions and their husbands holding top position in the area of Police, BARC, and Internal revenue and Forest departments. . Professor (DPK), who had joined at HBTI as a Physics Professor `1969, was staying in our house as a family member for ~ one year, while his family was in Agra. He was also participating in our research activities and assisting us in my “night shift”. (Throughout my working years in IIT Kanpur and elsewhere, I retained my office working hours as “day shift” between 8am – 5pm and “night shift” between ~7pm – 12 pm.) Even after he moved to Nawabganj in Kanpur DPK continued his association with Spectroscopy Laboratory in IITK. Two of his students (Dr V P Tayal and Dr B K Srivastava) did their Ph D work in my IITK lab. Likewise, two students (Dr G D Tewari and Dr Abha Baijal) of Mr. V P Tayal from H B T I also worked in my IITK laboratories. They obtained their Ph D’s on the basis of work fully completed in IITK laser Raman Laboratories. DPK himself worked as visiting scientist for three years, in my Lab., assisting in writing coauthored book and guiding students in their Ph D thesis work. In the last year of his IITK Research assignment, he set up the Indian Association of Physics Teachers (IAPT); which is doing a wonderful job of putting the Indian UG Physics teaching in world map.
ii) New Passion to Serve the Society
After retiring from IITK in 1995, I worked for 5 years in IITK itself as Emeritus Scientist of CSIR. Later, I served as Emeritus Fellow of AICTE for three years. After fully retiring from formal jobs in 2003, I have been devoting my time for the support of education of poor children in Uttarakhand as Secretary, SAVIDYA Upsamiti, Himalaya Water Service Tatha Vikas avam Paryavaran Sanrakshan Samiti, Village- Darah, P O Champawat),14/35 G B Pant Marg, Haldwani-263141. Two of the prominent problems facing contemporary India have been put in the form of two (out of 9) books, in 2005 and 2006, respectively. The work in the NGO is put in the web site HIMWATS.org.
Efforts have been made to Support Quality Education , Health Care of children in Govt schools and empowerment of Poor guardians to avail the fruits of new Govermental efforts through Sarva Sikshya Abhiyan.
A small effort was started by me by depositing Rs 200,000/ in a fixed deposit at SBI Haldwani in the name of HWSTVAPSS_SU. The annual interest from this money was being used for the benefit of children in villages. Now the effort is being supported by grants from Asha for Education Si Valley in USA to support ~600 children in 7 schools.by providing additional teachers, and conveniences to students,(Uniforms, Medical Examination, liv-52 and Vitamins, Games sports , Music, Library, Sience resource center and Vocational training. There are about 2500 books in the Library and ~250 experimental devices for laboratory training. Like wise 16 computers and 10 sewing machines , and equipment for making jams, etc is being used in the Vocational Education
The effort is being supported by local Members of Parliaments, ( Sri BS Rawat, Ex Minister of Science and Technology in Union Govt , and by Capt Satish Sharma ,M P Upper House, respectively by constructing a room and a science resoure center, in that order..Sarv Sikshya Abhiyan is also helping specifically the schools adopteted by us. The local citizens are helping by donating their expertise, time and money in our efforts. The family ,friends and relatives of Dr H D Bist are all contributing to the budget for helping in our efforts.
Foundation for Excellence (FFE) set by Prabhu Goel and his wife is helping our efforts to support poor students as 5 facilitators have been helping Dr H D Bist, as Coordinator, have been working hard to make this effort successful in Uttarakhand. The number of FFE beneficiaries from Uttarakhand rose from zero in 2004, to 4 in 2005, 63 in 2006, more than 200 in 2008 ;a marvelous increase, by any standard. In 2008 more than 60 students were getting help through Facilitators associated with Dr H D Bist.
While taking help from AFE and other agencies supporting elementary education, our idea is to take a cluster ( ~10 schools consisting of ~6/7 Primary, 2/3 Middle and 1 High School), and show the cluster as a model of Govt. and NGO supported success for an integrated quality elementary education The greatest satisfaction to him emanates from the contribution he has made and is still engaged in doing so, not only for his own family, but a whole lot of relatives, acquaintances, friends, the poor people in Indian hills and society at large both locally and globally. The ‘Sanskaras’ (the imprints), and ‘Swavlamban’ (self-confidence) developed through education enabled him to lead a decent life. I very vehemently suggest that Sanskars have to be imprinted in young age in a child, have to be developed during whole integrated education period (life-long). The dreams have to become reality with hard-work and devotion. May this be true in every young poor mans life, not only in Uttarakhand; but also in the whole of India and in the world.
This write up, may encourage the poor children, to have dreams of getting their place through education. If one makes a determination to get something and works hard for it; he/she is most likely going to obtain it. Of course, there are circumstances which change the course of life. This story should be typical for any poor child from an average village in the hills, where there was only one Primary School (up to class fourth), within a radius of ~ 10 km, about 70 years back.