March 21, 2013
IIT Kharagpur alumni from different walks of life have stepped up to support the candidature of their fellow IIT Kharagpur alumnus and director-select, Prof.
Partha Pratim Chakrabarti
(PPC as he is fondly known). In mid-2012 Prof. Chakrabarti was selected to be Kharagpur's next Director. His official appointment has been delayed by his alleged involvement in the Coalnet scam.
Over 1500 alumni of IIT Kharagpur have now joined forces and have risen in an unprecedented support of Prof. Chakrabarti. There has been overwhelming support for Prof Chakrabarti on Facebook, through the 'PPC For Director' page, where over 1200 IIT Kharagpur alumni have signed up in less than a week. Over 800 alumni have signed a petition on change.org asking the Board of Governors of IIT Kharagpur to exonerate the professor and appoint him as the Director. Over 100 RTI's have been filed by the alumni to make public relevant documents that would prove his innocence. This overwhelming alumni reaction in support for PPC is one of a kind and has never been seen earlier.
Prof Chakrabarti is an IIT Kharagpur President's Gold medalist (PGM,1985 batch), awarded to the topper of the graduating class. Prof. Chakrabarti chose to forgo lucrative opportunities overseas to stay in
and teach in his alma-mater. Says Shail Kumar, previously senior administrator at
University of California, Berkeley
, and a 1987 graduate of IIT Kharagpur , "In our times, the most logical route for an IIT graduate, especially for a PGM, was to pursue graduate studies at a premier research university in the
. PPC, fortunately for IIT Kharagpur, was an exception to the rule." Professor Chakrabarti excelled as distinguished academician being one of the youngest to win the Prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award, which is the highest award for Science in
. He also has a number of patents and publications to his name, and was a pioneer in setting up the world class VLSI laboratory at IIT Kharagpur. He was made the Dean for Sponsored Research (SRIC) at IIT, at the age of 40, one of the youngest deans ever at any IIT. Under his leadership and administration, IIT Kharagpur SRIC grew into the largest cell of its kind in any educational institute in the country. He also setup the IIT Kharagpur Entrepreneurship Cell and the Incubation society which has spawned many successful startups in the last 5 years like Capillary Technologies, StudyPad Inc, iViz Technologies, Dataresolve Technologies and have generated over a 1000 jobs among themselves.
, founders of Capillary Technologies a
2012 World 100 company said "Prof P P Chakrabarti was instrumental in goading us to starting a student's entrepreneurship movement which has achieved stupendous success in IIT Kharagpur. Early on, he invited successful entrepreneurs back to the institute to start companies, and also inspired many students to take up entrepreneurship through the seed funding program. When we were starting Capillary Technologies, Prof. Chakrabarti mentored us. His guidance in the initial days had a tremendous impact on our success. Today we employ 400 people and have clients in 16 countries and offices in 8 countries." He has also been instrumental in promoting innovation and research among students. Prof Chakrabarti's involvement and support led to the making of IIT Kharagpur's first ever Formula race car under the aegis of SRIC, putting IIT KGP on the world formula car map and his continued support to this student project has led to 2 more cars being made till now for international events. Says Siddartha Khastgir, Founder, IIT KGP formula car project, "Back in 2009, Prof. PPC was one of very few people in the institute, who thought that a car project should be done at KGP and he gave approval for it as a SRIC funded project. He is responsible in bringing Automobile Engineering tradition back to KGP. His vision has led to setting up of one of its kind and state of the art Automotive Lab at IIT KGP."
Given the massive contribution that Prof Chakrabarti has made to IIT Kharagpur, its students, faculty and alumni, it is but natural to expect alumni from all walks of life, to standup in support of an exceptional student, brilliant researcher, beloved professor, able administrator, and a visionary leader. IIT Kharagpur would be fortunate to have Prof. Chakrabarti as its next Director.