The Foundation of a Family, that’s where it all began for IIT Kharagpur in 1951. The history of the IIT system dates back to 1946 when a committee was set up by Hon’ble Sir Jogendra Singh, Member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council, Department of Education, Health and Agriculture to consider the setting up of Higher Technical Institutions for post war industrial development in India. The 22 member committee headed by Sri N.R. Sarkar recommended the establishment of four Higher Technical Institutions on the lines of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA. With the above recommendations the first Indian Institute of Technology was born in May 1950 in Hijli, Kharagpur, in the eastern part of India. The present name ‘Indian Institute of Technology’ was adopted before the formal inauguration of the Institute on August 18, 1951 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad. IIT Kharagpur started its journey in the old Hijli Detention Camp where some of our great freedom fighters toiled and sacrificed their lives for the independence of our country in the revolutionary struggle against the British Raj.
As the country enters its 77th year of Independence, IIT Kharagpur also enters its 73rd year of foundation on 18th August 2023 which was adorned by eminent personalities. Mahamohopadhyay Bhadreshdas Swami, Head, BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Shri Durga Shanker Mishra, IAS, Chief Secretary, Government of Uttar Pradesh and Dr. P Arun, Director, Tata Medical Center also graced the occasion as the Guests of Honour. The invocation started by hoisting the national flag and institute flag at the main building. Conferment of Chair Professor Awards, Gitindra Saran Sanyal Faculty Excellence Awards, Young Alumni Achievers Awards, Staff Excellence Awards, and the institute employees who completed 25 years of service were felicitated.
Mahamohopadhyay Bhadreshdas Swami, Head, BAPS Swaminarayan Research Institute, the Chief Guest of the 72nd Foundation Day of IIT Kharagpur said, “This day embarks the foundation of IIT Kharagpur along with a Bhavya Bharat – The extraordinary India. If you want to understand the glory of any culture or any country or civilization, observe its education, research, literature and spirituality. India is a land of education system, a natural education system and a systematic and organised education. I can proudly say that India will be the answer to Artificial Intelligence, it will create a balance to endure and sustain it. India is a land of spirituality. The moto of this institution is ‘Yoga Karmashu Koushalam’ from the Bhagwat Gita. When we attach our self to a purpose, its ‘Yog’ and with ‘Yudyog’ we have to travel in forward direction to succeed and then comes ‘Proyudhyog’ which highlights the focused and sincere approach. India is a Land of Education, Land of Research with art Music, Science, technology and philosophy, the land of new innovations, the land of Literature, legacy and scripture, the land of spirituality, land of living idols, because we celebrate diversity equality, and inclusion. Most importantly India is glorious because it is the land of IITs, especially IIT Kharagpur.”
The foundations of IIT Kharagpur rests on the eternal motto of ‘Yoga Karmashu Koushalam’ from the Gita. It means that the individual interests behind any action which is either driven by material success or failure must be transformed to a higher and universal process of Yoga i.e., a communion between the self of an individual with the web of self in all, the Cosmos itself. As the Mother of all IIT system, and as the pioneering pace setter of science and technology, IIT Kharagpur was initiated as a mansion of learning on the bedrock of sacrifice by our martyrs seeking national independence.
The Institute started with 42 teachers and 224 students in 1951 on the lines of MIT. We have grown enormously since then with almost 17000 students currently and I would like to thank all the previous directors and chairman for nurturing this institution. We need to have a critical mass where the goals of the Institute should not only be administration driven but where a particular system must continue irrespective of other things and need to focus on our strengths identifying the respective parameters. Today major organizations, institutions, administration and governance are operational under the leadership of IITians. The talent we have in this country should be tapped than losing them to MITs. The items in NEP 2020 has been implemented in the Higher Education system at IIT Kharagpur. We have implemented the entry exit policy with exposure of the students to industries with semester away programs. We have Centre for Classical & Folk Art, Indian Knowledge System, Academy of Leadership which are first of their kind in the country, remarked Prof. V K Tewari, Director, IIT Kharagpur.
The Young Alumni Achiever Award was given to 26 young alumni of IIT Kharagpur honouring their excellence in innovations, technological developments, research, community welfare, leadership, entrepreneurship, social impact, nation building, national interest and professional accomplishments.
“As an Alumnus of IIT Kanpur, I can say that IIT education is different from other education as it develops the holistic character of the students for not only the respective industries, they need to address the concerns of the society as well. I was amazed to find out that IIT Kharagpur has law school and medical school as well.” After speaking on Amrit Kal, Atmanirbhar Bharat and Developed India he continued to say that it gives him immense pleasure to see so many young entrepreneurs here who provide technology solutions to the remotest of the country. He shared his insights on Affordable Sustainable Housing Accelerators for India that would bring in new technology, new skills, new developments to fulfil the construction requirements of the people of this country. We make a new Chicago every year in this country based on sq feet measures. Today we can join in the transformation process of the country having the 3rd largest start-up ecsystem and more than 100 unicorns producing for the world. IITs can provide collaborative platforms for research and innovation and need to work on distance skilling,” shared Shri Durga Shanker Mishra, IAS, Chief Secretary Uttar Pradesh candidly.
The institute honoured five professors including Prof. Niloy Ganguly, Department of Computer Science and Engineering; Prof. Subhasish Basu Majumder, Materials Science Centre; Prof. Dilip Kumar Pratihar, Department of Mechanical Engineering; Prof. Peeyush Soni, Department of Agricultural & Food Engineering and Prof. Chirodeep Bakli, School of Energy Science and Engineering with the Faculty Excellence Award 2023. The Institute Chair Professor Award 2023 was bestowed to Prof. Suman Chakraborty, Department of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Kharagpur. along with 32 Staff Excellence Awards 2023. A total of 25 people were recognized for their uninterrupted 25 years of service to the Institution. “Premise that EVs reduce carbon footprint is a myth,” was the topic for Foundation Day Debate which was conducted by Prof. Anandaroop Bhattacharya, Department of Mechanical Engineering engrossing the participation of Faculties, Students and Staffs in Netaji Auditorium followed by a cultural programme. Prof. Dipa Dube, Dean, Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law handed over the prizes to the all the participants.
Dr. P Arun, Director, Tata Medical Centre explained the need of low-cost and sustainable healthcare products. He said, “Today learning cannot be just multidisciplinary, it has to be interdisciplinary. For IIT Kharagpur, a joint training program where strengths could be shared, the strength of a doctor could be shared with that of an engineer and that public knowledge could be used for public good. The progress of technology is relentless and you have to be prepared for it. With the invasion of AI, multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary cooperation is going to be imperative in the years to come. We need to develop indigenous technology, our own technology, our own infrastructure and that is what is impressive about IIT Kharagpur which has done do much on affordable healthcare and technology. “
On March, 1952, Pandit Nehru laid the foundation stone of the new building. The first Board of Governors was constituted with Dr. B.C. Roy, as the chairman of the Institute. On Sept. 15, 1956, the Parliament of India passed an act known as the Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur) Act declaring this Institute as an Institution of National Importance. IIT Kharagpur is the oldest IIT established in India in 1951 and has been awarded the status of Institution of Eminence by the Government of India in 2019.
“We hope to be in the top 10 in the world by 2030 and identified niche areas in precision agriculture, Industry 4.0, affordable healthcare, Advance Transportation and Infrastructure. We are the first one to have AI Innovation Hub in Machine Learning. We will also have a Centre of Excellence on Futuristic Technologies with DRDO. The Government of India also gave us the responsibility of instituting a Department of Education from this year itself to train quality teachers. We are also working in the areas of medical sciences and technology for many years and have signed MoUs with AIIMs Kalyani and AIIIMs Delhi on the same lines. We believe in taking the technology to the last man standing of the society. We are also developing sustainable technologies in the rural sectors and have helped more than 20,000 farmers in West Bengal with prominent works that have been done in Bioenergy and Food Technology. Now we have more than 80,000 Alumni. We want our faculties and staff to think in a positive frame of mind so that they can reform, perform and transform – a clarion call by our Hon’ble Prime Minister,” added Prof. Tewari.
Today the institute as the largest of all IITs, comprises of 19 departments,12 schools, 18 centres (including five Centres of Excellence) and 2 academies, 21 halls of residence, 810+ Faculty Members, 880 Staffs, 15,7200+ Students with vast tree-laden campus spreading over 2100 acres has a self-contained township of over 15,000 inhabitants excluding students. Apart from engineering & technical studies, IIT KGP has multi-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary academic capabilities that commensurate with the National Education Policy (NEP 2020) from day one. Along with incorporating India’s culture and knowledge tradition in NEP 2020, the way it has opened ways to sustainable innovations, smart solutions and modernization, has created a whole new dimension of productive inclusion. The Institute will also set its course for a new age of becoming the, “Vishwaguru and Vishwamitra – Sarvajan Hitaya: Sarvajan Sukhaya.”
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