Prof. L.S. Ganesh, the new Dean Students, began his term with a positive note by addressing the student community on coping with and enjoying life in insti to the fullest. We reproduce his motivational message here for the benefit of alumni and others.
Good wishes to you for enjoying and gaining from your living and learning experiences in our Institute.
I was fortunate to have been a student in our Institute during 1977-79 when I was in the M.Tech., programme (Applied Mechanics), and then during 1980-1984 as a Research Scholar in the PhD programme (Humanities and Social Sciences). I cherish the wonderful memories of my experiences during those years and can never sufficiently thank all the friends, teachers, administration staff, hostel staff, mess staff, and all the others whose relationships have contributed significantly to what I am, and do today. I am confident that, in your own way, you are gaining invaluable experiences in our beautiful campus.
I wish to share with you some of the most important lessons I learnt then, which continue to be valid today. You may label those lessons as common sense, but don’t we all know that common sense is uncommon? Hope you will benefit from the lessons I learnt.
Purpose: I asked myself the question, “what is the purpose of my joining IIT Madras, and gaining the degree(s)?” I shared this question with my friends and teachers. After a lot of discussions with them, I realized that my purpose was to gain competence (knowledge and skills pertaining to my chosen academic disciplines) and character (professional and personal). This was always on the top of my agenda, and i simply refused to compromise on this. I knew that IIT Madras was the place, after my undergraduate studies in BITS Pilani (Mech. Engg., 1972-79), to lay the foundations of my career/professional life for at least thirty long years before I will retire. The most important external factors that enabled me to focus on my purpose were teachers, family, friends, and institute facilities and resources.
Practice: I decided to pursue my purpose in as balanced a manner as I could. Besides attending classes, learning on my own and through friends, and gaining knowledge/skills, there were so many other experiences I could opt for – music, debates, skits, general knowledge quizzes, cricket, volleyball, table tennis, tennis, basketball, swimming, playing carroms, chess and scrabble in the Hostel, enjoying Asterix comics, teaching less privileged children, goofing around, day dreaming, simply doing nothing, watching TV, weekend OAT movies, gossiping, arguing, singing out loudly Thamizh kuththu and gaanaa songs, Bhojpuri songs, Punjabi songs, Telugu songs, Malayalam songs, Marathi songs, and Western pop songs while going on long walks in our campus (occasionally in heavy rain), omlettes and chai at Vels and Tarams, going out for dinner and ice creams, walking to and sleeping overnight in Golden Beach with friends, movies in the city, cultural festivals including our very own Mardi Gras, ……… a nearly endless set of alternatives. Luckily for me, and in retrospect, I am happy that I struck a fine balance. Many students before you, with whom I shared my experiences, enjoyed my anecdotes and stories. Maybe, if we get to meet sometime, I’ll savour doing the same. The most important external factors that enabled me to enjoy such a wonderful variety of experiences were friends, family, institute facilities and resources, and city (Really? Yes. Madras, as it was called then, cannot be matched for its subtle charm).
The key to all these experiences was made of mutual trust, warm relationships, and solid guidance. On my part, I struggled with myself to maintain the elusive, fine balance. Hopefully, I succeeded. I chose and maintained a fine balance between:
focused intellectual discipline and carefree enjoyment;
energetic work and lazy day dreaming;
hot competition and cool cooperation;
altruistic volunteering and self-centric apathy;
restrained discussions/debating and unrestrained gossip/joshing; and
extending sincere assistance and enjoying playful leg pulling.
I wish that each one of you will face the finest challenges and enjoy the greatest victories over them. Remember, that in all that you do, or do not do, take care of your as well as others’ safety, maintain a good sense of humour, learn to laugh at yourself, be healthy in body and mind, play hard and, most importantly, learn to push your limits while pursuing your purpose. Hope you already know or will get to know of the superb support systems available in our Institute to enable you to transform yourself positively in this phase of your life. Make the best use of your time.
I will be happy to help you gain the maximum from your learning and living experiences in our Institute. Our Institute will be as great as we make it.
L. S. Ganesh
Dean (Students) and
Professor, Department of Management Studies (DoMS),
Indian Institute of Technology Madras,
Chennai, India – 600036
22578050 (desk); 22579050 (home)
22578051 (office; to leave messages)
94440 08050 (mobile)