Prof. Dr. T.G.Sitharam

Director & Professor, Department of Civil Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati
Professor, Civil Engineering, IISc Bangalore (On Deputation)

Office Phone :
+91 361 258 2005 / 2690401
Office Fax :
+91 361 269 2321

Convocation Address at Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala

Respected COMMANDANT Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi AVSM; Deputy Commandant REAR ADMIRAL TARUN SOBTI; Principal R Adm Amit Vikram and registrar Commodore GA Selvam, distinguished guests on the dais and off the dais, Head / Chairpersons, faculty Naval cadets /students of INA and parents.

A very good afternoon to all of you. I am very pleased to be with you on this convocation ceremony on 29th Nov 2019 of Indian National Academy (INA), Kannur. It is a profound and defining moment for the students who are receiving the degree. My heartfelt congratulations with a special appreciation to those who will be receiving their degrees, and their distinctions/awards. But remember, no matter what your marks or divisions or medals you have got, you should certainly contribute immensely to our society and nation. You can do that very well, if you set your priorities right. I am happy to know that INA having been entrusted with the dual responsibilities to impart B Tech and ab-intio military training to all officers entrants of the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard. I am happy to know that INA is complimented with the best of the instructors and world class training facilities. I understand that the training pattern varies with the type of entry and the curriculum has been carefully designed to bring all the trainees up to the requisite academic, intellectual and physical fitness levels that are required to win wars at the sea.

I am happy to know that graduates of INA would imbibe values and moral attributes that enable them to blossom as knowledge warriors and confident leaders. I also offer my congratulations to the proud parents whose role in the success of their children is far larger than the children usually believe at this juncture of their lives. My wholehearted appreciation is also to the faculty, staff and leadership of this institution that have aided in shaping your education, thoughts, values and careers ahead.

I want to quote Swami Vivekananda on the topic of education

  • "Educate and raise the masses, and thus alone a nation is possible."

'Education for Life' in addition to 'Education for Living' is the key slogan on this day for graduating students. Do not only look at 5, 4,3,2,1 (five figure salary, four wheeler car, 3 bed room house, 2 children and 1 wife). Contribute to society and for the needy. You need to develop a right attitude through good values.

In broad terms, your Educational Goals are statements that describe the competences, skills, and attributes that students should possess upon completion of a course or program. They often operate within the interacting domains of knowledge, skills and attitudes. You will step out today with a higher education backed by one of the graduate degrees. But that is not enough, you need a right attitude and values in your life.

India’s economic development and transformation is intrinsically linked to its education and skilling. Only an educated country can aspire to be a developed country. We thus need to ramp up the numbers of Higher Educational Institutions (HEI) like your institution particularly in NE part of India. By 2030, India is still will be the youngest nation in the world with nearly 140 million people ready to enter the portals of an HEI. It will be interesting to note that one in every four graduates in the world will be a product of the Indian Higher Education system. Higher Education with an innovative and entrepreneurial mindset is the key to leveraging the demographic dividend for the benefit of the society and community.

The need for increasing HEI numbers is further complicated by the globalization, competition and knowledge-driven economy. ICT tools, Internet and social media have resulted in the explosive growth of knowledge. Knowledge is not only going to drive the Indian economy, but also, it is going to permeate into all the strata of Indian society for a better quality of life for its citizens.

The Indian Higher Education system needs to elevate itself in the knowledge economy by striking a balance between quality and quantity. A multi-pronged strategy is needed. In addition to teaching institutions that primarily focus on skilling and teaching, here is need to promote many more hubs of innovation and research excellence.

I WAS THINKING ABOUT WHAT can I say to you on an occasion like this? Coming as I do, from the Indian Institute of Science and now from IITG, I thought this might be an opportune moment to reflect on the changing face of research. In institutions like my own, the Indian Institute of Science, where research is a prime focus, the distinctions between scientists and engineers are indeed blurred. Computer applications has entered all the areas. Similarly, management professional’s role is critical in all walks of life. Formation of multi-disciplinary teams of researchers and students is very much needed along with Live-in-Labs to focus on transformation and development of India’s villages and towns. In the new world of research, success may require a facility to easily bridge the gaps between disciplines. It may indeed be critical to think of new experiments in undergraduate education, where science, engineering and management merge seamlessly to build a new generation of professionals and researchers. We must ensure that innovation and enterprise are encouraged for both faculty and students. Breaking disciplinary barriers and breaching the concrete walls that separate departments and subjects must be a major challenge for universities in the near future.

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati was established in the year 1994 and has completed 25 years of glorious existence. IIT Guwahati is the only academic institution in India that occupied a place among the top 100 world universities – under 50 years of age – published by London based Times Higher Education (THE) in the year 2014 and continues to do this even today in various International Rankings. Along with older IITs and Delhi University, IIT Guwahati has also been ranked below 500 in the QS World ranking released recently. IIT Guwahati ranks 7th among the leading science and research institutions in India in terms of research citation as evaluated by the Nature, the most authentic scientific research magazine and one of the highest faculty to publication ration of ~4.5. IIT Guwahati has been ranked 7th (Engineering) and 9th (Overall) in the national institutional ranking framework conducted by MHRD in the year 2018. IIT Guwahati also ranked 2nd in the “Swachhata Ranking” conducted by the GoI. IIT Guwahati has one of the most beautiful educational campuses in the country that provides an ideal setting for learning and research. It is strongly believed that IIT Guwahati has been able to fulfill the aspirations of people of the North East region to a larger extent, since its birth was through Assam Accord signed in 1985. The institute is fully residential for the students, enriched with world-class facilities and is empowered with a young and dynamic faculty and staff. The vision of IITG is to become a preferred destination of seeking best science, engineering and technology education and to be recognized internationally for excellence in research, pursuit for developmental activities and deep concern for students’ care. An important feature of academic excellence is the continuous replenishment of ideas and creation of new areas of research and innovation, attracting organizations seeking collaboration in education, research and development as well as product development. In a fast changing world, keeping pace with the ever-increasing number of areas of research and application poses a major challenge to this Institute. IIT Guwahati is trying to augment the research initiatives in all the areas of Sciences and Technology in general and in Nano-science & technology, Bioengineering and Data sciences in particular. Initiation of research in some of the cutting edge areas of Biological sciences namely Genomics, Developmental Biology, Health Care and Bioinformatics, Flexible Electronics, Advanced Functional Materials, Sustainable Polymers, Water Resources and Management is a testament to the aspiration of IIT Guwahati to excel in research. The Scope of Environmental Science and Data science is inherently interdisciplinary and expanding rapidly. Recognizing the challenges for environmentally sustainable development, IIT Guwahati emphasizes an interdisciplinary research paradigm in Energy and Environment. There is a pressing need to integrate environmental engineering and sciences across various disciplines to solve problems that have important societal impact. It is indeed a challenging task to match the ever-increasing need for funds and providing infrastructure for these emerging and futuristic research areas, and IIT Guwahati has resolutely taken this challenge in its stride. Further, IIT Guwahati has set goals to be recognized as one of the world’s top 150 Institutes/Universities within the next five years. This will include attracting external grants and research funding at the level of internationally well ranked Institutes, to furnish state-of-the-art facilities for all programs, attract International faculty and students to spend time at IIT Guwahati, enhance the perception globally, fostering academic excellence and freedom while maintaining rigorous academic standards and to become a preferred destination for transformative educational experience.

You are the agents of change. I am sure each one of you will meet the challenges by imbibing the wholesome values. Value education through Yoga has become critical in this changing scenario. Yoga will add value to your education, Yoga will calm your mind: Yoga will impart compassion in you. Continue to practice Yoga in the future along with your research in higher education. Faculty members at INA should establish collaboration from their end with other universities, and engage undergraduate students in research, innovation and entrepreneurship. Friends, I would like to share with you a few brief thoughts; a few things I have learnt in my life. Believer in yourself and work hard. You can achieve your goals. Aim high and set your goals very high. Productivity requires hard work and total commitment. Focus on your dreams, be prepared to take calculated risks and do not get deterred by failures. In fact, there is no such thing as a failure. Strive to realize your fullest potential and you must become agents of change and progress.

Today, Universities are adopting Outcome based education where everything revolves around students and teachers become only facilitators and their role has to change. Famous physicist John Archibald Wheeler once said: "Universities need students in order to educate the Professors". We have to invest in good students and not compromise on the quality of students, to achieve greater success in Higher Education. JEE is one such experiment which is being successful. I wish each one of the graduating students all the very best again in whatever endeavors you may embark on. May this day in your life be a special one, a significant one and the start of something beautiful. You should simply do what you can do, in the best way you know. I thank all the persons from INA for inviting me for this function.

Jai Hind!