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IIT, the Indian Institute of technology, the name which says it all. It is not only the dream destination for all aspiring engineers, but also a hub for all the latest technological inventions. Surprisingly, the nation’s capital wasn’t the first city to have an IIT. Kharagpur, Mumbai, Chennai and Kanpur are all older siblings. It wasn’t even called IIT in the beginning – It was the College of Engineering and Technology (CET).
On being asked about the college days, Mr. Lalit Mehra, one of the alumni of this prestigious institution, exclaimed “We did everything shown in the movie Three Idiots, except perhaps, deliver babies.”
“There used to be a lot of road laying equipment lying around in those days”, he continues. “So one day, we took a road roller for a joyride. It drove just fine. But after we had our fun, we couldn’t get it to switch off! We abandoned it, engine running and brakes on, on a steep incline. Then we all ran away.”
A typical college story, right? Difference is that, it’s from 1961. Mr Mehra was one among 150 students, the first batch, which graduated from IIT Delhi.
The first students walked in to start studies on August 16, 1961. It was only in 1963, that CET, Delhi, formally became IIT, Delhi – thanks to an act of Parliament. When the first batch graduated in 1966, President S Radhakrishnan himself attended the ceremony, therefore, marking the beginning of this esteemed institute.
On Monday, Aug 16, 2010 they were back at college again to commemorate this occasion. Fifty years after they had first walked in, to start the journey of a lifetime. This day marked the accomplishment of exultant completion of fifty years.
Today, the jungle they trudged through is infested with housing colonies and flyovers. The bell bottoms, the Sadhna fringe cuts, the LandMaster cars of his youth, are all gone. But as the old batch mates caught up, over steaming cups of tea, it didn’t seem very different from any average college “adda”.
Today, IIT D offers 9 undergraduate and 38 post graduate programmes. It’s been hailed as India’s best engineering institute, ranked among Asia’s top 15 and the world’s top 200 institutes, at different points in time. On a lighter note, it’s annual college festival Rendezvous’, is among the most happening, in Delhi.
It counts as alumni people like Vinod Khosla, co-founder, Sun Microsystems (among the world’s most successful tech companies), Padmasree Warrior, Cisco, (once in the race to be President Obama’s Chief Technology Officer), M S Banga, former CEO, MasterCard (the credit card company), Rajendra Pawar, co-founder of NIIT, and Chetan Bhagat, the famous author of the book that helped shape the movie
Did I mention there’s also a full fledged Television production suite at IIT Delhi? Under the watchful eyes of the amazingly dynamic Professor Kushal Sen and the stewardship of extremely helpful people like Mr. V P Taneja, it churns out content for “Eklavvya”, a twenty four hour satellite television channel dedicated to technology, run by Doordarshan.
Delhi Technological University