“Success in life can be defined in a number of ways. It is the personal satisfaction that one gets in a job well done is what success is. It has always been my goal in life to do the best and not worry about the outcome; however, outcome always have repercussions. Nonetheless, to keep an open mind regarding the achievement of goals no matter how trivial, has to be a part of success. High position, financial success and material possessions alone do not justify the meaning of success.”
Bhuvnesh C Goswami’s family shares a very special bond with Delhi Polytechnic, which was later renamed as Delhi College of Engineering (DCE) and is now Delhi Technological University (DTU) — Goswami and his three brothers (elder brother Lokesh, younger one Yogi and youngest one Tushar Kant) are graduates of the same illustrious institution.
Goswami was born in Bannu, Pakistan but his family relocated to Delhi after the partition of India. His early schooling was at the Vedic Sanskrit Agricultural Higher Secondary School, Khera Garhi, Delhi, where his father, Goswami Govardhan Lal Shastri, taught Sanskrit. Lokesh and Bhuevnesh studied together up until eighth grade after which the former joined Delhi Polytechnic Technical Higher Secondary School, Kashmere Gate, Delhi, in 1951 and subsequently got admission in Chemical Engineering at Delhi Polytechnic.
After school, Bhuevnesh enrolled in the Physics honors at Delhi University but also applied for admission at Delhi Polytechnic. He was accepted in the Textile Engineering branch, but he wasn’t too keen to join the discipline. “Just before the classes were to begin I was called by the Registrar of Delhi University who convinced me that there was a great demand for all kinds of engineers and technologists and especially textile technologists as nearly 30% of India’s foreign exchange earnings came from export of textiles. And then there was also the lure of a refugee scholarship for engineering students which was substantial for the times we attended Delhi Polytechnic. In addition, the fees at Delhi Polytechnic were only Rs. 7 per month. My father borrowed enough money to pay for fees for my brother and myself when we started attending Delhi Polytechnic in 1955. In later years we were only able to pay the fees when the scholarship money arrived which was always late. There were quite a few of the students with us who were just as financially challenged as we were,” recalled Goswami.
The first year of college was tough but also fun-filled. Goswami was quite active in athletics and sports and in 1956 when the National Cadet Corps, Engineering Division, was established at DP, he was amongst the first ones to join the NCC. The other activity in which most students participated were the annual functions where the student groups would stage dramatic acts and show off singing and comic talents. “In 1957, after the proposition made by the students body to the college administration, a scholarship and award program was instituted at the polytechnic. Because of the nature of the campus, which was compact and small size of the student population, it gave the opportunity for all of us to mingle and get to know each other, and gave a good feeling of being a part of Delhi Polytechnic Community,” added Goswami. Some of the friendships forged during college days have stayed with him even after 50 years.
Post college, Goswami found a job in a Textile Mill at a handsome salary but he was more keen to pursue further studies. In India, only Victoria Jubilee Technical Institute (VJTI), Bombay University offered master’s degree programme in Textile Engineering and admitted only one candidate on scholarship for it, which usually went to their own graduate student. Goswami applied to both VJTI and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), United States and was admitted to both. However, MIT indicated that it could not offer scholarship for the first semester but could consider after he had enrolled for the first semester. Lacking the funds to travel to the US and pay for the first year of studies, Goswami turned it down and joined VJIT, where he was able to secure the scholarship and completed his master’s in 1963. In the same year he was awarded the Commonwealth Scholarship for further studies at the University of Manchester, in England. That year there were four candidates from Delhi Polytechnic out of a total of 40 scholarships awarded from through-out India. Upon receiving his PhD in Textile Technology from Manchester University in 1966, Goswami returned to India and
started looking for a job where he could utilize his qualifications and training. “It was a disappointment, though. I was hired by Calico Chemicals and Plastics for the start-up of the first polyester tire cord plant in India in 1967. At this time I received an offer from a US based university for a teaching and research position which I accepted and I have not regretted it ever since,” he remarked.
Goswami joined Clemson University as a Visit Lecturer in 1967. He left Clemson in 1969, to join The Textile Research Institute (TRI) in Princeton, where he stayed until 1975. In 1975, Goswami joined The University of Tennessee (where in 1983, he started The Nonwoven’s Course). In 1984, he rejoined Clemson University where he was remained until his retirement in May 2006, as a Distinguished Alumni Professor. He is currently an Emeritus Professor and is actively involved in the activities of the School of Materials Science and Engineering.
During his teaching and research career over the past forty years, he directed the research of numerous masters and Ph.D. students whose work culminated in many publications in refereed journals. He moreover, jointly holds a number of patents on nonwoven structures for use in high temperature applications. He has published book chapters and articles in encyclopedias on nonwovens. He is co-editor of ‘Texts on Textiles’. “One of the things that impressed me the most about the prevailing attitudes at an American university was the academic freedom afforded to the faculty. Ever since I joined Clemson University in 1967, I had the privilege of collaborating with scientists and engineers from around the world. I collaborated with the Indian Institutes on a number of research projects and executed developments projects through UNIDO in India. I was fortunate to have a number of Indian students who worked with me while studying for their Master’s and PhD degrees,” he remarked.
MESSAGE TO YOUTH
My motto in life has been to ‘be true to myself, stay focused and never give up’, which is exactly what I tell my children, grand and great-grandchildren and which is what I would emphasize to the current enrollees of DTU.
Goswami is past President of The Fiber Society, where he also served as Secretary/ Terasurer, and currently he is serving as Treasurer. He is past President of the Textile Engineering Div. of A.S.M.E. and Chairman of Gordon Research Conferences on Fiber Science. He served on the INDA Technical Advisory Committee for a number of years. He is on the Editorial Board of a number of refereed journals. He is the recipient of the ASTM Harold DeWitt Smith Medal and Awards of the D-13 Committee. In October, 2005, he was conferred the Docteur Honoris Causa, by the University of Haut Alsace, Mulhouse, France. “Success in life can be defined in a number of ways. It is the personal satisfaction that one gets in a job well done is what success is. It has always been my goal in life to do the best and not worry about the outcome; however, outcome always have repercussions. Nonetheless, to keep an open mind regarding the achievement of goals no matter how trivial, has to be a part of success. High position, financial success and material possessions alone do not justify the meaning of success,” he concluded.