Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham's second annual Anokha technical festival quickly got under way at the Coimbatore campus Tuesday, with an inspirational inaugural ceremony which showcased the valuable insight of top industry professionals and distinguished academicians.
Anokha 2011, which is rated as one of India’s top five tech fests, carried the theme of national security and sustainable development. The convention included 40 technical events in all branches and disciplines of engineering.
Registration rose from last year’s 1500 to 7000 students, while the budget increased from 8 to 40 lakhs rupees. With this exponential growth came a variety of new developments such as India’s first Technology Entertainment Design event, more than 1.5 million Indian rupees prize money, two state-of-the-art conferences, and 10 workshops in various progressive areas of interest.
In addition to these innovations, there were several green technology events, an enlightening Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham exhibition, and opportunities to interact with top level executives of eminent IT and engineering companies such as Applied Materials, Cognizant, and Robert Bosch.
At the outset of the inauguration, Dr. M.P. Chandrasekharan, Dean of Engineering at Coimbatore, explained how Anokha was born. He said that until 2009, each department of the Amrita School of Engineering hosted many events, but that each remained unaware of their associates’ activities.
At this point, Dr. M.P. and Pro-Chancellor of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore, Swami Abhayamrita Chaitanya, decided to combine the school’s events. This was the genesis of Anokha.
“Fragmentation of knowledge and over specialization and diversion of this leads to problems today and is not good for mankind. I’ve been thinking about an idea of a total engineer. Let him not be ignorant of what happens in other fields,” said Dr. M.P.
The ceremony’s chief guest, Dr. G. Madhavan Nair, former chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization, recalled India’s rich cerebral past, reminded the audience of the country’s current problem with poverty, and emphasized methods of fundamentally improving its society.
He spoke of India’s ancient correlation between science and spirituality that dates 5000 years back, and helps make up the nation’s great heritage. This train of thought originated when individuals could make observations and think deeply without the help of instruments.
Dr. G. Madhavan described India as an island of excellence, with a portion of its population enjoying high incomes while 30 percent lives below the poverty line in 600,000 villages.
“Our prime goal should be equitable distribution of income, good quality of life, communal harmony; our youth has to take on the challenge. You have to ensure that fundamentals are picked up very strongly and teach how to use this knowledge to solve practical problems,” shared Dr. G. Madhavan.
The technologist contended that a great deal of research such as the examination of nanomaterials needs to take place at Amrita, and suggested that technical advances in tele-education and telemedicine are needed to improve life in India.
Dr. P. Venkat Rangan, Vice Chancellor of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, reminisced on the campus’s early days when it was a nearly barren inaccessible piece of land. He used its transformation into a thriving learning center as an example of the exceptional feats citizens can accomplish with ambition and a strong foundation in spirituality.
“This campus is a wonderful example of how a synergistic combination of grace which came directly from Amma and sincere, dedicated effort of a lot of people created magic,” said Dr. P. Venkat.
He encouraged participants to keep in mind the significance of the ancient rishis while making observations about and becoming creative with technology.
Dr. Gurumurthy Kalyanaram, the new dean of the Amrita School of Business, expressed immense gratitude to student organizers who hosted the convention. He encouraged creativity, entrepreneurship, imagination, and enjoyment in students’ endeavors.
“We salute you for coming to this fest of creativity and innovation. Showcase your love and passion for imagination and creativity. You have attributes and features that will make our society more just and peaceable, more prosperous and plentiful,” said Dr. Gurumurthy.
Pro-Chancellor Swami Abhayamrita Chaitanya pointed out Indian society’s tendency to view its achievements as inferior to those of the West, and added corrective wisdom to motivate participants to familiarize themselves with their nation’s heritage and economic and scientific history, in order to view its future with confidence.
He recollected great Indian schools of genius such as the Subhasutras text which contain numerous complex mathematical equations, and the frequently overlooked contributions of Bhodhayana, who first calculated the value of pi and explicated the concept of the present-day Pythagorean Theorem.
“Anokha means unique…be strong, courageous, get out of your mindset, look to the future with pride of your past to make a better India,” Swami Abhayamrita exclaimed.
Mr. Vijay Ratna Parche, President and Managing Director of Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Limited, stressed that students should bridge the dichotomous gap between the Western and Eastern worlds.
This means that future engineers should mix the innovative and creative influence of the West with the strong study ethic of the East to be more perceptive and make themselves more useful to a company.
“Look at the variance of products which is increasing. The world will need a tremendous number of engineers. India will have many more young people. Companies will ask you to join. Stay focused and always give100 percent,” advised Mr. Vijay.
Dr. Madhusudhan Atre, President and Managing Director of Applied Materials, India, shared attributes that have helped him succeed during his 25 years working as a strategist of management in a global market.
The removal of stumbling blocks like a silo mentality, complacency, arrogance, individualism, and insecurity is essential to succeeding professionally. Similarly, strong ethics, trust, and integrity should be used in professionalizing oneself. In addition, one must work as a team player, be unafraid to show ignorance, and view success as multi-dimensional.
“The philosophy of Anokha has these success factors. It has vision and motivation, and shows teamwork and talent. The sum of partials does not make a whole. You have to be fully committed all the time. So even if you make a mistake, you get a standing ovation,” shared Dr. Madhusudhan.
To conclude the inauguration on a progressive note, Dr. G. Madhavan launched www.amritaraksha.com, a cyber security website that contains various aspects such as cryptography, cryptanalysis, and protocols.
Shortly after, the procession of dignitaries convened at the institution exhibition to light the ceremonial lamp in honor of Amrita’s many achievements. “Jhalak A Glimpse of Amrita” is a winding indoor exhibit lined with lush plants and flowers that reveals the supreme spirit of triumph pervasive at Amrita’s five campuses.
Beginning with pictures and descriptive plaques of Chancellor Amma’s work in humanitarianism, education, research, environmentalism, women empowerment, healthcare, disaster relief, and community outreach, and ending with ambitious engineering student projects, the exhibit captures the essence of Amritian life and culture, and is a must-see for any visitor.
February 22, 2011
School of Engineering, Coimbatore