Monday, April 12, 2010


I spent more than four years of my life here and became a man from a teen-ager. I count myself fortunate for having been given an opportunity to study at this place and thank heavens for the same every other day. I liked this place and to a large extent a life full of fun ,games and frolic - away from the binds of home. I must thank my father for having sent me all the way from Bangalore to this place to study which not many a parent would endeavour.

REC presently re-christened as NIT was culturally very very different both an advantage and a disadvantage. It is a socially different place as we find students from all over the country and abroad. Social learning is a challenge to an intelligent mind as much as technical learning. The setting is simply different from any other institute. Recently the government has done away with this policy of admitting students from various states and has gone into a national merit list and the NIT of today will be a totally different place from the REC of yesteryears. There were many tanzanian students during our days. The International hostel at REC was inaguarated in 1983 by the then chief minister of Kerala Shri K Karunakaran. He started his speech in Malayalam and with the hindi crowd uncomfortable with the language switched over to English. The foundation for the F hostel was laid in 1985 by the then Education minister Shri T M Jacob. At the place where the F hostel stands used to be a tract with bushes on either sides leading to the Mini-Canteen. The Mini-canteen was thence shifted to the present location to give way for the construction of the F hostel.

I believe somewhere NIT Calicut has a problem called the "crisis of entry point". Even today I have not been able to perfectly pin-point the main gate of the institute.Technically the institution's confines starts at the temple towards the end of the chathamanagalam hills and runs all the way to the edge of the E hostel at Kattangal which should be around 3 to 4 kilometers. At both these points there are no gates that should prevent extraneous elements from making an entry into the institute. For all practical purposes the institute's main gate is the one seen near the canteen leading to the main building and other key structures further leading to the hostels. This could well be called the student zone or the academic zone. This area in its entirety must be around 10 acres of land including the sports feilds which are for practical purposes used by students. I have not been to NIT of-late but have come to know from several quarters that many more buildings have come up in this zone. The irony of the situation is that though the campus is on 400 acres the effective student area is as mentioned thereby the area per student is effectively much lesser than what could be.

The best view of NIT Calicut is the one from Papachan hotel ;especially the true majesty of the departmental building appears from this angle and view. Many a visitor to the institute returns without a view of NIT which is truly majestic. When we approach the Departmental building from the Main building we encounter a land surface which is in a downward gradient and the true majesty of the departmental building lies camouflaged so to mention due to this uneven nature of land.

The class rooms at NIT are very spacious. We used to have our first year classes in the left wing of the Main Building on the first floor; the III sem classes in the ground floor of the main building and most of the other semester classes in the various floors of the Departmental building except for the V semester where we came back to the ground floor of the Main Building.

From a strategic view point I beleive that the entire land mass of NIT must be put to better use through some process of fundamental redesign. The good and bad aspect of NIT is the road that winds through the campus with many private vehicles finding a thoroughfare. The next generation NIT should be able to stop this in some way which protects the interests of the institute and at the same time does not put the public to inconvenience. As a initial recourse to such a situation the road could atleast be made a one way road. Vehicles approaching NIT from Calicut could take a deviation at 12th mile towards the left and use the stretch to reach kattangal. In the long run a fly-over would be one of the possible solutions from the temple point to kattangal thereby bypassing the institute aerially and serving long term purposes. Even other wise no mode of transport other than college buses must be let beyond 12th mile. This could create inconvenience to lady students who would like to reach their hostel but a diagonal road could connect 12th mile to the lady hostels forming a short-cut.

When I visit IISc at Bangalore I witness a very novel venture in the form of an underpass that links the institute to the JRD Tata auditorium. To me this is an unique civil engineering effort and very effectively links and integrates both the parts of the institute. Right away one such link could be considered at NIT too which links the hostels to some point near the guest house making the yonder part of NIT easily accessible to student community bringing the kind of synergy that is needed and at the same time increasing the land area per student that was being discussed. The residential area of faculty could be fenced and made a private area with minimum trespass from students if necessary .

The beauty of NIT is the two valleys. One yonder to the faculty quarters and the other seen behind the guest-house. When we were students in the first year the valley behind the guest house was accessible to us. One fine day when we returned from vacation we found the entire patch of land sealed by the forest department for afforestation. During our first year we used to walk down into this valley the corner of which had a ground with the resemblance of a cricket field and have played some cricket matches there. What a good feeling? I think this patch of land must be re-opened for students if it has not been done so.

Iam concerned that the breath-taking view of Departmental Building as seen from papachan be fully tapped as one of the measures of making NIT look even more formidable. A full fledged gate could be constructed at this point. I have walked down the road one evening from papachan towards the river which at that time was a desolate stretch but now must be more occupied and utilised. By constructing such a gate a parallel joint like kattangal could come up in the vicinity in some form thereby reducing the dependence of students on kattangal for various reasons. At all open points around the boundary of NIT barbed fences must be constructed.If possible the exit at Kattangal must also be sealed fully or partially.

To my observation the library at REC of our times was congested and condensed.Though it is a majestic building with books housed in the ground floor and the upper floors used for administrative purposes.But it seemed microscopic for a large student populace that engulfed the institute.Students will feel like using a library only if it is well lit, spacious,has some ambience,silence,seating comfort and properly trained and oriented staff.Note that an Engineering college there are multiple branches and it is sometimes like many independent colleges functioning under one roof.If a college does not have an endearing library students will spend time in non -productive activities.Preferably boys and girls must have separate seating enclosures.It must be centrally located and must definitely have an audio-visual section for imaginative learning.One such library must be envisaged for NIT and the present library converted into a museum with one of the sections displaying the photographs of key contributors to the growth of the institute since inception.Visitors to the campus must have an opportunity to see the musuem. It would not be totally in congruent if a photo of  Rajan is displayed in the museum for good or for bad..for at the end of the day he was also one of the student flock who fell into unfortunate circumstances with the law and vanished.

NIT I beleive needs to strategically redefine itself as it enters the new era. Note that when we were students communication facilities like telephones were non-existent. We could hardly make phone calls to our homes and there were no STD booths and writing letters were the only source of communication. Compared today we are in the mobile and internet age where any one could be got on demand at point of time and at any place, What a transformation. As a precursor to development at NIT an accurate high altitude geographic re-modelling of NIT must be done in some form so that it is accurately positioned to provide high quality services and at he same time gallop into upcoming avenues with ease and least discomfort.

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