Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The ITI Bus

Many today would fail to appreciate that the Indian Telephone Industries once upon a time had a full band or set of factory buses numbering more than 200 ferrying some 30,000 employees around the city almost round the clock. They wore the majesty of "Dasara Elephants"  as they progressed around the city and it was our own bus in many ways. The public-sector ITI was unique in many ways and the way the transport buses were run and maintained and operated were with the highest of standards and rhythm. What were the most unique aspect of these buses.

1. They covered every point of the city and its far flung areas
2. The buses traveled some times some 10 extra kilometers just to fetch one employee living in some fringes
3. The drivers who were very employee friendly and professional they went about their work.
4. Some kind of pin-point accuracy in their scheduling
5.The Blue color they adorned uniformly over the entire set and very rarely or never would you see an ITI broken down on the road for maintenance reasons.
6. Every morning there were school buses ferrying students of employees and there was no difference between the son of a director and a laborer..they relished these services without bias or hierarchy.

My earliest memory of using these buses was as a child from Majestic to ITI.   During those times on Sundays and Holidays there used to be a special service from the town to the factory. The earliest ITI buses were Fargo and Leyland buses which gradually gave way to full fledged Tata buses.

The full majesty of these buses could be seen in front of the factory during shift closing hours..all of them lined up..full 200 of them as they slowly progress one at a time on to the main-road. There was a scheme at that time and any aspiring traveler could buy a coupon from any of the near-by shops and use any of these services for one time. I used to do this many times and for me the most touching moment was when an ITI bus driver on one of his return journeys spots me standing at some bus stop and signals to me to get in once he recognizes me as some one from ITI..this was on many occasions very moving to me. We have heard of chauffeur driven cars and for we students of colleges ITI bus was a chauffeur driven bus.

I dont know for sure now what has come of these buses..ITI went into outsourcing its transport in the early 1990's blue buses that were a faint replica of its "Masters" some of them bulky lacking the charm and rhythm of its predecessors.. and gradually as the situation glimmered BMTC buses were hired to ferry the few employees that were around.

Thank You ITI buses ..the system..and the drivers for making the life of we tiny-tots one of pleasure in this city and we have become some formidable people of some standing and hope because somewhere along our ways you carried us through with care and concern and let there be glory and praise for those many policy makers of our country who had the boldness and farsightedness to set up such an enigma called ITI barring which many of us would not have become in some measure what we are and giving us standards of living far surpassing the living standards and support that even the wealthiest countries of these times would have struggled to provide.

Dr. M R Pattabhiram and Myself P O SUBASH PHOTO

Dr. M R Pattabhiram and myself taken in 2007

RIMS Ramaiah Institute of Management Studies

Some time back I visited RIMS Ramaiah Institute of Management Studies which is on New Bel Road closer to the BEL factory an institute for Management Studies commenced  a dozen years ago. It was initially started as a small outfit and then came up in the present location.

What I saw basically was a well ordained outfit that truly left me spell bound...adequate number of floors with good class rooms and wi-fi with offices for staff both teaching and non teaching in right measure. I even happened to be at the top of the building where from the view of the city around is breath-taking.

I have always felt that Management Education is different from many other kinds of Education systems largely because the entire subject is open ended in nature which strictly means the combined areas of Management and Business is not always bound by strict domains and absolute truths and facts but is an open science to be examined and understood in a befitting way and the science facing a metamorphosis every now and then. Most social sciences are of this nature and Management education is no exception..which simply means the more regular forms of education of being bound by a syllabus and exam being the be-all and end-all of the Education process is largely limited in the managerial context and the Education environment must indoctrinate the students largely both the tangible and the logical.

I have known Dr. Pattabhiram for many years now who put up RIMS under the overall aegis of the M S RAMAIAH FOUNDATION adheres in full measure to the doctrine that any Faculty must deliver and do absolute justice to the Student in the class and he had zero tolerance to this policy even when he was active at MSRIM.

During my visit to RIMS it was nice to have a rendezvous with my old colleagues and friends like
Mr. Sivadas Nambiar , Dr. Y Rajaram , Mr. Anil Gowda and few others.

May such institutes thrive that give and focus on giving absolute value to the student community.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Supreme Court Order and Arrests

I read recently with avid keenness an order of the Supreme Court from conducting wanton arrests based on frivolous complaints without proper investigations. I was a student of law for some time and thereupon grew an affinity around this largely time immemorial subject that always regulated human existence. The courts of India have repeatedly promulgated such laws that would restrain over enthusiasm from a duty conscious police person who might strictly follow the rule book to the disdain of some individual who might not be fully aware of the legality of his position. In such situations is the Police completely wrong ? may not be so..they are acting based on something written. If there is something that should not strictly go by the rule of the book it is the Law..Law must always be interpreted as against strictly followed and the interpretations can vary from time to time and the autonomous interpretation of the law in a precise format is something what sometimes good judgement s are composed of. Otherwise the imposers of the law might themselves be guilty inadvertently of gross injustice.

Sometime earlier I had written something about 'relative guilt" to  any given crime. A policeman performing his duty never ever looks at this angle and only looks at absolute guilt. Relative guilt tries to portray the hidden reason why some one committed a crime and depending upon the wantonness of the crime the concept of Relative guilt and absolute guilt varies . Let me explain....If someone commits a murder the absolute component of the crime is much more dominant than the Relative and has to be subject to detail examination by the courts'..but the Absolute is dominant. On the other hand if some one picks a pocket especially if he is a juvenile the Relative is more predominant than the absolute and the enforcers of the law must not  embark upon instant arrest without probing upfront the relative component of the crime and the juvenile must be kept under watch as against an arrest which may no be fully warranted and all that is needed is some form of reprimand. Note that in both these situations the enforcers of the law upfront act in a similar fashion. In the latter case if the child has committed the crime as a result of hunger it is a Humanitarian issue and the bewildered child clasped by Policemen on either side would have none around who could understand his position and in uneducated communities the lad will not be able to fully communicate his position.This is unlawful largely from the state and to a lesser account of the lad.

I have great regard for our police force but when someone is impinged upon absolute care must be initiated that fundamental legal  principles are not violated. This problem can be largely solved if every police station has a judicial mechanism as well that works with autonomy from within the police station..a legal officer or a jury without whose fullest consent some citizen cannot be impinged upon and the sooner we can bring in such  a system the better it would be in the way arrests are made across the country.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The ITI General Hospital

A very key component of any kid growing up in the ITI complex is the ITI General hospital a large hospital complex with different wards and consulting rooms. Very often after a fall from the cycle the hospital was the place to go to dress the would after consulting one of the doctors and on a typical day of these times some ten people could be seen waiting in a line to see some five to six doctors who were on duty ..and as children of employees the treatment was free and owing to this establishment as children health care of a fairly advanced kind was handy and the hospital had almost modern amenities and a very key aspect of the hospital were distinguished medical practitioners of the time being consultants or visiting consultants.

ITI Hospital

ITI was a kind place and a generous place and looked like some foreign country and during the crucial growing-up years gave support a-plenty. This hospital for us was like a god father to whom we could say "I feel feverish"  or "stomach pain" for the past few days and the system gave care that a mother would give its offspring. I understood how difficult health-care could be outside with some hospitals treating patients with disdain. I got a similar behavior from ITI hospital recently and I was upset that the hospital has changed from its magnanimous posture to one of severity.

The modus operandi was simple..take the hospital book to a counter for registering the date and then meet a doctor who would inscribe the medicines and then go to the compounder section where the medicines would be given. Paracetomol..pencillin..lidemicin...cough syrup..phenorgon all popular and widely used medicines. In case one does not have abottle to carry cough syrup on could gulp a dose then and there itself and there were many children to enjoy this refreshment.Dr. Venkat rao; Dr. Sheshadiri, Dr. Venugopal; Dr. Alawandi; Dr.Manimegalai; Dr. Hemavathi, Dr. Narayanan ; Dr. Ramachandran ; Dr. Radhakrishnan; Dr. Jayaram; Dr. Hanumanthu the child specialist;
Dr. Kumaraswamy are all few names that come to my mind and these doctors were given high respect by the people around.There was one Dr. Chacko who was with orthopaedics for a brief while.

Then there were a line of specialized consultants who would come to the hospital on a couple of days a week and they were the best in the trade in the city. Dr Sampath Loganathan the child specialist, Dr. Jayaram a distinguished heart specialist; Dr. Eswar an eye specialist;  Dr.Leela Manikkoth ,Dr Kapadia followed by Dr. Teja Shetty as dentists. Dr. Leela Manikkoth was flamboyant and  suave and added a lace of charm to the otherwise austere profession.Incidentally Dr. Leela Manikkoth was a student of one of  my mother's cousins Dr. Madhavan Nambiar at KMC in Manipal.

There were many occasions where we rushed to the Hospital in the night in a emergency and the duty doctor at casuality was very much there to provide support.Through this write-up I have basically paid tribute to these Doctors and the ITI hospital for the apparently selfless service it provided to its dependents from time to time. I have also visited the private clinics of some of these doctors as a child. The clinic of Dr. Sampath Loganathan on Edward's road which is close to Cunningham road for treatment for whooping cough and the clinic of Dr. Teja Shetty in V V Puram.

I only hope that the ITI General Hospital does not deviate itslef from  its values and ethos of its past and continue to provide the care it did to that errant patient who suddenly walked into its place with some simple or complicated ailment and provide treatment and solace as it always did with that compassionate outfit that the future public would remember it as I do for stretching its hand at times of public need in a right and well behaved manner.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Studying full night at REC Hostels

Engineering is a tough course for many reasons and the course appears even tougher if one is out to understand something that was learnt. I could not be one of those tunnelers through the Engineering curriculum..and incidentally a tunneler is a students who blindly works with zero focus on learning anything sometimes in a homegrown way using some simple text books and I could not reconcile myself to such an approach and no one forced me into tunneling.

I used to try studying using very complex text books...trying to learn Pulse and Digital circuits from Millmann and Taub..how can an 18 year old make sense of anything from Millman and Taub now I wonder only to abandon such text books later on and learn from less complex text books.

I remember the REC hostels for one thing  studying full night..yes the full night. I remember having studied like this more than a couple of times. Once for a mathematics course involving difference equations and once for Field Theory. The modus operandi is simple ; the decision is taken at around seven in the evening that the full night involvement is needed if the said exam has to be passed the next morning. Once the decision is taken make preparations for it meaning that a full jar of tea from the mini-canteen is arranged..watch all the program-mes on television in the common room and spend time upto around eleven in the night and the hostel slowly progresses into eerie silence..open the book and start from some domain and work through the syllabus taking some occasional breaks to walk in the corridors or have a gaze at the main road outside glittering in the glory of the street light above..and five minute nap sleeping on the floor for the fear of dozing off  and the objectives of the effort  remaining un-met if one were to sleep away a serious oversight if it were to ever happen and occasionally taking a look at the room mates who are in very deep slumber and the joy of seeing day break as the lights of the dawn makes its appearance through the window..and the feeling that the exam ahead could be handled..what a chain of events?

At around seven in the morning go to Pappachan hotel walking through the mechanical engineering and electrical engineering labs for some light break fast and proceeding straight to the exam hall atop the main building and spending the next three hours through the question paper and finishing off another hurdle to satisfaction and after the exam proceeding straight to the canteen for a quick lunch fully laden with sleep and making a quick dash to the room and sleeping until about 9:00 in the night and the modes operand i has some parallels to some kind of a military operation.

I have cleared a couple of papers in this way..and I tried duplicating a similar effort at home much later but was barely successful and had to abandon it mid way and not even mid way and dozed of to sleep. Thank you REC hostels especially the C and D hostels where I adventured upon such efforts (and once in the D hostel room of  Suresh Chandra Sathpathy from orissa) and thank you for having supported me in these endeavours and helping in clearing some difficult papers.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Industrialization and Bangalore

The city of Bangalore has seen industrialization in varying steps and stages. I believe every city makes its own kind of progress in its attempt at Industrialization and in the cities gradually agriculture begins to fade giving rise to Industrialization. Fruits like oranges  Guava and Grapes were grown aplenty in this city at various pockets only to disappear with time and not to forget even the cultivation of paddy ..and for various reasons known and unknown they began to get displaced for ever from the overall map of the city.

There  were some attempts at Industrialization in my view point with the advent of the British into the city and the creation of their Cantonment only the chronology is confusing. To my mind the earliest effort at Industrialization of Bangalore must have come with the setting up of the cigarette manufacturing plant of the Imperial Tobacco Company ITC at cook town in Bangalore East. Modern day industrial climate came into this town through ITC and must have been followed by Binny Mills. Both of these must have had British ancestry and the same model being followed by the Mysore Kingdom in setting up the Mysore lamps and Mysore soaps and detergents limited and the power required to all these ventures being supplied by the hydro electric plant at Shivanasamudhra. With the advent of the second world war an Aeroplane servicing facility started by Hirachand / Walchand becoming HAL post Independence. Every city inherits such legacy and this is the Industrial legacy of Bangalore and the many Public sector units that came about this place owe its existence to this legacy.

Post Independence a plethora of public sector units and their ancillaries pervade the city and dictating to a large extent the economic equations of the place. Imperial Tobacco Company became Indian Tonacco Company and note that this factory is in the hot bed of the Brirtish dominated Bangalore and carried its culture aplenty for many years and the factory is displaced to a new location owing to environmental reasons of Industrial waste and odor  I had visited this plant and met some personnel of the quality control department and saw a sprawling factory bearing a Victorian enigma.

What is so unique and particular about the Industrial culture and climate of Bangalore. I notice every two decades a metamorphosis and this seems to have occurred as a rule time and again. In the 1950's the public sectors arrive and thrive..in the 1970's in my view point were the mini steel plants that came aplenty in the city and there were very many of them on Whitefield road. The electric motor industry also thrived alongside these steel industries in Kirloskar Electric. There was Bhoruka Steel , Kap Steel , Mittal Steel , Andhra Steel all mini steel industries which gradually wound up due to shortage of power with time. Bangalore sees a major tryst with Electronics with BPL and the company largely blossoming to into full bloom in the late 1980's and there again one sees the two decade gap. The Electronics sector dominated the city around this period with electronics related Industry of various kinds around the city in full sway. With Globalization this Electronic sector gradually slips into oblivion and IT sector emerges and I would put the middle part of the decade between 2000 and 2010 as the most gleaming period for the software sector through organizations like Infosys and Wipro.

The city of Bangalore seems to me to be at the threshold of another metamorphosis and it is to be seen what Industry would make its advance like a bolt from the blue to have a strangle hold of the economy and the city at large. Globalization and Internetization has redefined the World and its dynamics and the World would get to undertake almost instantly and partake in full measure any large scale change this city might be at the throes of. Possibly it is the Education sector that would have its influence replacing the manufacturing  sector and a phenomenon that is healthy to the core and in what measure emerging sectors are going to leave a stamp on Bangalore is to be seen like the various organizations that were its predecessors.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Linear Induction Motor

Somewhere in 1985 there was a seminar held at REC NIT Calicut for a few days called STEPS meaning "Seminar on Technical Education problems and solutions" and alongside this event there was an exhibition for the public and the public walked through the various departments and every department created something as an exhibit.

As part of this event the seminar found representations from many other REC's of the time..Mr. Basavaraj the principal of KREC Suratkal and Mr. Rao the principal of REC Allahabad had come and spoke in the plenary session which was held in the newly created seminar hall above the office of the principal. Students from REC Trichy whose names I do not recollect had also made their presence and were housed in the International Hostel. Being a senior student myself I was involved in the organizing activities.

As part of these festivities every lab of REC  was busy preparing some exhibit and the Electrical Department was not to be left behind and the Machines lab eventually was resplendent with many exhibit and bulbs dimming and glowing at many places...and electrical motors working in oscillatory motion ..and many such things that must have fascinated the public and among the exhibits was something novel the "Linear Induction Motor"..Though I was not directly a member of the team that created the motor I was very much around as a well wisher. Shankara Narayanan; Manjeet Singh Rekhi and George John had some direct association with this project..and Dr. Gerwadis...Mr. Suresh Kumar ..and Dr. Prabhakaran were the faculty enthusiasts. I feel sorry that this model that was made by students with the help of faculty was not confined in some enclosure and preserved for the future to see... a fully working model of a Linear Induction Motor.

Linear Induction motors create magnetic traction and levitation. Magnetic traction through a space displaced winding drawn linearly and fed with a time varying current which is phase displaced. This is very easy to say theoretically but now Iam at loss now to describe as to how these windings were precisely laid out. It was possibly connected into a star node at one end with sufficient windings to create both resistance and reactance to create the necessary impedance to withstand the voltage that was being fed ..which means a well formed magnetic base was created for the windings. Couple of evenings previous to the event were spent winding the motor and I was helping my cronies by straightening the wire wearing a cotton glove.The time was set to test it..somewhere in the evening..and a toy like metal train possibly made with aluminium was  placed on the windings and power fed slowly using a dimmerstat and we could not believe that the train was moving over the windings..its speed dependent on the level of voltage fed and many around were exclaiming the sight that they doubted but became true.

During the exhibition many people around came to see our train...and some of the students were explaining it to the general public. possibly in its own way REC NIT Calicut made a model of Magnetic traction around which bullet trains and similar trains work and showed the world how a little ingenuity would create something worth the while and may be the model so created by our students back in 1985 would be some kind of basis around which traction would work in this country in the future.