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By Way2k Way2k
Way2k 1 Oct 2012
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IIT-M’s history from student mags
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Most IITians consider the Joint Entrance Examination the thread that binds students from across the country, but IIT Madras didn’t always take the exam into account while admitting students. From 1959 to 1961, meritorious students could just walk in. A new coffee-table book, ‘Campus chimes’ written by two of its alumni captures these and other interesting facets of the institute’s history in the 50 years since its inception.

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Authored by Kumaran Sathasivam, a 1989-batch alumnus of the institute, with contributions from professor Ajit Kumar Kolar, the book draws on the literary submissions of former students in various IIT-M publications. When former director M S Ananth came up with the idea of letting faculty members take a year off to work on textbooks in 2008, Sathasivam proposed the idea of a history book on the institute that alumni could contribute to. “But Professor Ananth had a different idea - a coffee table book, the complete opposite of a history textbook,” said Sathasivam.

The thousands of photos and student publications archived in the institute’s Heritage Centre came to Sathasivam’s help. He had to seek the help of alumni to get hold of copies of publications that weren’t in the archives. “Then we ended up with more material that we needed, and we overshot the deadline,” he said. “All events, traditions and activities in IIT-M have been in place from the beginning or had its origins in the early years. Only the details and the scale have changed,” he said.

Excerpts from publications such as ‘Annual Number’, ‘Campus times’, ‘Focus’, ‘Spectator’, ‘Journeys’ and ‘Gajendra Circle’ are delightfully witty. There’s mention of rocket fights that marked the conclusion of Diwali celebrations at the hostels, and the wishes of students to head overseas after an education at IIT-M. IIT-M director and alumnus M. Bhaskar Ramamurthy said, “I am sure every alumnus will find the book irresistible. I suspect that others too will discover that the book sustains their interest, assistant offers a glimpse of an era past when life was slower, IIT-M was a home away from home and not stop over between school and career, and the IITian did not quite know that the institute whose portals he was entering was a game changer.” Sathasivam says piecing together the history of IIT-M was a pleasant experience. “There were so many things I didn’t know about the institute. It was a pleasure to unearth things and link it to what we already knew,” he said.

Book Excerpt's:

  • NCC Camp:

All cadets are hereby informed that it has now come to our notice that no NCC camp was held in the winter vacation. Hence all the cadets who did attend the camp are required to meet the undersigned and explain how on earth they did so. (Sd) Raman Red tape, clerk-in-charge of threatening letters and warning notices

  • For sale:

one Jawa Put-Put, light enough to be pushed all the way to class. Free demonstration; Contact, J Stracey, Ganga Hostel

  • Wanted for the Kathayay ini Sangeetha Sabha:

a president, a vice-president, a secretary, a treasurer (with some treasure) and full-time audience. Contact Shri Jalakanteswara at the temple premises after puja hours.

Courtesy: Times of India

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