The Weekend Leader - The distinguished alumni of IIT Kharagpur

The distinguished alumni of IIT Kharagpur




'Yogah Karmasu Kaushalam' (Yoga is excellence at work) is the true spirit of the Indian Institute of Technology-Kharagpur (IIT-KGP).

For the last 70 years, thousands of students from this 'Institute of National Importance' have spread this message that equanimity is the source of perfection in all endeavours that leads to salvation all over the world, making it an 'Institute of Eminence' awardee from the Government of India.

In an effort to develop higher technical institutions for post-war industrial development in India, and recommended by a 22-member Higher Education Committee headed by Nalini Ranjan Sarkar, IIT-KGP came up as the first of the four Higher Technical Institutes at Hijli in Kharagpur in 1951.

Set on the lines of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US, this institute was not just to develop undergraduates, but also research scholars, technical teachers and creative technologists who will contribute in developing the nation as well.

In the last 70 years, this institute has not only nurtured excellence effectively, but has contributed significantly not just to the growth of technology in the country, but also in varied fields, including politics, administration, creative arts and social sphere.

The list of illustrious IIT-KGP alumni can be a long read. IANS profiles some of them who have significantly contributed to the growth of the nation, as well as the world.

Sundar Pichai (CEO, Google)

Born Pichai Sundararajan in Madras in 1972, Sundar Pichai is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary Google.

Pichai earned his degree from IIT Kharagpur in metallurgical engineering. Moving to the US, he attained an M.S. from Stanford University in materials science and engineering, and further attained an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Pichai was selected to become the next CEO of Google on August 10, 2015, after previously being appointed as Product Chief by CEO Larry Page. On October 24, 2015, he stepped into the new role at the completion of the formation of Alphabet Inc., the new holding company for the Google family. He was appointed to the Alphabet Board of Directors in 2017.

In 2017, Pichai had visited his alma-mater IIT-KGP and interacted with the students, sharing his life experiences. He incidentally met his future wife Anjali on the campus when they were classmates.

Duvvuri Subbarao (Former Governor, Reserve Bank of India)

Duvvuri Subbarao (72) is an economist, banker and retired IAS officer. A graduate in physics from IIT-KGP, he topped the civil services examination in 1972 and was assigned the Andhra Pradesh cadre. He was appointed the 22nd Governor of Reserve Bank of India in September 2008, with an extension in 2011 till 2013.

He also received an M. Sc degree in physics from the IIT-Kanpur. In 1978, he completed a master's degree in economics from the Ohio State University, US. He later received a Ph.D. in economics from Andhra University.

Arvind Kejriwal (Chief Minister, Delhi)

Arvind Kejriwal (53), an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and a former Indian Revenue Service officer, is presently the Chief Minister of Delhi.

He took the IIT-JEE exam in 1985, securing an all-India rank of 563. He graduated from IIT Kharagpur, majoring in mechanical engineering. He then went on to join the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) as an Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax in 1995, but resigned in February 2006 to join politics.

In 2013, he formed the Aam Aadmi Party and became the Chief Minister of Delhi in December, but stepped down after 49 days of assuming power. AAP won the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections with historic majority, and Kejriwal has been the CM since then, winning the 2020 Assembly elections comfortably.

Ronojoy Dutta (CEO, InterGlobe Aviation Limited)

Ronojoy Dutta, better known as Rono Dutta, is an Indian aviation executive. He is currently the CEO of InterGlobe Aviation Limited, which operates IndiGo Airlines. He had served as the President of the United Airlines from 1999 to 2002.

Dutta studied at St Edmund's School, Shillong, and obtained his degrees from IIT Kharagpur and Harvard Business School.

Dutta is the co-founder, managing director, member of management committee, and member of investment committee at Achuthan & Co. LLC. Prior to working here, Dutta was a partner at the firm and also a strategic advisor to AAR Corp.

He became the chairman of the Air Sahara in July 2004, and worked there till 2008. In January 2019, he took over as CEO, InterGlobe Aviation Limited.

Vinod Gupta (Former infoGROUP CEO, philanthropist)

Vinod Gupta (75) is an Indian-born American businessman, investor and philanthropist, who majored in agricultural engineering from IIT Kharagpur.

In 1967, Gupta moved to the United States where he earned a master's degree in agricultural engineering and business from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Gupta was awarded three honorary doctorate degrees from the Monterey Institute, the University of Nebraska, and IIT Kharagpur. Gupta had delivered the commencement address at IIT Kharagpur in 2006.

He is the former CEO and Chairman of infoGROUP, serving it as CEO from the time of its incorporation in 1972 until September 1997, and again from August 1998 to August 2008. Gupta has donated over $50 million to numerous philanthropic endeavours in the US and India.

Ajit Jain (Vice Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway)

Ajit Jain (70), who did his mechanical engineering from IIT-KGP, is the Vice Chairman of insurance operations at Berkshire Hathaway.

From 1973 to 1976, Jain worked for IBM as a salesman for their data-processing operations in India. He lost his job in 1976 when IBM discontinued its operations in India.

In 1978, Jain moved to the US, where he earned an MBA from Harvard University and joined McKinsey & Co. In 1986, he left McKinsey to work on insurance operations for Warren Buffett. Jain was invited by his former boss, Michael Goldberg, who had left McKinsey & Co. to join Berkshire Hathaway in 1982.

In January 2018, Jain was named Berkshire Hathaway's vice chair of insurance operations and appointed to Hathaway's board of directors.

In 2005, Jain established the Jain Foundation, a non-profit organisation located in Seattle, with a mission to cure limb-girdle muscular dystrophies caused by dysferlin protein deficiency, a condition that Jain's son has. Jain's son Akshay is the Chairman and CEO of Jain Foundation.

Raj Kamal Jha (Journalist and Writer)

Raj Kamal Jha is the Chief Editor of the 'The Indian Express' since June 2014. He secured his B Tech degree in mechanical engineering from IIT-KGP. He was the editor of the campus magazine, Alankar. He also received the institute's Order of Merit. After graduating in June 1988, he went to the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of Southern California to pursue a master's in print journalism.

He has written five novels that have been translated into more than 12 languages. In 2017, Jha was conferred with the Distinguished Alumnus Award by his alma mater IIT-KGP for his 'outstanding contribution' to journalism and literature.

Harish Hande (Co-Founder, Selco India)

Harish Hande, a graduate in energy engineering from IIT-KGP, is a social entrepreneur, who co-founded SELCO India in 1995. He was awarded with the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2011 for "his pragmatic efforts to put solar power technology in the hands of the poor, through his social enterprise SELCO India".

After completing his basic schooling in Odisha, he went to IIT Kharagpur to pursue energy engineering and graduated in 1990. He then went to the US to do his master's and later PhD in energy engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowel.

Pradeep Kumar Khosla (Chancellor, University of California)

Pradeep Kumar Khosla, who did his BTech from IIT Kharagpur, is a computer scientist and university administrator. He is the current Chancellor of the University of California, San Diego.

After graduating, he worked in the area of real-time control with Tata Consulting Engineers and Siemens until 1982. By 1986, he had received both an MS and PhD degree from Carnegie Mellon University, where he then became an assistant professor.

In 2004, Khosla was appointed Dean of the Carnegie Institute of Technology, a five-year term which was renewed in July 2009.

Surajit Kar Purakayastha (Former DG, Government of West Bengal)

Surajit Kar Purakayastha, a mechanical engineer from IIT Kharagpur, is a retired Indian Police Service officer of 1985 batch who served as the State Security Advisor from 2018 to 2021.Prior to that, he served as the Director General of Police of West Bengal and was the 36th Police Commissioner of Kolkata.

Purkayastha holds a mechanical engineering degree from Indian IIT-KGP Kharagpur before completing PGDIT from the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade in New Delhi.

After his retirement, the state government created a post for Purkayastha -- State Security Advisor -- on the lines of the National Security Advisor. -IANS

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