Inspiring life stories in ‘100 Great IITians – Dedicated to the Service of the Nation’

The book ‘100 Great IITians – Dedicated to the Service of the Nation’ by Commander (retd) VK Jaitly is an outstanding compilation of inspiring life stories of 100 former students of various Indian Institute of Technology (IITs).  It highlights the journey of these exceptional individuals of the pre-2000 era, their professional excellence and noteworthy contributions towards building Bharat. They even decided to forego lucrative career opportunities outside the country and stayed back in Bharat to dedicate themselves to enhancing the socio-economic well-being of its people.  This book provides an excellent read, highlighting their backgrounds, academic brilliance, careers, transformative thinking, contributions, achievements and recognitions simply and eloquently.  Thus, one feels genuinely connected with each one of them and feels proud of their persistent efforts despite the many technical, bureaucratic and financial hardships. 

All eminent IITians covered in the book have excelled across diverse fields including academics, science and technology, civil and defence R&D, aerospace, space exploration, atomic energy, industrial engineering, business and corporate leadership, energy, indigenisation, infrastructure development, IT, digital infrastructure, medicine, civil and defence services, politics, finance, social work, rural development, empowerment and supporting livelihoods and spirituality.  Therefore, this book is a testimony to their unwavering dedication, resilience and commitment to our national progress.  For me, it was an honour to have professional association with some of them during my 38 years of service in the Indian Navy and BrahMos Aerospace. 

These IITians started ab-initio innovations for national reconstruction by creating a strong indigenous academic, technical and engineering knowledge base. They initiated a perfect environment for infrastructure development through R&D, ToT and joint ventures. By aligning with government policies and leveraging R&D they have facilitated formulation of the country’s self-reliance roadmap.  Similar to the spiritual awakening by Swami Vivekanand, I would say that these IITians have created a perfect ecosystem for technology awakening in the country.  Therefore, I consider this book as a fitting tribute to these great sons and daughters of Bharat.

In my view, this book is a perfect read for everyone to get inspired and march towards attaining excellence.  I strongly believe that it will motivate the younger generation to make a career as technocrats and decide as to what they can do for the country.  Similarly, the senior professionals from various disciplines may learn from the vast experiences of these IITians to progress in making Bharat a developed and self-reliant nation. 

Commander Jaitly is an IITian himself and so this book is a culmination of his visionary approach and sincere efforts to present the stellar contributions of these 100 IITians from across the country.  It is also heartening to note that the profits from this book will be utilised to assist economically weaker students and tribal villages in and around IIT Kharagpur, PM Relief Fund and philanthropic activities.  I am sure that the sequel of this book ‘100 Great Global IITians’ will present many great personalities staying away from India and their outstanding contributions on the global stage. Jai Hind.

(Rear Admiral (retd) OPS Rana is the former DG of Naval Armament Inspection and GM, BrahMos Aerospace)

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