The photo was taken when he was around 75. He was very active and agile until he was down with cancer late in 2017.

A few months before that, he was walking and talking with some students for 8 hours, on a hot  summer in a forest on a project. After retirement and surgery also he was available to his students and scholars; some of them visited him too. 

He is still an active man, despite being sick, and his  social concerns are evident in this recent article of  June 18, 2020,in  countercurrents.org:

A Proposal For a Utopian Dharavi – It Need Not Remain A Dream

https://countercurrents.org/2020/06/a-proposal-for-a-utopian-dharavi-it-need-not-remain-a-dream/

Swetchalochana, Telugu Monthly Magazine for Free Thought, had published this Interview in its Special  Issue of  February 2018 to mark National Science Day. The Interview was conducted in Telugu, RK’s mother tongue, by Associate Editor, D. Hanumanta Rao.

Incidentally, Rk  was diagnosed with Cancer just one month before this interview and his jaw bone etc were removed by the time of the interview.

And in two more days, the next phase of treatment i.e., Radiation was to commence. And this interview would not have been possible. Incidentally, earlier he had no risk factors at all:he does not touch even coffee and tea not to speak of tobacco, alcohol or any meat. He was in perfect health and had great stamina even in the summer of 2017.

Despite his condition and predicament he gave this interview in a peaceful and serene atmosphere, which reflects his ‘attitude’ and ‘approach’. 

Associate Editor Sri D Hanumantha Rao of  Swetchalochana, conducted the Interview. He was assisted by renowned maths teacher Sri I.Chandraiah, Sri Govardhan, Representrative of Manav Vikas Vedika, and Sri Suresh from Humanist Youth in video-recording it.. Smt Radha , wife of Prof Radha krishna too joined at the end and we thank for her cooperation.  

Following is a translation, being published in English for the first time in countercurrents.org:  RK has been its subscriber and reader for more than a year.

RK  has been a teacher with progressive views , with firm democratic and secular outlook, who did not believe in any religion or caste, and  never bent to political pressures.

RK’s  initiative and efforts are also reflected in Indian Government’s prestigious programme titled ‘Inspire’, in which Prof Radhakrishna  played a key  role with his vision, initiative and guidance; as a result, around 25 Nobel Laureates were invited to participate in ‘Science Enclaves’ in India.

They were staying in IIIT-Allahabd  campus almost for a week, available for lectures and interactions with about 1000 teachers and students interested in Sciences, invited from across India. His concern was that students are drawn away from basic work in science into commerce. This program was meant to inculcate genuine  interest in S&T.  

It gave Indian teacher and student fraternity a rare opportunity to interact with them. Thus, people in  Science and Technological fields of India have an admiration for ‘RK’.  Swetchalochana had a lengthy and detailed interview with him on 11th Dec 2017 and excerpts of the same are brought out hereunder for the benefit of all. 

 

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Brief Intro about RK  by Hanumanta Rao  is given below:

Telugu people are reaching top positions globally in Computer and Software fields. Though they are focussed on improving their career graph in those fields, a question comes to our minds regarding their efforts with regard to improving scientific approach in our Country.  Marvellous results can be achieved if those in Scientific Research fields sow ‘scientific approach’ in people – especially among students. Prof Radhakrishna engaged himself in such an effort for nearly half-a-century; neither being sold to Foreign Companies nor submitted to authoritarianism – an intellectual who remained steadfast in India to serve as a S&T Teacher. Eminent Computer scientist Prof M Radhakrishna stands in the front row, among people working sincerely at National level without seeking limelight and publicity.

Born on 14th July 1941. Father Sri M. Narasimha Chari, Mother Smt M. Kamalamma . Had school education in Bhadrachalam, his ancestors’ place, in Telugu medium, in Govt. schools.  Maringanti Radhakrishna, with a very ordinary family background, made Telugus proud by achieving an international fame.  He had working visits to about 70 countries,  and  rendered his invaluable services in more than 20 countries, with India being the principal centre for his services. After finishing his MSc in Nuclear Physics from Andhra University  in 1962-63, he  brought his multifaceted talents to the core by working in varied and diverse fields. He is among the first generation Indian Computer scientists who entered Computer field  during 1960s.

His  areas of Teaching: Physics, Reactor Physics, Mathematics, Metallurgical Physics, Vibrations, Educational Computing, Computer Graphics, Compiler construction, Operating systems, Computer Networks, Computer Architecture and Organisation, AI, Human -Computer interaction, Wireless sensor Networks, Embedded systems, Agent Based Systems, Electronic Systems Design, Architecture of Intelligent Systems  at B. Tech and M. Tech levels.

His areas of research work:  Nuclear Physics, Solid State Physics, Amorphous Semiconductors, Educational Computing, Computer Architecture, Computer Networking, Embedded systems, Wireless Sensor Networks, Instrumentation.  Pervasive computing,  Real Time Systems, Automation, Human behavioural modeling,  Cognitive Sciences, and web based education.

 He played a prominent role at National level in formulation of Computer Science syllabus for B Tech and M Tech courses. In addition to rendering services as a Professor, he worked as Science & Technology consultant for Defence, Educational and Technical institutions of Indian Government.

It is difficult to capture his work in a few words.  His teaching and research works and contributions are spread over his 50 year long career. Despite receiving repeated and lucrative offers from MNCs he confined to India which speaks about his love for his country. His long tenure in Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab with courage and conviction, in those days of political turmoil and communal tensions, endeared him to those people. Simplicity and humanism are his forte and worth emulating.

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Now the Interview follows :

How did you become a Scientist?

I don’t describe myself as a Scientist. I read Science and do research in Science. I teach S&T, research to my students. Rather I like to be called as a teacher-‘researcher’. While I was pursuing my Intermediate (plus two) in Kurnool (AP) during 1957-58, my neighbour told me ‘don’t join Engineering. You will find nothing great in it, except calculations and measurements’. Further, he suggested to study Science. Perhaps it had its influence in my taking up Science. I did MSc in Nuclear Physics from Andhra University. A unique atmosphere used to prevail there, in those days. Everybody used to dream of becoming a Scientist – same was considered as an ultimate accomplishment – such an impression was created in young minds. In those days only one student from Science had gone for All India Services: Sri EAS Sarma got selected for all three viz., IAS, IPS and IFS. Rest of us never considered them as great, rather used to look down upon them. We had a dream of becoming a scientist, say, in Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) Bombay, Institute of Physics- Bhuvaneshwar or Saha Institute – Calcutta. That had driven us to compete for the same. Worked hard to grow as Scientists. I am part of that stream.

How is a Scientist made? Whom can we call a Scientist?

Everybody will have thoughts. For some, certain doubts arise all of a sudden. As a student we used to have a doubt – how do the Neutrons with no Electric charge have magnetic movement ? Thoughts similar to this, used to drive us. Then we did experiments. Once, I stayed back in Lab for 20 days to solve one such question. Entire night I used to think, finally I got an answer. Those doubts and thoughts never allowed us to sleep. Such drive makes you a Scientist. Comprehensive approach, perseverance, intuition and sincerity are required to make you a Scientist.

Do Scientists need to have social awareness or not ?

This needs to be examined in a slightly different way. For a scientist, who want to find out what is there in Molecules, social awareness or lack of it does not make a difference. Atomic fission releases a catastrophic energy. Can we control it, what is the benefit of it? Scientists working with such missions also need not have social awareness.  However some authority orders to make an Atom Bomb with that technology. A Scientist working in that situation must have Social awareness. After the dropping of Atom Bomb over Japan, J Robert Oppenheimer (head of that Project) wrote a book titled “Brighter than 1000 suns”. Having been shaken by the impact of Atom Bomb he expressed his regret for what he had done. Everything was a top secret. It was alleged that he had passed on the technology involved to Russia and was thus barred from entering the very Lab which he developed.

Science has two parts – pure science and applied science. Both are science and both are required. For scientists working in pure science, social awareness is not that much important. Applied Science and Technology are equally important (Ex MRI, PET scan and their results). For the people working in those fields social awareness is very much essential. Whatever they work will have direct impact on people. After dropping the Bomb on Japan, many of those working in MIT, Stanford in those days refused to work for Defence Projects.

Why were you into Computer Science, having been qualified in Nuclear Physics?

These dividing walls are only upto certain stage. Once you cross a limit, the whole gamut is only Science. No distinction of Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Biology and so on. When I am working at TIFR, I needed a computation to be done. Sending material in to Nuclear Reactor and bringing it out is a Technology issue. On one side I have to work on Computer, and Nuclear Physics on the other. Thus in the process, there is no sequence like Science first and then Technology. Many times they travel together. From Physics, to Electronics and  then to Computer – thus I travelled to Computer field. Now with LHC – God particles etc were discovered. Interlinking of many subjects only made it possible. Compartmentalisation in education is not proper, as we see in India. Teachers should not have such Ideas. They think that research secrets in their fields will be lost, which is not a fact. They have no secrets.

Are you a Software Scientist or a Hardware Scientist?

Let me tell you a story. A Computer failed in a College, Software person said it is a Hardware problem, while Hardware person said it is a Software problem. On the whole that computer did not work. That is the reason we at IIITs initially for some days ask the Computer to be dis-assembled and re-assembled. We will start teaching only after that. I advised the same when I participated in preparation of Syllabus at National level. I told the same thing when I worked as Advisor for CMC, Computer Maintenance Corporation. We have to impart complete knowledge, not in bits and pieces. Thus there would be Computer Scientist with comprehensive knowledge; there won’t be Hardware Scientist and Software scientist separately.

Can India become a Global leader in Hardware or Software fields?

This needs some explanation. We call India as a great Nation. Then we mention Aryabhatta and Brahmagupta of several hundred years back. After them it is a desert for several centuries. Otherwise, we talk of Ramanujan of last century. Is that all ! Several foreign Universities are producing half a dozen Ramanujans every decade. We simply brag !

In America, Indians are in large number in Computer field, more so Telugu people. 80% are Indians in that field and half of them are Telugus. When Economic Recession set in there, nearly 7-8 years back, the number of people who returned or committed suicide were also in that same ratio. What I mean to say is that majority of our people are sophisticated labourers. They do what is told, lacking independent thought. In computer field, Algorithms are important. Indians who are 80 to 90% in numbers  contributed  40% of Algorithms, balance 10 to 20 % people (most of them Europeans, who never returned)  contributed 60%. A worker can construct any number of buildings, however none of them can be called as his own. Same is our case.

For constructing a building, a Maistry will take along 100 workers; these are no different – Hi-Tech coolies. Nothing to boast.

Thus becoming a Global Leader is too ambitious. We are not developing creativity.

Telugu people are securing top ranks in Competitive Exams(IIT, AIEEE) and those from Corporate colleges are in front row. How do you see it?

What you said is a fact. 30 to 40%  of ranks are being secured by Telugus at National level. Let me tell you IIIT Allahabad experience. Many Telugu people with high ranks used to join, later many of them used to get failed in the first year itself. There were few clearing final year examinations.  We used to get worried. We even discussed whether there is any cheating in the whole issue.  I don’t know. Here mothers are doing literally spoon feeding. Government formulated a committee and discussed. That arrived at the fact that the colleges are preparing say 10000 questions and students are made to learn them by-heart. They start teaching this way, from the day a child joins the school. There will be a limit to the number of questions.  Naturally they get top ranks. However they lack knowledge and analytical thinking.  They become useless. A child should grow learning in a natural way, why this way?

Path breaker for future Scientists

How did you get the idea of a Science Conclave, where Nobel Laureates were invited to inspire students ?

Once we asked for a good Mathematician from Mathematics dept of IIT Kharagpur. We got a reply that they are carrying on with half strength, with none to spare. Science is almost dying in India. Shortage of good mathematicians. Proper Electronics people are lacking. Strong mechanical Engineers are not there. We are making only second grade programmers.  There is a rat race for CSE and IT. Once they finish B Tech they join some Company. Even those who finish M Tech are not inclined towards research. Then where from do we get Scientists? This pains us. In Germany, they bring Nobel laureates and encourage interaction with students. They try to infuse enthusiasm in youth towards research. We don’t have young scientists. Neither mathematicians.  Research is not on our agenda. If you join in so and so Company, the salary package is so many lakhs. That is all; that is the target. What should be done to draw youth into Science stream in this scenario? Efforts to attract students towards science should begin when they are in 10th standard itself. That should be our goal; for that lot of efforts are to be made.

We discussed with our Director, Sri Tiwari, and convinced the government.  Thus, for the first time in Asia 12 Noble laureates inspired students at IIIT Allahabad.  We should make efforts. If we simply ask students to grow as scientists, without any efforts from our side, it won’t work. So far nearly 8 Science conclaves have taken place. However it’s absolutely not sufficient. They should be held still at a larger scale and nationwide. At least 10% best students should be attracted towards science, only then results can be expected.

We heard that you are behind the Nationwide drive in attracting students  towards Science in order to make them Scientists under the Inspire programme!

It is not proper to say that the Programme came only because of me. Because of efforts of quite a few people, the Government agreed for taking up the programme. There should be change in our direction. An effort has commenced, that is all.

What should be done to increase scientific research?

Recently Government has set up Indian Institute of Science and Educational Research Institutions (IISER) at places like Pune, Kolkata and Chandigarh. Programmes in large scale have to be taken up like those Institutions. This way, our efforts and discussions resulted in bringing some change.

I have an idea – a dream- on the issue. Still it’s in formulation stage. To amplify it: each district should have a Science Museum. Definitely not in cities, because the children there will finally settle in some foreign country. Hence they should be in rural areas, they should be simple, and not in huge buildings.  A small dormitory along with subsidised food facility should be there. For those Museums there should be no doors and no timings. Anybody should be able to visit any time. It should house a few scientific instruments, models. Facility should be there for viewing videos. There should be videos regarding formation of life on Earth etc. So that thoughts such as Gods and devils will be dispelled then and there. If possible they can be constructed near temples and religious places, so that along with children, adults too will come. That is the first stage.

In the second stage, there should be working models relating to Science and Technology fields. Their understanding will improve with these models. In the 3rd stage, small instruments/tools suitable for experiments should be made available, which allows them to conduct experiments. For instance, they can find ph level of water in the village pond. How many centimetres rainfall occurred? What is the ratio of different elements in the soil of a agricultural field and so on. Everyone knows their local problems better. Villagers know problems in a village. In the 4th stage, as a problem solving step – fabrication facilities should be provided enabling them to manufacture/fabricate tools and implements for overcoming their difficulties and problems. With those facilities, the villagers will fabricate tools and implements which are required for their villagers. New instruments will come to light. In the 5th stage, going out and doing experiments and analysing the results for arriving at decisions. In this way the number of innovations along with that of researchers will go up. Nobody is solving the problems of villagers and those of tribal hamlets. Those who get educated there will leave that place. Hence projects for their local issues should be taken in the local schools. Local institutions should have implements, not just keeping them on display, but should teach how to use them. Helping and teaching them to find solutions to their problems.

Science will neither develop by cramming knowledge nor through 10am to 5pm work culture

This is one side of the coin. Other side of the coin is the change that should occur in civil society. Parents are teaching about God and devotion to him. Maatru devo bhava, Pitru devo bhava, Guru devo bhava and Boss devo bhava – we are conditioning their minds with these words from the moment they enter this world. Break a coconut before an exam. Same is being shown in Cinemas. We compromise everywhere. Similarly babas and swamijees. They once made my boss to tell me ‘I too was like you, not believing in babas. Later I changed’. I replied, ‘you seem to have failed from reaching your goals and you got this as an excuse’. In this scenario of Scientists following babas, swamijees  – great harm  is being done to the society. Even if they become Scientists after growing up, they are ending up as ‘10am to 5pm Scientists’. Get up in the morning and pray god. During 10 to 5 he will be rational and logical. After 5pm again he reverts back. Scientific research will not happen in this way. The problem should drive you 24 hours(round the clock) and lead you to a new discovery. Thoughts should only come during 10 to 5, only then I can contribute, is the current attitude. That is the reason we have few Scientists.

Scientist cannot work 10 to 5. That should be our approach. I have been to Holland in 1973 – I took up an issue which had remained an unsolved problem for 2 years over there for 2 seniors. I had sleepless nights with that problem. I used to play chess with myself, as I used to be alone. Problem remained in the subconscious mind and never allowed me to sleep. After 21 days I got the solution one night. Then immediately I went to the Lab and had done it. The issue will remain in the mind and subconsciously it will be working upon it for a solution!

We heard that your mother while being pregnant used to inspire people by coming out during Eclipses in those days of freedom struggle. How did she get so much courage and conviction?

Yes. She became mother at the age of 14 and she was not well read. However she never believed devils, evil effect of Eclipses etc. Probably, she was much stronger and rational than my father! I don’t know how she got that awareness. She used to enlighten her neighbours and later on people of other languages as well. My father too was rational. Over the time, I believe superstitions have gone up compared to those days. Rituals like lighting up one Lakh oil lamps, one crore oil lamps, etc have gone up, now it has become a business at a larger scale.

Should one be a rationalist to become  Scientist ? What is the relation between philosophy, religion and science ?

Definetely. What  Scientist will do ? Close and clear observation is very much required. He subjects the assumptions and problems to an experiment. Then he records the results honestly, integrate them and analyse them impartially. Finally he makes public his findings. But, in case the results have come against his expectations, he won’t say that those results are wrong. Is this not what a rationalist thought process teaches us !

Here some explanation is needed on Religion, philosophy and science. Religion is a dogma born out of certain specific conditions. It just dictates. Do this. Do that. Do this way and do that way. It also give strictures for disobedience. Philosophy basically discusses why and what of an issue. It questions and explains why it should be done in a particular way. That is the reason, from philosophy – all things that have a basis, become science. During my childhood I used to read a magazine, it was a Philosophical magazine. There used to be lot of physics in it, absolutely. Physics and philosophy intertwine and were overlapping at times. While religion is a Dogma; Mankind do not require god, religion and caste. They are unnecessary postulates.

You say that marks should be awarded to failure also?

Yes, it is true. If we don’t evaluate like that, student/researcher will have a tendency to cook-up the experiment, data, and findings as well. Hence even if there is a failure, the same should be recorded and reported. Thereby one would know – where, when, how and who failed. It’s a learning process. Many experiments in Science will fail. For instance, out of 100 projects taken up by world renowned Bell Company hardly 10 to 15% are successful. Rest will fail. And out of those successful projects only 3-4% will achieve commercial success. Earnings from them are the only means by which total activity is being carried out. We reach the ‘unknown frontiers of science’ only through innumerable failures. Teachers should learn and reform themselves with those failures. Otherwise people tend to submit a project downloaded from web or bought from a technician.

My mentor in Andhra University gave me a problem to solve. I could not get the answer. After 2 to 3 years of efforts, I submitted to him in writing that we will not get the result in this method. That was the result of research. Then they sent it to a renowned professor at Oxford. He replied that it is true and advised not to waste further time on that. It required modern computers to find out, which were not available in those days. To find that it is not possible is also a ‘discovery’.

Will you please explain the efforts you have made for wildlife protection ?

Science should solve the problems being faced us and our society. Wild animal attacks and wild animals cause damage to villages and fields. What can we do with the help of Technology? Thus began this. We are occupying the forests and wild animals having lost their habitat are on to us. We are killing them. On the whole the eco system got disturbed. For instance there were 4000 Tigers in our country nearly 8 years back. It came down to 1200 within 3 years. Thus 2800 Tigers were extinguished in 1000 days, on an average more than 2 Tigers have been killed every day.  Some of us thought something should be done. When the proposals were submitted, National Science Foundation rejected them. Along with Anish Arora (Ohio State University), a friend from America, and another American University, IISC of India, IIIT Allahabad together took up a joint project and finally we could convince. We have taken a forward step for protecting the forests, wildlife and eco system with the help of Technological knowledge. That is going on.

In which countries and in which Institutions have you worked?

I believe it’s not that important! However I will tell you since you have raised it. I worked primarily in Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, NIT – Srinagar, TTTI-Chandigarh, IIIT – Allahabad. And worked for some time in Delft-Holland, Leeds, Edinburgh, Cambridge-UK, Germany, CPSC-Philippines. Worked in MIT- America: we worked on some problems where we were 5 to 6 years ahead them.  I visited as Examiner, Faculty, visiting professor and as consultant outside India in 70 plus institutions including in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Sweden, UK, USA, Holland, Australia and Muscat. Only  South America and Africa were exceptions. Nobody there invited me.

You have presented 70 research papers and conducted nearly 16 International conferences, we were told…

True, however numbers are not that important. As a researcher we have to go on doing research. All the time papers will be submitted in Conferences. The day research is stopped, presentation of papers comes to an end. The day we stop thinking on new issues, it signals that we have stopped as a researcher.

You have received lucrative offers from foreign countries ! Why have chosen to be in India?

I don’t have any aversion for foreign Countries. I participated in or was associated with Universities and research Institutions belonging to dozens of countries. Finished projects in many countries. My primary place of work remained India. There are two reasons for this. One, an interesting experience!

When I was working in Holland, a colleague thought of visiting his mother during a week end. He rang up his mother. She refused his visit as she was busy. Then he came to me complaining. I said, we can go to our parents any time in our country, prior permissions are not required. I can even go to my friends’ houses similarly. Even at midnight they prepare food and give me.

Second a serious incident. I have been to Holland in 1973. It was a very much developed nation by that time. Wondered at their high living standards. Roads, Houses, Education, Health and Laws were good. While the status of India at that time was completely diametrically opposite. Once I saw an individual outside a station having food from his bowl. Cloths were torn, unkempt hair, face with ulcers and flies swarming on them. There were more flies than food in his bowl. This sight disturbed me. Can’t we develop our country like Holland? thought ran across my mind. I thought, something should be done – thus stayed back in our country.

English is a world language. We are learning Science and Technology in English. What is the status of non English speaking places, especially what is the status of Telugu speaking people?

Social conditions, languages, Science & Technology – they grow together. That is the way to look at it. Language development can’t be independent. For instance, Japanese language developed along with its Science & Technology. In the entire world, languages have developed along with social conditions and technical development. It’s natural. Unfortunately, such development didn’t take place in India. Our languages, including Telugu could not develop. Though, Language is the media for communication – content is more vital. Do we learn a language by reading a dictionary? No. We refer dictionary while reading and learning a language. For science communication, precision, clarity, specificity are essential. f=ma, it is to be told only in that way. It can’t conveyed by a long English sentence or by any other sentence. Every science will have its own language. Translating those words is a futile effort. In many countries, they learn Science & Technology in their own language. Some languages have not grown like that, could not absorb science. In such a case dependence on English is inevitable. Countries like China, Japan, Russia and Germany have scientific terminology in their own languages and acquired important position in the world. Now they are also learning English, in addition.

I like Telugu, teaching in mother tongue at school level is essential. However as you grow, trying to learn science by translating everything in to Telugu is absurd.  I too studied Telugu literature including Srinaatha’s poetry and writings of others of the day. Admiration for a language is a different issue altogether.

It appears you signed in Telugu, when you were asked to sign in Hindi by authorities.

When I was working in north India, a circular was issued that we sign in Hindi, as a part of implementation of Hindi as official language. I know Hindi. However thrusting a particular language appears to me as autocratic. Hence I signed in Telugu, as a mark of my protest. Then they came down.

We were told: You have not gone to invite a Central Minister, as per protocol, during his visit to your University!

Yes. Murali Manohar Joshi came to our Institution while he was a HRD Minister. Allahabad IIIT was established because of his initiative. However I told while joining that Institute that I will not be standing in a queue to invite any political leader. Since he is a minister concerned for our field he is welcome to my chamber and I am obliged to speak. Since they know me, they have not forced me. Our VC respected my freedom. He should be appreciated for that. Society should realise that a research scholar is above political leaders.

We were told your  evaluation of answer sheets  at M Tech level was  open, transparent, no scope for  favouritism etc.

Yes. I used to distribute answer sheets to students themselves. They would refer  books , evaluate each  other’s answer sheets, and also give marks. Teacher  will give his own scores. Students can discuss, question scores given,  know evaluation criteria, and in the process also learn how to evaluate objectively. This we have been practising at IIIT-A.

Wherever you have worked, it is said that Library and Lab will be open for 24 hours. They will not have any locks. You will also be available for 24 hours, even at midnight you were available for providing clarifications to the students.

That is true. I always used to live in campus and be available. Keeping them open is also a fact. It’s not my greatness. Every person will have honesty. During my tenure in various capacities, I used to give my subordinates – blank, signed and stamped papers. So that they can use them during my absence or when I am abroad. So far nobody misused.

Experiment with library books started in Srinagar for the first time in 1970’s.  In view of absence of late buses due to communal tensions prevailing there, the Librarian used to lock library and leave by 4 pm. Then I took special permission, and had drawn 300 books in my name. They were kept in a students Hostel room. Anyone can take books without any record, at anytime and keep them back after their work. Weekly once, a student used to check about absence of any particular book. Whenever a book is not found, that student will write on the board , for example, that the ‘book no.38 is not traceable. Prof Radhakrishna will pay the amount’. On the very next day the book used to be at its place.

Similarly, wherever I have worked, the Lab which is under my control used to be open for 24 hours. It will not be locked. A student can go any time to do an experiment. No permission is required. In these 50 years only a pipette missed, that’s all. There used to be instruments worth lakhs of rupees. I feel so long as we lock it will create mistrust among students. When there is no lock, same will help to develop self control and enable them to overcome temptations. Inculcates honesty. Self confidence and mutual trust will develop. You should be able to rush for an experiment, the moment you got an idea in the middle of a night.  Only then new discoveries will take place. ‘10 to 5 way of life’ will hamper development of Science.

Many of your disciples reached high positions. For instance, Ms Poonam became a Cambridge professor. Your comment

True. Many reached many high positions. It’s because of their efforts and perseverance. Poonam was an intelligent girl. Initially, she was just an average student, academically. But there was a spark in her,I noticed, and we nurtured her. She came from a backward family in backward Rajastan. Her success is an inspiration to many. Rajasthan was culturally much backward state compared to ours. Discrimination against women was also more.  A girl from a poor family from that State supposed to discontinue her studies and get married at a young age. However she rose gradually and joining Cambridge University as a teacher is a very happy situation.

Your opinion on Communism and secularism. Do they help to develop scientific temper?

I am not an expert on that. I have never studied them in depth. They remove disparities. To my knowledge – working to one’s capacity and getting remunerated to the requirements – is communism. According to Socialism – each one should contribute to their capability and be rewarded suitably. They used to say beggar is a biggest enemy to communism; one can live without working by means of begging. I believe that egalitarian society will be formed through communism. Similarly, ignoring religion is Secularism. Same will bring down friction in the society, enable people to live with more humanism and thus helps in progress of society. They might not have direct relation with Science and Technology or scientific temper. They are separate issues, I believe.

Please comment on Communalism. They are dictating what should we eat and what should we wear too.

They should be opposed. People are being incited with slogans like cow protection and beef ban. Everyone should resist what is happening around them. How many are resisting? Blaming Modi or someone else is not going to solve the issue. Are they not supposed to resist it when someone imposes something.

Science and Technology is for people and society? Or for Business? Conflict between them. Your comments.

Science and Technology development is for the welfare of people and society. It should be like that only. Human welfare is their goal and destination. Otherwise they have no meaning. There can’t be commercialisation in Science and Technology. How are we going to reach provide a service using them? In that an element of commercialization will enter. A doctor goes to a village and gives medical treatment. Then he charges for his services. Some other Doctor serves only rich and make good money. Corporate Hospitals have come — I don’t agree with their methods….however they claim that they are rendering best services with modern Technology. This is a social issue, not a Science and Technology issue. Ethical issues will crop up in Commerce. Certain controls are to be introduced by society from ethical point of view. Clear cut Limits and demarcations have to be made, which can’t be crossed at any cost. Let me tell you an instance. Around 1970s Nationalisation of Banks took place. They gave some convenient objectives for that. I am not much aware of them. But a businessman in Srinagar explained to me in those days, how one can make huge profits by purchasing and hoarding lot of goods with Bank money. I can understand commercialization from that perspective.

During your tenure at NIT Srinagar, you resisted, we are told, pressure from CM’s office

The then CM’s nephew was my student. Not only that, his father was DGP, Head of State Police. The boy failed in exams. There was pressure from higher ups to pass him. I called the student and told that I can’t pass him. But I will conduct exams again after few months time. Then you try your best. From my side I can help you any time during 24 hours by clearing your doubts. I am ready to teach any number of times. He listened, later he used to come to me regularly and learn. Out of 5 exams he could clear 4 exams and failed in one. Then I said, I can’t do more than this, you have to convince your uncle and father. Because I can’t put aside my values. He convinced them. When they know that we are not going to budge even an inch, they are likely to accept it. So long as we bend, they would like to dominate us. Mistake lies on both sides.

Finally, can you please name your favourite scientist ?

Names of individuals are not important. What is important is research and inventions. What is the issue and how it was solved is only to be seen.

                                   ***                                        ***

Appendix : Short  CV of  M. Radhakrishna

  1. Name: M. Radhakrishna
  2. Affiliation: Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad, India

(presently retired)

  1. 3. Qualification: Sc (Nuclear Physics), 1962
  1. Experience

4.1 Research experience: More than 50 years

  • Andhra University, Visakhapatnam – Pair creation cross-sections
  • BARC & TIFR, Bombay
  • NIT (REC) Srinagar – Ultrasonic non destructive testing, relaxation times of molecules
  • TTTI, Chandigarh – Computer based instruction, Computer based instrumentation, Image processing, Instructional design, Chalcogenised glasses and switching properties & Robotics.
  • TNO, TPD, Delft, Holland- Design of stepper motor, Heat transfer in buildings using Hybrid computational techniques, Second order filter design, Ultrasonic non destructive testing,
  • Leeds, Edinburgh, Cambridge, UK- Computer based instruction, design of HW & SW tools for CBI.
  • MIT-USA: Interfacing computers
  • CPSC, Manila, Philippines: WBI, Intelligent Tutoring systems
  • IIIT- Allahabad: Instrumentation, Design of models, tools & technique for WBI, Design of Intelligent systems, Microelectronics, Design of passive wakeup circuits for 2.4 GHz radios, Wireless sensor networks to protect forests, humans and wild animals, technology support for visually challenged, Home based health care.

4.2 Teaching – About 50 years

Regional Engineering college (NIT), Srinagar, India, 1965 to1970, Lecturer in Physics.  Taught Physics, Reactor Physics, Mathematics, Metallurgical Physics, Vibrations & Control to UG engineering students

  • TTTI (NITTTR), Chandigarh, India, 1970 to 1976, Assistant Professor in Physics. Taught Applied Physics, instrumentation and Electronics for engineering teachers
  • TTTI (NITTTR), Chandigarh, India, 1976 to 1980, Professor in Physics. Taught Applied Physics, instrumentation and Electronics for engineering teachers
  • TTTI (NITTTR), Chandigarh, India, 1980 to 1996, Professor in Computer Science and Engineering. Taught most graduate level computer Science and Engineering courses. Educational Computing, Supervised graduate and doctoral students.
  • Colombo Plan Staff College, Manila, Philippines; 1993- 94 and 1996 & 1999, Faculty Consultant. Taught Educational Computing, instructional design, curriculum design courses.
  • IIIT, Allahabad, India; 1999 to 2008, Professor in IT. Taught most IT courses courses – Computer Graphics, Compiler construction, Operating systems, Computer Networks, Computer Architecture and Organisation, AI, Human – Computer interaction, Wireless sensor Networks, , Architecture of Intelligent Systems, Agent Based Systems, Information storage and retrieval.
  • IIIT, Allahabad, India; 2008 to 2015, Professor in IT, Professor & Head Electronics and microelectronics, Digital electronics, Computer based Control, Instrumentation, Electronic workshop, Wireless sensor Networks, Embedded systems, Electronic Systems Design, Digital design.

 

  1. Other major contributions to IIIT, Allahabad, India:
    • Design of three Masters courses in IT – Intelligent systems,

 

4.2  Countries where lectured, offered advice or consultancy, conducted research         

India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, SriLanka, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Sweden, UK, USA, Holland, PNG, Australia

4.3 Areas of research Work:

Nuclear Physics, Ultrasonics, Non destructive testing, Electronic systems testing, Solid State Physics, Amorphous Semiconductors, Educational Computing, Computer Architecture, Computer Networking, Embedded systems, Wireless Sensor Networks, Pervasive computing, Instrumentation. Real Time Systems, Automation, Human behavioural modeling, Cognitive Sciences, and web based education, Microelectronics,

Guided/Supervised students at Bachelors (more than 100), Masters (more than 100), and Doctoral degrees (eight) in the area of Computer Science and engineering, Wireless sensor networks and microelectronics.

4.4  Publications (in the past 6 years): About 30

4.5 Conferences organized/attended: Attended/keynote addresses in about 8 conferences.

Organised 16 International conferences in the fields of Wireless computing and sensor networks, Science conclaves, Educational computing and others.

Prof RK’s mail ID : mkrishna@iiita.ac.in

Copy also to bapujim@gmail.com (in view of RK’s sickness)

For original Telugu version : swetchalochana.blogspot.com  

 

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2 Comments

  1. Avatar Satya Vara Prasad Arundhati says:

    In my medical college timings of library were up to 9PM.We made several attempts to ensure a library with round the clock access.Nothing materialized.Dr.M.Ramakrishna belongs to that rare breed of persons who can understand the needs and aspirations of youngsters.

    • IIT Kanpur library used to be open upto 12 in the night. Even if one reader requests, it used to be extended by two more hours! I was there for three weeks and personally experienced it.
      Yes It is a rare quality .