«Edited by Govindjee Urbana, Illinois, USA and Shyam Lal Srivastava Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India i The Cover A photograph of Krishnaji (Dada), 1980 ...»
further, changes in the ordinance may be required when the problems become complicated because the elected teachers are often associated with political parties, as is the case at Delhi University. These problems are usually entrusted to a subcommittee of EC to examine and advice. During his tenure as EC member, Professor Krishnaji was the unanimous choice to head almost all the sub-committees of the EC to recommend the interpretation of ordinances or their modification. The merit promotion of teachers was introduced a couple of years earlier (in 1983) before the nomination of Professor Krishnaji. There were many disputes of teachers regarding, e.g., their eligibility and salary fixation. Since the merit promotion in Central Universities was introduced after prolonged strikes by teachers, this had made Delhi University Teachers Association very upbeat; thus, any recommendation of the sub-committee which was not convincing could lead to agitation. The term of Visitor’s nominee is for three years and is not repeated. The administrative acumen and just decisions by Krishnaji impressed the University Teachers so much that they wanted that all the pending cases to be decided by him, and they requested him to contest election to the University EC, this time from the University Court. There was such an overwhelming request that he agreed to contest the election.
In recognition of my admiration and respect for Krishnaji, I have established an endowment at the National Academy of Science, India (NASI) for “Professor Krishnaji Memorial Lecture in Experimental Physics”. I can never repay what Professor Krishnaji has done for me. I have attempted my best to give my students what I received from him (my teacher). If some research students of mine have been benefited with my association as I have been by my association with Professor Krishnaji that will be my greatest tribute to my teacher.
Prof. Krishnaji: A True Mentor of Experimental Physics Rameshwar Bhargava Nanocrystals Technology, P.O.Box 820, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510, USA E-mails: Rnbhargava@aol.com; email@example.com S ri Krishnaji was known to us since 1949, when we moved from our ancestral home in Kydganj to a newly constructed house at 28 Thornhill Road (now known as Dayanand Marg) at Allahabad.
His family was living in a house across the road (3 Kanpur Road, now Shri Purushottam Das Tandon Road). His younger sister, Malati ji, was a classmate of my elder sister, Madhuri, both completing their MA degrees in Hindi from Allahabad University in 1952. His younger brother, Govindjee, a friend of my elder brother, Amarnath, frequently came in the evening to play badminton or cricket or any other sport activity we endeavored to create.
In 1955, I joined BSc with Physics, Mathematics and Chemistry as subjects. Continuing the education process, I completed my MSc in Physics in 1959. It was during my MSc final year (1958-1959) that I came in contact with Prof. Krishnaji, on a regular basis. The confidence he provided me, in the field of experimental physics, is the basis of my achievement in all aspects of experimental physics.
He, in a very simple but focused manner, used to teach simple tricks that one must know to be successful in a laboratory. For example, he taught us how to connect the electric wire in a circuit correctly. He simply said that the screw to which the wire needs to be connected is always tightened clockwise, hence bend and create a loop of the wire also clockwise so that when you are tightening the screw, the wire would remain rigidly connected along with thread of the screw. He also taught us how to solder the wires properly. These little tricks always stayed with us and imparted enormous confidence to succeed in our lives.
After MSc in 1959, Krishnaji encouraged us to go abroad, particularly to USA. In those days, there were no entrance examinations and admission in the US universities was done on the basis of recommendation letters and grades. With the key recommendation letters from Prof. Krishnaji, three of the first five top position holders in the batch of 1959, were admitted in the Physics Departments of Harvard (Bhupendra Mathur), Yale (Gyanendra Tandon) and Columbia (Rameshwar Bhargava, the author). These three universities were considered among the top ten universities in the world. The training in MSc classes helped us to continue doctoral degrees without any difficulty. At Columbia University in 1960, nine out of twenty professors were Nobel laureates (before or after 1960).
To face these giants of Physics and not to get intimidated was exactly the motivation Professors Krishnaji and Rajendra Singh had provided us.
In my visits back home at Allahabad, I always made sure that I met Prof. Krishnaji. He remained very keen in finding what I was doing in science and technology. In fact, it was always a long conversation because he was truly a scientist with intense curiosity.
In my last visit, shortly before his death, I visited him only with an intention of paying my respects, but not to disturb him otherwise.
His wife and family said that he should not be disturbed. Once he came to know that I want to see him, he summoned me immediately and sat upright to talk with me. He kept asking all sorts of different questions about Nanotechnology (the field I have been pursuing since 1990). I wish there would be more people in science who care about its value to humanity.
I end this very brief Tribute by showing my respect to Prof.
Krishnaji with a statement made by Prof. I. I. Rabi (Nobel Prize winner, Founder of Columbia Radiation Lab. and mentor to 10 Nobel Laureates). Prof. Rabi was asked: what is your religion? He said “Good experimental physics brought him nearer to God” “and good physics was walking the path of God”. Rabi was reiterating his passion for finding truth through experimental physics. That is what Prof.
Krishnaji did most of his life in the most difficult circumstances that existed in India.
A photograph of the MSc class of 1959, which includes the key members of the Physics staff at Allahabad University, is shown in Part C of this book (see Figure 2, p. 162).
Professor Krishnaji, My Teacher Bhartendu Srivastava 64, Longsword Drive, Toronto, Ontario, M1V 3A3, Canada E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org I have been very fortunate to be a student of Professor Krishnaji and feel honored to write about him. Krishnaji was not only a good teacher, but he was an excellent research guide. In addition, he was a physicist whose scientific concepts were so clear that I have not met anyone in or outside India who could be compared to him.
He, by his example and teaching, made me understand physical principles and concepts clearly. His qualities as a teacher will be discussed later in this tribute. Also, Krishnaji was a very good man who loved his students, was always ready to help them and was very accessible to them. I felt that I could discuss with him any problem of my life anytime I wanted.
In 1953, after passing my Intermediate Exam from the Railway Inter College, in Tundla, Uttar Pradesh, I along with other two students were asked by our Principal to study at the Allahabad University, in Allahabad. My father was an Assistant Station Master in the Indian railways and was stationed at Tundla then. He was reluctant to send me to Allahabad, but my vidushi mother convinced him to permit me to go there. It brought some hard financial condition in the family, but my grandfather (Baba ji) and other relatives helped us. So in July of 1953, I went to Allahabad University. Allahabad was the largest city I had ever lived in until then. We had no electricity in our homes in Tundla. In Railways, only English, other Europeans and Anglo Indians were in the higher administration and enjoyed the comforts of running water and electricity. In fact, Tundla being an important junction had only Europeans or Anglo-Indian Station Masters until early 1950s.
In my first year of BSc, I was a student of Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics. There were four sections of the BSc Class. In Physics, my lecturer of Electricity and Magnetism was an ordinary teacher and could not explain the subject properly. One of my classmates from Tundla, Banwari Lal Sharma (now retired Professor of Mathematics, University of Allahabad), had Krishnaji in his section and he recommended me to sit in his class. So, I tried to attend Krishnaji’s lectures whenever I could and took notes. That was a large class and he probably did not know that I was an unauthorized student sitting in his class. Fortunately, in the second year Professor Krishnaji was teaching us in our tutorials and he was also our teacher of practical (laboratory) classes in Physics. This is where I saw his teaching skills and his gentle behavior towards his students. He was really good in experiments and would often fix the instruments right before our eyes. He would explain the theory also very lucidly and clearly. In the Physics final exams, I had scored over 70% marks and I believe that Krishnaji’s teaching and guidance was responsible for this achievement. During this time, I had visited even his home, along with other students, a few times for assistance. Krishnaji expected high standard from his students and encouraged them to achieve it.
He was not overgenerous with marks and this made students to work hard.
In July of 1955, I joined MSc (Physics) at Allahabad University.
At that time, Krishnaji was also in-charge of the newly opened J.K.
(Juggilal Kamlapat) Institute of Applied Physics and he encouraged me to join the three year course of MSc (Tech). Some physics professors were advising me against it and even my father was not too eager as it meant one more year at the University. But I joined MSc (Tech) course; we were 12 first class BSc students studying Electronics and Communication there in the first batch. Dr. Prem Swarup was the first faculty to be appointed at the institute. He was Professor Krishnaji’s first PhD student. We all were thinking that Professor Krishnaji will become the Head of the J.K Institute, but the University of Allahabad, instead, appointed Dr. Satyendra Nath Ghosh who was in USA at that time. Since Krishnaji did not have a PhD degree, we were told that he could not get that position. We knew that although Krishnaji did not have a PhD degree, he had already guided students who had obtained PhD degrees. Although Professor Ghosh had a PhD, he was not specialized in Electronics, and had not guided research students; he was more of a theoretical scientist than an experimental one. The University Administration had ignored all this. However, Krishnaji took it in good spirit and always praised Ghosh Sahib (as he was called) in front of us. As mentioned above, Ghosh Sahib was not an expert in Electronics and this was clear to us, the students, from his teaching. The calamity of all this was that out of 12 students, only five students passed after three years in the first batch. Four had failed in the first year. Three left, one was selected in Indian Administrative Service (IAS), one was selected in the Bank Management Services and the other I believe became a college teacher.
During these three years, we depended on Krishnaji. His greatness became clear that when Dr. Ghosh, after one year stay at Allahabad, went back to USA, Professor Krishnaji filled the vacuum very efficiently. We, the students, were very happy to have him back in the J.K. Institute. Because of his teaching, I believe I obtained a first division in my MSc (Tech). Justice Desai’s son Rajni Kant Desai topped the class. Although I was second until the second year, Mr.
Mohan Singh Bisht overtook the second position in the final third year Exam. Thus, I got the third position. Desai won a scholarship to do his PhD at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, Bisht was appointed in the J.K. Institute as a lecturer and I was awarded Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) scholarship to do PhD.
I was fortunate to be accepted by Professor Krishnaji as his 5th PhD Student. Dr. Prem Swarup was his 1st student, Dr. Ganesh Prasad Srivastava the 2nd, Dr. Shankar Swarup the 3rd, Dr. Suresh Chandra the 4th, and I was the fifth student. I was asked to work on the microwave properties of ferrites. I was to make ferrite and then study its properties. There were few Electronics students at that time in India and even fewer who had obtained 1st division marks. So I was called for several interviews for jobs. Krishnaji never discouraged me to apply at other places and even abroad.
Since Rajni Kant Desai had gone to McGill University, Montreal, as mentioned above, on a World University Scholarship of Canada, I was familiar with that University. Allahabad had two English daily Newspapers then, namely Amrit Bazar Patrika and the Leader. I saw an advertisement in Amrit Bazar Patrika and thought that the scholarship was to be awarded to a student from the J.K. Institute, so I applied. However, when I went to deliver my application to the English Department, which was the northern centre of the World University Scholarship, the clerk told me that it was to be awarded in any science or engineering subject to a student in the whole of India.
I was shocked and wanted to withdraw my application. But the clerk said, “babu ji ab le aye hein to de diijiye; jab uparwala deta hai to chhappar faad ke detaa hai” meaning, “Sir, now since you have brought it so submit it, just give it to me; when God gives, he gives it by tearing the roof of a hut.” So I submitted the application but had no hope of ever winning the scholarship. I had forgotten about it all together. This was sometimes in the autumn of October or November of 1958. As you will read later, I did get the scholarship.