«Edited by Govindjee Urbana, Illinois, USA and Shyam Lal Srivastava Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India i The Cover A photograph of Krishnaji (Dada), 1980 ...»
On research front, Krishnaji was advising me as to how to do literature survey and to write to a few authorities in India to learn how to make ferrites or even buy them. During this period, Krishnaji never showed us his disappointment of not being appointed as a Professor in the Applied Physics Department. Then in early 1959, he suddenly left to become a Research Scientist at the Defence Department of the Government of India, Kirkee, Poona. I was quite a novice at that time in research and was quite worried. Krishnaji assured me that he would not abandon me and asked me to pursue the literature survey and collect information on how to design ferrites in India.
On April 20, 1959, Dr. Sushil Kumar Kor, who was a lecturer in the Physics Department at Allahabad University, came to our microwave laboratory, in the J.K Institute premises and told me that there was an aerogramme from Canada for me lying in Professor Banerji’s office. Professor Kedareshwar Banerji was the then Head of Physics as well as of Applied Physics. Dr Kor took me there and when I opened it, I found that I was awarded a World University Scholarship at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.
I was surprised and thought that somebody had played a joke on me because I had not applied and not even heard the name Saskatchewan.
I told so to Dr. Kor. He said, “Don’t be a fool Bhartendu. Try to remember, you must have applied.” After a few minutes, I remembered that it was the scholarship for which I had submitted the application in the office of the English Department (see what the clerk had said to me in Hindi). That carried me to Cloud 9. I was overjoyed and it was also an honor to Allahabad University. The news was published in several newspapers. A few days later, I went to Poona for an interview and there I saw Krishnaji. I showed him the aerogramme. He was very happy and told me that a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He was worried about me.
Although, he was sure that he would not stay in Poona for very long but did not want me to waste time. So he asked me to accept it and go to Canada. I wanted to wait until his return and not go to Canada as my parents were not too enthused about it. He then told me about his personal family difficulties. His father had died early and his mother did not want him to leave India, even Allahabad. There was little opportunity for him to get a PhD in Physics specializing in Electronics.
I wondered if this made him suffer at the Allahabad University, which was a very conservative place. He left Allahabad, perhaps, only for this reason, but he may have soon realized at Poona that he liked the academic environment.
So I sailed for Canada on September 8, 1959 from Bombay (now Mumbai). He continued to advise me on research and other personal problems. I kept in touch with him even from Canada. He went to Jodhpur for professorship and then returned to Allahabad. He was made a Professor and later rose to the position of a Pro-Vice Chancellor. He later developed high blood pressure (BP); the politics of the university seemed to have taken a toll on him. He resigned from the pro-vice chancellorship and continued as a professor. He produced many PhDs. Some of his students rose to high positions in the Government as well as in private industries.
Krishnaji wanted me to return to India only when I would get a job appropriate to my qualifications, which, unfortunately did not happen. I went to the National Physical Laboratory, Delhi, as a visiting scientist for a year and met Krishnaji many times during that period.
He had promised me that he would visit us at Toronto. When he came to attend his nephew’s wedding (Govindjee’s son, Sanjay, now a Professor at University of California, Berkeley), he wanted to visit Toronto. Unfortunately, we had to go to Vancouver for a conference and so his visit did not materialize.
In February 1997, he had moved from his 14 B Bank (Ram Narain Lal) Road residence in Allahabad to his own house at Govindpur in Allahabad. I, along with my wife Uma and younger brother Shailendra (Rajju), visited him there. Krishnaji was quite sick at that time; thus, we went to see him upstairs as he could not come down, but he was keen to see me. He was suffering form high blood pressure. We spent perhaps about an hour. He wanted us to stay longer, but we were on our way to Lucknow, so we had to leave. Since he had lost his younger son Ranjan (in a car accident) and his grand daughter (Neera from allergy to chocolate), he must have been very sad (also see the Tribute by Professor Ashoka Chandra, in this book). Krishnaji opened up his heart and we had an intimate discussion on many topics including research in India and abroad, and about students who had gone abroad and about those who stayed back, the pros and the cons. He was uncomfortable to say the least with his illness at that time but he forgot his illness while talking with me. I would like to remember him with his smiling face when I was about to leave him; it was the last time I saw him.
Professor Krishnaji knew my brother Shailendra (Rajju) who was selected in the Provincial Civil Service (PCS, finance) and the other younger brother Virendra (Viroo) who obtained his MSc in Physics (Electronics) from Allahabad University; he had become a Lecturer in Physics at the Government Intermediate College, Allahabad. In fact Professor Krishnaji and his wife (Bimla) once visited our home, when I returned to India in 1964 after receiving my PhD from the University of Saskatchewan. We lived in the Railway quarters in Civil Lines then, and he met personally my parents.
I wish to recount the following memorable episodes when we had some close personal interactions; these have left lasting impressions on my mind about him.
In 1956, a few weeks after we started our classes at the J.K.
Institute, Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India, visited Allahabad and the Institute. We students were very excited.
However, when he actually came to visit the Institute, we the MSc (Tech) students, were not allowed to be inside for security reasons.
We were incensed. Next day, we published a letter to Nehru ji in two local newspapers Amrit Bazar Patrika and the Leader. I doubt that Nehru ji would have seen that letter but his advisors and the university authorities certainly did. The Proctor of the University of Allahabad scolded us. However, Krishnaji had a very good understanding of our feelings.
In 1956, I suffered from severe dysentery and was admitted to the university dispensary. Professor Krishnaji dropped in one evening.
This indicates his feelings for his students, particularly for me. Dr. P.
Ghosh and Dr. Ramesh Chandra were the doctors looking after the patients there. Dr. Ghosh was a very loud mouth and seemed to be a very rude person: I was scared of him. Krishnaji assured me that he would talk to Dr. Ramesh Chandra to look after my case.
When I was studying in the MSc (Tech), a teacher was not fair to me and I was afraid that he might fail me in the practical examinations. I talked to Krishnaji about it and he assured me with these words, “Don’t worry. A good teacher can never harm his student, specially a good student. He may not help the student, but will not harm the student. So do your best.” Krishnaji was in the Physics department when he took me as a PhD student under him. He was under pressure not to take a student from the J.K Institute of Applied Physics. I am told that his reply was that he had himself advised Bhartendu to join the MSc (Tech) and now how could he abandon him?
In 1974, he had invited me, my wife and my two children for dinner at his Bank Road (University) bungalow. When we reached there, he learnt that we were vegetarians. He quietly requested his wife to only serve vegetarian dishes. This was a very gratifying experience for me that he would have so much consideration for us.
I would like to mention here that the Late Mrs. Krishnaji was also a very gentle and pleasant person. All four children of Krishnaji: eldest Meenu (she lives in New Delhi) ; Late Deepak (he had lived in Allahabad); Late Ranjan (he had lived in Lucknow); and Chitra (she lives in USA) were also very polite. Never did they behave such that it would give me a feeling of being an unwanted visitor.
Krishnaji said many times to me that I had one thing in common with him. That was that we both used one name only. I wrote only Bhartendu and even my PhD degree from Canada is in the name of only Bhartendu. I joined the Canadian Government as a research scientist as Bhartendu and retired as a scientific services meteorologist. They had made my name as Dr. Bhartendu. In the 1980s, when computers entered our lives, and two names were required, I started writing Bhartendu Srivastava.
I end this short essay on Krishnaji by mentioning that he cared a lot for all of his research students, helped all of them and was proud of their achievements. He was an excellent teacher, research guide, mentor and above all an unusually good man. He enriched me in more ways than I can enumerate.
Professor Krishnaji and Mrs. Bimla Asthana Om P. Srivastava 12, North Honeyman Road, Whitehouse Station, NJ 08889, USA E-mails: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org I am honored to write my recollections of Professor Krishnaji and Mrs. Bimla Asthana. I referred to them as Dada & Didi (elder sister). I will be rather brief.
Dada was the most kind and generous individual I had the privilege of knowing. He played a major role in shaping my career.
In 1957, he helped me obtain admission into the J.K. (Juggilal Kamlapat) Institute at the University of Allahabad. After I completed MSc (Tech) in 1960, he helped me get a job at the Scientific Instrument Company (SICO) in New Delhi. I was not happy doing routine jobs at SICO; thus, I applied for a PhD program at several US universities.
Fortunately, I was accepted at the Michigan State University. I needed two individuals who could be my financial guarantors so that I could secure a visa to come to the USA. Dada helped me again by becoming one of those two guarantors. Unfortunately, for various reasons, I did not complete the PhD program. However, I chose the career path of business and currently I am the President and the CEO of my own company, Gulton, Inc. in South Plainfield, NJ.
Every time I returned to India, I would make sure that I met Dada & Didi. Dada appeared to be genuinely happy to see me. My wife (Joan) and kids (Anjali & Sanjay) enjoyed meeting Dada and Didi. During one of those visits to India, Dada and Didi hosted a dinner party for us (me, my wife and kids) in New Delhi. I felt proud.
I met Dada both the times he visited USA. We were honored to have Dada and Didi stay with us in New Jersey for a few days when he came to USA the second time. I was very sorry when I learned that Dada had passed away. Dada and Didi are no more but their kindness lives on.
Professor Krishnaji: My Mentor, a real Teacher, Experimentalist par excellence, a Visionary and a Great Human Being Shyam Lal Srivastava 189/129, Allenganj, Allahabad–211002, UP, India E-mail: email@example.com I was one of the lucky persons who met a real teacher - Professor Krishnaji. In the text below, I will call him Krishnaji, but each time, I mean it to be Professor Krishnaji.
I joined the University of Allahabad for my B.Sc studies, with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, in July 1956. I was one of the ten students in the physics tutorials of Krishnaji. I recall reaching the microwave laboratory in the basement of Juggilal Kamlapat (JK) Institute of Applied Physics, a big air conditioned hall filled with tall instruments humming with activity. In the middle of the hall, there were four tables in a row. Krishnaji, sitting in the center, was discussing with the teachers, I thought; it was only later that I came to know they were his research students. He looked at me, a shy fifteen and a half year old lean and thin boy from a village. When I told him that I was a student of BSc (Part I) in his tutorial, he asked some searching questions and knew all about me and my problems.
He assured me that he would help me; and, from that day till his death in 1997, he had been my mentor.
It is very difficult for me to write a memoir of a person, who has guided me every moment for more than forty years. It is, therefore, a write up of my journey of life, which was shaped by him and his wife Shrimati Bimlaji. She always treated me as her younger brother and I called her Jiya, the respected elder sister.
Being a meritorious student, I was awarded a merit scholarship, but the money was not available when I needed most in the months of July and August. Krishnaji arranged to have me tutor and coach college students in Physics and Mathematics for one hour in the evenings; this provided me just enough monthly income to meet my boarding expenses.
I had heard statistics, many times, that almost 70-75% students failed in BSc (Part I), and fearing the worst I became very regular in my studies. Krishnaji saw that I had books; he even gave me books from his own collection; in addition, I was able to borrow other books from his senior research students.
Krishnaji was always available to his students, although he was single handedly managing the 3 year-course of MSc (Tech) in Applied Physics. He personally supervised the construction of J.K. Institute of Applied Physics, arranging a generous donation from the Singhania family of Juggilal (Late Lala Juggilal) and Kamlapat (Late Lala Kamplapat), known business tycoons of Kanpur. Starting an advanced course in Electronics, and at the same time teaching BSc and MSc classes of Physics was an example of hard work set by him. His contribution to the establishment of the JK institute, unfortunately, has not been adequately recognized in the history of this institute.
I was a first year BSc student in 1956 when the mega event of inauguration of the J.K. Institute of Applied Physics took place. It was exciting for us that Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the then Prime Minister of India, spent more than half a day looking at the exhibits, and discussing the research being carried out by Krishnaji and his students; the two talked about the future plans as well. (A photograph of Pundit Nehru with Krishnaji is reproduced in Part C; see Fig.1, p.