Alumni Meet at Belur Math

Tapan Misra

Any endeavour undertaken by Ramakrishna Mission, is always carried out with grace, ease, poise but in scale. So was two day All India Alumni Meet of students of institutions of RK Mission, starting from today, 28th December 2019, at Belur Math in Kolkata. This is a first ever initiative to bring together vast talent pool, produced by RK Mission, under one umbrella. The meet was inaugurated by Swami Smarananandaji, President of the Order of Ramakrishna Mission. Shri Bibek Debroy, Alumni of RK Mission, Narendrapur and Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the PM, was the guest of honour.

Apart from all their humanitarian initiatives spread over 200 centres, all across globe, their contributions to India in terms of producing quality minds, disciplined citizens is very highly commendable. They bring out extraordinary minds out of ordinary people.

I was fortunate to address the gathering of 3500 alumni. It was my sheer fortune to share the dias with our illustrious alumni Shri Barindra Sanyal of TCS Foundation, Prof. Jagadeesh Gopalan, Professor, IISC, Justice Kotishwar Singh, Rtd. Justice of Guwahati HC, Justice Shailesh Sinha, Rtd. Justice of Patna HC, Shri Nalli. K. Chetti, Industrialist, Shri Sujit Kumar Sarkar, Former DG, WB Police and Dr. Har Vinod Jindal, Distinguished Physician. And we got spring on our feet when we met our classmates in those days. We felt like back to days, passed by decades, but still afresh.

I recollected my learning and take-aways from my days in RK Mission at Rahara and Narendrapur.

What I enjoyed in my days at Ramakrishna Mission were the classes on Indian Culture. Apart from formal education, we were exposed to our ancient wisdom, stories from our Puranas, Vedas, Sanskrit classics and our epics. Those stories not only conveyed drama of human fallibility and invincibility, but also a message on ethics and value systems which constitute our Dharma. Even today when I am faced with a dilemma of choosing between what is good for me and what is right for me, I hardly falter in choosing the right option. That is why, in all through out my professional life, I have opted for ethically right approach. I might have lost out personally, but to the best of my integrity, I have not allowed my country to lose out.

I still remember the classic story of young boy, Nachiketa and Yamaraja, God of death, taught by our monks. This story instilled an attitude to question even status quo. A questioning mind is fertile ground for implanting scientific temperament.

I spent my formative years studying along side children who were less fortunate than me. But they were never made to feel less blessed. I studied with orphans in Rahara and blind room mates as well as classmates in Narendrapur. My schools taught me to enjoy all the frivolities of childhood without losing empathy for less fortunate. This training stood by me when I took many decisions and actions in my professional life with a conviction that they will bring difference to common people. To me, my profession of space technologist was nothing but means to make difference on ground.

Present General Secretary, Swami Suviranandaji was my English teacher. He was very stern. He will not tolerate single mistake in spelling or grammar. Or take my Maths teacher Alok Sir. He used to confront us with very imaginative problems, requiring equal imaginations to solve them. If you can score above ninety percent in his examination,which I never could, you must be a genius. My school days taught me the importance of rigour. We were always made to feel that there is always something more to learn.

The author (centre) with friends

Many of my class mates went for higher education abroad. But most of them came back and are serving in many capacities. They include many famed professors, scientists, economists, film personalities, political leaders, CEOs, Institution Heads, Director’s of many IITs, NITs, VCs of universities, Admistrative Service officers of repute, Police officers and so on. I take pride that they gave preference to serving their own country. I believe, their days in our schools were behind their inspiration to serve India.

The best education I got, was on the day I was leaving, after class ten school leaving examination. Usually our school students used to perform brilliantly in board examination. But from teachers, there used to be appreciation but no applauding. But exception was made during our batch – for the first time, we were given very sumptuous lunch. We thought that four of us secured top ten ranks and that is why all the batch were given lunch as appreciation. We felt very proud of our achievements. But after the lunch, our Head Master, Swami Girijanandaji disclosed the real reason – lunch was to celebrate the fact that all of our orphan classmates secured distinction in board, securing more than 75% marks. Success is when we together succeed. Great lesson in management, which remains with me till today as guiding principle.

This first person account has been taken from the facebook wall of Tapan Misra, world renowned Distinguished Scientist and Advisor Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

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