Collating memories of UVCE etched by many of our alumni, here it is presenting to you – “Decadewise Memories”. This article is a narrative by Prof. G Parameshwarappa, Prof M.A.L. Thathachar, Dr. R Natarajan, Mr. M S Ram Kumar, Mr. T S Prahlad and Dr. M Narayana Swamy about their time at UVCE in 1950’s.

I was indeed happy and, in fact, delighted to know that Prof.(Dr).S. Ramegowda, Ex-Chairman, AICTE, New Delhi; Prof.(Dr) R Natarajan, the present chairman of AICTE, New Delhi; and Padama Bhushana Dr. V.K.Aatre, Scientific Advertiser to Defense ministry and Secretary, Departmant of Defence Research and Development, Government of India, New Delhi; Dr. N Seshagiri, Ex.Director Genaral of National Informatics Centre New Delhi, and presently the U.N.O Export on Information Technology; and Dr.T.S Prahlad, Distinguished Scientist and Ex. Director, National Aerospace Laboratories Bangalore, are going to be honored on 22nd September, 2002; at UVCE, Bangalore in view of their outstanding contributions made in the field of Technical Education and Technology and their notable services rendered to the country, to be inaugurated by Dr.G.Parameshwara, the Honorable Minister for Higher Education, Government of Karnataka.

In fact, this Felicitation In honor of these five distinguished alumni should have been arranged at least about two years ago; but as the saying goes, ‘Better late than never’, it is a matter of great satisfaction that this unique special felicitation function is arranged now. In this connection, I would appreciate and congratulate Dr.H.N.Shivashankar, the present Principal of UVCE, my former esteemed colleague, a good teacher and a first rate academician for having arranged this happy function, though late.

Ever since the establishment of our Great Alma Mater, the University Vishvesvaraya College of Engineering, Bangalore, in 1917, it is remained as one of the prestigious premier technical institutions in the country and enjoys high reputation among the comity of engineering colleges in the country as well as abroad. This is due to the total commitment to the teaching profession pursued steadfastly with a sense of dedication, discipline and efficiency by all the teachers who have served this institution right from the beginning.

Many of the alumni who have left the portals of this great institution in several thousands, have adorned the highest positions in all walks of life in general and in their respective professions in particular with commendable efficiency and dignity and have brought great name and fame to this alma mater of ours.

Out of my nearly 24 years of service in this great institution (excluding my service in Karnataka Regional Engineering College, Surathkal and in then Government Electrical Department) I have the privilege of having served as the Professor and Head, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, UVCE for nearly 17 years. During this period of about 24 years, I had the fortune of working under three Illustrious Professors (who later became Principals of UVCE), i.e., late Prof.K.Channabasavaiah, late Prof. B.R.Narayana Iyengar and late Prof. D.B.Narasimhaiah. I should say that they were role models to be emulated by all teachers in all respects. They commanded lot of respect, regards and admiration among the entire teaching and non-teaching staff of the college. They were persons of honesty, integrity and sterling character in addition to their competence in their subjects. The whole atmosphere was congenial and disciplined. They used to often and often that, “Discipline is the instrumentality through which the whole system works. Discipline without dissent is regimentation and dissent without discipline is anarchy”. Teachers during these three well known Professors were highly disciplined and they were all working with the sense of motivation, devotion and eagerly were giving their best to their students in their academic pursuits.

Unfortunately over a period of years, the situation in UVCE has changed. IJVCE has suffered all these years due to lack of adequate financial support from both the University and Government. Thus it has not made headway regarding expansion of infrastructural facilities by way of recruiting highly qualified staff, latest equipments or taking advantage of technical advances, or provision for adequate research facilities.

One bottle-neck for UVCE to remain almost stagnant is that there is no space around to expand since it is located in the heart of the city and secondly the civil engineering department and architecture department are shifted to Jnana Bharathi campus of the University whereas mechanical, electrical, electronics, computer science and engineering including I.T department are in the city campus. This is a lop sided expansion of UVCE many members of the staff are doctorates their respective disciplines and highly competent and experienced. They have been striving hard that the fair name of this college is not tarnished and the glory it enjoyed in the beginning is restored. It is starved without funds from the government and as well as from the University. In spite of these deficiencies, rated as one of the best in the country even though some of the colleges started during early 1960’s and early 1980’s in the private sector has apparently overtaken UVCE with respect to physical facilities and overall performance mainly due to publicity. It is not enough if UVCE is a very good institution and it should appear to be very good.

During the period of late Dr.B.K.Ramaiah as Principal of UVCE, there was the practice of encouraging and honoring good teachers by suitable Best Teacher Awards as an incentive and inspiration to other teachers so that they too should strive hard to become good teachers. I remember that, under this scheme, Prof. A.Veerabhadrappa and Prof. N.S.Somasekhar were adjudged as good teachers and were awarded Best Teacher Awards during Silver Jubilee Celebration of Indian Independence. If that scheme is abandoned now, it should be restored very early.

But unfortunately I am sorry to mention the following:

Now-a-days, most people working in all fields of activity have remained conscious of their rights and privileges instead of being conscious of their duties and responsibilities as first and foremost. If all of us do our duties faithfully and discharge our responsibilities satisfactorily, automatically rights and privileges will be conferred on us. Such of those who have chosen teaching as their profession must always conscious of their defined functions as teachers and perform them fully.

The functions performed by the faculty in the sphere of higher education have of late become the focus of attention for a number of reasons. It cannot be denied that the growing concern about malaise of higher education is partly rooted in the falling standards of ‘work ethic’ within it. Status cannot be purchased. It must be earned and can be earned only along the difficult and tortuous path to professional excellence. While there are short cuts and easy ways (corruptions, malpractices, unethical methods, plagiarism-plagiarism are those teachers who take/steal and use other persons thoughts, writings, publications or even invention as their own to affluence, there are none to status. But the tainted money earned or amassed cannot buy status. Intelligent students can always distinguish the real from the spurious. Excellent/good teachers with good moral Character and conduct inspire respect from students are held in high esteem. They earn this invariably through commitment to potential excellence which is not easily quantifiable.

The credit for bringing such a change in thinking must be attributed to the vision and deep knowledge and sustained conviction of the honorable minister for higher education, Dr.G.Parameshwara who matches himself with any first rate academician of any University.

On this occasion of bringing out a Commemorative Volume of UVCE, I thank very sincerely our Vice Chancellor, Dr.M.S.Thimmappa and Dr.H.N.Shivashankar for having invited me to participate in this august function. Lastly, I recll to my mind and heart the unstinted co-operation I got from all the staff(teaching and non-teaching) particularly from the middle level cadre of the teaching staff of the department of engineering I express my genuine grateful thanks to all of them on this memorable occasion.

– Prof, G.Parameshwarappa, Ex-Professor, Electrical Engineering, U.V.C.E

Eighty five years is a respectable age for an individual; it is no less so, for an institution. Our college has nourished young talented persons for this long and has been a springboard for launching them into professional life. As I write these words, my mind leaps back by nearly half a century to the time when I entered the college as a fresh student.

It was the year 1955; India was still in the first decade after independence. There was enthusiasm all around with the expectation that we would become an advanced nation in a short time. Some demand for engineers had been created because of several national projects and admission to the college was tough. There were only two engineering colleges in Bangalore by then, the other one being B.M.S College. In fact, only two more colleges existed in the whole state of old Mysore, one at Mysore city and the other at Davanagere.

The number of branches available in the B.E programme was only three; Civil, Mechanical and Electrical. Maximum employment opportunity existed for civil engineers particularly because many irrigation projects and the next in order of importance were mechanical engineers needed in industries which were coming up in second five year plan. Electrical engineers had limited scope, the Electricity Board being the only major employer. I remember one well wisher who came running to me on seeing my name in the electrical branch, strongly urging me to change my branch to civil or mechanical; as otherwise my professional future would be bleak! The great advances in electrical engineering and electronics were to come much later.

There were no computers or hand-held computers at that time! Electronics was itself was a young discipline, studied mostly by radio engineers. The digital computer was a fledging device confined to laboratories in universities such as Harvard and Princeton. The only calculators better known were heavy mechanical equipment used mostly in census offices and the like. However engineering relies much on numerical calculations and the only way one could do extensive calculations was by using the slide rule. I remember the excitement I had while buying an Aristo Studio slide rule which was among the best and was made in Germany. The once all-powerful slide rule is now probably confined to museums and collections of senior engineers!

We were lucky to have a galaxy of eminent teachers and a benevolent administration. Prof. K. Channabasavaiah, a leading expert in electrical machine design, was the Principal when I entered the college. His talents were soon recognized and he was elevated as the first Director of Technical Education. An unfortunate side effect was that we could not have the benefit of excellent courses given him till then.

Prof. B. R. Narayana Iyengar was our next Principal. He was well known for his courses on machine design both at elementary and advanced levels. We enjoyed his lucid explanations and witty remarks in the classrooms. As the Principal, he could enforce discipline without causing discomfort. It was more appropriate that later he became President of the Institute of Engineers (India).

One teacher who stands out in my recollection is Prof. K. Venkatachaliengar. He was the Professor of Mathematics and well known for his profound scholarship. He could enliven classes by anecdotes of mathematicians and historical evolution of major mathematical problems. He could introduce a flavor of research into the minds of students and added much to the intellectual environment in the college. In fact he was the first to give a talk on satellites when the world has thrilled by the launching of Sputnik by the Russians. He was equally at ease in the history, and gave a talk on the 1857 War of Independence at the time of its centenary. I was very happy to be in the audience when he was given the prestigious Vishvesvaraya Award by the Chief Minister a few months ago.

There were several other memorable teachers and for want of space, I am unable to name them all. Most of them came on deputation from PWD or the Electricity board. This background enabled them to give a strong practical bias to their teaching. We had a good glimpse of the engineering problems at the end of our stay in college. The curriculum was broad based. Even though we were in electrical branch, we worked in carpentry, smithy, foundry and the lathe shop. We even did road survey at Ghati Subramanya for a week! There was quite an emphasis on working with hands. Educational tours all over India and project surveys helped us to get a balanced outlook on the profession. A generally cordial relationship existed between students and teachers. Small classes promoted close interactions. The many drawing classes and laboratories increased the frequency of such interactions and led to a healthy environment.

Bangalore City had not developed so much. However, the college was at a crucial location even then, as it was near Central College, Department of Public Instruction Vidhana Soudha. The traffic around the college was sparse and students were mostly using bicycles. Scooter was unknown and very had motorbikes. There was a long cycle stand opposite Central College to accommodate all the cycles. The college quadrangle was justly famous for its converging sides and was the venue of many lectures and shows. It was used even by outside agencies for their functions. I remember the visiting West Indies Cricket team being felicitated there by the State Cricket Association. Many found memories of the college are bound with events in the quadrangle.

During the course of nearly fifty years, the engineering profession has greatly improved its importance and stature. The college has contributed much to this Endeavour. I am proud to have been a student of the college and I hope the college will continue its noble task of creating engineers and nurturing talent. With the establishment of so many engineering colleges at present, especially around Bangalore, there exists an intense competition among them. In spite of this situation, I wish the college will maintain its own high position and move on to celebrate its centenary in grand manner.

 – Prof. M.A.L. Thathachar

Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

 I joined U.V.C.E, then Govt. Engineering College, in 1955. My course was in Mechanical Engineering. After an initial phase of settling down, I got used to the course conditions and attendance requirements, curriculum and performance criteria. Though the course termed mechanical engineering it was highly comprehensive and it included civil and electrical engineering subjects which enabled a graduate to perform and interact effectively with other professors, engineers and students.

It is important for an engineer to have knowledge and practical experience in areas other than his declared discipline also, some subjects of civil engineering like Design and Construction were taught. We had to perform survey with the modalities in Cubbon Park. Students were also taken for site survey programmed in Ghati Subramanya near Bangalore for a week. All these and e visit to Yelahanka Brick and Tile Factory were very exciting events. Activities in Mechanical Engineering were absolving work in the foundry and hands on work in forging some steel items, experimental work with water turbines like Pelton Wheel and Francis Turbines are presently deep in memory. We conducted a number of tests on Diesel Engines and Steam Engines which gave me a great deal of useful knowledge and motivation. Hands on work with electrical equipments like Motors, Generators and Convertors etc. were of great interest and used to me in my professional career following my graduation in 1959 with I class and a rank.

Our principals Prof. Channabasavaiah and Prof. B.K.N Iyanger were simply and highly interactive with students. All the professors and staff members were very co-operative, strict but friendly leaving very pleasant memories in my mind of my days in college. The need to be present in the college by 7:30 am prompted me to be punctual and leave my home at 7 am and ride on my bicycle all the way to the college.

I coaxed my son also to join this college and take up Mechanical engineering in 1988, in spite of the fact that he had obtained admission in a college like VJTI, Bombay. His student career was also excellent and passed out with very high marks in 1992. An engineer’s successful career depends largely on his formative years. The engineering course is a major step in this direction. Students should take the course with dedication and love. Multidisciplinary education and exposure is absolutely essential for a broad and practical understanding and effective performance over a long-lasting professional career. This is particularly of great importance today’s environment of higher professionalism with a tendency to remain as an island. 

My memories of my Alma mater are highly valuable and I cherish them greatly and I wish that UVCE will remain as a source of excellence in future too. 

– M. S. Ram Kumar, Former Director, Baba Atomic Research Centre

I am extremely happy to learn that the University Vishvesvaraya College of Engineering, Bangalore has completed 85 years of its existence and a Commemorative Volume is being brought out on the occasion.

I had the privilege of doing my BE degree course in Mechanical Engineering at UVCE during the years 1957-1961. It already had a great name and Prof. B.R Narayana Iyengar was the Principal and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at that time. He was a great personality- academically, as a teacher and as a human being, he and the rest of the staff took considerable interest in the new students and helped us adjust to the new atmosphere of professional college. We learnt a variety of new subjects – some well and some not so well. For me, staying in the hostel, joining NCC and going to camps and participating in extra-curricular activities like debates was all part of learning and growing up. I should thank the college immensely for the foundation it laid for my further professional growth.

Time has moved on. The engineering technology has changed enormously. There is great responsibility on colleges like UVCE to bring out first rate engineering graduates who can quickly get into modern technological fields. Teaching and research must go further for this. Modern equipment becomes essential for training students to a higher level of competence. There is an urgent need for colleges like UVCE to increase their interactions with the excellent institutes of higher learning, well equipped R&D laboratories and modern high technology industries that exist in Bangalore. New initiatives need to be taken and I am sure UVCE and Bangalore University are fully aware of this.

Let me once again wish all the best to my alma mater and trust that it will be one of the best institutions in the country in the years to come.

– T.S Prahlad, Distinguished Scientist, National  Aerospace Laboratories.

In June 1956 I joined the BE degree course in UVCE at that time it was called University College of Engineering and belonged to the University of Mysore. UVCE had only three departments. They were Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering. At that time seats for Civil Engineering was in high demand, next was Mechanical and last was Electrical Engineering. I opted for Electrical Engineering as I was interested in it. There were only 14 students in Electrical course and no girl students in UVCE.

At that time there was no electronics course or computer course at UVCE. Shockley in USA just then had invented the transistor. It was practically not heard in Bangalore. In Electrical Engineering course students studied mainly Electrical Machines, Transmission and Distribution and some Mechanical subjects and some civil engineering subjects including surveying was compulsory.

We had very interesting lecturers and professors to name some of them Prof. B.R. Narayana Iyengar, Prof. Venkatachala Iyengar, Prof. Ramesh, Mr. S. Lakshman Reddy, Mr. A. Veerabhadrappa, Prof. M. P. Chowdaiah and Prof. D. B. Narasimhaiah.

I still remember the educational tour in which we visited many places all over India in which Mr. Lakshman Reddy accompanied us.

In those days there were only few motor vehicles in Bangalore. There were no auto rickshaws. I used to come to college in an imported Italian scooter, no scooters were manufactured in India. I was the only one having a scooter in the college and there were only about a dozen of scooters in Bangalore! Some of my colleague nick named me as “Scooter Swamy”. All the students worked hard and I passed out in first class in 1960.    

My stay in UVCE was highly fruitful laying secure foundations to my future.

– Dr. M. Narayana Swamy

During the period 1957-1961, when I was a student at University Vishvesvaraya College of Engineering, this college was the best in the state and it was preferred destination for all the students in the State. In fact, the students of this college bagged most of the Mysore University Examination. This was largely due, not only to the intrinsic merit of the students, but also to the contributions to the excellent faculty in the college, each of whom exhibited commitment and devotion to teaching.

The college also had so many talented Sportsmen winning laurels, not only at State levels but also at the National levels in Tennis, Basket ball Cricket and so on. It is the testimony of the Quality of the Institution that many of the alumni of that period are now occupying very high positions, in the Private and Public sectors, IIT’s and Universities, in India and abroad.

It is a pleasant duty to acknowledge our indebtedness to our alma mater for providing the platform for our future success. I wish the University Vishvesvaraya College of Engineering all success in its endeavors to educate and train our youth for successful professional careers.

– Dr. R. Natarajan,  Chairman, AICTE, New Delhi