Address presented to Dr. V. Krishnamurthy, Deputy Director,
BITS, Pilani on the eve of his retirement
We have assembled here today to express our respect, affection and good wishes and to bid farewell to you on the eve of your retirement.
You joined BITS in 1965 and brought with you a rich, varied and valuable experience of teaching and research in India and abroad. The Institute had then crossed its infancy and was poised for a giant leap on the path of innovation and for attaining new heights of excellence. A challenge of this type required ability for meticulous planning, indefatigible energy, sustained effort and firm determination. Sir, you possess all these attributes in abundant measure. In recognition of these merits, you were elevated to the position of a Deputy Director, in 1970, soon after Dr. C.R. Mitra took over as the Institute’s Director. You extended your unstinted support and cooperation for the realisation of his vision for establishing a pioneering system of education at BITS. With a rare amalgam of dynamism and sagacity, coupled with an infinite capacity for undertaking diverse responsibilities, you helped the Institute move from one peak of glory to another, with ever-increasing lustre of success.
Sir, your contribution in multifarious activities of the Institute has been so rich, so intense, and so wide-ranging, that it is difficult to mention them all. We may, however, recall a few of them. As the Vice-Chairman of BITS Senate, you conducted its deliberations most sagaciously, with prudence and judicious discernment. Many teachers who participated in the Intensive Teaching Workshops organised and conducted by you, have not only benefited from your perceptive observations but also imbibed some of the excitement and exuberance that you exuded during the discussions.
You have piloted academic reforms, written articles on educational innovation, played a leading role in policy-making, involved yourself deeply in curriculum planning, and faculty recruitment and development. You have transmitted the significance of the Institute’s achievements and aspirations with pointed force and rare effectiveness in all forums, and on all occasions – be it a freshman orientation programme, a briefing session for important visitors, or a gathering of scholars. During your visits to the United States you acted as an ambassador of BITS and gave a series of lectures on its education system. You have found it difficult to contain yourself within the narrow confines of a specialised area. You have voluntarily opted to teach courses as diverse as Comparative Religion and Comparative Indian Literature. Whatever you have chosen to teach you have brought to bear on it your usual charm and masterly touch and left an indelible mark on the young minds.
Apart from being a distinguished educationist, you are an eminent mathematician. You have taught courses practically in every branch of mathematics, at various levels, since 1947. It is largely through your efforts that the significance of Linear Algebra in undergraduate programmes was realised and it was given a place in all first-degree programmes of BITS. Besides guiding several Ph.D. and first degree Theses you have published a number of books and research papers in the areas of Linear Algebra, Functional Analysis and Combinatorial Mathematics. All the books have been very well received and appreciated. Your work, Combinatorics - Theory and Applications has won international recognition. It has been simultaneously published in India and the United Kingdom for world-wide distribution. Your forthcoming volume, namely, The Culture, Excitement and Relevance of Mathematics would be a unique addition to the world of scholarship. In view of your signal contribution to Mathematics, you have been associated with several academic and professional bodies. You have been invited to give seminars, both in national and international forums. In 1974 you were elected the President of the Indian Mathematical Society and in 1978 awarded National Fellowship by the University Grants Commission.
But it is not Mathematics alone that has occupied your time and attention. Your personality is soaked in the spirit and philosophy of Hinduism and imbibes in itself the rich cultural heritage of India. This has characterised your behaviour with humility and simplicity as reflected in your relationship with colleagues and students. You have treated with the greatest kindness all sections of BITS community. In fact, you symbolize a harmonious blend of scientific outlook and deep moral and religious fervour. Your talks and publications have generated a climate conducive to intellectual and spiritual advancement; and this we shall remember with gratitude. In times of crises, you have stood as a citadel of serenity and been an unfailing source of encouragement to others. The ideals pursued by you so successfully would continue to inspire all of us for long.
Your genial sense of humour, flashes of wit, ready sociability, we all shall miss. We would like to assure you, Sir, that we shall always remember you with deep affection and regard. We earnestly wish you, Mrs. Krishnamurthy and other members of your family a long, happy and fruitful life. We pray to God to bestow upon you his choicest blessings and to fill every moment of your life with bliss.
Friends and Colleagues
Birla Institute of Technology and Science