Category Archives: PAST EVENTS

Basant Bahaar 2015 – a musical evening

On the evening of Saturday, the 26th of September 2015, IITians and their families came together to celebrate spring with a musical event, Basant Bahaar. The event took place at the Le Beach Hut Restaurant at Dolls Point.

The attendees were enthralled with a variety of performances including instrumental, poetry, songs and dance. Performers included Lakshmi Abhishek, Uma Ayyar, Sunil Sharma, Anil Verma, Meena Kumar, Dipankar, Shailaja Chandra, Akanksha Srivastava, Abhishek Guru, Ashok Manglick. We thank all the participants for joining and supporting IITAA.

After three hours of exhilarating musical performances and great food, the evening drew to a close with a dance session.


Fireside Bytes, Episode 3 – Cracking the code on successful entrepreneurism, with Anand Deshpande (IIT-KGP)

By any measure, Fireside Bytes #3 in early June was a resounding success! 26 IITians and guests participated in an engaging and insightful round-table discussion with Anand Deshpande, CEO of Persistent Systems Inc., a $1 billion company, and this was accompanied by a delicious dinner served by The Malabar Restaurant in Crows Nest.  We thank Anand for spending his evening with us, and Vinay Singh for the introduction to Anand.

Surprising to some, there was no mention of technology or technical talk during the evening.  Instead, the focus of the discussion was on what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.  Anand was clear that IITians need to further develop selling skills, and he believes such skills can be taught.  When asked whether he preferred to hire IITians, he was candid in saying that IITians upon graduation were too expensive for his firm because of the high salaries paid by firms such as Google and Facebook, but he found them attractive after a few years of experience.

Anand also talked about an ambitious non-profit project designed to create entrepreneurs that he has founded and is leading.  We encourage you to visit his website and provide Anand with your feedback.

We welcome your ideas and suggestions for future Fireside Byte sessions. Please send them to us at

Thank you

Ramesh Karnani and Satish Chandar.

An engaging and fun evening with Anand Deshpande
(please click on photos to view larger image)

Fireside Bytes, Episode 2 – Managing Stress for Success, with HH Bhakti Rasamrta Swami

Event Background

All of us face increasing stress in our everyday lives, be it at work or on the home front. It may be as mundane as getting through the day’s to-do lists or more profound as dealing with emergencies, or with disability, long term illness or even loss of family members and friends; we all deal with stress differently. The objective of this event was to give more holistic and philosophical approach to managing stress with both mind and body.

The guest speaker for the evening was HH Bhakti Rasamrta Swami, who brought long association with and dedication to the ISKCON movement.

The event was organised by Dr. Ankit Agarwal, and was in continuation of the series launched by Mr. Ramesh Karnani and Mr. Satish Chandra along with the invaluable help from Mr. Amit Alampally on behalf of EC under the banner of “Fireside Bytes”.

The event took place on 20th of April, 2015 at University of Technology (UTS) in the city. Despite powerful storm and heavy rain, nearly 25 IITians and family members got together and enthusiastically participated in the talk and discussion. It is worth mentioning about the sumptuous Vegan Chinese dinner with desert that was loved by all [Virginia Woolf quoted “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”].

 Key Highlights

  1. The event kick started with a wonderful singing by Ms. Lakshmi, who sang “Kasturi Tilakam” from “Krishna Karnamrutham”. Her singing was appreciated by Swamiji, and all other guests present.
  2. Ankit introduced Swamiji and shared his experience about his association with Swamiji, which dates back to IIT Kanpur days.
  3. Swamiji then gave a comprehensive talk on the topic, starting with the basics of Karma, and moved up and up to the philosophy behind vegetarianism and different modes of nature (goodness, passion, and ignorance). At every stage, he made a link between these philosophies and success that can be achieved without stress.
  4. Discussion and Q&A followed Swamiji’s talk, and went up to 45 minutes as compared to 15 minutes planned earlier. One can imagine the level of inquisitiveness among people present over there.
  5. Satish concluded the session by highlighting the major achievements of IITAA, and appealed all the IITians non-members to join the association.
  6. A sumptuous Vegan Chinese dinner was served after the event, which gave enough time for hanging out with IIT mates.

It was a great evening altogether.

Please click below to watch the talk:

Fireside Bytes, Episode 1 – The Rise of 3D Printing, with Satish Chandar

Event Background

IITAA event calendar had a fantastic start to the year with the inaugural edition of ‘Fireside Bytes’ – a series of ‘theme-based’ networking events and workshops.

Nearly 30 IITians and family members got together at Dhakshin restaurant in Crows Nest to participate in what was an exciting and stimulating discussion – not to mention the most delicious South Indian snacks degustation menu that was on offer. 🙂

What was it all about?

The session for the ‘first episode’ was led by Satish Chandar and tackled a super-interesting and relevant topic around 3D Printing. In particular, the focus was to discuss the benefits of 3D printers, demonstrate some real-life use-cases and share ideas on how we could get the best out of them.

Satish was supported by Howard Wood from 3D Printing Studio, one of the most prominent advocates of 3D printing and host of a popular TedX event in Sydney.

Satish and Howard covered off:

  1. History, trends and benefits of 3D Printing
  2. Processes, common use cases and materials
  3. Common printer models their respective features and trade-offs

We had a real-life personal 3D printer and a number of actual ‘printed’ objects made out of different materials and printer types on display.

Satish Chandar talks about 3D printing
Satish Chandar talks about 3D printing


Howard Wood from 3D Printing Studio addressing the audience
Howard Wood from 3D Printing Studio addressing the audience


Key Highlights

It was a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening session with a few interesting sparks of brilliance and light-hearted fun bytes:

  1. Great networking opportunity with a very interesting bunch of IITians from a variety of professional pursuits – from business consulting to medical device design to film production
  2. Being transported to nerd-heaven as Ranga and Raja debated whether a triangular mesh or a trapezoidal would be optimal to “scan” objects to make their printed replicas
  3. Checking out 3D printed high-heel shoes
  4. Munching on specially crafted mini dosa!

All in all, a great evening well-spent learning about 3D printing and hanging out with IIT mates!





– Amit Alampally

photos courtesy Ramesh Karnani and Samit Chandra

IITAA Annual Picnic 2015

IITAA members, along with their families, spent a relaxing day at the Lake Parramatta reserve on Sunday, March 15, 2015. The day came with lovely weather for a picnic. There was a beautiful view of the lake, and a nice breeze to keep the sun from making everyone uncomfortable. The volunteers set up the picnic area with the IITAA banners and arranged nibbles and drinks. By late morning, families began to assemble, with each bringing a dish for all to enjoy. There was a wide variety of food to be savoured including samosas, sandwiches, dhoklas, guacamole, biryani, fried rice, paneer, potato bake, dahi chaat, grapes and muffins.  Everyone enjoyed the great food and the excellent company. When all had finished their picnic meals, they settled with a game of Bingo. Three gift vouchers were given away to the winners of the game. The picnic broke up in the afternoon with everyone returning to their daily lives, carrying memories of a day well-spent with friends.





Curtain raiser for the Education Partnership conference

6th Oct 2014, Sydney: The curtain raiser to tomorrow’s Special Conference on Education Partnership with India took place at the splendid home of Satish and Suchitra Chandar at Greenwich on Monday, Labour Day evening.

Visiting Indian Academics Prof Uday Desai- Director IIT Hyderabad, Prof Amar Samanta (IIT Kharagpur), Prof Dheeraj Sanghi (IIT Kanpur), and Prof Sandeep Singh (IIT- Roorkee) mingled with current IITAA members while a series of delicacies (catering from Laughing Ganesha  Restaurant, Lane Cove) helped break the ice. Before the sun could go down, professional photographer NG Binu herded us together for a group photograph, which by this time included Mr Sunjay Sudhir- Consul General of India, Mr Neville Roach AO (Australia India Institute) and Dr. Marlene Kanga (Innovations Australia) and their spouses.

A fifth academic, Prof Aloke Ghoushal of IIT Guwahati missed the evening, alas, when his Air India flight from Guwahati to Delhi was cancelled, but will be present at tomorrow’s Conference we are told.

The combination of our host’s selection of classical music, a leafy and discreetly lit back yard, the perfect weather and exquisite food and sweets made for a most enjoyable evening. The smaller numbers in attendance meant that lesser mortals like myself (with only one degree and no patents to his name) could rub shoulders at will with intelligentsia from India and people of distinction from Sydney over a glass of choice wine. Thus, in one pleasant evening one could clarify the terms of reference on Overseas Citizenship of India from the CGI, learn why Prof Desai thinks Bangalore is the city of the future for young graduates and obtain tips from Mrs Gladys Roach who is the last word on which chocolates to buy in the supermarkets.

-contributed by Paul Roberts

Photos courtesy by Binu Photography (

India Australia Education Partnership Conference – A report

The Australia India Business Council (AIBC) and IITians Association of Australia (IITA) Conference on Education Partnership with India in the New era took place on 7th Oct 2014 (3:00 pm – 8:00 pm) at the NSW Dept of Trade and Investment, L47 MLC Center, Sydney.

I arrived at the base level  of the MLC building to find our respected guests from India sitting at a table in the atrium because of an evacuation drill at Level 47. Not to be fobbed off with this minor obstacle, IITAA President Sundar P Siva led the delegation up to the Conference Room where we found our name badges ready and the Centre’s hospitality staff in attendance.

Mr Ramesh Karnani, Chairman, IITAA Conference Committee welcomed the participants and introduced the Speakers and Guests, urging all to take advantage of the marvellous surroundings and enjoy a fabulous Conference.

IITAA -AIBC Conference on Education Partneships
IITAA – AIBC Conference on Education Partnerships

Keynote Speakers

The Conference got off to a lively start with Mr Sunjay Sudhir holding that if he were not here as Consul General he would have been here as an IITAA member. He pointed out the opportune timing of the event, bracketed between the visit of Mr Tony Abbott to India and  next month’s G20 Summit in Brisbane, to be attended by Indian PM Narendra Modi. The coming branching out of IIT-D into a campus in Mauritius augured well as a sign of India’s ability to forge overseas platforms in the field of Higher Education.

Prof. Mary O’Kane, NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer spoke of the scope for collaboration between the IITs and the State of NSW with its 8 major Universities and several research hubs. She listed global research partnerships with Australian organisations, such as the Sydney Harbour Research Programs under SIMS (The Sydney Institute of Marine Science).

Expert Panel: IITs Open for Global Connections

Expert Panel: Aloke Ghoshal, Dheeraj Sanghi, Uday Desai, Amar Samanta, Sandeep Singh
Expert Panel (Left to Right): Aloke Ghoshal (IIT Guwahati), Amar Samanta (IIT Kharagpur), Uday Desai (IIT Hyderabad), Dheeraj Sanghi (IIT Kanpur) and Sandeep Singh (IIT Roorkee)

Prof. Uday Desai, Director, IIT Hyderabad opened the session for the Expert Panel 1 in spirited style, commenting that as audience he was being distracted by the brilliant view of Sydney harbour in the rear. He explained that in the IITs the shift towards PG courses and Research only began in the 90s- IITs were seen as teaching institutions up to that point; the new trends would perhaps inhibit “Academic Arthritis” which may have set in. In terms of building bridges he highlighted the Indian median age of 23.5 years and referred to the case of Shantaram aka Gregory Roberts who was spectacularly successful in building bridges across the India-Australia divide. Prof. Desai saw the four areas eminently suitable for research collaboration being 1) Energy 2) Water management 3) Health care and 4) Skills importation.

Prof. Aloke Ghosal, Dean of Acadamic Affairs, IIT Guwahati noted that IIT-G was the first among the second generation of IITs and was ranked in the top 100 young universities of the world under 50 years. He exhibited a video showcasing the Institutes campus, it’s blend of top class facilities and natural beauty, leading to its nomenclature of the Happy Campus. The Institute currently has forty four active Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) on academic and research collaborations with various educational and research institutes across the world. Eleven international and national MoUs were signed during 2014 with institutes like Macquaire University (Australia), PolytechGroup (France), HOF University of Applied Sciences (Germany), Bretagne (France), Ecole Centrale de Nantes (France) and Ecole Polytechnique Montreal (UK). Currently, there are 34 foreign students enrolled for various fulltime programmes at IIT Guwahati. Eight out of them will receive degrees in the 2014 Convocation.

Prof. Dheeraj Sanghi, Professor of Computer Science and Dean of Academic Affairs, IIT Kanpur spoke of how IIT-Knp had been in the vanguard of Computer Science in India since the 60s and collaboration was in its very DNA through the nature of its creation alongside some of the Silicon Valley Universities. Collaborations were in place for major projects such as Clean Up the Ganges (particularly as the Institute was located on the river). The different IITs were now competitors for students and faculty, but collaborative in the fields of education and research. Teacher exchange was already in place and PhDs were being awarded by two institutes in collaboration, with both names on the Certificate.

Prof. Amar Samanta, Dean of Research and Prof. of Chemical Engineering, IIT Kgp also stressed the transition towards Research at the Institute, referred to the Mother of the IITs from its inception in 1951. There were now major collaborative ventures with the Railways board at the Centre for Railway Research and with the Tea gardens at the Tea Engineering facility,  part of the Agricultural Engineering Department.

Prof Sandeep Singh, Professor Earth Sciences and Dean, Alumini and International Afairs, IIT Roorkee traced the ancient roots of the academy, starting from the Thomson School of Civil Engineering in the colonial days (1847) to its current august status with a large pool of PhD scholars.  A major collaborative venture underway here was the 150km railway line within the Himalayas including a tunnel.

Expert Panel: Partnerships- Lessons from the Trenches

Expert Panel 2
Expert Panel (Left to Right): Veena Sahajwalla, James Keane, Judy Raper  and Joseph Davis

Professor Barney Glover, Vice Chancellor, University of Western Sydney, had to speak ahead of his turn because he was leaving early. He confidently proclaimed Western Sydney at the Infrastructure Hub centre of the world with projects of cardinal importance set up for Road, Rail and Airport links in the current decade. In the midst of this maelstrom of economic activity were 170 different Ethnic communities, over 4,000 international students, approximately 24% of whom were Indian.

He noted with satisfaction, the entrepreneurial nature of the recent Gujrati delegation to Australia, in the field of Education joint ventures with twinning arrangements and bi-lateral study arrangements in India and Australia and the dozen recent agreements signed.

Mr James Keane, Head of Partnerships, Macquarie University gave us a robust lesson from the trenches. His voice was particularly significant as he has been to India recently with PM Tony Abbott’s delegation. His sentiment was that the key word in working with India was PATIENCE, in a place where the truth is often that “the opposite is also true”. Two convictions he wanted to share were that 1) the scope of operations needed to be very precise as to how engagements are entered into and 2) Individual academics need to link up to provide real bridges, building one-to-one partnerships. The recent grant of A$20M by the Abbott delegation presaged well for bilateral Research funding.

Prof. Judy Raper, Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Wollongong, drew on her extensive research experience to highlight areas such as Materials, Steel and Science where large numbers of trained professionals would be called for in future years. A charismatic brand ambassador in the mould of Adam Gilchrist with cricketing stories would go a way towards breaking the ice. Novel methods used by Australian academics in the defence of Jakarta from flooding: flood related Twitter signals were plotted to produce a portrayal of the flood’s intensity.

Prof. Veena Sahajwalla, UNSW Scientia Professor and Associate Dean, also an IIT-Knp graduate (in fact a batchmate of Prof. Sanghi) recalled the advantages of meeting American Professors at Kanpur in her graduate years. Her talk centred around inspiring and nurturing talent and Innovation- how to make it happen. She elucidated how her celebrated invention in “green steelmaking” was embraced by the steel industry, while providing a bonus for the environment at the same time. In the UNSW SMaRT Centre, which she is Director of, several collaborative ventures are in progress.

Prof. Joseph Davis, University of Sydney and Chair of Regional Advisory Group for South Asia provided some incisive remarks on the nature of collaborative projects. In a case study for a Mobile Ultrasound device which was under trial at the Christian Medical College, Vellore, India the project only advanced when a researcher from IIT-Madras came over to join the group at the University of Sydney. He advocated the organising of Joint Workshops with the IITs in the manner of the  IIT-Bombay- Monash University collaboration.

Closing Remarks

Following presentations by the Panel members the Conference was open to a wide variety of questions from the participants, the session being resolutely managed by Mr Murali Dharan, Chairman AIBC NSW Education Chapter, and the conference closed in good time.

IITAA Executive Committee with Indian Delegates
IITAA and AIBC representatives with Indian Delegates (Left to Right): Venki Prathivadi (IITAA), Akanksha Srivastava (IITAA Joint Sc), Ramesh Karnani (IITAA Conference committee Chairman), Aloke Goshal (IIT Guwahati), Amar Samanta (IIT Kharagpur), Uday Desai (IIT Hyderabad), Dheeraj Sanghi (IIT Kanpur), Murali Dharan (AIBC NSW Education Chapter Chairman), Sandeep Singh (IIT Roorkee), Samit Chandra (IITAA Vice President), Trupti Gawhane (IITAA Editor) and Sundar Siva (IITAA President)

Liz Griffin of Australian Catholic University rounded up the day’s proceedings.

Trupti Gawhane,  IITAA Editor delivered a Vote of thanks and we broke up to relish a number of dainty vegetarian and non-vegetarian snacks from the MLC Centre caterers.

-Contributed by Paul Roberts

Photos by Binu Photography

(Supported by NSW Govt. Dept of Trade & Investment -­ StudyNSW)