This criticism has some merit since there are many technological problems that need to be solved in India, both at the low tech and the high tech level and this is not being done. Therefore, I have tried to use my skills as an engineer to address some of the low tech problems as best as I can. However, what is needed is much more engineering innovation and recently I met face to face for the first time, an engineer who has dedicated his whole life to solving engineering problems of a cutting edge nature. This is my senior alumnus from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, Varadarajan Seshamani. He graduated as a mechanical engineer in 1969 and then set up his own company to manufacture machine tools in Bengaluru. Since then he has set up many other companies for turnkey project implementation and manufacture of products in cryogenic engineering, thermo-electric engineering and ultra-violet testing of materials. He has not only reverse engineered many expensive instruments that are imported from abroad but has original patents for products that he has developed himself.
I came to know him initially through interactions on Facebook. These interactions were adversarial in the beginning because he is a supporter of the Bharatiya Janata Party and so did not take kindly to my criticisms of the BJP's policies. However, as time passed it became evident to both of us that we were not blind followers of any faiths but applied our engineering training to the solution of problems at hand in the political and social sphere also. So finally as an opportunity arose for me to visit Chennai for some work I created a diversion to go via Bengaluru and meet him. Varadarajanji was kind enough not only to spare time to discuss his many engineering achievements during his long career but also arranged for me to meet other people in Bengaluru. Among these was Dipankar Khasnabish who too is an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and a civil engineer like myself and happens to be the President of the IIT Kharagpur Alumni Association in Bengaluru. Dipankar was kind enough to have Varadarajanji felicitate me with an angavastram in his factory cum research centre for my supposed contribution to society.
When I asked Varadarajanji why he did not think of migrating to the USA, he said that his first priority was to solve the many engineering problems that India faced and so he has dedicated his life to this. He said that he could not take orders from others and so he had set up his own companies. On many occasions he has done consultancy and contract work for foreign companies in their projects in India but always on his own terms. It was inspiring to meet an engineer who has remained dedicated to his profession and his country from the first to the last. I came away from Bengaluru with a stronger resolve to be more of an engineer myself in the work that I do among the Bhils.