Interview by Sakshi Aggarwal
Dr. Raj completed Ph.D. in the year 1972 from IIT Delhi. He is a Member of IEEE, Fellow IETE, LM CSI, ISTE and IAPT. He is a Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Prestige Institute of Engineering, Management and Research.
Dr. Raj has won various awards of which I.I.T. Delhi Scholarship Award Swedish International Development Agency Fellowship Award; Visiting Professorship Award King Mongkut Institute of Technology, Bangkok; Visiting Scientist Fellowship Award ICTP, Italy; Best paper award in the field of Statistical Methodology by Indian Society of Agricultural Statistics Paper Rule Promotion: A New Fuzzy Approach for Drawing the Inferences in Rule-based Expert System by Savita Kolhe, Raj Kamal, Harvinder S Saini and GK Gupta published in Volume 65, No.3, December, 2011 are a few to name.
Dr. Raj’s experience in the education sector
I possess a diversified career and variegated experience of working at Devi Ahilya University, IIT Delhi, Punjabi University Patiala and postdoctoral work in Sweden, Italy, and Thailand.
I never took education as an industry, but consider the pursuit of knowledge and passing that knowledge to youth and discover new knowledge as an act of worship to God. All throughout my work, every three years I switched to new topics. Started from Physics, Material Science, Electronics, Computer Science, Embedded Systems, Mobile Computing to Internet of Things in last 3 years and now in Big Data Analytics. Education is a career where you get paid for discovering knowledge.
Dr. Raj’s philosophy of leadership
My philosophy of leadership is that we should discover the potential in the professors, teachers and staff and students around you, assign them duties and let them work fearlessly. Further, a leader should have clear perception of what is to be done. He/she should do something innovative, think of one new action every day for the benefit of students, and education in general.
I had convocation at the University after 17 years, which was 2nd in 50 years of University’s existence. The convocation awarded six honorary doctorates to personalities such as Dr. Verghese Kurien, Mr. Naranaya Murthy, Mr. Rahul Bajaj pioneer in creating jobs for the youths in the country.
Changes in the education industry noticed by Dr. Raj over the years
Education industry instead of being guided by academicians and stalwarts like, Dr. Radha Krishnan, Dr. K. S. Krishnan, Prof. M.N. Saha, Dr. D. S. Kothari, Dr. Mahendra Singh Sodha to name a few, is passing in the hands of people with poor academic and research credentials with less passion for students and dedication to academics. It can be noticed that in the 1990s buying a book on a new topic in the University was like buying a cup of tea. But now it takes years to buy that! Lists are prepared, approved by committees, tenders are invited, and the process continues.
Dr. Raj on how does he prepare students to face challenges of modern organizations and global standards successfully
First of all, I select a topic to guide on which a few but stalwarts in the US and Europe have started just working on. If you choose the same topic as others around you are choosing or is an old one, then potential to get paper in high-quality journals becomes less. Secondly, they learn to face challenges by working hard and seeing examples.
Someone told Shakespeare-the great author known for the Merchant of Venice, “Sir you have done great work, you are simply brilliant”. He replied “Perhaps because I think of writings in the directions others have not thought over!”
I ask my students to read Sir Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, Narayanamurthy, Jamshed Ji Tata, Abdul Kalam, Bill Gates’ writings and not poor stuff. If they do they can face any challenge by following even 5% of these personalities.
Curriculum at PIEMR, Indore and the growth of students through the opportunities available there
When Prestige will set as a University, then we shall have freedom for curriculum design. Then we will see that curriculum ensures best practices of the industry. We will try that faculties are organized like Oxford University or other top University with great academic credentials.
Even in the present framework, we are making our efforts. For instance, Python is a top programming language in the world. Java and Python are ruling over all others. So, we are assigning projects to students and making the language specific (Python, Java) and technology specific (such as IOT, Big Data Analytics, AWS, S3, Bots) student groups.
Dr. Raj on how his background and past experiences have helped him strengthen the academic department at PIEMR, Indore
We are making efforts for NBA and NAAC accreditation and trying to do certain new things required for the accreditation.
Dr. Raj’s relationship with the students
After the class period, I am always available to them. Further, I have a lot of interactions with them through Google Groups.
Dr. Raj’s greatest strengths as an instructor
My greatest strength is thinking of giving examples of daily life. One of my teachers was teaching exactly 54 years back, the Thermodynamics equation is known as Clausius–Clapeyron relation. He first taught in the class-why water gets colder in an Earthenware in summer and how that action relates with that relation. When I teach real-time Operating Systems, I take the example of an automatic chocolate vending machine or when teaching cloud services, the example of getting tandoori roti made by sending flour to someone and getting hot tandoori rotis back!
Goals in mind for the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at PIEMR, Indore for the next few years
My goal is changing students’ bent of mind which is at present-‘read what is needed for examination’, or ‘read from book which is cheap’, towards ‘doing something distinct’.
Message for students wishing to pursue Computer Science and Engineering as a career
Do something distinct. Someone must tell you that as far this programming skill is concerned, you are the top among thousands.