My student life at IIT K, India

I entered IIT K in his time in the year 1970. My father wanted me to join journalism( no such course existed in Nepal and he wanted me to take up training in news report writing and news reading for radio as future plan so that I could become news reader in Radio Nepal - the only one news channel existed those days and most of the news used to be censored by the royal palace then ). He was not at all happy with my enrollment at IIT K for engineering degree. I do recall him telling people around the importance of generating human resources in the area of journalism for faster development of the nation. However, the royal rulers had always banned free practices of press. I was very young then to understand all these complexities in details. We always used to over hear my mother ( ) telling her peer groups that this country would be ruled by incompetent people for longer period and citizens would remain under developed and would continue to suffer. We children were not of the age to understand such politically sensitive details. She used to advice us to focus on building career in good professional areas useful for the nation and then serve the nation by entering into politics in later part of life. She was of the strong opinion that all children should take interest in politics and should participate in the political main stream.


My mother had tough time with two of her heart valves damaged and also suffered from acute asthma before her death (A.D. 1970). Watching mother in such a vulnerable state used to be terrifying for all of us. She stayed brave through her last days, however, leaving behind seven children at such vulnerable ages was heart breaking for her. 
She used to take charge of every thing including managing the finance for the family which she used to manage mostly through renting the house. Every time she ran short of money she used to add rooms ( concrete structure over very old traditional building materials as per the advice of old traditional builders of Nepal for cleaner space etc ) for renting spaces in order to educate her seven children and manage finances for the rest of the house hold expenditures. She had always kept my father totally undisturbed with house hold tensions including financial tensions so that he could devote all his life for the development of Nepal and continue with his passion in writing books. ( ), (  ) .     He used to be known as a powerful speaker both in regional countries and Nepal. My mother had brilliantly and single handedly raised seven children and looked after a husband who had enormous energy in mobilizing  the citizens of Nepal for political and social transformation. She was a true example of "strong mother, dedicated wife and  a  role model  for the society" . She had enormous capacity to bear any kind of obstacle during painful period of her life. After all, she was the strongest person I have ever known.  Even when there were tears in her eyes, she knew how to say she was "OK" and "FINE". 
As she became very ill and realized that her days were counted she started worrying a lot because my father who led a life inside the family managed by my mother and  had limited experience of looking after seven children and managing house hold problems. During last three years of critical health conditions she used to share all her worries with me and other siblings. My elder sister and brother were both studying in India during that period and I was the eldest one among the remaining five children in the house then. We five sisters were too young to understand the pain and the sufferings of my ailing mother during her last days.
My father used to be a person who spent all his life preoccupied with deep desire of fighting for citizen rights specially fighting for the rights of disadvantaged groups.  Our house used to be a popular place for interactions among politicians, writers and social workers. My mother used to cope up despite facing lot constraints to handle the situation which I suppose must have been the typical cases with wives of dedicated personalities who fight for the citizens  of the nation.
My mother passed away  in 1970 at the age of 48. I remember one of my father's cousin sister,  Lani Devi Nini  crying bitterly sitting next to  dead body of my mother saying " Who will look after the father of these seven children who had always  been kept as "8th child" (youngest ) "ALWAYS SO PAMPERED" by his wife Heera Devi. He has no idea of managing  the house and looking after seven children".




At Kanpur, my head used to be often preoccupied with remembering the critical days when my mother Heera Devi who used to be bed ridden. I used to receive sad  letters from my four younger sisters. I used to be grieving about the loss of my mother and worrying about four younger sisters including my father. During the first year first semester at Kanpur the shock of my mother's death always haunted my mind and I used to be constantly worrying about four younger sisters back at home. I silently cried in the hostel at night and grieved inside the classrooms. I even thought about leaving IIT K every time I read letters of my younger sisters. After completing first semester of first year of B. Tech program at IIT K I came home to spend my vacation. My father, who used to be  heavily engaged in book writing and politics, was facing lot of problems at home. As usual he used to be engaged mostly in outside world including delivering speeches in public forums. My father I suppose could not be perfect in every thing and lacked experiences in running household affairs. Our house always used to be filled with visitors including writers, journalists, social workers and  politicians with frustrated wives. Most of these wives became resourceless loosing properties because of their so called crazy and innocent politician husbands who spent all energy fighting in over throwing Rana regime with the hope of getting democratic system in the country. These wives were left without resources to bring up children and had hard times managing these crazy husbands and agitated growing up children. Some of them had to put up with all the anger and frustrations of the husbands who later even turned popular for creating physical violences in their families. They often seemed to missing my mother who had been taking special care of such wives and guiding their children. 




My elder sister Dharma (Medical student ) and my brother Vidhan (Engineering student ) were both studying in India. Seeing the pathetic condition of my four younger sisters I decided to take my youngest sister Hisila ( Hisila Yami ) to Kanpur who had just completed class six from Kanya Mandir High school Chhetrapati, Kathmandu, Nepal. In the hostel I used to share my problem with a Ph.D student Savita Gupta who used to give me good advices regarding Hisila. With lot of difficulty I managed to admit her in class seven at Central School inside IIT K. I am so thankful to Late Professor Narsimha Rao of Chemistry department of IIT K for his special effort to allow Hisila to study at Central School. He was in the board of that school then. :

The Principal of that School initially refused to admit her in a section which had medium of instruction as English. They allowed her to be enrolled only in a class with Hindi medium of instruction. This situation put me into lot of tension with sleepless nights because I was not sure that I would be in a position to continue keeping her in that school. Any time if any thing happened then she would have had to return to her old school of Kathmandu disturbing her education. Every one would criticize me for taking such risky decision if any thing went wrong then. I went and begged the administration of that school to shift her to the English medium section from Hindi medium section, however, the school principal refused to change the section  telling me that she didn't have English background. Hisila also realized the dimension of the problem and tried very hard to pick up English. I used to write the required few dialogue in English. Hisila used to learn them by heart and speak them out in class without any fear. It was such a scary thing to take such a bold step of pretending that she could speak well in English in front of teachers at such tender age when she hardly knew English that time. She learnt how to  boldly request all the teachers to repeat every thing that was taught in Hindi once again in English explaining to teachers that she had good knowledge in English and no knowledge of Hindi. All her teachers then went and complained to the Principal  asking him to shift her into English medium section. She faced real tough time because of switching from Nepali medium to English medium school. She really demonstrated her boldness and the Principal had no choice but to listen to the decision made by her class teachers. There was one compulsory Hindi subject and she had no idea of Hindi making the situation even worse. It was indeed a very challenging  period for her and she made it. She really saved me from packing off from Kanpur for good had she not faced every thing bravely then. School fee was only only Rs 2/- per month.

The warden of IIT K girls hostel  ( ) also refused to provide a room for Hisila because children were not allowed in adult hostel. I never knew that I would run into such serious multiple problems which disturbed my studies. I got caught up with such multiple problems at one go. After lot of persuasion I managed to get permission for Hisila to stay in that hostel. It was indeed a great miracle of that time in my first year that Hisila was allowed to stay in girls' hostel. Luckly there were plenty of empty rooms available during those days in our hostel. It was a real turning point for our lives.


I was enrolled in Electronic Engineering program that was considered to be the top engineering program of the nation and attracted the best students and top rank holders of the All India Joint Entrance Examination (JEE ). I faced very difficult situation continuously managing double burden at such  young tender age, however, I continued with my effort and managed to get matured faster also. Had I taken help from my youthful batch mates , the life would have been less stressful. However, I was very apprehensive then. Had I messed up in my responsibilities I would have landed no where and nobody could have saved me.

Faculty members of top institute of the nation has very high expectations from students and grading was very harsh; relative grading among top students of the nation made life even more difficult. However, most of the faculty members although  very strict in academic matter, were very helpful and nurtured students to unleash the maximum latent potentials in every student in the campus. This was place where students and teachers were equally enthusiastic to share a happy moment together outside class.


Before preparing for departure for IIT K I was surrounded by my aunts and relatives telling not to go out of the country at such young vulnerable age. Some of them telling me that I should get married first and then only go to IIT K. Non of them had attended school in their lives and had not travelled out off the Kathmandu valley. Most of them didn't have formal education, however, had rich experiential learnings. There was no formal technical academic centre in Nepal then and hence they didn't know what exactly I was going to study. They all confused me a lot, however,  I continued with my resolution.

I was so amazed to take a ride in the train and the plane for the first time in my life. Postal delays and no telephone connections from home used to frustrate me. Since I came from airconditioned city and had never used fan, I used to find it very irritating to sleep under the noise of the ceiling fan in the hostel. In the evenings i used to get letters from my younger sisters reporting all the troubles they are facing at home. I used to have very tough time in focusing in my class because of this.

There were 410 boys in my class and only two girls. They were like "little kings" of little princely states (toppers of schools). I often used to see some of the proud parents occupying guest house and taking tour of the campus.

My batch-mate Vini was the only person I could communicate, however, she used to be in different section of the same batch. She would often find me grieving about the loss of my mother and worrying about home. She even used to advice me to go back home because she probably felt bad the way I used to be loaded most of the time with my family tension. I never shared my problems with my other batch-mates. Instead of studying hard in my courses I used to be spending most of my time teaching Hisila so that she could catch up in her class and communicating with remaining sisters at home through letters by postal service.

My worst days at IIT K was when the hostel warden abused me in front of my class mates in campus corridor when I could't pay the hostel Mess Bill for four months (partial payments). IIT education pressure and the embarrassment of financial crisis !. I used to get the scholarship but that money was not enough to support for both of us. We used to wear clothes I used to buy from shops selling cheap quality materials. When my mother was living she used to advice us not to wear fancy clothes and stay simple. We six daughters carried on with that mentoring from my mother even after her death.

My mother had planned well  before her death regarding possible financial crisis in the family. She had extended more rooms in the building in order to have more income to sustain the family so that my father remained free from financial burden after her death. However,  he was not hard wired that way. Any financial deals and complexities he would ask others to handle and dissociated with money matter. This is the part we could not understand about my father those days -  may be first stage of Buddhism. This is the typical case I suppose how wives  and children suffer in the hands of such intellect personalities.  For example Yeshodha begged Buddha to understand the feelings of her son when he refused to allow  his son to enter in the "SANGH" directly and told  him to come through the decision of the "SANGH". During those moment how Rahul would have thought about the father?. It may be similar feeling we children carried.  Why didn't my father focus more on seven children after mother's death those days?. Was it right ? Choosing ideology between my mother and father I got influenced more by my mother as per typical culture of Nepalese society. I was always mother's daughter than father's daughter. My mother's role model influenced me more in my life all the time. Instead of focusing on family responsibilities  he devoted all his energy to give vision to the society. We were too young to understand all these details during those early days of our lives. 


All the complexities I faced at  Kanpur taught me great lessons, however, I used be frightened most of the time. My father used to be in his own world and not aware of what problem I was facing at IIT K.

The interesting thing I observed in the girls hostel was boys entering the visitors  room and warden Mrs. Nanada getting very worried about the safety of girls. This became a big news in the campus and warden Mrs. Nanda tried brought out rules restricting boys hanging around the premises of the hostel. There were girls working in research labs and spending late hours in library. Every year we have All India Cultural program being organized by the Student Gymkhana in which large numbers of colleges from India used to participate in various cultural programs attracting media people of India. Parents of the hostel became furious when there was couple of media overages regarding boys being allowed to hang around in the premises of girls hostel and also inside the rooms. I think this was the first hostel in India then which allowed such practices those days. I do recall some mothers got very scared of this news because they came from conservative communities. One girl student who completed M. Tech. told me that her parents had tough time looking for a boy for her and boy's family was asking her parents for larger dowry because she was over qualified and had limited choices. The boy's family felt they could bargain for more amount. She was complaining that some families demand larger amount of dowry after their sons get degree from IITs of India. In contrary some girls with IIT degree from conservative communities have to pay more dowry because they are considered over qualified. Industries those days also used to discourage recruiting girls in engineering field.

Most memorable incidents of  IIT K life was meeting Mrs. Meera Parasnis, wife of Professor A S Parasnis of Physics department. Her son was Hisila's classmate. The transition from Nepali medium school of Nepal to English medium school of IIT K was really tough for Hisila. I had gone to borrow children's books in English at her flat so that Hisila could pick up English fast. I was so shocked to meet her because her nature resembled with my own mother so much. She was filled with compassion and both the couple liked Hisila a lot. Loss of my mother and finding Meera auntie was really like finding my own mother once again in my life. 

I appreciated the role of Counseling Services of IIT K . My student counselor Prof. R Sharan and his wife Raka Sharan used to give us lovely food while mentoring students. My student guide Neeru Mohan , a final year student, helped me in minimizing the gaps of English standard of Nepal and IIT K. I had to wait for Hisila's completion of her Higher Secondary Board Examination and had to sponsor for her Architecture course at Delhi School of Planning and Architecture. I too had to sponsor for my another sister's (Kayo) for Ph. D. program at IARI…/Indian_Agricultural_Research_Ins… , New Delhi. I am very grateful to Professor T B Vishonathan for offering me the job after graduating from B. Tech program from  EE department for a tenure of three years in a research project, Department of Electronics (DOE) under Government of India at IIT Kanpur. Both of my sisters managed to get scholarship after two years of enrolment, I became free from financial burden and I left IIT K for good.

Technological adaptations and economic reforms had fueled the growth world wide. There was a big demand for specialists and skilled manpower both inside the country and outside world. My batch mates excelled in both in studies and extra curricular activities. Teachers and learning methods were really good. Faculty members gave environment for students to excel in flying club, electronics club, dramatic club, music club, sports club and photography club etc. This was a place where we students organized national-level student festivals spanning technology, arts and sports, primarily on our own (with help from administration), inviting participants and popular personalities from all over India and abroad. This was the place which gave students chances to go through experiential learning and a place where either we taught ourselves the responsibility that came together with this freedom, or were made to learn this by experiencing the consequences of our actions. We could cherish both in the long run.

Most of the students being toppers in their respective schools felt like each one having a magical world of his/her own and princely positions of the previous schools, some of then got the shock out of the life when faced with times, getting scores in examinations lower than peer groups. Many good students lost confidence in tough competitive environment. I used to live daily with a lingering painful memory for having witnessed some students loosing mental composure and five students committing suicide due to imposed academic burden and competition among best students. I can never forget senior students telling me witnessing the brain of one  senior student littered on the ground floor after he jumped from 8th floor of the faculty building in the campus. I used to feel very scary in that campus. It was painful to remember some of the brilliant students loosing interest in life too. The burden to prove oneself was very heavy and not without peril. I also saw large numbers of students got transformed because of the blend of highly competitive academic environment and leanings from extra curricular activities.



1) Learning By Doing, One Engineer at a Time: Robin Mansukhani 

Robin's mother, an Engineering graduate from IIT,  successfully raised two son without father because she was a smart Engineer from IIT.


2) "From clueless engineers to internet sensations | Chirag Gander and Sahil Vaidya "



As a society, we have yet to recognize and appreciate the emotional and psychological needs of humans. Sadly, many people have been tortured and induced with depression, anxiety etc. Perhaps, many human troubles would be lessened if.  for example, the emotional needs of children  and mothers understood. This applies particularly to attachment needs and the effects of separating human children from their parents.  Here I am writing about one batch mate of Hisila (while in class seven) , daughter of one of the faculty members of IIT K as one of such examples. This incident took place during Hisila’s schooling days.


The mother of Hisila’s school batch mate came to Kathmandu to meet her as soon as she saw Hisila and her husband with President Obama during their official visit to USA in Television. She became very excited and flew to Nepal from USA to meet Hisila (first lady then ) at the Pri Minister's (her husband) residence in Baluwatar, Kathmandu. I took her to visit Pashupatinath temple where we sat down for two hours and decided to discuss about our IIT days. She recalled IIT K as a wonderful collection of people. Among them, there were special faculty members who always saw to it that the people's problems were solved within the campus communities. Her unique experience she said was one of them.

She narrated her story about her bitter war she went through with her husband who was a full Professor of IIT K, a brilliant man, so called the faculty member of IIT inside that campus. Her two daughters studying in Central school were taken to her husband's family to be raised by them in his home town in South India without her consent. She used to be locked up in the quarter at IIT K. She tried every means to get her children back to her and her request was out rightly rejected every time she demanded the custedy of her children. She went into acute depression. She tried taking help from other faculty members, however, her attempt failed. She then went into hunger strike in front of Director's room with the hope of getting back her siblings. The institute management was compelled to pressurize that professor to bring the children back to her. When the two daughters were brought in front of her she was shocked to face the unusual behavior of her two daughters. She discovered that those two daughters were fully brainwashed to think against her. Over the span of one year those two daughters had totally changed attitude towards mother. They were instructed to abandon the mother. The crowd around her surprised the children and they felt embarrassed too.


The father, who pretended as if he was always badly harassed and constantly being in tensing situation caused by this woman,  always used his children for manipulating the situation. I too do recall supporters of her father told these two children "Look and try to understand your mother's hunger strike in the campus  which is putting your father into such big shameful  situation. Your mother is breaking down his mental health". Both the children believed what they were told after observing the crisis going on at that time near  Director's office. The mother became so helpless in front of the crowd. Even some of the families of other department teachers participated to abuse her saying she was at fault. She was already in depression. On top of this all these behaviors of her own children added even unbearable pain on her mind. The attitude of siblings, who were not mature enough to understand the feelings of the mother, made the situation even worst for a greiving mother. To make things worse I saw some people around that crowd calling her "a hopeless mother and a hopeless wife". How broken hearted must have been the mother  when her own children for whom she had fought for, misunderstood her. The mother was abused in front of students, teachers and people. I also overheard people saying "Look look even her own children are not responding positively !!". This incidence really made me feel very scared about the status of women in the society. 

The devastating mother’s only ray of hope then was Hisila, a very close friend of her eldest daughter. Hisila, who had gone through the pain of losing her mother at such tender age felt very sad looking and analyzing the plight of that crying mother. The father tried to convince Hisila asking her to convince his elder daughter to opt for going back to home town in South India. The mother had given up hope of winning the two children back. When Hisila was brought in front of both children, she was wise enough to understand the feelings about the mother and told the elder daughter - her batchmate "Look mother is far more important for girls than father. It is very important to grow up with mother than with father at growing up age. I suffered so much because of absence of my mother. Her absence made such a difference in my life. Please try to understand the pain of your mother's sentiment staying away from daughters?.” This statement of her's touched the minds of both children and they both started responding to mother's feelings.

At Pashupati Nath she was crying saying "It was Hisila who saved my life during such critical moments in front of IIT K crowd". She elaborated how women get blamed for everything when relationship collapses with no fault of hers.

Hisila had experienced what life was like without a mother. The motherless child Hisila was able to explain her experience and her difficulties she faced in absence of mother and was able to convince her friend in accepting mother's plead. If the children had stayed with their father and his family members in South India then they too might most possibly turn to abusive adults in future.


I have also observed that under the environment of IIT students had great opportunity to develop different perspectives through various experiences gained from activities of the campus. Excelling in academics alone may not make students successful in the long run. To emerge as a true role model in the society, it is very important to adopt people skills too. As my class had all the toppers of India, somehow, I was very shy and lacked required communication skill because I came from very conservative family from Nepal. I kept aloof from my batch mates for quite long time. It was towards the end of the program I do  repent  for not having shared my problems with my batch mates who surely would have helped me with the tension I was going through coping with tough academic environment and managing the responsibility of bringing up my sister at such vulnerable age.


Best part of IIT K was to be with Professors of IIT K who always ensured that the potentials of each and individual student were well unleashed. They all used to be with students in play grounds and various students' clubs after class hours. The students were very focused in studies and excelled in extra curricular activities. This environment not only transformed my life but also helped my sister Hisila in all round development. The best part was Hisila not only did well in academics, she also excelled in sports, musical instruments, dancing and singing, In the hostel Basundhara Chaudary, a Ph. D student enjoyed teaching her Sitar (musical instrument). Other girls would teach her Bharatya Natyam and Kathak dances. Some would teach her Gajal and Hindi songs. Sandhya Deo used to enjoy teaching her Table Tennis. Kalpana Mehata used to take Hisila to boys hostel for watching sports competitions where the professional couches of IIT also used to enjoy teaching Hisila games. The coaches of IIT K used to appreciate the knack she had in picking up sports and excelling in them.


She used to be selected as one of the best athlete in her school and she used to succeed in bringing sports awards in all India Junior Sports Competitions in various states of India. I am very grateful to the girls of the IIT K hostel who loved Hisila and they used to call her their "darling little sweet bubbly girl". Some of those girls used to be very good in sports, music and other extra curricular activities participating in Inter IIT competitions and Hisila used to enjoy playing with them too. Those girls enjoyed developing Hisila in all those extra curricular activities of their interests because her pick up was very good. She literally grew up dancing, singing and playing musical instruments in that campus.


The Central school used to take Hisila and her sports team mates for All India Junior Sports competition. I used to be horrified with troubled mind recalling  my mother telling us that girls are often stolen in India. I used to go and protest in front of school administration begging them not to take my sister for such sports programs in different parts of India telling them that "MY SISTER WILL BE STOLEN ". They used to take her in spite of my protests because she had the capacity to bring shield and cup awards for the school. She also received games scholarship  in that school. I used be very frightened, disturbed in my studies and in my sleep whenever she went to participate in games tournaments in other sates of India. I couldn't even inform home because I had brought her at my own risk. 




When she later became Minister of Tourism in Nepal she went and did Bungee jumping in Nepal which became a big news in the town. She also did Bunjee Jumping in New Zealand during her official visited. That is the country where the Bunjee Jumping started for the first time in the world history.

 (Poem of Hisila in the visual)…/late…/yami-takes-a-plunge-2/ ) ( 0 )…/articlesh…/4404750.cms )




During holiday period back at home I used to miss my great mother. She used to have such great plans for her seven siblings. Our house called "Yami Chhen"  was known in the town as a house with visitors including Dr. Ambedkar, the famous writer Mr. Dharanvir Bharati, Maha Pandit Rahul Sanskrityanan of India. This housed  had visitors like journalists, poets, writers, politicians and social worker from Nepal and India. My father used to get magazines from India including magazines from Kolkata written in Bengoli language. The overall environment of our house used to be intellectual and my father used to be seen always agitated with the poor governing system of the country. I used to find him criticizing the monarch king Mahendra and his team of political leaders. All those who contributed to the overthrowing the Rana regime were side tracked from the governing structure and were left to rot in life.


During day time people used to gather in our house, used our living room as ventilating centers pouring out all their frustration of about political systems, sufferings of political activists including  problems of children, wives etc . No television existed those days. My father used to listen to news from one and only one highly censored local radio station available in Nepal and radio news from other countries. During day times all his friends used to relish listening to his narratives on world events. They also used to enjoy listening to my father's narratives on politics and literatures. Before mother's death she used to enjoy feeding these friends. The favorite dishes used be mostly "non veg Momo"  which only Nepali Lhasa traders of those days could prepare such dish and was not available in the market. My mother used to enjoy participating  in those dialogues. My father's friends always remembered her as a very smart and intelligent lady. All the hard ships she went through in her life must have enriched her experiential learnings. Since both of my parents were popular for looking after peoples problems our house used to have more visitors seeking help. I could feel a big vacuum in that house after my mother passed away.  My father used to be always preoccupied with his hectic schedules. During holiday period of IIT I could rarely have access to my father's time.



Some girls of my hostel used to invite me and Hisila to spend time with their families during short holidays when it was not feasible to go back to Kathmandu. During those visits I used to observe grand mothers of my friends some of them in mid nineties reading Times of India and many magazines. I used to get shocked to see the level of education of grand mothers of India during those days. During my vacation I started exploring the education level of my own relatives. We come from Newah community of Kathmandu valley ( Newah ). From my own maternal side all aunties had not gone to schools in their lives. During Rana regime in Nepal education was banned for a period of 104 years for general public. I discovered that one of my mother's first cousin had got married only when she was six years old. No wonder I started realizing that we six daughters were under very conservative aunties who wanted to act like " mini mummnies" in absence of my mother giving strong advises saying that we daughters should go through early marriage settlements because as we run out of early marriageable ages we would have tough time getting married later on. More the girls get higher degrees tougher it gets for marriage proposals during those days. When my mother died all relatives thought that we sisters should be packed off for marriage before any complexities appeared. They did not appreciate me studying in India. They did not understand my shifting sisters to India and did not appreciate the benefits too.

From my father's relatives side we had an aunt who continued studying in spite of pressure from families to get married. Similarly another aunt's daughter did the same. These two were the first ladies in the history of Nepal to be the first women Ph.D. holders from UK. They both had very tough time getting married. My father's first cousin sister landed up getting married to a British nationality in UK because her parents objected to her plan of getting married outside the cast within Nepalese community. His first cousin's daughter got married to a boy who come from outside cast. These two marriages of highly educated ladies of our family sent out shocking news among our conservative communities. Marrying outside our cast used to be taken as a big shame during those days. After these incidences the remaining daughters of our uncles from four grand uncles from mother's and other cousins from father's side were married off at very early age after class ten and some after class twelve due to the fear that they too would face similar fate of not getting suitable boys within the cast if they run out of marriageable ages. One of my cousins even rejected  the offer of  scholarship for medical degree (MBBS) from the government and got married. Naturally we landed up getting lot of pressure from such relatives to get married right after my mother's death. We were too young to understand these marriage complexities of conservative communities from business class families. Instead of getting career counselling we had tough time going against the feeling of the relatives who were our immediate guardians.

Inter-cast marriage used to be a big social taboo in our community. Four of us got married outside caste. We became real bombshells for the conservative communities of Newah society. Relatives really abused me when Hisila got married with Dr. Babu Ram Bhatttrai ( ) . All my relatives pounced on me asking me why I did not stop Hisila's inter-caste marriage that too who he came from rural area. We Newahs constitute a community whose ancestral home is the Kathmandu valley (he capital of Nepal) and this community don't like mixing of communities from rural areas.

I felt sorry to see two of my younger sisters married off early without completing studies. My mother never wanted to get us married to boys from very conservative families and before finishing our academic achievements. This happened while I was still at IIT K.

The most memorable days were when my father visited me in 1975 at IIT K. I lost ten KG weight because of attack from Typhoid and had a relapse also. I took him to one of my lecture  rooms " L7" . Inside this class room he told me " why do you attend classes ? I never went to any class room to study and I authored more than twenty popular books  ( details in (  ) ( )  . You are supposed to do self learning and not depend on any teacher". (my article published in one of father's book - ) He never appreciated my engineering program and I think he always felt sad that I didn't take up journalism course. Since there was no freedom of press in Nepal I could hardly understand this the scope of such area. I was not fully aware that my father was well known for his passion for self learning and was not also aware that he had emerged as renowned scholar and a popular writer then.

In the state of discomfort one grows step by step I suppose. He probably was in the comfort zone during the period when  his grand father flourished in business. Then that family was looted by Ranas of Nepal  as they were also operating in similar fashion with other families who struggled hard to create wealth. After this misfortune all the four sons of his grand father had to leave valley leaving behind the wives and children to be raised by their respective in laws of the sons. My father had lost mother at the age of fifteen because the family could not afford to treat his tuberculosis patient mother. He travelled all the way to Lhasa after this tragedy. He had to face another shocking tragedy of death of his father in the same year. With no water and wood in snow covered desert of Lhasa he had to stand in the sky grave ( ) , cut the dead  body of his father into pieces, feed the eagles, wash the blood stained hands with his warm urine at the age of fifteen. This period must have been a university for him to record all the experiential painful learnings followed by all other collections of life enriching incidences during transition from comfort zone to uncomfortable painful zones and growing up with the knowledge and enriching his life unconsciously. His painful moments of being exploited by the people, life in the jail under Tyron Rana regime , starvation, joy of working together with great personalities like writer Dharambir Bharati, role models like  Dr. Ambedkar, Pandit Rahul Sanskrityanan during pre independence movement in India and after must have given him real rich experiences and must have given him all the power of self education.
However, he didn't realize that his daughter was studying with the mini kings (Topper students) of India and self education concept was not possible during those specially in technical line.

He asked me if I could call all students and faculty members so that he could deliver lecture in that big lecture hall. I was too young to understand the procedures of such lecture events in L7. Wish I had communicated this to my batch mates who would have provided right advice on arranging this guest lecture.



I often used to wonder during those days while at IIT K why father was not quitting all his activities and start concentrating about family problems when growing seven children needed attention the most. Sometimes I even used to feel bitter about  my father for his negligence of looking after my ailing mother before her death. I was too young  and  did not have sufficient capacity to cope with complex situations at  IIT days and the situations back at home during holiday period. 



Hearing from close friends of both my mother and father side  discussing the pathetic situation of my father I felt really sad. Those days I could hardly understand and analyse the situation my father must have been facing in absence of my mother. I realized this only after my father's death.




The worst day at IIT K was receiving a telex about my father's death  two months after he left IIT K in 1975. He was only sixty years old. Three years before my mother's death I used to be busy looking after my ailing mother when she was battling for her life. During  those three years period trying to take care my mother was the  priority for me rather than understanding the daily activities of my father. I was not of the age to understand such high level details also. 




IIT K student life made me focus totally into technical area under such competitive environment and gave less time to think and understand about my father's activities. During holiday period I hardly had a chance to be with my father to understand what he was engaged in. He used to be always preoccupied with routine schedules and surrounded by press people, politicians, suffers of freedom fighters, writers and social workers whenever I went home during vacation time of IIT K life. All those  engagements gave him little time for his own children. Hence during holiday period back at home we both sisters from Kanpur hardly used to get time to be with our father. Hence during our learning period at Kanpur, I   and my sister Hisila were more cut off from my father. This sudden death gave us a big shock to us.

The article I read at Kanpur about my father in 1975 right after his death by written by Mr. Brahmanda Mishra, Dharmayug, Times of India, also covered details about how my father used to be invited as a Chief Guest in several programs of Dr. Ambedkar's India, woke me up to start  understanding  the strengths my father.



Those days I was not of the age to understand and analyse the pathetic situation of my father  in absence of my mother who sacrificed so much in order to keep him alive in our complex political system. I realized this only after my father's death.



We had very hard time getting out of the shock of loosing my dear father so abruptly at Kanpur. We had never heard of my father having any health problem. I and Hisila just could't believe the passing away of my father. In the reading room of girls' hostel there was a magazine with an article on the death of my father written by Mr. Brahmananda Mishra, Editor of Dharma Yug, Times of India. which also covered news on  how my father used to be invited as a Chief guest in several programs of Dr. Ambedka's  in India. This article woke me up to start  understanding  the strengths my father. 


This incidence took place two weeks before my semester examination. My mind just refused to function then. It was Meera Parasnis (my dearest aunty who  gave so much love to both of us)  took control of the situation and convinced me to carry on with our academic program.


Every time I traveled to IIT K from Patna my father's dearest friend Late Upendra Maharathijee and his daughter Gopa used to drop me and Hisila in the Patna railway station. At his residence I used to meet freedom fighters of India. They used to praise my father and would always mention that my father was known as a powerful speaker (Hindi) who could speak non stop for three to four hours in front of huge audience with pin drop silence in programs in India. My father had delivered powerful speeches in Buddhism, literature and also was popular for his vision on social and political transformation in both in Nepal and India. Upendra Maharathijee told me that Jaya Prakash Nayayan was remembering my father few days before his death.

One of my father's aunt (Ratna Das's one of the daughters Maya Nini Aaji) who  had  dedicated all her life to Buddhism had spent all her life in Saranath, Kushi Nagar . She used to be very worried about the safety of my life in Kanpur. I recall once she even sent one Buddhist monk from Kushinagar to check what kind of place I was studying in and to know if we two sisters were taking enough safety measures. One Buddhist monk from Kanpur used to come all the way to our hostel to invite me for programs. 







At the residence of Mr. Upedra Maharathi ( ) in Patna I had opportunity of meeting many freedom fighters of India specially from Bihar who knew my father well told me " If your father was born in India he surely would have emerged as one of the best writers, Buddhist philosopher, politician and a great social reformer". While Indian freedom fighter were engaged in revolting against Britishers in India my father used to be with them too and hence lot of freedom fighters of India knew my father. My mother too was in Calcutta and Kalingpong during those days while she was undergoing treatment of Tuberculosis. She could read English and understand the political scenario of India during British occupation and the building up of "British Hatao" scenario in India while education was banned in Nepal. Returning back to Nepal she played very important role in revolt against Ranas. During those days it was very unsafe for women in the street and she participated in overthrowing Rana regime from Nepal.

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I brought two more younger sisters Nhuchhe Shova ( who is currently retired from a post of an Associate Professor, after serving as as Campus Chief of Thapathali Engineering Campus under Thapathali Campus, IOE ) and Kayo ( who is currently retired after serving from the post of Chairperson of Public Service Commission Nepal ) to IIT K Girls hostel. Kayo spent three months to prepare for All India Entrance Examination for her Ph. D. program in IARI, Delhi. Nhuchhe Shova spent three months preparing for her B. Sc examination. She was finding tough time preparing her examination at home because of her in laws were discouraging her to study. They both had an opportunity to understand the best academic environment of IIT K and understood the importance of quality education. The girls in my hostel used to tease me saying " Timila how many more sisters are leftover at home who will come to stay in this hostel??"



Today recalling back after 47 years I realized that I was growing faster than my 410 batch mates during IIT days and taking care of my sisters in order to carry forward wishes of my parents to educate all & become  change agents in a very conservative communities of Nepal. It was indeed very tough job when I had to put up with such heavy competition among the cream top ranking students of India.


It was indeed a real tough life at such vulnerable tender growing up age. Overall this tough life made me mature up faster to handle life. I feel satisfied to see that what my mother feared about the future of seven children before her death had come out well. During three years of illness of my mother had poured all her worries about the future of her seven children into my head. May be after her death there was "mini mother" working inside my brain which made me function like this. My other sisters too picked opportunities to pick up all the good values from IIT Kanpur. I am very grateful to the administration of IIT K to have given permission to give space for five years in girls hostel for Hisila in spite of having IIT regulation of not allowing children to stay in that hostel. I am also grateful to IIT for allowing me to work part time in IIT K library when I had acute shortage of money. The institute also allowed me to work in a research project for three years after graduation.


My elder brother was brought up in hostel since child hood in a missionary school. He was one of the best students and excelled in extra curricular actives during his student days. My mother rarely shared household problems with him  probably she wanted him to be more focused in academics. He and my elder sister went through sever crisis during early child hood when my parents were  imprisoned as a political prisoners during revolt against Rana regime. Because of the early childhood sufferings these two children went through, my mother always felt sad  for them and hence she wanted to provide them the best facilities and best future.

One of the lessons learnt from my IIT days is in one's life any disaster can happen and we should learn to go through without fear in mind. The more responsibility one takes more the person grows with multiple perspectives. One shouldn't complain if constrained by limited resources. I had so many limitations in front of my bath mates. I could have easily given up, however, every thing worked out well. We should emerge as winners in every challenging situations. This was how my mother used to mentor us while she was alive. Mothers indeed are the great motivators for children.



I was so lucky to be in an environment at IIT K where Indian government IITs of India gave the best to the cream students of the nation. the best part that happened to me as I perceive is to have visionary political leaders in India who thought about establishing such an elite institute and the sacrifices the highly paid professors who left foreign universities and lucrative jobs to build an elite institute which produced next generation national and international leaders. Specially Pandit Nehru and his team showed a bold vision when they developed a policy to establish elite institutions in the country as top priority of the nation during early days of independence. it benefited not only Indian students but many students from neighboring countries like me.


I must say the best period of my life was the time I spent at IIT K. Those years were very difficult and tough trying because of high competitive academic environment, however, that environment transformed me completely. The peer group circle was also very good. Hisila always says " IIT K days were the golden period of my life". I too have a very special place in my heart for IIT K. My days were life shaping. I learnt the art of analysis and assimilation of knowledge. Students and teachers were equally enthusiastic to share a happy moment together outside class rooms. That was a place where some teachers could be real mentors whom you could confide in, even your deepest insecurities. We had so much freedom in our campus without having the fear of being judged. curbs, restrictions and rules. I firmly believe that the deep relationships I have with my IIT friends specially GH girls, faculty members is because we had no city to distract us from being together on campus. For students of IIT this had made difference compared to other elite academic institutions of India which had closer access to city centers.


Those were prehistoric days: no mobile phones, no Internet, no Whats-app and no FB. To call home students had to book a trunk call. To go to the big, bad Kanpur city, which was at the other end of the earth, one had to wait for the IIT bus or beg a mate to drop us at the main gate from where one rode on a tempo to reach the city center.


We come from very conservative family of Kathmandu valley. IIT K is always remembered among our family members whenever we gather together discussing about our college days. This place really helped my whole family members transform all together. Had my mother been alive how happy she would have been to see how IIT K transformed her siblings. My mother and her dream truly got fulfilled because of IIT K. This is the place which made me truly feel " Best people and places give you memories". In elite academic institution students get more other richer experiences besides academic achievements which most of the guardians and their siblings don't know.

The Silver Jubilee (2000) and 40th reunion (2015 ) of our batch-mates alumni meet gave me great chance to reunite with my batch mates. I was impressed with well-maintained infrastructure in a beautiful balance with the natural beauty. It was great occasion to know the success stories of our batch-mates. Coming back to IIT K after such a long break we all missed all our faculty members of our days. I can never forget the sacrifices the highly paid professors who left foreign universities and lucrative jobs to build an elite institute which produced next generation national and international leaders. I would like to thank them for developing us tirelessly and to acknowledge their contribution towards the society. Most of the girls had gone on to have a very successful and fulfilling career. Perhaps now it is time for them to fulfill some social responsibilities.


Why I didn't  socialize at IIT K? A batch-mate Pulin settled in Chicago introduced me to his son while he visited Kathmandu in 2017 saying " This is Timila and I am speaking to her for the first time in my life " as if I was "untouchable or an element from other planet" during IIT days of my life. This showed how cut off I was from batch-mates during student life at IIT K. This used to be similar scenario when some of my batch-mates introduced me to their respective spouses during reunion time. This makes me wonder why did't I socialize with all these great batch-mates who later turned national and international leaders.. "TUBE LIGHT" - also the discovery of remaining cut off for so long after graduation ? Had I remained in contact with my batch-mates it would have impacted me a lot in growing my horizon, developing better perspectives in my life and improvement in my professional development. This certainly was  my big loss for me.   


Hisila often tell us that most of whatever she is, it came from IITK. My elder sister who had visited IITK in my first year is a medical doctor specializing in cancer treatment is settled in USA. My elder brother, the only son of my parents, had visited IITK couple of times, was a civil engineer, got retired from Ministry of Physical Planning and Works unfortunately died two year ago. Chirika Shova,  the fifth child of my parents, my younger sister finished her term as Dean of Science faculty, is Professor of Chemistry under Tribhuvan university had also visited IITK. We often do recall and enjoy discussing sweet memories of our days at IIITK.

I wish my mother was fortunate to visit IITK. My mother had  great plans to bring us up in a totally different environment far away from that very conservative community of our society, however, everything got cut short in front her death and very fortunately I landed at IITK. My mother had great dream for all seven children and we all made sure that we emerge as per her dream in spite of facing all kinds of obstacles and challenges. After her death in 1970 it was IIT Kanpur where we were very fortunate to receive the real conducive environment for our academic growth as per my mother probably had dreamt of. We all do feel proud to fulfill the wish of my mother.  My mother's wishes I must say got materialized under the environment of IITK. Had my mother been alive I  used to wonder how often she would have visited IITK with great excitement.


Facebook, Group mails and other Social Media brought us back together helping us reflect our past student days. Reunions like Silver Jubilee, 40th reunion etc is certainly helping us recreating out past. The reunions gave me this opportunity be be back and socialize more helping me discover what I missed during IIT days specially I missed the fun part. I do recall Prof. Usha kumar asking boys in the class "why there so little interactions between boys and girls in IIT K ". I suppose because of typical Indian and Nepalese culture and because of the way of girls are brought up in societies those days and segregation that started in childhood which continued. I think this probably is the similar case with other IIT girls of those days.





Some of my batchmates : ( ) , , ( ) , ( ) ,…/arvind_gupta_turning_trash_into_toys_… ( ) ,,
 ) P R swarup, CIDC India

Mahesh K Jain

and many more...who contributed indirectly.

A true example of out come of quality education!

During reunion period Feb. 2015


I conducted session between IIT K students and IOE students through SKYPE to teach them about peer learning sessions in 2015 during our 40th reunion session.


I also felt so proud to know the success stories of the children of my batch-mates. Meeting their spouses were even more exciting. Most of them have also done well in their life. No wonder there are so many success stories of my batch-mates and credit also goes to their spouses. I am sure they must have been one of those categories " behind every successful man there is a woman ". Some of my batch-mates introduced me to their spouses " This is Timila. I am speaking to her the first time in my life. She hardly spoke to us in our class during student days. We were 410 students and only two girls in the class!" . All their spouses just couldn't believe this !


I was in Philips Holland for one year in 1985. It was an wonderful experience to understand research activities in that place and helped me more to understand software systems of telecommunication industry.


I did my Master's degree in IT from De Montfort University, UK  . During my student life in De Montfort University in European environment under European system, the class presentations and interactions including research activities   helped me develop lot of confidence in my profession.  Hisila completed B. Arch. from   and M. Arch. from
 She later became minister  Since both the academic institutions in India and UK were among one of the best ones, it was not only the learning environment which was very good in college, there were many opportunities to grow through team leadership and peer learning. We were given lot of opportunities to learn through interactions with many electronic and IT industries in various cities of India and UK.


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