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JOHAR! Welcome to the Birla Institute of Technology (BIT) Mesra, the second oldest Institute of Technology in independent India, founded in 1955 by the visionary industrialist and philanthropist Mr. B.M. Birla. BIT Mesra is located in Ranchi, the capital of the State of Jharkhand, the mineral hub and abode of serene beauty of natural forests, mountains and waterfalls. In more than six decades of its glorious existence, this Institute, recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC) as a deemed to be University in 1986 under section 3 of the UGC Act 1956, has emerged as one of the top most self-financed or private Engineering Institution catering to both traditional engineering disciplines and emerging technological domains with firm foundation in fundamental sciences and orientation toward modern innovations and applications.

We were the first in the nation to establish a Department of Space Engineering and Rocketry in 1964 equipped with static rocket test firing facility in association with the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) to augment the national space mission. BIT initiated the concept of small manufacturing enterprises in 1970 by establishing the Small Industries Research and Development Organization (SIRDO). Possibly this is the first example of Science and Technological Entrepreneurs Park (STEP) in the country subsequently conceptualized and established by the Government of India in several IITs.

No wonder that India Today, the most widely circulated weekly magazine in India has recently rated BIT Mesra as the ‘second’ in the country wide ranking of Engineering Institutions in private category.  

The main campus of BIT in the outskirts of Ranchi at Mesra is spread over approximately 780 acres of a well laid out township with adequate civil infrastructure of buildings, metallic roads, parks and social amenities in the midst of a generous spread of lush green natural Sal forest located at the confluence of Subarnrekha and Jumar rivers. The iconic two-storied main building offers over 3 lakh square feet of covered area with approximately the same area available in other academic buildings around it making up the rest of the academic campus offering classrooms, faculty and administrative offices, seminar and conference halls, laboratories and workshops, and modern lecture theatres distributed among the Departments and centres. The Mesra campus consists of 14 student hostels to accommodate over 4500 students and scholars, family housing for over 500 faculty and staff members, a commercial complex and multiple shopping centres, a primary health centre, a dedicated 33 kVA electrical sub-station, and a modern water filtration plant to supply drinking water. The campus is secured with natural and constructed boundary equipped with digital surveillance and security patrolling. The sports complex of the institute spreads over 25 acres of land being used every day by the students and staff for physical training, games and sports and various extracurricular activities. The sports complex consists of a standard athletic track along with badminton hall, multi-gym facility, volleyball and basketball court, hockey ground, football field, kabaddi court, netball court, kho-kho field, cricket stadium, lawn tennis court, gymnasium hall and recess centre. The campus houses two state-of-the-art auditoriums, namely G.P. Birla Auditorium with 2500 seating capacity and CAT Auditorium with 300 seating capacity. Both are routinely used for cultural and societal events and engineering conferences and seminars at the national and international level organized by and for the students and academic community.

The academic program of the Institute comprises 17 Departments and Centres with active support from modern and sophisticated research facilities like High Performance and Desktop Computing Laboratory, Central Instrumentation Facility, Central CAD Laboratory, Central Workshop with machine, foundry and fabrication facilities, Design and Architecture Studios, Teaching and Specialized Research Laboratories and Language laboratory.

The Institute adopted the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS) in conformity with the UGC and AICTE guideline from 2018 providing academic flexibilities to select courses from a basket of Programme and Open Electives offered by Engineering, Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences programs. Students are also allowed to register for a few courses at other reputed universities or Massive Open Online Course (MOOCS) platform of reputed universities (those in top 40 of NIRF engineering ranking or top 500 of QS World Ranking). The Institute regularly organizes review, revision and upgradation of the teaching courses and academic curriculum through wide consultation with all the stakeholders including the Board of Studies (BoS) of each Department.

Traditionally, BIT has always promoted hands-on training with emphasis on experiential and participative learning and encouraged the students to indulge in real-world problem-solving exercises and methodologies. In this connection, regular industrial visits, field visits, industrial internship, practical assignments and model development are organized and encouraged through formal curriculum as well as activities of the technical clubs and societies. BIT Mesra adopted a novel practice of inculcating a research bent of mind in the students by providing them the privilege of an alumni and Institute supported program called Immersive Summer Research Experience in reputed US Universities.

Prior to the recent declaration by India Today as the 2nd Top Most Engineering Institution in India in private category, BIT Mesra was ranked 38th among Engineering Institutions, 66th among the Universities and 85th in the overall ranking categories by NIRF for the 5-year period of 2016 to 2020.

However, leaving no room for complacency, the Institute has decided to invest heavily in augmenting and modernizing its civil and digital infrastructure, recruit 50-100 new faculty members in phases, start a new academic program in Quantitative Economics and Data Sciences, change the name and scope of a number exiting Departments and Courses, and substantially improve the research facilities in several disciplines. This is needed as BIT Mesra has a strong foothold in research activities with a large number of sponsored research projects with funding from ISRO, DST, DRDO, BRNS, ICMR, CSIR, AICTE, ICSSR, Rural Development, etc.

Engineering is entrenched in reality and practical senses. There is no denying the fact that the progress worldwide has suffered due the dreadful pandemic. Since early 2020, despite all of us wishing each other and seeking blessings from heaven, the entire world, not just India, has experienced the biggest nightmare and harrowing experience of our lifetime, comparable to the unforgettable devastation and misery caused by Spanish Flu (100 years ago) and World War II (80 years ago). But this period of crisis has taught us again by default that the human race is superior to all others in the entire creation because of its ingenuity and adaptability. With sincere and concerted efforts, it is only a matter of time before which we will not only defeat the threat of Covid-19 pandemic, we must emerge through our combined strength and collective wisdom stronger, fitter and triumphant. Though BIT Mesra has handled the pandemic well and maintained minimum disruption and casualty, we are keen to return to normal conduct of our academic and research activities as soon as the regulatory authorities will permit us to do so. Until then, we strongly advise every member of the greater BIT community to stay safe and healthy, adopt utmost precaution and prepare to bounce back sooner than later.

As an Engineering Institution with a chequered history of over six decades, BIT Mesra has a huge list of illustrious alumni. The institute has its own Alumni Association, BITMAA (BIT Mesra Alumni Association), monitored and supported by the office of the Dean of Alumni & International Relations and supported by the various Alumni Associations in India and abroad. The activities are directed at alumni engagement, recognition, outreach and fund raising.

Socrates said ‘education is kindling the flame and not merely filling up of a vessel’. The professed motto of BIT Mesra says “Sā Vidyā Yā Vimuktaye” (Education liberates). Truly, education lays the foundation of knowledge building. In a technological university like BIT Mesra, it is obvious that we pursue knowledge in either of the two ways: dissemination by teaching, or creation through research. These are not divorced but intricately interrelated and complementary approaches. Engineering education carries a distinctly different characteristic than the common perception about the philosophy of teaching in other disciplines. If science is all about ‘know why?’ irrespective of whether such knowledge is useful immediately or in future, only devoted to establishing a precise truth about a natural phenomenon or entity beyond doubt; engineering and technology is simply ‘know how?’, meaning how can the fundamental knowledge of ‘know why’ be translated and utilized to create useful solutions and answers to human aspirations and challenges that eventually should benefit the society and humanity at large.

At BIT Mesra, we firmly believe and practice the above philosophy that we have an obligation to the profession, society and nation that can be best realized by imparting quality engineering education, enabling the pupils with confidence and conviction, and above all, creating characters of steel burning desire to perform and contribute, pursue excellence in profession and conduct life with a pure heart filled with compassion and dedication.

JAI HIND!

 

Professor INDRANIL MANNA, JC Bose Fellow
FTWAS, FNA, FNAE, FNASc, FASc, MAPAM, FIE(I), FIIM, FEMSI, FAScT, PRS, DSc (hc), PhD

Vice Chancellor
Birla Institute of Technology Mesra
Ranchi, Jharkhand 835215, INDIA

[President, Indian National Academy of Engineering, https://inae.in/]
[on lien from: Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur]