Mr Akshaydeep Mathur, an alumnus of BIT Mesra, was the major driving force behind the installation of the college’s first official media house. Presently working as the Managing Director of Global Talent Tracks Eduventures Pvt. Ltd, Mr Mathur is also the owner of Ceramic and Allied Minerals, Jaipur. Born in a mine-owners family with four decades of hands-on experience, he has also been appointed as the Secretary-General of the Federation of Mining Association of Rajasthan. He played a key role in providing support to the mining industry of Rajasthan. We, at News and Publication Society, got a stellar opportunity to indulge in a conversation with one of the members of the founding batch of NAPS. Here are excerpts from the interview.
Q1. What led to the conceptualization and establishment of the News and Publication Society? Who supported you and your team in this endeavour?
A1: I joined BIT Mesra in the 73rd batch of Mechanical engineering for a five-year degree program. During the beginning of the 2nd year, we realized that we were in dire need of a college magazine and an opportunity was offered to us with the organisation of the Inter College Sports Event on our campus.
Mr Ajay Uppal, Mr Rajiv Chawla and I teamed up with Mr S.K. Giri, a fourth-year student, to get permission to publish a newspaper for this sports event. By the end of December 1974, we brought out the first edition of our Newspaper “Sportsphere” which covered the day’s events at the Inter-Collegiate Sport Competition. With almost no facility, the text of the paper was handwritten and had to be completed by dinner. A typist was appointed to reach the director’s office to get the stencils done and cyclostyle 200 copies for distribution on the following day. “Sportsphere” became an instant success and garnered appreciation from the faculty and administration, alike. They say “Birds of the same feather flock together”. We were a great team, director Dr H. C. Pande took a fancy for our talented team and soon an editorial board was formally announced in March 1975 for starting the college magazine christened “Techphase”. Having some background and experience in the field of editing and publishing during school days at St. Xavier’s Jaipur, I instinctively changed the name to “BIT by BIT” which I thought was appropriate phonetically and conceptually. The first edition of “BIT by BIT” rolled out of the press in May 1975. The timing was perfect as BIT Mesra’s team had won the overall championship at the prestigious Inter-Collegiate Cultural Spring Fest held at IIT Kharagpur. We all strived hard to make “BIT by BIT” a regular feature covering events at the institute and it soon gained popularity. We also published the newspaper “Daily Newsbit” during major cultural events and annual day celebrations. By the time we reached our final year of the five-year degree program, we had published quite a few editions and time was ripe to establish an independent and autonomous “News and Publication Society”. As the first editor in chief and founder of NAPS, I was honoured with the director awarding the trophy which I’ve always cherished.
Q2. What were the challenges that your team faced as the founding members of the society?
A2: Initially, the obstacle was to obtain authorization from the college administration and the district magistrate. “Sportsphere” established our merit and with the consistent support from our seniors, like Mr S.K. Giri of 1970 batch and Arun Buxi of 1968 batch, things became easy and soon Dr H.C. Pande, Director, extended full support for the initial publications. Eventually, he catalyzed the formation of NAPS under my leadership.
Q3. How did the society function back in 1973? Give us a glimpse through the vault.
A3: The basic objective of NAPS was the timely publication of the bi-annual newsletter, “BIT by BIT”, and the other two newspapers for sports and cultural events. The next target was to seek juniors who had a knack for writing articles, get them to team up and have a chain of command within the organization. Being an elected representative of the student council, this wasn’t a tedious task.
Q4.How important were extra-curricular activities back then? Having been a member of multiple societies yourself, how did you divide your team between academics and societies?
A4: Every batch had a bunch of students who excelled at sports, athletics, music or dramatics, driving the extracurricular events at the institute. Some students were diligent, others were just carefree, and some used to be typical pranksters. Within our team itself, there were people with different skillsets, perspectives, and interests, like Ajay Uppal took charge of the UNESQUO-student chapter, Rajiv Chawla headed the Electronics creative group, Anurag and Arup were deep into Dramatics, Deepak and Chawla seniors were into Photography and Labs, while I went on establishing the News and Publication Society. The best part about this versatile bunch was that we would all team up to help each other during big events. Almost all of us did fairly well at academics too and even today, everyone has achieved great positions in their respective careers.
Q5. What is your message for the present members of the society and BITians?
A5: NAPS is a platform that offers multiple alleys to foster one’s creativity and acts as a connecting rostrum for people across a diverse spectrum. It helps in enhancing writing skills and improvises the facility of channelling thoughts in a logical and presentable manner.