“WHAT MATTERS IS NOT WHAT YOU GATHER, BUT WHAT YOU SCATTER”
Speech by R. “Gopal” Gopalakrishnan, Executive Director, TATA Sons Ltd at the 55th IIT Kharagpur Convocation on 8th August, 2009. Mr Gopalakrishnan is a 1967 RK ECE.
It is all of 45 years since I first stepped into Radhakrishnan hall at IIT Kharagpur as a student. Since then I have visited on and off. But today’s visit is special. Thank you, Mr Chairman and Mr Director, for giving me the honor and pleasure of delivering the 55th convocation address.Perhaps the only person who was at IIT when I joined and is present in the hall today is Prof Gitindra Saran Sanyal, my guru and my professor. As a devoted shishya then, now and forever, I first pay tribute to this iconic adivasi who has been in IIT since 1954. I doubt that anybody can match his record of attending all the 55 convocations.
Some ten years ago, I agreed to Prof Sanyal’s request to teach at the Vinod Gupta School of Management. He said, “Do not agree lightly and then forget about it. In our tradition, a promise given to a guru must be fulfilled—and remember, I am into my 70s!” As a diligent shishya, I took a few days’ leave from my office to discharge my promise. Professor Sanyal amazed me by sitting on the front bench and attending all my lectures. “Just reciprocating what you did forty years ago,” he said with a twinkle. His most enduring contribution has been his child-like warmth for the students, and the ability to connect with them even after so many years. I would even venture to suggest that he has achieved more through his connectivity with generations of students than through his well-acknowledged pedagogy and research here.I mention these facts not only to sing paeans for my old teacher but also importantly, to emphasize the enduring importance of relationships. Our life is like a train journey; each one of us steps into the train alone and will step off alone. Each one has a different journey experience and interacts with different people, with some more intimately than others.