IN TALKS WITH SRI DEEPAK KUMAR BISWAL
Instructor-in-charge High-Voltage Lab, Electrical Machines Lab, Power Electronics and Devices Lab and Network Devices Lab
Compiled by-Tadasa Tanwi
It is just another day in VSSUT. D.K. Biswal Sir is busy helping out students with experiments, sang-froid as ever. With the High Voltage Lab available for use and the students’ love for him higher than ever, it has been an unusually good spell for him, with both professional success and critical appreciation coming in equal measure. It is yet another year to be declared ‘the Hero’ of all Electrical Laboratories.
In a simple short-sleeved shirt and dark pants, this genius of a man towers over his peers, and his skills tower over his build. Interspersed with many reflective pauses, he speaks to Pratik Mohanty, Ex-Chief Editor and Founder, the ViSSion, on career choices, the high voltage lab, the students and everything in between. Excerpts:
P: Sir, please tell us something about your family background, why did you choose to be an instructor?
B: My father was a retired section officer and mother, a housewife. I have two sisters. And as for my career, I completed my diploma, worked at two private companies. I simultaneously got two offers, one from the central government, BEML (Bharat Earth Movers Limited) under Kolar gold mine, Bangalore and at the same time from UCE, Burla. Being the only son, I chose Burla.
P: Do you not ever wish to move elsewhere with better remuneration and recognition?
B: I did get some offers from various private colleges. But this is a government position, and thus preferable over private colleges from the security point of view.
P: What has been the most memorable moment here?
B: For me every day is a memorable one. I try to do something new every single day. There was this time when the High Voltage lab was out of service for some 3-4 years. In 2015, I started working on it, but the engineer assigned delayed the project by almost a year. I was actually tired of running after the guy and disappointed that I couldn’t make the lab available for your batch. But finally my efforts paid off and the lab is fully functional now.
P: Sir, can you briefly explain why the High Voltage Lab was shut down?
B: Well, the main reason was the civil work. There was a leakage in the ceiling. Water got into the High Voltage Control Panel. We were unaware of this and switched it on. There was a flash over and the relay and secondary relay circuit burned down. Consequently lots of other equipments were damaged. Our equipments were from the 1970’s. There was no local mechanic who could fix it. Finally a mechanic came down from Calcutta for repairs.
“That is what I want, and whatever I want, I take it as an aim and I do it.”
P: Students completely adore you, what is your secret?
B: My secret is that I love students. I get their feedback, ask them what they want. That is what I want, and whatever I want, I take it as an aim and I do it.
P: Sir our students excel in theory but are mediocre in labs. What do you think is the issue?
B: Sincerity. Punctuality. Discipline.
These are things I see students lacking. I don’t think they are weak. You see, for theory, they prepare for a specific period. In labs, the students who perform the experiments, do it only after understanding the concept. And we have the laboratory curriculum as per the theory syllabus. Whenever the students do any experiment, they are taught about it in theory classes. So the student doing the first experiment understands. But on the same day the student doing the sixth experiment might not because it is the last theory to be taught.
P: Sir, is there a solution to this?
B: Of course. In the Microprocessor Lab before each experiment, the theory is explained so that they understand. But then, for that we also need to develop the infrastructure. If there are 6 groups, there should be 6 kits so that all the groups do the same experiment on any given day.
“This university is meant for students and we are here for the students. So what benefits the students is what should be done.”
P: If you had power to change something in VSSUT what would that be?
B: I would put the students’ development first. This university is meant for students and we are here for the students. So what benefits the students is what should be done.
P: Sir, is there a difference between the “UCE” then and present day VSSUT?
B: There has been a drop in the sincerity, punctuality and discipline of the students. I’ll explain that with an example. Once, a faculty of a private institute, an alumnus, decided to visit. He observed a group of students standing outside the Machine Lab. They entered the lab in a queue and did their experiment. His satisfaction was in the fact that those students doing the experiment were totally focussed on it – weren’t moving here and there. That’s something I do not see in students these days.
P: Sir, on public demand, do you feel that you are way more knowledgeable than some of the professors here?
B: No, I have never felt like that. Gautama Buddha said, “The destruction of hope destroys pain”.
P: You’re tallest amongst the lot but have tiniest of egos. Who do you owe your humility to?
B: I have read many spiritual books and interacted with a few spiritual gurus. I’m a devotee of Siva Nanda who is also a doctor and I feel I have done nothing compared to all the things that he has done. You might have heard of Abdul Kalam also going to him for consultation and changes.
P: Honestly, have you ever scolded any one? Does that even happen?
B: Well, I have indeed scolded students for indiscipline. But then I feel bad because I usually don’t do that. But sometimes the behaviour becomes intolerable and I can’t help it.
P: Sir what are your hobbies except being Dexter in the laboratories?
B: No hobbies as such except for listening to music after work and conversing with my friends. It is very relaxing and I really love doing that.
“I am a simple man. I want to live a peaceful life. “
P: Sir, do you regret not getting above the position of an instructor?
B: I do not think about things like that. I am more concerned about arriving in the mornings in time and doing all the stuff on schedule. I tend to keep my focus on that. I am a simple man. I want to live a peaceful life.