Prof. Joy Sen

In the next part of the series ‘Know Your Professor’, we would introduce you with one of the most popular professors of the institute, Professor Joy Sen. Being the Head of the Department of Ranbir and Chitra Gupta School of Infrastructure Design and Management, Professor Joy Sen has been serving as a professor in the Department of Architecture & Regional Planning for 19 years. (Hons.) from the batch of Professor Partha Pratim Das and Professor Biswajit Mahanty. He did his Dual Degree Master’s in Community and Planning from College of Design, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa and PhD from IIT Kharagpur. Apart from academics, he was in a profession for 12 years and has various national and international organisations.

 He joined IIT Kharagpur as an assistant professor in 1998 and went on to become the head of Ranbir and Chitra Gupta School of Infrastructure Design and Management in 2014.

Awards and Honors

He was awarded the Best Master’s Thesis Award in 1989 from Iowa State University, Ames, United States of America. He was honoured with the Institute Silver Medal at IIT Kharagpur for All Round performances. He was also awarded the Board Silver Medal in Social Sciences from CBSE/NCERT, New Delhi for obtaining highest All-India marks

Changes in Student Life

During his undergraduate studies, he was a boarder of Radha Krishnan Hall of Residence. Speaking about the current student life at IIT Kharagpur, Professor Joy Sen considers that developments in Information Technology and Telecommunication sectors have changed the life of students to large extents and have made them a bit intrinsic as most of the world is now in virtual religion. According to him, youngsters coming to IIT from all over India with huge regional and cultural diversity are very prospective and IIT Kharagpur acts as a melting pot for them. Further, he adds that the melting pot feature needs to be revived and the impact of Information Technology has to be moderated. To encourage creativity and innovation among student’s halls of residence can play a major role and turn out to be wonderful places to stay. Each hall has to have more elaborate honours of music, sports, art and liberal performing arts like story writing, film-making, entrepreneurship. 

Recent QS Rankings

He believes that Indian institutes should be autonomous and have their own India-specific models of ranking instead of imitating or being dependent on world rankings. He considers that although we have become independent politically, we are yet to become independent economically, financially and culturally. The current world rankings are relative and might be monitored and manipulated through inductions of information by various agencies around the world including India. According to him, our performances and quality of research papers and thesis we are publishing are more important than any sort of rankings. Expressing his views regarding fee hike in IITs, Professor Sen considers globalisation as an important factor. Global universities cannot run solely on central government funds. Adding to that, in the last 10-15 years, hostel fee and food fee have not been vamped. Unlike IITs, many western institutes offer the only 9-months salary to staff and faculty. IITs can no more be considered as pure public sector organizations. Because of this complexity of administration, governance and finance, the fee has increased. 

Being the Head of Ranbir and Chitra Gupta School of Infrastructure Design and Management

Professor Sen accounts any infrastructure school as a melting point of architecture and civil engineering along with various other aspects of engineering. As infrastructure development is directly connected with the economic growth of the country, the Ranbir and Chitra Gupta School of Infrastructure Design and Management has drawn a lot of attention in the last couple of years under his tenure. Lots of international collaborations with Japan and Colombia and lots of private player collaborations with TCS and IBM to an extent. The School is able to build up without a lot of past, thus, having a fresh future based on the present situations and it has an opportunity to play a very important role. This school of infrastructure, design and management can serve as a melting pot for various disciplines like Operations, Research, Statistics and Industrial Systems Engineering.

Research Areas

Professor Sen is involved as the Principal Coordinator in a Science and Heritage Initiative Project named ‘Sandhi’. Throwing some light on it, he mentions Economic Regeneration and Urban Design Revival Project which is presently being undertaken in Boipar, Kumartuli and Gariahat areas. As per him, they have a lot of things in these projects including production and generation of various thesis and drawings along with research papers and conferences. The challenging part of these initiatives is to ground these initiatives. A traditional infrastructure aspect of Sandhi would be discussed in Rotary Sadan, Kolkata on 16th April 2017. In the month of May, they hope to showcase the Sandhi Exhibition in Kolkata. He has an aim of implementing 8 micro-projects in the city of Varanasi in association with IIT-BHU that include Heritage and Pedestrian Development.  According to him, lots of things have happened, but a lot more has to happen.

He has also been involved as one of the Principal Investigators in Future of Cities programme by IIT Kharagpur, through which the institute deals with rivers and infrastructure. He further talks about Urban Ecosystem Innovation that deals with various combinations of natural resources in the ecosystem that produce new jobs. His publication titled Cluster Analysis Based Approach to Delineate Homogeneous Regions concerns with traditional economic sectors of India including Madhubani and Dhokra paintings, Terracotta arts, Vaishali paintings and Varanasi sarees and aims to protect and encourage the traditional sectors of the country.

Message for Students

He urges students to be happy with themselves and to have feelings that they belong to a special and extraordinary country that has been sustainable for more than the last hundred centuries. There is a force within the country which has to be understood as this country has been a lot powerful in Culture, Language Systems, Science, Mathematics and Arts. Sanskrit is considered the mother of all the language systems. Most of the words of present Science & Technology and Numerology have originated from Sanskrit. Every Indian student should feel that India is not imitating from the west. The foundations of Indian Science & Technology has one leg in the west but the bigger original leg is in India. Every student of the country should come out with double ownership – first be an Indian and then go on to learn well from the west. If students are confident in life, they would never get frustrated and a single thing won’t be able to disturb them. They must socially interact, build relationships, read, get involved in sports and social and co-curricular activities. Students must give some of their time to sit down and think and contemplate. They should be health conscious, thus must have a lot of water and follow the clock time of the sun, which he calls the natural Carnot cycle. He encourages the community to produce ‘Technical Humane Power’ instead of ‘Technical Power’.