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News & Press: Dec 2012

Prof. Handa Telepresence Room - Gurudakshina by 2 BITSians

Friday, December 21, 2012   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Alumni Communications
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BITSAA Alumni Communication

2 BITSians celebrate their favorite Professor by contributing $50K to a TelePresence Room in his name

Two BITSian entrepreneurs, Mukesh Chatter and Prem Jain, pay their ‘Gurudakshina’ to their favorite BITS Professor – They have contributed $50k for BITS Connect 2.0 and have named a TelePresence room in the Goa campus after their favorite teacher – Prof. Handa.

Mukesh Chatter is a ’75 batch BITSian and is currently a General Partner at NeoNet Capital LLC. In 1997, he founded Nexabit Networks, which was acquired by Lucent Technologies in July of 1999. Chatter was also the co-founder of Axiowave Networks and NeoSaej Corp.

Prem Jain is a ’68 batch BITSian( EE, Pilani) and is the co-founder at Insiemi Networks. Previously he retired as Senior Vice President from Cisco Systems Inc, and before that he was the co-founder at Nuova Systems, Andiamo Systems and Crescendo Communications.

BITS Pilani remembers Prof. Handa

Professor J R Handa ( Janak Raj Handa) was a very popular faculty member at BITS, Pilani in the Electrical Engineering Department.

Prof. Handa taught courses related to Power Systems, Machines and Control Systems, Electrical measurements, etc. When administrative restructuring was done in 1973-1974 Prof. Handa was appointed as the Dean of the Students Welfare Division.


"A student friendly and a bold person" - Prof. L. K. Maheshwari

Prof. Handa was a very student friendly and a bold person. He mentored the junior faculty members both on personal and professional fronts. Not only was he popular among students and faculty members, he was equally popular in the Pilani township, Birla Sarvjanik Hospital, etc. His demise due to cancer was a big blow to all in BITS.

"I hold him in highest regard" – Mukesh Chatter

I attended BITS from 1975 to 1980 and took few courses with Professor Handa. I still remember him as a great teacher who took genuine interest in making sure that his students actually understood what he taught. One memory stands out that I would like to share.

One of the course involved lab experiment with big motors. My lab partner Krishna Khadloya and I being sure of ourselves decided to turn the switch on in spite of the requisite protocol to have the circuit checked in advance with Professor Handa. Unfortunately the motor started to spin out of control and the noise was unbearable. Two of us stood frozen and scared, while Professor Handa realizing the imminent danger shouted from the other end of the lab on top of the noise of the motor to switch it off. Seeing us frozen, he ran across the lab and turned the switch off before anything tragic occurred. Till today I vividly remember his anger and the extended tongue lashing we received. He then went on to explain that the circuit as configured was incorrect, causing the motor to theoretically spin towards infinite speed, and it would have quickly blown up into pieces with each piece acting as a bullet. But his concern did not end there. After he calmed down a bit he asked us to stay back, explained to us what the circuit should have been and then made us do the experiment again, indeed successfully this time! He just wanted to make sure that we did not lose our confidence

It was this rare quality of thinking about students’ long term interest in addition to their narrow course learning that I found remarkable and took his advice to heart. He was an immensely caring teacher, dedicated to his students. I fondly remember him and hold him in highest regard.

"He always supported student activities" - Prem Jain

During the 5 years I spent at the Pilani campus, I had lots of interactions with him. Although I was not associated with the Student's Union, I was working behind the scenes in organizing many activities, inviting students from nearby universities for debates that were organized on the campus etc. Prof. Handa always encouraged extra curricular activities and so he was always supportive of students organizing such activities. There were lots of things that were organized for the first time by students on the campus and we got a lot of support from Prof. Handa.

One of the incidents that I remember is that a gate that was constructed during the annual cultural festival collapsed and it led to some deaths of kids of mess workers. Prof. Handa made sure whatever possible was done to console the families. He had a very cool personality - never getting angry and he was an excellent teacher as well.

"A great role model for teachers and and administrators" – Prof. V.S Rao

Prof. Handa was a student friendly Dean , highly respected by all students, an excellent teacher, and always remembered by his students and colleagues. He was a man of human values that made him dearer to all students, staff and faculty and friends.

I admire him and he is a great role model for teachers and administrators. 

The $50K donation to BITS Connect 2.0 & a TelePresence room in Prof. Handa’s name.

Mukesh and Prem have together contributed $50K to BITS Connect 2.0 project. A TelePresence room at the Goa campus will be named after their favorite professor at BITS, Prof. Handa. Mukesh and Prem are extremely passionate about their alma mater and share their thoughts on 'giving back to BITS Pilani'

Mukesh says "We were very fortunate that others had built the state-of-the-art infrastructure for us to get the best education at BITS. Now the burden is on each one of us to make sure that the new students also have an equally good opportunity to learn. I encourage everyone to get involved and contribute, no matter how small or large".

Prem Jain echoes this sentiment and says "It’s not just financial support, but the alumni could also contribute in many other ways - in terms of technology, their time, their knowledge by teaching, etc".

BITSians like Mukesh and Prem are inspirations to all of us - from following their passions, to their passion to give back to their alma mater and paying their ‘Gurudakshina’.

Your alma mater needs you and is calling you to take action. We are still about $100K short in our fundraising efforts for BITSConnect2.0 initiative.

If you would like to make your contribution, please get in touch with Shashikant Khandewal (, Sarath Kolla ( You can also Donate online here -


BITS Connect 2.0 Team.

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