Religious leaders, musicians and chess players also faint from IIT Madras
By Venkatachari Jagannathan
Chennai, December 5 (SocialNews.XYZ) It is not just scientists, technologists, industrialists, businessmen and senior executives who have graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-M ).
Religious leader Nirmalanandanatha Swamiji, Carnatic musicians – guitarist R. Prasanna and singer S. Sowmya – and chess players S. Kailasanathan and M. Ramesh, among others, are also distinguished alumni of this prestigious institution.
Founded in 1959 with assistance from Germany, IIT-M, an eminent institute, is a residential institution with nearly 550 professors, over 10,000 students and over 1,250 administrative / support staff.
Set in approximately 250 acres of lush greenery in the heart of Chennai, IIT-M boasts big names in various fields like its alumni, such as Prem Watsa, Founder-Chairman, Fairfax Holdings; Kris Gopalakrishnan, one of the founders of Infosys; Anand Rajaram and Venky Harinarayanan, co-founders of Cambrian Ventures, Kosmiz, Junglee Corp (acquired by Amazon); Gururaj Deshpande, Founder, Sycamore Networks; TT Jagannathan, Chairman of the TTK Group, and several others.
Here are miniature sketches of well and lesser-known IIT Madras alumni who have distinguished themselves in their respective fields.
S. Kailasanathan, Managing Director, Microsense Group
S. Kailasanathan, 70, Managing Director of Microsense Group, won the Tamil Nadu Chess Championship as an IIT-M student. It also has the distinction of playing chess for West Bengal and Delhi.
Microsense mainly offers WiFi connectivity in large hotel chains and residential apartments, among others. The group will soon enter the Middle East market.
After graduating from IIM-Calcutta in Commerce, Kailasanathan began his career with the Electronics Trade and Technology Development Corporation. In the 1980s, he founded the Microsense Group.
By sponsoring several young chess players, Microsense also organized training camps for future Indian players, involving two chess legends – former GM world champion Vladimir Borisovich Kramnik and GM Boris Gelfand.
Nirmalanandanatha Swamiji, Chief, Adichunchanagiri Mutt
A Tech from IIT-M, Nirmalanandanatha Swamiji – born as Nagaraj Gowda – has been appointed to head the Adichunchanagiri Mutt.
Prior to joining IIT-M, he had graduated from a government polytechnic college and a BE in Civil Engineering from the National Institute of Engineering in Mysuru.
In 1998 he became a “sanyasi” (saint), renouncing worldly life, and in 2013, Nirmalanandanatha became the head of the Adichunchanagiri Mutt.
R. Prasanna, guitarist
He is a pioneer of traditional Carnatic music on the guitar. Popularly known as “Guitar Prasanna”, he had studied naval architecture at IIT-M.
Now based in the United States, Prasanna says he became interested in the guitar at the age of five when he saw his neighbor from Ranipet playing the instrument. He says Carnatic music is in his DNA and thanks his mother for teaching him it.
Later, as a member of rock groups, he toured different parts of India.
Deciding to focus 100% on music, he quit his software profession and majored in jazz and classical composition from Berklee College of Music.
Prasanna has composed music for several films, in addition to performing for the soundtracks of musical directors like Ilaiyaraaja, AR Rahman, Harris Jayaraj and others.
Sridhar Ramaswamy, co-founder, Neeva Inc
If one asks to name the Indian as the head of a search engine company, most of the time the answer will not be Sridhar Ramaswamy, but another Tamil name.
After spending several years as a Google SVP in the United States, Ramaswamy, a passed out IIT-M from 1989, is the co-founder of Neeva Inc, a search engine. That too a paid one. The USP being this will be an ad-free search engine for $ 4.95 / month.
He had partnered up with Vivek Raghunathan, former vice president of monetization at YouTube and IIT Bombay graduate.
Interestingly, Neeva in Tamil “you are coming”. The adventure of the two ex-IITians who cross swords with Google began recently and we have to wait for the results.
Sridhar Vembu, CEO, Zoho Corporation
Padma Shri Sridhar Vembu obtained a B.Tech. electrical engineering degree from IIT-M in 1989 and received his doctorate from Princeton University in 1994.
After working at Qualcomm, Vembu, together with his brothers and friends, co-founded the software products company AdventNet, which was later renamed Zoho Corporation.
Earlier this year, Zoho Corporation launched Arattai, an instant messaging app rivaling WhatsApp.
As a policy, Vembu avoids funding by venture capitalists and the public.
(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be contacted at [email protected])