Kelkar Alumni Lecture Series

The Kelkar Alumni Lecture is formal recognition to Dr Purushottam Kashinath Kelkar, the founder director of IIT Kanpur and great educator and visionary.

He started IIT Kanpur in December 1959 in a borrowed room at the Harcourt Butler Technological Institute at Agricultural Gardens at Kanpur. By August 1960, the first batch of one hundred students were admitted. The same month the first ever selection of faculty for IIT Kanpur was made. It says something for Dr Kelkar’s visions that the persons he hired went on to become a virtual who’s who of Indian Science and Technology. Profs KR Sarma, M Anandakrishnan, GD Agarwal, CNR Rao, PT Narasimhan, EC Subbarao, V Rajaraman, MV George, P Dayaratnam, and many others – too many to mention here – have had a great impact on Indian Research and Development. Under Prof Kelkar’s dynamic and innovative leadership, IITK soon grew into a place recognized for excellence by engineers and scientists from far and wide.

Dr Kelkar’s innovative pattern of educational thought included the idea of the core curriculum, and of electives and humanities courses for an integrated and meaningful engineering education for students, a proper and continual mix of teaching and research for faculty, letter grades, continual assessment of the performance, team work in all aspects of planning, teaching and administration, and placing academic excellence above everything else. These are the elements of the IITK paradigm that developed under his leadership and provided to India a new blue print of how to develop and run an educational institution.

To keep alive the memory of Prof Kelkar and his contributions, the Alumni Association of the institute started the Kelkar Alumni Lecture in 1979. There have so far been 24 lectures delivered by the likes of Professor Norman C Dahl, Professor C N R Rao, Dr Raja Ramanna, Professor M G K Menon, Shri N A Palkhivala, Shri Sundar Lal Bahuguna, Shri R K Laxman, Shri Shyam Benegal, Shri J P Sethi, Dr Irfan Habib, Shri Laurie Baker, Dr Lekha Pathak, Dr Jayant V Narliker, Mrs Najma Heptulla, Dr S R Rao, Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, Mr Arvind Kejriwal and Shri Gurucharan Das.

Past Speakers of the Kelkar Alumni Lecture (KAL) Series

S. No. Speaker Topic Secretary Date
25 Prof. C. N. R. Rao
National Research Professor and Honorary President & Linux Pauling Research Professor
Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research – Bangalore
Can India Be A Global Leader in Science and Education Prof. Kripa Shanker
2015 – till date
June 27, 2016
24 Mr. Gurcharan Das
Fmr CEO of Proctor and Gamble, author of India Unbound, and The
Elephant Paradigm, columnist with The Sunday Times
India’s Future Dr Vinayak Eswaran
2006 – 2008
Mar 17, 2007
23 Mr. Arvind Kejriwal
Founder, Parivartan
Right to Information- a tool for holding Government accountable Dr Vinayak Eswaran
2006 – 2008
Mar 25, 2006
22 Dr Bindeshwar Pathak
Founder, Sulabh International Social Service Organization
Endeavors In Environmental Sanitation Dr Ashok Khanna
2002 – 2004
Apr 04, 2004
21 Dr S R Rao
Former Deputy Director General,
Archaeological Survey of India
Archaeology sheds new Light on the less known aspects of Civilizations Dr Sanjeev Bhargava,
2000 – 2002
Jan 6, 2002
20 Dr Anil Kakodkar
Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission & Secretary To the Government
of India,
Department of Atomic Energy
Strategies for the Development of Thorium Based Power Systems Dr Sanjeev Bhargava,
2000 – 2002
Dec 30, 2000
19 Dr K Subrahmanyam
Defense Analyst
Consulting Editor (Times of
India & the Economic Times)
Indian Nuclear Doctrine Dr Vinod Tare
Jan 22, 2000
18 Dr C Rangarajan
Governor Andhra Pradesh and
Former governor RBI,
An eminent economist
Science Technology and Economic Growth Dr Vinod Tare
Mar 20, 1999
17 Dr Najma Heptulla
Dy Chairperson, Rajya Sabha
Golden Jubilee of Independence And Vision for the next millennium Dr Vinod Tare
16 Dr Jayant V Narlikar
Astronomy and the Widening
Horizons of Knowledge
Dr Vinod Tare
Jan 19, 1997
15 Dr Lekha Pathak
Affairs of the heart Dr P K Kalra
Jan 28, 1995
14 Mr Laurie Baker
Architecture: Work or Way of life Dr P K Kalra
Jan 22, 1994
13 Mr Arun Shourie
Maintaining Islands of Excellence

in an Environment Such as ours

Dr P K Kalra
Feb 20, 1993
12 Dr Irfan Habib
Role of Reason in Our Civilization Dr CVR Murthy
Sep 26, 1992
11 Mr J P Sethi
Jaipur Foot Fame
The Technology of Medicine Dr CVR Murthy
Nov 2, 1991
10 Mr Shyam Benegal
Film Director
Cinema, Television and India Dr Anil Kumar
Mar 24, 1990
9 Mr R K Laxman
History of Political Satire in
Dr Anil Kumar
Mar 25, 1989
8 Mr S L Bahuguna
The ecological crisis and the
Direction of Technology to face it.
Dr Sanjay Gupta
Jan 31, 1988
7 Mr N A Palkihivala
Sr Advocate,
Supreme Court of India
Education and Culture, Science and


Dr Sanjay Gupta
Mar 7, 1987
6 Prof M G K Menon
Scientific Advisor to the Prime
Social responsibilities of the
Scientific Community
Dr D Kunzru
Sep 6, 1986
5 Dr Raja Ramanna 
Chairman, Atomic Energy
Role of Nuclear power In India Dr D Kunzru
Jan 5, 1985
4 Dr C N R Rao
Director, IISc, Banglore
Excellence – Kelkar’s Dream Dr S P Mehrotra
Oct 2, 1983
3 Prof Norman C Dahl 
Founder Director, Kanpur Indo American Programme
The Role of IIT’s in 1980 Dr J P Gupta Dec 28, 1980
2 Mr B V Chandiramani
Engineer and Educationist
Technical Education in India Dr J P Gupta Feb 10, 1980
1 Prof Jai Krishna
Eminent Civil Engineer &
Earthquake Engineering Expert
Progress of Earthquake Engineering
Dr J P Gupta
Mar 3, 1979