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Farewell to Prof P.M. Bhate

TEACHING is an art and the teacher creates pupils who excel better than him and carry the torch forward. The Department of Dyestuff Technology organised a seminar and felicitations to Prof P.M.Bhate on 28th September 2018 at Mysore Association Hall for his outstanding career attaining superannuation at the age of 65. PMB research interests include fibre reactive dyes with different reactive systems, vat dyes, carbohydrates and natural product synthesis. He has 9 publications and one Indian patent to his credit. He preferred teaching undergraduate course, promoted research and supported students with exposure to greater number of hours. He is respected by one and all as a great teacher, role model, embodiment of humanity with grace and grip, determination and perseverance; Organised activities like National Symposium for Functional Application of Colorants (NSFAC), Convention on Colorants (CoC), DMAI, SDC and Dr.K.K.G.Menon Memorial Lecture besides Alumni activities.

Introducing Prof Bhate, Prof G.S.Shankarling said he is a Marathi speaking person who hailed from Vadodara from a family of chemical engineers. He obtained B.Sc (Tech) in 1977 and PhD from University of Ohio (1984). His industrial experience included stints at Gharda Chemicals, ICI Research Centre followed by work on explosive chemicals, Atul and Technova. Though he appeared for an interview earlier at UDCT, Prof D.W.Rangnekar was appointed then. Later he served as Professor, Head of the Department and Dean (student affairs and human resource) from September 2008 to 2018 and VP-Technological Association. It entails competence to join academic from a good position in the industry for it is not lucrative financially regardless of passion for chemistry and teaching for which he is appreciated, and he brought industry perspective to the curriculum.

Mr.Dilip Udas convened the function comprising 30 delegates. Family members spoke about PMB as father, teacher and scientist and faculty, non-teaching staff; present and past students spoke extempore.

  • Prof M.M.Sharma said he always had probing queries to PMB on the way to Atul during his visits, besides his progress. The kind of love, gratitude and affection an academician like him gets, makes him feel that life is worth living. This is a profession where people are built, better than him and it is enjoyable to bask in their glory. Despite exposure to a varied background, he wondered why PMB didn't join academia before! When you are lecturing, and the students are not yawning or looking elsewhere, which meant that you have captured their attention. Following the lecture, his criterion was whether he transmitted the subject to the students properly and made the unbelievable believable. It is the aptitude you develop being a teacher, researcher, scholarly writer and consultant to the industry. DNA of ICT combines all this and he paid tribute to Prof K.Venkataraman in this regard. MMS concluded that academic life is rewarding, and he made living on what he wanted to do and willing to repeat all over again in academic world and enrich ICT.
  • Prof G.D.Yadav described PMB as a thorough gentleman, extremely polite and one who never loses temper. Secondly, he is methodological, patient and is passionate about ICT. Besides serving the institute in various capacities, he has now promised to interact with students one day a week to inspire them to do good things.
  • Prof V.R.Kanetkar said he was instrumental for recruitment of PMB with passion for academics and industrial background to look after the activities of the department associated with CoC and Indian Standards etc besides meticulous planning, working and executing the best from colleagues.
  • Prof A.B.Pandit said that even under extremely trying circumstances, he would not lose his cool and with this a lot of conflicts could be resolved. When PMB interacts with students in teaching, they imbibe it in their life. For his technical competency, people look up to him for solutions to technical issues. He adapted chemistry and engineering to come up with incremental solutions rather than specifics.
  • Prof N.Sekar shared some instances like revising the syllabus in coordination with PMB and introducing a course on naphthalene chemistry and technology.
  • Mr.Janak Mehta, Chairman of Asia Dyestuff Industry Federation (ADIF) and Past President at DMAI described PMBs contribution to CoC with academia-industry participation.

Overwhelmed with humility, Prof Bhate thanked undergraduate students who are the life of ICT and enjoyed his association with them as well as PhD and M.Tech students for their hard and sincere work; and others who generously spoke about him, inspired, moulded and shaped him. He had also thanked colleagues who are committed to teaching and research besides support staff for their cooperation. He had fulfilling years at ICT due to its culture of teaching and research and fondly remembered Prof S.Seshadri for his fascinating lectures on chemistry; prolific organic chemist Prof Leo Paquette at Ohio State University; Dr.K.K.G.Menon (father-in-law) for scientific temper and patent regime and Prof M.M.Sharma with passion for chemical industry and doing right things right.

Students expressed that PMB was Harry Porter of the Department and they miss him and looked forward to his periodic visit to involve himself in teaching and research with suggestions and guidance that are beneficial. The audience presented mementos, photo albums and videos as token of love and appreciation. They wished him and his family a productive and peaceful healthy life. The function ended with him playing a Hindi film song on the flute followed by dinner. Earlier in the seminar, Prof P.K.Ghosh, ICT spoke on 'Case studies of innovative solutions to problems of industrial and societal relevance; Mr.Pramod Karlekar, Sudarshan Farm Chemicals on 'Fine chemicals - emerging trends' and Mr.Adnan Ahmad, Clariant Chemicals (India) Ltd on 'Sustainability in chemical industry.'

Author Details

Dr. K. S. Murthy,

Pidilite Industries Ltd.

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