Professor at the age of 31, Industrialist at the age of 41
“Be clear about your goals but be flexible about the process of achieving them.”
In this edition of MBM stories, we are adding a story of an alumnus of the 1968 batch (Electrical), whose journey is the perfect example of the quote stated above. He has a personality trait that describes the extent to which a person can cope with changes and think about problems in a novel way. He has a versatile nature and adapted himself in all sectors, be it guiding as a professor at the prestigious MS University, Vadodara or establishing himself as a top-notch industrialist or serving as the president at Jodhpur industries association, or working as the director by the state government at RIICO. The iconic figure, Dr. Gautam Chand Kothari started his professional journey after completing his Ph.D. thesis in 1974 from IISc Bangalore and got an appointment letter as a lecturer in IIT Kanpur in the year 1975 ( He did not join IIT ). His expertise in Computer Applications to Power Systems led to a direct appointment as Reader in Electrical Engineering at M S University of Vadodara in 1976 and as Professor of Electrical Engineering in 1978 at the age of just 31 years. He started his own Industrial Unit in Jodhpur in the year 1988 to commence his entrepreneurial journey to becoming a successful Industrialist.
Schooling and Early Life :
From belonging to a remote area to being synonymous with entrepreneurial success, Dr. Kothari has come a long way in facing all the hardships and overcoming them. Born on 20th June 1947, Dr. Kothari completed his primary education in a remote village in Nagaur district of Rajasthan, only having a gravel road to connect. ” As there was no Middle or Higher Secondary school in the village My parents shifted to a small town, Madanganj near Ajmer so that I could able to complete my Higher Secondary in an average Hindi Medium Government school and got decent marks in PMC to get admission in prestigious MBM Engineering College in the year 1963″ Inform Dr. Kothari.
College Education :
The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams even in the toughest time of their life. His life wasn’t so rosy in his initial days at MBM but he didn’t let the thorns on his path affect his forthcoming days.
The first two years of engineering were the most challenging ones as he was less familiar with the English language, so coping up and overstepping to reach a certain level made him invest a maximum of his time in academics and engage least in extracurricular activities. But his perseverance and determination helped him shine bright and led him the way to secure a good rank in his second-year final examination and self-assured him to never look back. His brilliant performance in academics brought him to the eyes of the professors especially Professor V S Bansal and Professor DC Surana who saw his hidden abilities and advised him to go for higher studies, and hence he landed at IISc Bangalore in the Year 1968. He didn’t confine himself to academics in MBM but also excelled in his leadership skills by leading the students union of the university of Jodhpur (then) as vice president under the guidance and supervision of Shri Magraj Kalla (president of the university then, who became Chief Justice of High Court ), Shri Dalveer Bhandari (senior vice president then, at present Honorable Justice of International Court) and Shri Jugal Kabara( a senior Congress leader, and MLA from Jodhpur City) he learned politics and polished his leadership skills.
Higher Education at prestigious iNDIAN INSTITUTE OF SCIENCE BANGALORE:
After completing his BE ( Electrical ), Dr. Kothari joined the prestigious IISc in Bangalore in the year 1968. ” From the barren land of Rajasthan to lush green campus, 24 X 7 days open computer lab, Big library and talented pool of students at Indian Institute of Science Bangalore was a unique experience for me. On top of it, a company of friends like DR P S Goel (Padmshri) one of the top Space Scientist and still working as an advisor to the prestigious projects of India, “Gaggan Yan” and “Chandra Yan”, DR C K Bhansali, who is now amongst the first ten experts of Cloud Accounting in the US, had a great influence on me in working towards excellence in life. My Master’s Thesis was under the guidance of un Head of the famous Power System Group of India, Professor K Parathsarthy. He became my mentor and guide for my Ph.D. and made me the member of the Power System Group.” Dr. Kothari informs.
Other than Professor Parthasarthy and Dr. Kothari, Dr. H P Khincha, Ex Vice-Chancellor of Vishweshwaraiah Technical University and Dr. B S Ashok Kumar were the most active members Power System group from 1970 to 1975 and participated in most of the conferences held at IIT Bombay, Delhi. Kanpur and Chennai and conducted many international and national Seminars and quality improvement courses at IISc Bangalore and at Power Research Institute, Bangalore for the Power Engineers from all parts of India. Dr. Kothari was assigned the tasks related to System Studies of large interconnected power systems. During this period, he used to spend four to five hours of his time at Computer Center. He completed his Ph.D. thesis in 1974 and the degree was awarded in 1975.
PROFESSIONAL JOURNEY :
Dr. Kothari completed Ph.D in 1974, the Ph.D. In those years there was no need for the formal interviews for the IISc Ph.D. degree holders since most of the higher education academic faculty knew the Ph.D. degree holders personally but in the year 1975 IISc council decided to stop the recruitment of Ph.D. pass out to become permanent faculty which made him quit his IISc life. He got an appointment letter from IIT Kanpur as a lecturer in the year 1975. After that Dr. S M Sen, Dean, Faculty of Technology, M S University offered him the post of Reader in Electrical Engineering directly and he joined in 1976. ORG Baroda provided him to use their computer facilities free of cost. In the Year 1977, he organized a training course for the System Engineers from the State Electricity Boards. Engineers from 15 State Electricity Boards attended that course. Many of the State Electricity Boards used the software prepared by him till the year 2000 for their operational and planning studies. In the same year, he developed the testing facility for the 400KV CVTs at Hindustan Brown Bovary, Baroda. University gave him the return of his hard work and he was selected as Professor of Electrical Engineering in 1978 itself at the age of 31 years.
He established a computer center at M S University and installed IBM 360 System, which he brought from IISc Bangalore and was its first Head in the year 1980. In the year 1981, he had to give up his academic career, but he gave his services to the M S University in the year 1988 as Professor and Head of Computer Engineering Department as per the request of then Vice-Chancellor of the University Professor R C Patel.
TRYST WITH ENTREPRENEURSHIP :
In the Year 1981, he joined his family business dealing in Stainless Steel, ACSR conductors and minerals. A one 180-degree shift in the career. But Mr. Kothari with his dedication and past experiences, achieved success in every field he entered. Even coming from a very different background. He laid no stones unturned to achieve his goal. He used his political and maneuvering skills which were learnt by him in college days and became the President of Rajasthan Stainless Steel Re-Rollers Association in the year 1989 for a period of two years. He used his research skill in manufacturing and rolling of 200 series Manganese Steel which is more cost effective than the 300 series Nickle Steel. Later in the year 1995 he became the President of most prestigious association of Rajasthan, Jodhpur Industries Association for the period of two years. The first fully Air-Conditioned building of any Industrial Association in Rajasthan was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Rajasthan in the year 1996. “the period of 1995-97 is still remembered by the industrialists of Jodhpur as a golden period when many decisions were implemented by the Central and State Governments to benefit the industries.” quips Dr. Kothari
In the Year 1999, Dr. Kothari was nominated as Director of RIICO by the State government of Rajasthan as nominee from the industries. In the year 2000 onwards National Green Tribunal rulings became strict. During his tenure in the years 2001-2003 as Managing Trustee of the Jodhpur Pradushan Nivaran Trust, a dedicated HDPE line was laid in the entire industrial area to carry the acidic industrial effluent to the CETP for the treatment. A unique technology was used to treat the alkaline effluent discharged from the Textile Sector and the acidic effluent discharged from the Steel Sector. Till the year 2010, the District Collector used to be Ex Officio Chairman of the JPNT. In the year 2017, Dr. Kothari became the first Chairman of the Trust from the Industries for the period of two years.
All in the family :
It is pleasant co-incidence that two of Dr. Kothari’s younger brothers and all the three daughters are proud alumni of MBM Engineering College. Er. Mahaveer Prasad is from 1975 Electrical batch and Er. Jamboo Kumar is from 1980 Electrical both the brothers are based in Jodhpur and involved in manufacturing business. Elder daughter Er. Priya Agarwal is from 1997 Electrical batch and she is Senior Director, ADP at New Jersey, Second daughter Priyanka Mehta is from 2003 B.Arch batch and she is HOD, Department Of Architecture & Town Planning, MBM Engineering College and youngest daughter Dr. Sonal Kothari Phan is from 2008 ECE batch and she is a licensed professional Electrical engineer based in Atlanta.
1968 Batch, a special one :
” Our batch had maximum number of students ( 62 nos.) who went on to do Master’s degree from the prestigious IISc and IIT’s , six students completed Ph.D. Dr. P.S Goel from our batch was conferred Padamshri for his great contribution in the field of Science and Technology. The most prestigious project of MBM Engineering College Alumni Association ” Girls
Hostel Project” could restart only because of on the spot contribution of Rs. 50 Lacs from the batch at the time of Golden Jubilee function in September 2018. 1968 batch alumni under the guidance of Dr. K. Kasturirangan and Prof. Goverdhan Mehta , played a pivotal role in the establishment of MBM University in 2021.” Informs Dr. Kothari .
Giving back to alma mater :
“At the end of the day, it is about who you’ve lifted up, who you’ve made better and what you have given back” and we are glad and thankful to Dr. Kothari for his beneficence to bring cheer and upliftment to the MBM fraternity . He is aiming and devoting his time to develop the infrastructure of the college and is looking forward to brace the activities in the college in both academics and co-curricular sector. He has been devoting much of the time in activities related to MBM University.
Such is the wonderful journey of Dr. Kothari. We wish him happy, healthy and blissful life.
Taru Arora is a student at MBM engineering college, currently pursuing her first year Bachelor of Engineering in computer science. She has a keen interest in both tech and non-tech stuff, be it Basketball, Guitar, Swimming or learning various Computer languages like Python and C. She developed the habit of reading and writing recently and is a newcomer in this field.