Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT Kharagpur), the oldest and biggest of all IITs was established in 1951 on the blessed land of Hijli in the district of Medinipur, West Bengal, where many freedom fighters sacrificed their lives for the independence of their Motherland. The journey towards excellence began with a humble strength of only 224 freshmen and 42 teachers under the leadership of its first Director, Sir Gnan Chandra Ghosh. The transformation of the infamous Hijli Detention Camp to a temple of technical education was too significant to be overlooked. In the first convocation address on March 2, 1956, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minster, remarked
Here in the place of that Hijli detention camp stands this fine monument of India today representing India’s urges, India’s future in the making. This picture seems to me symbolical of the changes that are coming to India..
Out of the desire ‘to build up a prosperous, democratic and progressive nation’ was born the first institute of higher technical education. With the motto "Yogah Karmashu Koushalam" (a Sanskrit sloka taken from Srimad Bhagavat Gita meaning ‘Excellence in action is Yoga) deeply entrenched in its soul India’s first IIT took the responsibility of educating young generation with ‘the dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity’. Only ten departments were created
On 15th September, 1956 the Parliament of India passed the Indian Institute of Technology (Kharagpur) Act declaring IIT Kharagpur as an institute of national importance. The institute was also given the status of an autonomous university.
Driven by a strong motivation to fulfil the science and technological ambitions of developing India, IIT Kharagpur has grown during the last 71 years to become a centre of excellence in education and research in diverse field of engineering and technology. With 20 Departments, 11 Schools, 17 Centres (including four centres of excellence) and 2 academies it has grown to be one of the most diversified technological institutions in this part of the globe. Lying on a vast green campus spreading over 2100 acres IIT Kharagpur has a self-contained township of over 16,000 inhabitants that include 14500 students, 715 faculty member and 2000 staff members.
During its journey over seven decades, IIT Kharagpur has made landmark contributions by not only setting up the IIT system, but by having under its wings unique departments, centres and schools, that have each made a mark in their own right. It has been pioneer in introducing new departments like Management, Law, Medical Science and Technology in the IIT system. Some major contributions of IIT Kharagpur to the higher education in India are as follows:
Elite but not elitist, IIT Kharagpur today is a vibrant technology focused multi-disciplinary Institution of world standard. The Institute is widely recognized for being one of the top research institutes in India and the world in terms of research publications and citations and for its highly accomplished alumni worldwide. Focusing on creativity through teaching, research, discovery and innovation it has been persistent in its endeavor to be a destination that nurtures talent and ideas in an ambiance where science and technology converge with other branches of learning to foster the emergence of knowledge and leaders.
In recognition of the service done to the Nation IIT Kharagpur was awarded the status of Institute of Eminence in 2019 by Government of India.
True to its name, IIT Kharagpur is profoundly Indian, dedicated to the service of Nation. Its vision to improve the life of every citizen of the country has enabled it to guide its action towards humanitarian goals. Not only has it helped industries to solve their problems through various sponsored research projects but also to take measures to elevate the standard of living of the rural people through the Rural Development Centre.
By fostering and promoting technological innovations through a number of programmes, IIT Kharagpur has endeavoured to bring transformational impact on quality of life at the bottom of the pyramid. The Department of Agricultural and Food Engineering, the only one of its kind in IIT system, address to the food problem of India through technological innovations. Again, considering the fact that 70% of the Indian population still reside in villages where healthcare delivery is a challenge, the Centre of Excellence on Affordable Next-Gen Healthcare Technologies is established to take the benefits of modern researches on health sciences to the last mile.
IIT Kharagpur has never lost sight of the fact that "at the dawn of history, India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and grandeur of her success and failure". Giving leadership to SandHI, a multi-institutional mega project for deep studies on technological interventions for understanding, preserving and developing our heritage, IIT Kharagpur is engaged in the noble task of discovering India’s glorious past.
India has been a major seat for learning for centuries. Higher education flourished in ancient Indian universities like Takshashila, Nalanda, Vikramshila which were known to attract scholars from far off places. Although during later epoch India lost her glory, an urge has always been felt at IIT Kharagpur to revive her golden past. The naming of the teaching room complexes after great Indian universities of ancient times bears testimony to this. The Office of International Relations was established in 2014 in response to global requirement for internationalization of higher educational institutes. Memoranda of Understanding were signed with more than 100 educational institutes across the globe to foster academic and research collaborations with international partners. Every year more than hundred students participate in summer internship programmes in foreign universities. Researchers and faculties from different universities across the globe regularly visit IIT Kharagpur. A new International Guest House has been built to accommodate foreign visitors. Today internationalization is considered to be very significant in taking any policy decision. It is one of the major interventions that have been effected to make IIT Kharagpur an institution of global eminence.
If the performance of an academic institution is judged by the success of its alumni then IIT Kharagpur must figure among the best institutes of the world. The alumni of IIT Kharagpur are recognized worldwide for their unparalleled competence in various walks of life. Whether it is business or administration or sports or academics, the alumni are immensely successful in their career. Out of approximately 73,000 alumni more than 50,000 have footprints across the Globe. While IIT Kharagpur is ever proud of its alumni, the latter, on the other hand, attribute their success to the quality education they received at their alma mater. IIT Kharagpur is always mindful of the holistic development of one’s personality rather than achievement of academic excellence only. Its value system inculcates dedication to the work for the benefit of humanity and teaches to perform any duty with a commitment for excellence in action, which is enshrined in its motto ‘Yogah Karmashu Koushalam’.