Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thank you, Prof

On the morning of August 6, 2012, I lost one of the most important people in my life: beloved Professor Satish Kumar, Head of the Department of Physics and Computer Science at Dayalbagh Educational Institute, Agra. Not only did he supervise both of my post-graduate theses, he acted like a role model and personal mentor to me as well. I would go to him for all sorts of advice and guidance. He inspired me, made me test my boundaries, and played a large role in shaping who I am today. 

Professor Satish Kumar was one of those teachers who kept you hanging off the edge of your seat during class. He pushed a large number of students into finding their interests and strengths. I was one such lucky student. He approached me when I was just a Bachelor’s student and asked if I would like to join his small research group. Though I was the youngest in the group, I never felt uncomfortable, and he treated my silly opinions and ideas with respect. 

The Prof and I often had interesting discussions that would branch out into various subjects. We would lose track of time, which made him kick me out of the room with a playful scold, “Arrey, look at the time! I have so much work to do! Just don’t talk to me, Radha Pyari!” Yes, he was the only one who used my full name.

When proofreading anything I’d written, he not only looked through the technical parts, he painstakingly fixed grammar mistakes. He was super meticulous and his English was enviable. 

As a teacher, he catalyzed a large number of projects, including courses for distance education and open source learning. He also introduced an undergraduate award in his department to encourage students to take up research. Spreading education was very important to him. He was the coordinator behind a number of the MoU’s and tie-ups we have all over the world, and played a large role in putting together the goal of becoming one of the best universities in the world by the year 2031. He was a senior member of IEEE, an Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Fuzzy Systems, and well-known in the soft computing research community, especially for his book

After he passed away, the entire university came out to see off the carriage that held his body. They showered it with rose petals. He’s the only one who could have literally stopped a whole university from functioning like that. It really was a beautiful send-off. 

He would have been 49 years old on August 7, 2012. 

Thank you, my Prof
For showing me the way
To live with head held high
To recognize quality
And competence
To laugh off the big things
And appreciate the little things

Thank you, my Prof
For your endless hours
Of patience
Despite my shortcomings
And thick-headed mistakes

Thank you, my Prof
For the classes
So very well taught
By your signature hand gestures
And energetic smile

Thank you, my Prof
For enriching my life
For every life you touched
In fact
For putting this department
On the world’s map

Forgive me, my Prof
If ever
I caused you distress

You will be missed, my Prof
The happy memories made
Myriad lessons taught

You will be missed, my Prof
But missed with a smile…
For that is what you taught me.

I once asked him, “Prof, don’t you ever rest?” He replied with a smile, “I’ll rest when I die.” 

Rest, my Prof. You more than deserve it. I will try to live my life in a way that will make you proud, pick up where you left off, and hope to be even half the person you were.


  1. Indeed he catalyzed many students, including me, to realize my goals in life. I still hear his words in my mind sometimes. I really miss him.

  2. Wow! Didn't know him so well. This is beautifully written Radha Pyari. Kudos :)

  3. words are not enough to explain my feeling ............. i miss u sir :(

  4. This literally gave me tears...I still can't believe he is no more...very well written...miss him a lot...

  5. its a sad news, I appreciate your spirit of admiration for him

  6. A beautiful tribute. But it is still hard to believe...miss you so much sir...
    I still have to remind myself every single day about this :(

  7. This is b'full....and trust me its still difficult to believe he is no more. He inspired so many students..............he meant a lot to me n m sure to many more.........Miss u sir:(

  8. Damnit, Radha, you're making me tear up! :'( This was such a eloquent and beautiful tribute to your professor.
    I've heard you talk about your prof a few times in the years we've known each other so I know that he was really important to you. He sounds like an amazing, inspirational person and it's sad for the world to lose someone like him.

    <3 Stay strong dear. It sounds like he was proud to have you as his student.

  9. i only remember my aghast expression each time he used to say something so brilliant so easily which would take couple of post lecture focus hours for we engineering students to even understand it properly before we could actually appreciate the beauty of his words.
    such an inspiring brilliance and presence of mind

  10. Everytime I convince my heart, I get to see something about him and it takes me back to the sad morning of 6 Aug'12...:'(

    Miss you a lot SK Sir..!!:(

  11. The Man behind the success of E-satsang........accomplished the task for which he was born and went away......May He rest in peace in the sphere of RS dayal.

  12. Very true.... I can't imagine science faculty without SK sir :( He was a great personality and no one can be like him....Still can't believe he is no more...Sir will miss u a lot.

  13. Sir.. Each time I feel lonely I close my eyes to remember the conversations which we had during my tenure in DEI.. Also your appreciating way and precious smile which strengthen me each day.

  14. you still show me the way....

  15. I cannot forget prof. Satish till last day of my life. We have worked together to design multimedia lab. and renovate different departments of Science Faculty. I used to say, "He is one of the Pillars of DEI amd he will hold Top positions of DEI and Radhasoami Satsang as well. " A Shining Star has left us and now this is our duty to keep the Torch On with his ideas.

  16. He was Great, He is Hero for many of us..

  17. He is still living through his book. I bought this book around 2014, and have been quite engaged through the concepts which he has introduced. Moreover, this book has a great list of reference to dig in deeper into Neural Networks. Recently, I was frantically searching for his Linkedin Contact to contact him personally, that I bumped into this blog. Quiet saddening and shocked. I realize I am bit too late. RIP professor.