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Professionalism only way to make progress (Q&A with Dr. BS)

Prof. Dr. B.S. Chowdhry is a renowned scientist and ICT expert. Presently, he is Dean Faculty of Electrical Electronics and Computer Engineering, MUET, Jamshoro. He carries with him around 30 years of experience as faculty member and working on key positions. He has supervised/co-supervised 7 PhDs and more than 50 MPhil/Masters Thesis in the area of ICT. During his recent interview with Technology Times, he spoke in detail about his professional career

Q: Kindly give a brief sketch of your professional career?

A: I am associated with the field of teaching for more than three decades. My teaching career seems like it is only yesterday that he joined Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET) as a lecturer and now good 32 years have passed. This shows time and tide wait for none. It is essential for us to keep up with time. In 1990, I completed my Doctorate degree from worlds well known Electronics and Computer Science Department at the University of Southampton, England. On return, when I joined my alma mater as an Associate Professor I was filled with eagerness in order to help achieve something for my university in particular and the country in general. In this way, the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology can be credited with national recognition. I was also selected as Mehran University of Engineering Technology (MUET) lead person for European Unions Erasmus Mundus to introduce it in Pakistan.

Q: Share with us any big contribution of your early stage as faculty member?

A: Yes, it was a mega event of my early stage of my career. In June 1990 three academicians including Dr. Faizullah Abbasi, currently Vice Chancellor of Dawood University of Engineering and Technology, Dr. Nasrullah Memon, now Professor in Denmark) and I (Dr. Bhawani Shankar Chowdhry, Professor and Dean, FEECE, held a meeting and decided to organize a three-day national level conference based on computer technology along with a two-day project exhibition of students from nearly all engineering universities of the country and launch Dr. Faizullah Abbasis written monograph “All you know about Corrosion”.

This event was named as “TECHNO-91”. The news of the mega event was spread like the wildfire. Teachers, students and the then Vice Chancellor Dr. Abdul Ahad Abro welcomed the idea. It is worth mentioning here that “flagship event” was covered by newspapers and Pakistans state television “PTV” also broadcast the TECHNO-91 as one of its headlines at 9 O clock news bulletin.

About the event, Dr. Bhawani Shankar recalled that Mahmoud Haroon, the then governor of Sindh, was invited for the opening ceremony but due to his bypass surgery he went to America. However, Acting Governor Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui did the inauguration.

Dr. B.S. Chowdhry tells that it was a bizarre situation for him sitting on stage with dignitaries while veteran teachers including those who taught him were seated below but when the event came to an end with a success, those senior teachers appreciated his efforts, praising him with words like “You deserve it” and “We are proud of you”.

By experiencing such emotions with the spirit of passion, I was filled with more courage. Its true that hard work always pays off. Subsequently, when I went home I told my wife about the acclaim that I had won for organizing such a successful conference in a short period of time. However, I in my emotional tone expressed that at times I took pride of my achievement but drawing attention of my wife, who is less educated according to modern era, advised me that whosoever expressed admiration for you, you shall thank the Almighty for His countless blessings instead of boasting yourself. This piece of advice left an indelible mark on my personality.

Meanwhile, I sent newspapers coverage of “TECHNO-91” and some of its brochures to my Doctoral Supervisor, Prof. Johan Brignell. In return, he sent me a message of felicitations via letter acknowledging my efforts and also highlighted the difficulties that came across organizing such a mega event. Prof. went on to say that if a person is dedicated to his work and has a will power to accomplish any uphill task there is always a way out.

Q: Do you have contributed towards Dr. Abdus Salam or the institutions named after him?

A: I also worked for 12 years as an ICTP Regular Associate/UNESCO guest scientist in the microprocessor lab at International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), which is an international research institute, founded by Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam and later on renamed as “The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics” on the first death anniversary of Prof. Salam. I believe visiting this centre on regular basis over 12 years inspired and motivated me to contribute to the best of my abilities by writing low cost books (having price of less than 2 dollars), giving free career counselling and so on.

Q: How much you have contributed so far as a faculty icon?

A: By now, more than four hundred national and international seminars, lectures, workshops, training sessions along with IMTIC International Conference are to my credit. In addition, world-renowned publishing company Springer has published four books edited by me in its famous “Communication in Computer and Information Science series”. I am one of the few who is the Guest Editor of Springer Impact Factor International Journal on Wireless Personal Communication. Moreover, I feel honoured that I am the only Pakistani Professor who has been invited by European countries to conduct PhD examination in the most advanced areas of ICT several times.

Q: You have secured so many envious achievements in his career and your journey is on for more targets and missions in your life. What you feel about all this?

A: Yes, you are right, these achievements are a point of pride for me and for all this I thank the Almighty. But despite all these achievements, I am a humble person. I believe entirely in hard work and dedication.

Q: What the young generation should do especially in your field?

A: I want to motivate younger generations because opportunity knocks only once. It is we, who have to build a door. We should remember that Almighty Allah has bestowed everyone with a distinct quality. Thus, we have to figure out these qualities and groom ourselves in order to achieve the ultimate goal of life.

Q: How do you rate an academician?

A: I as a teacher ponder upon a thought that it is our obligation to treat our students just as parents show affection to their children. It is also necessary for a teacher to exercise self-assessment on a daily basis. For instance, if a car is not examined or maintained with urgency, no matter how up-to-date its model is or how skillful the driver is behind its wheels, that car is bound to malfunction. Therefore, we should know our strengths as well as weaknesses to overcome shortcomings. I have strong faith in God and the strength of belief in ourselves can lead us to new heights of success. Equally important is the fact to become a role model for upcoming generations.

Q: What would you say about the quality education in Pakistan?

A: There is an old Chinese proverb, “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”. Accepting this proverbial, I strongly believe that practical approach is a key to achieving the desired goals. China, which is now a major role in almost all fields of development, has successfully proved it. We must devise our roadmap of progress on the same line; there is nothing impossible, what we need to achieve all this is the commitment and dedication. We have a pool of potential on both sides – academicians and students and we must tap this potential effectively. We all must play our collective role for the achievement of our collective goal which is nothing but to emerge as developed nation in the globe. William Shakespeare has rightly said, “All the world is a stage and all the men and women merely players. They come and go playing their part in the drama of life. But those characters who play their role in contributing to the society are always remembered”.

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