Dr Sudhir Kumar Jain is an active academic and passionate academic administrator who recently joined Banaras Hindu University as its 28th Vice-Chancellor. He brings with him 35 years of rich experience of being a faculty at the prestigious IIT Kanpur and then heading IIT Gandhinagar for another 12 years.
Prof. Dr Jain holds a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Roorkee, and a Masters and Doctoral degree from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. He has served as President of the International Association for Earthquake Engineering during 2014-18. He was elected Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineering in 2003 and was conferred Life Membership by the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE) in 2013.
Prof Jain recounts his mathematics teacher who taught him values at the young age of 11 years as much as he taught mathematics that laid the foundation of his strong character, work ethic and desire of making a meaningful contribution towards nation-building. He chose earthquake engineering as his mission and his work has had a tremendous impact on its practice and education in India. He was instrumental in the development of several important seismic codes in India and has trained a huge number of professional engineers and college teachers in earthquake engineering through his highly successful continuing education programmes.
Prof Jain conceptualised and developed the National Information Centre of Earthquake Engineering at IIT Kanpur with the objective of dissemination of information and literature and capacity building against earthquake disasters. Prof Sudhir Kumar Jain received Padma Shri from President Ram Nath Kovind Jain also conceived, developed, and operated the national programme on earthquake engineering education with the Union ministry of Human Resource Development to develop ‘earthquake engineering’ in colleges of engineering, architecture and polytechnics in the country.
Despite being deeply involved in earthquake engineering, he chose to become the founding director of IIT Gandhinagar. He got many senior faculties from other IITs and even banked on young talent to run the education programmes, something unheard of in those times.
Prof. Jain is respected as much for his engineering as for the compassion he carries in his heart. If he could be ruthless in the class, he could be like a parent and protective of his students even if it meant sitting outside a police station a whole night to ensure his students feel safe and protected. Even though he is a legend in the field, he has had no qualms in collaborating with his students to write scholarly articles or taking journeys to earthquake effected areas and initiating wonderful work in the field. As a great leader, he could invigorate people to be self-motivated and enjoy being part of his seminal work in the field. He could draw commitment from his subordinates purely owing to his affable nature and dedication filled persona.
Prof Jain gives credit for his recognition for Padmashri to his colleagues and the freedom that he had in operating, be it in IIT Kanpur or in IIT Gandhinagar where people would come forward on their own in helping him create things that could solve some problems for the nation and mankind.