Alumnus to help IIT KGP develop Happy Technocrats

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Alumnus to help IIT KGP develop Happy Technocrats
IIT KGP to set up Centre for Science of Happiness

Satinder Singh Rekhi, an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur is in the pursuit to create Happy People at workplace. Where best to start than his Alma Mater IIT Kharagpur! It was a conversation between Rekhi and Prof. P P Chakrabarti, Director, IIT Kharagpur where Rekhi felt, some concrete steps could be taken to assess and improve their sense of happiness through positivity, motivation, resilience, other-centeredness and such measures. This led to the idea of setting up a dedicated centre promoting Science of Happiness and Positive Psychology.

For centuries, the field of psychology focused on addressing the negative—investigating what was "wrong" with a person, or relieving suffering from depression, trauma, and addictions. But over the last decade, there has been a significant shift: Scientists are now turning their attention to what makes people thrive. Positive psychology doesn't turn a blind eye to suffering or psychological illness, but it does encourage individuals and even communities to adopt practices that can boost optimism, increase resilience, and live happy, engaged lives. The most important take away from the scientific research: Man has the power to take control of his happiness by choosing his thoughts, behaviours, and actions. Recent research into the types of interventions, or exercises, designed to promote positive emotional qualities, such as kindness and mindfulness, suggests that such qualities may be the product of skills he can learn through training—in the way that practice improves his musical or athletic abilities. Over time, he can build lasting habits that increase his resilience and improve his happiness levels.

This is where Rekhi Centre for Science of Happiness will play a significant role. The proposed centre will promote the science of happiness among the students at IIT Kharagpur. “All human beings have one common goal – to live a happy and a meaningful life. We live in a stressful world with a web of complexities where we are pushed to our emotional limits. The upcoming centre is a unique initiative that will research and teach practical ideas based on the Science of Happiness and Positive Psychology and help develop an eco-system of happy and successful KGPians. Our mission is to create happy Kgpians who become effective leaders in their fields, innovative engineers, caring employers, smarter and creative employees, and people who develop and nurture stronger and loving relationships”, said Rekhi. In addition to support the Centre financially Rekhi will also be part of programme management as its Honorary Chairman. He aims this Happiness and Positive Psychology to expand from KGPians to the people they meet in their professional life thus growing exponentially in its reach touching and improving lives of people at large.

“IIT Kharagpur has been a pioneer in diversifying the engineering education system and introducing the multi-disciplinary courses. The Institute has also encouraged extra-curricular activities thus supporting students to form societies for socio-cultural activities, sports, nurturing techno-management ideas. This has given the students a whole new dimension beyond their academic life and in a way groomed them to make themselves successful in the world. The Rekhi Centre for Science of Happiness is going to be a landmark achievement helping our students to embrace more happiness and better control over their emotions. The impact of the Institute will go much beyond the student community of the Institute and should trigger happiness and positivity in the society through these students” said Prof. Chakrabarti.

“A happy person is a successful person. Technical excellence help to a certain extent, however to manage stress, client and inter-personal relations, a person needs to be oriented with a positive psychology. IIT KGPians need to be pioneers of happiness.” added Rekhi.

Through this centre, IIT Kharagpur, aims to create an environment for fostering meaningful life, happiness, wellbeing, holistic self development and positive growth by (a) promoting interaction among students, faculty members and campus community, and (b) developing courses, research and training that scientifically examine and explore the science of happiness, feels Prof. Damodar Suar, who is in charge of the overall coordination of the Centre."We plan to have courses with immersive components for our students that would involve them in researching and exploring happiness, positive psychology and related concepts in themselves and in others. We hope that the courses will give them deep insights into the theory and practice of happiness", said Prof. Priyadarshi Patnaik, faculty coordinator for the Rekhi Centre. The centre will be established with a multidisciplinary core team consisting of members from various departments. Its activities would involve teaching courses on different key dimensions of happiness, to host regular workshops and talks of eminent researchers in the field, to involve students and the campus community in a significant way in the various activities of the centre, to conduct interdisciplinary research on different aspects of the science of happiness and develop training programs in relevant areas. It is expected that the first national/international workshop on the Science of Happiness will be organized around August 2016. Physical space for the centre has been earmarked and very soon the facility will be constructed.

“The student community is extremely excited about the development of an efficient student support network and a variety of allied activities under the auspices of the centre. A preliminary survey conducted with a section of the students of IIT Kharagpur has yielded a very enthusiastic response regarding setting up the centre” said Shovan Panigrahi, the official student representative of IIT Kharagpur.