Dr.Suranjana Gangopadhay was the First woman Head of the Textile Department of Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) since its inception in 1887.VJTI started with only two Departments — Textile and Mechanical Engineering. At that time the institute was founded to provide trained manpower to the booming Textile Mills in Mumbai…that’s the reason VJTI started with the Textile Department known as Ripon School of Textiles with the Mechanical Engineering Department to supplement manpower for maintaining Textile Machinery.
Dr.Gangopadhayhas a Ph. D. from the IIT Bombay, with an M.Text from the MS University, Baroda and B.Tech from the University of Calcutta. She is a member of BIS Committees of TXD-14: Textile Machinery and Accessories Sectional Committee, TXD-01: Physical Methods of Tests Sectional Committee and TXD-31: Man-Made Fibres, Cotton and their Products Sectional Committee. Dr. Gangopadhyay calls herself an ‘Accidental Textile Professor’… landed with Textile Technology while entering engineering education and then the uniqueness of the domain made her to “become extremely passionate; the reach of Textile Field encompasses between handloom-Handicraft to extremely high-end “Technical textiles”; which I enjoy from the perspective of both a Material Scientist and a Textile Technologist.”
Dr. Suranjana Gangopadhyay replies succinctly to some of the questions posed by the Textile Value Chain:
Explain your particular teaching strategy or technique that helps you to teach.
Always linking the content of the syllabus with relevant applications in the practical field which the students are familiar and excited about, e.g.,
- while teaching nuances of active wears, I mention about the famous adventure sports program which students are familiar with.
- while teaching nuances of Extreme weather clothing, I relate it to some famous scenes of Hollywood/ Bollywood movies.
How will you encourage your students to be creative in the textile industry?
- Always persuade/train them in giving customised and individualised lines of attack and resulting solutions for various scenarios shared with them as part of “Case Studies” and “Mini Projects”.
- Highlighting to them the rich heritage and facets of Artisan Knowledge and culture.
- Highlighting to them scientific and textile domain knowledge application in mythology.
Describe your work ethic.
I think of myself as am a strategizing and goal oriented Professional with hawk-eyes on perfection and finishing.
I believe, a good listener by being so can encourage a very meaningful yet guided communication not only in Textiles but in every field.
If I have multiple projects in front of me, I handle completing them on time by Strategising, Multi-tasking and Delegating.
What are your strengths as a professor and how do you measure success as a professor?
Students feel their time spent with me adds some incremental values to their knowledge repository both in technical as well as other domains…ensuring a holistic growth of their personality.
My measure of success as a “friend, philosopher and guide” is when students always communicate to me about their professional and personal achievements and make a long-lasting relationship even when they have long graduated from my courses.
What current trends are baffling to you?
The trend of devising “so-called smart” strategies (which are actually self-fulfilling prophecy) to have stellar “scores” on the grade cards and not honing upon skillset helpful for their eventual professional journey by a section of students; when so much of useful non-proprietary resources are freely available around.
Invariably it lands them in disaster in case they are forced to venture out in the core sector where getting the degree is actually the beginning of an uphill journey.
Do you think social media is beneficial to the textile industry?
Yes; very good OPEN-SOURCE information and Audio-Visual contents are available in Social media – judicious utilisation of which proved to be the boon for the Textile Industry.
What do you think about teamwork?
‘Team Work’ is the real elixir of reaching the next summit for Textile Fraternity like other walks of Life; gone are the days of working in isolation; it’s the era of “Collaboration & Team Work” to remain relevant and globally competitive.
Being an educationist, your journey in industry life and interaction.
My interactions with industry started early during my student days through my internship days in the then PSU of IPCL (Indian Petro Chemical Ltd.) Vadodara [ now a part of Reliance Industries] where I was very lucky to have stellar mentors who have shaped my professional journey more as a “Man Made Fibre Technologist”….in my professional life as an ‘Educationist’ I am privileged to have close interaction and collaborations with industries like Kusumgar Corporates Pvt. Ltd. (KCPL)-India, ATE Enterprise Pvt. Ltd., SAURER India, Oerlikon India, TexPort Syndicate Pvt. Ltd., D’ Décor India Pvt. Ltd. to name a few.
I am also closely associated with apex bodies like India ITME Society, ITAMMA, ITTA, FICCI, VDMA.
As a Mentor, what qualities, capabilities you choose in your Ph.D.students?
- Professional ethics and honesty.
- Capability to think independently and strategise on the go.
- Adequate domain knowledge.
- Good command over language.
How has the industry evolved in the last few years?
Indian Textile industry is entering its more mature stage; ready to evolve from ‘Family Oriented’ to “Professionally Managed ones recognised the power of excellent domain knowledge blended with exposure on the ‘Techno-Economic’ facets of the human resources…the famed Elephant seems to have woken up to the dire need of investing on R&D segment for indigenous capacity building.
What are the latest trends in the industry?
- Adopting the nuances of automation in sync with the ‘Industry 4.0’.
- Leveraging the power of e-commerce.
- Investing on creation of ‘Brand Image’.
- Moving towards more ‘Responsible Manufacturing/Engineering’.
- Imbibing the concepts of ‘Circular Economy’ to its benefit.
Sustainability, Carbon footprint, Waste management; how are they relevant and important? It’s just a talk of the town or any fruitful measures taken by industry?
‘SUSTAINABILITY’ is no more just a ‘BUZZWORD’ it has truly become the ‘Sustainable’ way of doing business…industry & manufacturers have to understand the TRUE Impact and adopt the concepts of ‘Sustainability’-Reduction of Carbon footprint and effective waste management to even remain in the business.
Indian Textile industry is still taking its baby steps in this path….to create awareness and provide exposure to the BAT (Best Available Techniques) in the domain of ‘Sustainability’ in Textile industry, our Team has organised a one week Certificate course for various stake holders on the theme of ‘Sustainable Textiles: Production & Application’ in the month of December 2017; our UG-PG curriculum includes dedicated modules on the concepts of ‘Sustainability in Textile Manufacturing & Processing’ to ensure that graduates of Textile Courses from VJTI-Mumbai are well versed with the need and the latest techniques to ensure ‘Reduced impact’ on Mother Earth!
How you personally adopted sustainability in your life?
- By doing waste segregation religiously.
- Adopting innovative ways of ‘Reuse & Upscaling’ of non-Biodegradable products I have come across.
- By consuming & supporting indigenous products which are less damaging to environment.
- Reducing Green House gas emission by optimising the use of air-conditioners.
- Ensuring e-wastes do not land in ‘land fills’ but reach the recyclers.
What is the key to success when communicating with the student?
To make them feel I am respecting and valuing their precious ‘TIME’ & ‘ENTHUSIASM’
The young & fresh students are very keen observers; they inadvertently imitate any good practice they have observed in their ‘Teachers’…nowadays actually we have evolved from being ‘TEACHERS’ to more of ‘FACILITATORS’ who are unlocking the hidden potential in the students!!!
The greatest challenge today for teachers is the very short span of attention and concentration of the students…mainly because of over exposure to digital environment.
What message will you give to the new generation?
‘Hold on to your DREAMS; just believe that YOU CAN…Nothing is going to STOP you…That’s the Story of wo/man…’ lyric credit @ Loui Banks.