In a first, the wife Parvathy Ayyar and daughters Jayshree Subrahmonia (CA) and Ranjani Saigal (MA) of one of the founding faculty members at IIT-Bombay, late Professor R.S. Ayyar, have donated their Mumbai flats for the development of the institute. Both daughters are alumnae of the institute. Professor Ayyar held several important positions at IIT Bombay including head of the department of Civil Engineering, Dean of Academic Programs and Chairman of JEE when IIT Bombay was the host.
The deed papers of the flats in Ghatkopar and Powai have already been donated to IIT-Bombay and the amount will be used to institute a chair professor in the civil engineering department and to upgrade one of their conference rooms, which will also be named after him.
The MoU between the institute and the family was signed on May 5, 2022 in an online event in the presence of the director Subhasis Chaudhuri. Last year, the wife of another faculty member, Subir Kar, had bequeathed her property - a flat in Powai - to the institute to set up a chair professor in the mechanical engineering department.
Parvathy Ayyar said that the professor truly believed in women's empowerment. "I had only completed my class XII when I got married, but he ensured that I completed my college. He helped me with my studies'" she said, adding that she could do well in English with his support and even went on to teach at Mumbai's SK Somaiya College.
Prof. Ayyar was know for his exceptional work in structural engineering. He was the dean (Academics) and head of the civil engineering department and retired in 1991 from the institute. His major contribution was in shell structures, polymer concretes and low cost housing, said his elder daughter, Ranjani Saigal, who manages the US arm of Ekal Vidyalaya, an NGO running the largest number of schools in rural India.
Jayashree Subrahmonia, the younger daughter and a senior official in a leading IT firm, talked about how IIT-Bombay was her father's life and it had also provided them a family environment in their growing years. "After he passed away in 2019, we wanted to create a legacy in his name. When we got to know about Professor Kar's will, we though it would be a unique way to continue our father's legacy."
The head of civil engineering department, Deepankar Choudhury, said the chair position will be for research work in 'Analysis and Design of Infrastructure Using Mechanics. Earlier, the 1978 batch of IIT-B started a scholarship program in his name for meritorious girl students in the civil engineering department.