Tuesday, April 17, 2007

We will miss you Dr. Loganathan!



Yesterday, a gunman went on a rampage and killed 33 people including himself. One of the deceased included Dr. GV Loganathan, my Master's thesis advisor. The news has not sunk in yet. Suddenly, I am reminded of my M.S. days (1999-2001) at VT. Fondly called as GV by his friends and peers, his day would start at 7 AM and would end at almost 12. Sometimes, I would email him stuff at 2 AM and I would receive a reply in 15 minutes. He was an extremely intelligent person but his humility would fool the casual observer. He was an excellent teacher and advisor. More importantly, he really cared for his students. When my regular source of financial funding dried out, he went out of his way to secure additional funding sources. I have heard of similar stories from other ex-Loganathanites. He had bookshelves full of books and was always looking to pass them on. I had met him last in 2003. He had emailed me recently congratulating me on my marriage.

Until this morning, I did not know that the V in his name stands for Vasudevan. I did not know the names of his two daughters. I knew nothing about his family in India. I did not know that he joked about being buried in VT grounds. I wish I did not know these things.

Suddenly the web is abuzz with analysis and opinions. I am all for constructive analysis. What are the circumstances that would alienate someone and fill them with hatred ? Should ownership laws of lethal fireams be revised ? However, let us not respond to hatred with more hatred.

My very first class under him was Advanced Hydrology. Yesterday, he died teaching that class. I learnt a lot from him personally and professionally. I will cherish those memories for the rest of my life.

Words are inadequate.
Hatred is wasteful.
A good teacher lives forever.

May his soul rest in peace. My prayers are with the families and friends of the victims.

6 comments:

Navin said...

It is indeed a shameful act. No words condemning the event are enough. GV was IIT Kanpur alumnus. I have heard a lot about him from my friend KP. Norris Hall (Engineering Science & Mechanics)was my department for two years. I had all my masters classes on the second floor of the bulding (the floor on which shootings occured). I had the office in the first floor of the building. It is really hard to sink in that it is the same Norris hall where I spent bulk of my first two years in this land of opportunities. The land truly provides "opportunites" to do anything to anyone.

The other professor, Dr Liveau Librescu, better known in the news as Romanian professor provided me teaching assistantship in one summer.

May the soul of all the deceased rest in peace. May God give enough strength to the family of the victims.

Raj said...

Times like these remind you how diminutive is our existence and how insignificant our presentiment towards it can be. I cannot possibly comprehend what horrendous circumstances the victims faced and how traumatic these memories will be for the survivors and their kin.

A few lines from Peter Gabriel's song: "I Grieve"

Life carries on
In the people I meet
In everyone thats out on the street
In all the dogs and cats
In the flies and rats
In the rot and the rust
In the ashes and the dust
Life carries on and on and on and on
Life carries on and on and on

Its just the car that we ride in
A home we reside in
The face that we hide in
The way we are tied in
And life carries on and on and on and on
Life carries on and on and on

Did I dream this belief?
Or did I believe this dream?
Now I can find relief
I grieve.....

Akhilesh said...

I did not know Prof. Loganathan but knew Prof. Librescu well. I took two courses under him. I still remember the first day when I attended his class of plate and shells. I had never seen a professor with so much of passion for a subject matter. He had such a deep understanding of the subject and he was so affectionate to his students. There was simply no one like him that I came across throughout my four years of graduate studies at VT. After I graduated, I met him quite a few times in conferences, and every time I met, I felt the same warmth. I was so sad to hear this news. He was so innocent and so affectionate and so knowledgeable. He was unique and he was great. His memories will remain with me for ever.

Srini said...

I am still in a state of disbelief. How can something so unexplainable and so irrational occur in a place of such wonderful camaraderie?

As the president said, 'The sanctity of the learning institution has been violated', it is inexcusable and the loss irreplaceable.

Such wonderful and honest people spreading the beacon of knowledge be targeted is indeed unfathomable. May their souls rest in peace.

My thoughts and prayers with everyone affected.

Pooja said...

Yada Yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharatha. Abhiyuthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srajamyaham.

This shloka from bhagavat geeta, is a way to console our disturbed souls. It says, whenever Adharm will start to take over Dharm, God will take a form and restore Dharm.

Srikanth said...

Dr. Loganathan was not only a great professor but also a great mentor and my graduate advisor. He was more than a graduate advisor to me. He mentored me in many aspects of life, especially life in United States, when I first landed in this country. He is one of the best professors and persons I met in my career.

I was in touch with him even after I graduated from VT and last month he congratulated me on my marriage and asked me and my wife to visit him when we go to Blacksburg.

I am still in disbelief to digest this... I can not stop thinking about 2 years of my MS life at VT...Advanced Hydrology class, TA and RA days under him...

I pray to GOD to help his family get through these difficult times.

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