Dr Ramesh Jain
By Vijay Phanshikar :
Dr. Ramesh Jain is a scientist of top order in the emerging domain of Artificial Intelligence and digital science, all right, but he also conceals within himself a philosopher and thinker of great substance. If sciences interest him, then philosophy and humane thought also fascinates him equally beyond words. Determined as he is to harness science for the ultimate well being of humanity, he has evolved a science-based concept of Future Health -- by way of which one can navigate how one’s physical parameters behave in future, so that appropriate response to counter those could be designed and delivered in right time. This work and many other contributions to pure and applied computational science by him, plus his strong and sustained entrepreneurial spirit have won Dr. Ramesh Jain many honours in the United States, his country of current residence, as well as in India, his own country.
The latest came when Nagpur First’s Global Nagpur Summit honoured Dr. Jain with ‘Global Nagpuri Star’ a few days ago. As he stood on the dais to receive the emblematic honour, the large yet intimate gathering rose to its feet offering him a standing ovation lasting a few minutes. One has to unveil all this achievement only through the cloak of extreme simplicity. Despite his high scholastic achievement, his equally great research work, his very popular ‘Handbook of Multimedia Information Management’, Ramesh Jain remains an ever-smiling, soft-mannered person who endears himself to one and all upon very first meeting. He may have settled in the United States, may have become an integral part of the research leadership in that country, all right. Yet, Ramesh Jain’s heart is very much in India -- which draws him to ‘my own country’ time and again under every possible pretext. During the past twenty-plus years, he tried to get involved in several science-based projects for the welfare of common people in India. Some of those even involved famed American entities such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Some of those projects got aborted for various reasons.
Yet, Ramesh Jain has not stopped looking for alternatives for his intense engagement; his Indian roots not allowing him to cosy up in his own US shell. Multi-facetedness is Ramesh Jain’s speciality. He began his international career in Germany with a research engagement for a couple of years -- when he understood what classic research is all about, nothing of which sort had he ever seen back in India. His professor there advised him to go to the United States where the overall eco-system would help his research ideas more fully. To the US, too, Ramesh Jain went first for only one year, and then kept extending his stay there year by year. Before he realised, he had become one with the research and higher learning scene in America -- almost fully an insider. This reality reflected itself in his associations with several universities where he founded various research institutions and laboratories and launched science magazines that caught the imagination of the audiences. They all were mesmerised with Ramesh Jain’s mastery of detail as well as of expression. His literary skills, however, dates back to his days at the Indian Institute of Technology at Kharagpur (IIT-K) where he edited a magazine titled Alankaar in Hindi.
That helped him hone his skills as a writer, as a communicator par excellence. Of course, his intense interest in research in computational sciences got aroused back in Nagpur at the famed Visvesarayya National Institute of Technology (VNIT) which had just moved into its sprawling new campus. There, Ramesh Jain found a new expression for himself -- which flourished better and better afterwards. But the story of the start of the academic pursuit of this genius goes back in his Itwari home in Nagpur where he was born. Whatever the norms of those olden days were, the little boy got a sense of free spirit. Then the family moved to Ramtek where his father got associated with Shantinath Jain Ashram. There, the little Ramesh did not go to school at all and stayed home and played with family and friends in an atmosphere of piety.
The elders soon realised that the boy should go to a school. And so the family returned to Nagpur and admitted him to Prakash School. The boy passed his matric examination from Hindi Bhashi Sangh -- all in Hindi medium. In those years, Hindi became his forte plus his permanent future interest. He was so fired by the beauty and prowess of Hindi that he wanted to do something in that regard. But then came his switch to English in engineering education -- and life changed altogether. In those years after IIT years, Ramesh got married, too, and had a child, when the move to Germany came. The rest is history, as they habitually say. Hardly did anybody know, however, that Dr.-Professor -- Ramesh Jain was destined really to create history of rare merit. That did take time and a lot of dedicated work in the labs and in the classrooms. A lot of work also went into creating some successful entrepreneurial enterprises -- which he handed over to others in due time, only to move on. Getting stuck does not suit Ramesh Jain, so to say. But life never travels in straight lines. So, an unfortunate medical twist landed Ramesh Jain in hospital -- where the doctors predicted grim prospects. And that encounter of a very serious nature led him to initiate the concept of Future Health. He devised censor rings and watches that monitored the wearer’s health parameters and foretold possible mishaps. Dr. Ramesh Jain, however, is not just a man of science.
He is also a man of humanity. He has profound opinions on what should be done to spruce up the educational thought-process particularly in India. “Things are not good enough here,” he says. He advocates absolute learning freedom to young generations; and naturally, therefore, debunks the rote method which is popular in Indian education. He does not like a blind statement that everything in the past was good and things now are not good enough. “Of course, the human race has moved forward. Science and technology have made a lot of difference. If we handled those correctly, then we would benefit. If we abused those, we would be doomed. But I am sure, the human race will learn that as well. It has already begun walking that path,” Dr. Ramesh Jain says. This optimism has been the mainstay of Dr. Ramesh Jain’s personality.