(13 Feb 2015) Report of the UK-India Joint Workshop on “Affordable medical diagnostics and devices: From ideation to commercialization”

cropped-indo-uk-workshop1Report of the UK-India Joint Workshop on Affordable medical diagnostics and devices: From ideation to commercialization

is available at




Organized by: UK Science and Innovation Network; Bioincubator at Venture Center (Bioincubator at Venture Center is supported by BIRAC, Government of India); Association of British Scholars, Pune

Supported by:  British High Commission; Social Innovation Immersion Program @ Venture Center, Biotechnology Industry Research and Assistance Council (BIRAC) under SPARSH Scheme; Mentoring Program of Biotech Ignition Grant partner (Venture Center)


(19 Sept 2014) Chevening alumni networking meet in Pune

Chevening Alumni Networking event in Pune

The British Trade Office in Pune organised a Chevening Alumni Networking and Mentoring event Friday, 19 September, 2014 at the Residency Club. Follow us on twitter @UKinIndia


Photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/ukinindia/15142175560/in/album-72157628397217523/

(27 June 2014) Excerpts of “Challenges and opportunities for ABS: Pune chapter perspective”

At the UK Alumni Meet held in Delhi on 27 June 2014, Dr Premnath who was representing ABS Pune was asked to talk of some of the challenges and opportunities associated with ABS. Other ABS chapters also presented their views. This was meant to stir discussion and to explore how one can strengthen ABS.

Here are some brief excerpts from comments by the ABS Pune representative:

  • ABS is a relatively unique alumni network — it is a pan university network with a country-wide scope. It includes a variety of people with varied professional interests, varied university affiliations, etc.  The common threads are: a) have gained professionally and personally from learning experiences in the UK, and b) have probably benefited from a British Council or UK-BHC program.
  • This diversity poses its own unique opportunities and challenges.
  • Challenges
    ….. Fuzzy network unlike specific college or university alumni network. Lot more heterogeneity. Heterogeneity makes cohesiveness difficult
    ….. How do we figure in the top of available networks and distractions. What makes us attractive?
    ….. How does this network work for its members? People are part of professional networks, family and social networks. What does this network bring? Not clear
    ….. Need Champions who will and can put in time in organising activities. Often relatively cohesive core group. Volunteer driven activity have their own limitations.
    ….. Subcritical funding. Raising sponsorships is hard given the other competing demands on sponsorship funding available.
    …..Other virtual networks bare now available. Are they a boon or bane for ABS? They compete for attention….lot of networks now.
  • Opportunities
    ….. Stay close to UK link. Other activities have other networks. Ex TiE for entrepreneurship, etc.  bringing the best of UK closer to people is a good choice. Ex: UK football for disadvantaged kids. Healthcare tech for the masses. The experience of LSE-AIM exchange. Need help from British council here.
    ….. Associate with local organizations but what do we bring to the table: Money? Volunteers? Experts and distinguished alumni? Visitors from UK? UK networks?
    ….. Library is a social good to rally around (works in favour of ABS Pune)
  • What are the Role models or equivalents?
    ….. Alumni networks of specific universities? Not really. These groups are more cohesive.
    ….. TiE ? Not really. The topic of interest is more cohesive.
    …..Pan IIT association? Common thread in IIT brand and do something for India theme.
  • Ideas and suggestions
    ….. Create a common web portal for ABS with online management system for documents drop box,  events announcement and reporting system, email, mailing lists, membership database , publicity tools etc. each chapter can have a separate view. Finance it centrally.
    ….. How to rejuvenate the team? Need mechanisms to bring in recent alumni into fold. How do we get them involved?
    …… Build further on existing relationships of alumni in Pune with UK organisations.  Identify themes of common interest to Pune alumni. Identify themes of interest to Pune alumni where UK has examples and role models to share.

(27 June 2014) UK Alumni Meeting, New Delhi

The British Council organised a UK Alumni Meeting at The Lalit Hotel, New Delhi on 27 June 2014. The event was attended by representative from 22 chapters of ABS and representatives of 9 independent alumni groups.

ABS, Pune was represented by Dr V Premnath.

The purpose of the get together included:

  • Bring everybody together and explore ways to reenergise ABS
  • To announce 3 new British Council initiatives
    • Generation UK-India: Work placement strand
    • UK Alumni Awards and
    • GREAT Education Campaign: Job fair and GREAT talks

Alumni are requested to kindly help popularise the British Council initiatives esp 11 Feb 2015: Education UK Exhibition in Pune.

Key contacts:

  • Vishu Sharma, Senior Project Manager, Student Mobility and Alumni Development, Internationalising Higher Education, British Council, 17 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi – 110001 (Email: vishu.sharma@in.britishcouncil.org )
  • Richard Everitt, Director Education & Society, British Council, 17 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi – 110001
  • Rob Lynes, Director, British Council, 17 Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi – 110001

(3 Nov 2012) Report of the play “The 14th Tale” by Inua Ellam

Newspaper reports:


Indian Express

The Poet of the Fall

Rohan Swamy Posted online: Sun Nov 04 2012, 03:43 hrs
At five, growing up in the clayey streets of Nigeria, Inua Ellams wanted to be a businessman just like his father. In his adolescent years, his dream was to become a comic book writer, graphic designer and then an athlete. However, in his late teens, a personal tragedy struck him and left an indelible mark on his persona. This prompted him towards the world of poetry, theatre and dramatic poetry.In Pune for a theatre performance of his award-winning semi-autobiographical piece, ‘The 14th Tale’ Ellams, who calls himself a ‘Word & Graphic Artist’, is at peace with how life finally has turned out for him. “It was the death of my friend Steven Devine, when I was 17. We used to both write poems about things that we liked but that was just a way to understand literature. However his death left so many questions unanswered. I began writing in the quest to hunt for them. And I am still doing that,” he says. Ellams’ performance was held at the St Mira’s College on Saturday by the British Council in collaboration with Expressions Unlimited and support from IISER and the Association of British Scholars.

Dressed in a blue t-shirt and denims, at the British Council Library on Fergusson College Road, Ellams doesn’t carry the stereotyped image of poets who have a very serious outlook towards life. But that is when he is not performing. On stage, his works deal with the problems faced by a Nigerian immigrant in the 90s. “Right from being chased by the nuns at school for questioning parts of the Bible, to eating lunch alone, because of the fact that I was dark-skinned, these problems were all there. In fact I had to give up the idea of becoming a visual artiste because once we moved to London from Dublin, we were unable to meet our expenses. Everything was very expensive. But all these things lit this fire within me,” he says.

The writing eventually took the form of ‘The 14th Tale’, which won him the prestigious Fringe First by the Scotsman at the Edinburgh Fringe. He says, “Immigrants from all across the world can find a common chord in it. The first whiff of the London air; the old city and its architecture merging with the new London and the melting pot of cultures along with the native ‘British Gentleman’—all this–– is the white side of the equation.” The dark side features problems that immigrants face. The 55-minute performance is about 80 per cent autobiographical and 20 per cent fiction.

However for all the twists and turns and the liberal doses of humour that ‘The 14th Tale’ offers, Ellams mentions that there was a time when he was completely disgusted with writing and wanted to get out of it but his view changed when the Battersea Arts Centre commissioned him to write ‘The 14th Tale’ and the British Council helped him to produce it. Originally, the monologue has been directed by Thierry Lawson for the stage. In addition, Ellams has five books published, including his most recent pamphlet of poems, ‘Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars’ (Flipped Eye, 2011).




Diary of an impish kid

Inua Ellams, a Nigerian playwright, speaks about his early immigration to the UK and how the new life influenced his play, 14th Tale, which was staged in the city this weekend

   Omkar Rege

Born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother, Nigerian Inua Ellams had to move out from his conservative hometown in Jos to the capital city Lagos and finally settle down in London. The inter-familial rifts and refusal to accept cross-communal marriage became the contributing factor to the family to leave their home country.

At the age of 12, a young boy was thrust into a new life in a strange new place and has now expressed that wondrous and adventurous experience to the world. The 14th Tale, written and performed by Inua himself, chronicles the hilarious exploits of a mischievous problem child in a narrative that marks his journey from the clay streets of Nigeria to the roof tops in Dublin and finally to London.

Inua recalls his initial days in London when he was introduced to certain concepts that were alien to him — racism being one of them. “The perspective about Nigeria was different. Nigerians are stereotyped as people who’d like to go to any limits to earn some money. Unfortunately, it is true for some of them, but not all,” says Inua. “I didn’t know the colour of my skin was a problem to the people and at first I didn’t mind it at all. Some of my friends were angered and explained to me how I was supposed to feel offended at racist remarks,” he adds. In an innocent attempt to blend into the new environment, Inua tried the regular techniques but was advised, quite resolutely, to “stop acting white”. He, on the other hand, had no idea what this meant until he left for Dublin for further education.

Being the only person of African origin in the batch, Inua found it hard to blend with the crowd. “I couldn’t escape it. That was the time I had to choose whom to be. Was I going to be the black guy who loves hip-hop, or was I going to be the black guy who plays basketball. Quite frankly, I hated hip-hop. The local Irish people made me listen and develop a taste, which is funny,” he states laughingly. But that was the point in his life where his identity had come under scrutiny. “That is when I decided that to be what I am, I should not be bothered by what people think of me. I had to do the things I love and do them my way,” Inua states.

A certain sense of consciousness about the political and social scenario had made Inua a completely new person. “I knew if I needed to make a mark here, I had to carry an arrogant swagger about myself. I had to be proud of what I was and I had to tell the people to communicate with me on my terms,” he says. After that, life changed for Inua who began to participate in the art and culture activities at his college and slowly made a name for himself. He candidly remarks that, “It is funny that my search for identity led me to writing poetry through which I express myself and my freedom. But I do it in a language that is not mine but was imposed upon me by the British (who also colonised Nigeria).”

Inua was in the city to conduct a workshop on his style of performance and also stage the play for the city’s audience. 14th Tale, which, as Inua says, is 80% factual and 20% magic sprinkled on top. It is not simply a hilarious account of a mischief monger but is also a coming of age story. It is about a boy who, as he grows up and learns that the world has an order. The monologue is poetic and rhythmic and humour is the main ingredient of the narrative. Inua believes that although the setting may be different, Indians will still connect to the plot on two levels. “Firstly, with a character that stands up to authority and is in search of his identity, it is a universal concept. And secondly, the issue of immigration is pretty alive and current in India too,” says Inua. omkar.rege@dnaindia.net

(29 March 2012) Insightful talks on Budget and Economic Survey

The Association of British Scholars, Pune, ICAI-Pune and Venture Center Library Pune jointly organized talks on the Budget and Economic Survey 2012 at NCL Innovation Park on 29 March 2012.  Mr Vineet Deo (Chartered Accountant) who is currently Consulting Editor-Finance, Sakal Media Group gave an insightful background and summary of the Economic Survey. He also pointed out key strands of policy embeded in the Economic Survey and how it connects with current and futuer trends. Mr Vishwajeet Honap, an accomplished Chartered Accountant from Pune with extensive professional and academic experience, focussed on the tax implications of the Budget — a topic of great importance to both individuals and companies. The Talks were followed by a lively session of Q&A.  Dr Premnath thanked the speakers on behalf of the organizers.


Presentation of momento to Mr Deo

 Presentation of momento to Mr Honap

(3-5 March 2012) Prof Rawal represents ABS, Pune at Asia Regional Alumni Program in Dubai

Prof Rawal represented ABS Pune at at Asia Regional Alumni Program in Dubai. Here are some notes from him of the program:

“Leadership Breakthroughs”: Asia Regional Alumni Program Dubai March 3-5, 2012

We were invited by the British Council to attend the Leadership Breakthroughs programme in Dubai on March 3-5, 2012. Following participant from India participated in program.

Dr Swati Pal Associate Professor Department of English, Delhi University
Mr Sandeep Silas Private Secretary to Union Minister Ministry of Labour & Employment, Government of India
Gursimran Kaur Hasrajani Founder and CEO ValueHR E-Solutions and Taaleem Academy
Shalini Sridhar Project Leader Cethar Consultancy Services Pvt. Ltd.
Marcus Ranney Strategy & Business Development Khubchandani Healthcare
Pratap Manohar Raval Professor of Planning College of Engineering, Pune
Sagar Dipak Amlani Vice President (Coating Division) Fenoplast Limited
Madhumita Ghosal Head of Department of Humanities Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology Nagpur
Pranav Dileep Nadkarni Consultant Ernst& Young India
Mr Kartikeya Saran Advocate Practicing at Allahabad High Court
Biraj Patnaik Principal Advisor to The Commissioner of Supreme Court (CWP 196/2001) Govt. of India
KT Rajan Director (Operations & Information system) Allergan, India
Nitish Mishra Minister of State (Independent Charge)/ Department of Sugarcane Industry, Govt of Bihar
Suman Lahiri Regional Manager European Business & Technology Centre,
Mr Nusrat S. Hassan Managing Partner D. H. Law Associates
Ritika Kochhar Head Chevening British High Commission, New Delhi
Manjula Rao Head Programmes, West India British Council, Mumbai
Shilpi Tripathi Scholarships Manager British Council, New Delhi

The Leadership programme was intended to engage participants in strong intellectual interactions and help them to build networks and reach out to peers beyond the participant group.

Pratap Raval

(17 Dec 2011) An exciting journey into wild India — astonishing photos, thrilling stories, full house!

The talk and slide show  organized by the Association of British Scholars, Pune and Venture Center Library on 17 Dec 2011 titled ” Wild India” by Deepak Dalal was well attended and received by a varied audience.  Deepak Dalal kept the audience enthralled with stories of journeys into the mountains and forest in the Himalayas and Sahyadris threading through a slide show of  fascinating, rare photographs taken by him. Deepak Dalal also talked about a more recent efffort where he has been researching the history of Mumbai city and buidling adventures set in historical Mumbai.

10 Dec 2011: ABS Pune supported Chemistry Workshops for school children a great success

Chemistry Workshops for School Children in Pune planned for International Year of Chemistry (IYC) 2011 came to a close on 10 Dec 2011. The Association of British Scholars, Pune decided to  support this activity for the year. The ABS Pune is happy to note the impact that these workshops have had. (1200 school students from 50 schools in Pune)

Website: http://www.excitingscience.org/IYC2011/

A detailed report on the event is available here: Report_IYC_Chemistry_Workshops

Excerpts from the report:—————–

During each of these workshops, school students (8th‐9th std) participated in three activities ‐ Talk on “Chemistry in Everyday life” by NCL/IISER (and guest) scientists (one hour) ‐ A researcher guided tour of chemistry and materials research labs in NCL/IISER, where students got to witness the state‐of‐the‐art research facilities and instruments and got to grill researchers with their curiosity and questions (one hour) ‐ Followed by a quick snack on mango drink, biscuits and samosas or vada pav ‐ A hands‐on experiment session (for about 2 hours) where students got to perform (individually and as part of small groups) two experiments – one on making slime and bouncy ball using day‐to‐day chemicals like synthetic glue and borax solution and in the second experiment, made gold nanoparticles and explored how gold behaves in the nanoscale (like turn deep‐pinkish/purple in color instead of the yellowish‐gold color everyone expects to see). And learned the science behind these experiments. ‐ As a parting gift, each of them got a very‐accessible‐fun, illustration‐filled version of the periodic table of elements

Some relevant numbers: ‐ 20 such workshops (each running between 4‐5 hours) was held ‐ Over 1200 school students (from over 50 schools) participated in these workshops ‐ 6000 studenthours of talks, experiments and discussions were held ‐ Over 50 teachers and parents got to learn how kids learn by watching/observing these workshops ‐ Over 30 Ph.D research students volunteered to share their excitement with the school students, and guided them during the tour and experiment sessions (volunteering for over 1000 hours) ‐ 10 scientists (with over 11 Ph.Ds between them) from NCL and IISER delivered talks to the students (this includes one distinguished scientist from IISc, Bangalore who was visiting NCL then)

(15 July 2011) Shantaram Kane releases Viney Kirpal/Shridhar Gokhale’s book

Dr Shantaram Kane today released the book UNLOCK THEIR FUTURE: A SKILLS-BASED APPROACH TOTEACHING AND LEARNING ENGLISH EDITED BY VINEY KIRPAL & SHRIDHAR. B. GOKHALE  at an event organized by ABS Pune Chapter and Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd at NIVARA, PUNE.