Sunday, December 7, 2008

Long live TMS

Technology Music Society, popularly known as TMS, is the official Band of IIT KGP. It's a students' body created every year by theStudents' Gymkhana, which is the centre of all inter-hostel and inter-college activities that the students of IIT KGP engage in. The responsibility of TMS is borne by the Governors, selected every year by the President of Gymkhana from the various applicants for the post. The members of the TMS are then selected by the Governors either through auditions of aspiring people or popularity and/or credentials of past performances.
TMS is responsible for putting up musical shows, generally twice a year - once in each semester, in IIT KGP. It's entitled to represent IIT KGP in Spring Fest and perform in its inauguration. The various Halls also invite the TMS to play at the respective Hall Days. Apart from all these TMS is also invited to perform at a few organizations and institutions, like Tata Motors in Jamshedpur, outside IIT KGP.
TMS is one of the most popular students' body involved in entertaining the people of IIT KGP, where there's really a dearth of popular sources of entertainment. Though the condition has improved a lot after the advent of internet over the past one decade, still Kharagpur as such lacks most of the interesting and popular sources of entertainment that are otherwise available in big cities and metros. Calcutta, 116 Km away, is the nearest big city from KGP. Hence the popularity of the TMS shows has been always very high. TMS has always strived to present a platter of popular and good music to the people of KGP.
TMS along with TDS, the Technology Dramatics Society, form a very important forum for the students to show their brilliance in cultural aspects. Students' Gymkhana has been always very instrumental in providing an environment for all round development to the students of IIT KGP. Being the first IIT to be established, the idea of Students' Gymkhana and the stress on all round development have been widely accepted in all the other IITs established subsequently over the past five decades. Such a thing would have surely been inspired by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, who wanted to create an institute of excellence in technology in the same lines as Tagore's Shantiniketan. There are striking similarities between Shantiniketan and IITs, KGP specially, with regards to the setup, ideologies and format. The Gurukul system of education that Tagore established in his Shantiniketan was followed almost in totality in KGP, where the students and the teachers stay in the same campus and interact very closely in all aspects of living and learning. Even the name of KGP’s annual fest, Spring Fest, has been inspired by Basantotsab, the Spring Festival, of Shantiniketan. The importance of co curricular activities and sports as integral parts education was one of the main aspects of Tagore's idea of education. He always believed in the fullest manifestation of creativity. Perhaps the close relation of Nehru and Dr. B C Roy, the then Chief Minister of West Bengal and a great patron of IIT KGP, with Tagore helped in shaping up the format of IITs, where any student gets ample scope to manifest their creativity and talent in any form or art or literature or sports. The TMS and the TDS play a great role in the manifestation of the skill and talent of many students in the fields of art and culture and literature.
The TMS shows are put up with lot of effort and pain. The academic schedule and pressure in IITs is well known. Despite that the members of TMS spend innumerable nights in practising and putting up thoroughly professional shows. The quality of the shows is also no way amateurish. They always try to make a proper blend of popular and classical or semi classical numbers that cater to the tastes of a wide variety of people in the audience which range from the students to the professors and their families and children. There have been instances where the TMS had attempted fusion music with ten or twelve piece orchestra.
The best part of TMS is perhaps the practice sessions, spanning across a major part of the nights, before the shows. In KGP lingo, the TMS members do several night-outs to put up a show. The jamming, the chit-chat, the mischief and the other things that accompany the practice sessions remain long in the memories of the TMS members, even long after they leave IIT KGP. Going to Chhedis, a popular road-side ramshackle food joint by the railway lines adjoining IIT KGP campus, at the end of the practice at about two or three in the morning, has been a regular thing for the TMS members forever. Whenever a few ex-TMS members assemble at any place after their IIT life, they tend to form a band and take to musical shows. The love for music never dies for the TMS guys. There are instances where TMS members become part of professional musical bands. For example Manu Varghese, B C Roy Gold Medallist of 1996 batch, perhaps one of the most talented members of TMS, now-a-days plays for a Seattle band called Geetanjali (, does one or two concerts per year, mostly Tamil songs, with a few Malayalam songs. There's also a local Malayalam music group in Vancouver, which also he sometimes play for, plus he plays the piano or guitar at church. Some of the TMS members during 1995-98 have formed a band called Kohal in Bangalore and perform at various places.
Years have passed by, things have changed, IIT KGP has changed, even the TMS has surely changed a lot over the years. But the essence of TMS, the fun associated with those innumerable night-outs, the snacks at Chhedis in the middle of the night, the excitement of those packed shows in Netaji Auditorium and those millions of anecdotes have stayed back without any change - in its most nascent and primitive form. 

This website is meant to keep the memoirs of TMS alive in all of us who miss it so much ever since we left IIT KGP. Apart from the people directly involved with the TMS officially there have been many others who were just music lovers and spent major part of their KGP life indulging in various forms of music. Many of these people might not have got any chance to spend much time for music, apart from just listening to it in their cars or homes, ever since they left KGP. This site is meant to keep the 'TMS' and the KGP-music alive in us. Let's endeavour to get back the most creative part of our lives!!

Long live TMS and the KGP Music!!

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