46th Engineers day – September 15, 2014
World-Class Engineers are:
Solidly grounded in fundamentals of their discipline and are committed to lifelong learning.
Technically Broad : Conversant in multiple technical disciplines. They design solutions that span business functions such as finance, marketing, legal, and manufacturing.
Globally Engaged : Understand the worldwide nature of their profession and are sensitive to the speed required to keep pace in geographically and culturally diverse environments.
Ethical: Uphold the highest ethical standards. They readily identify, and carefully address, ethical issues that arise in their professional lives.
Innovative: Develop precise definitions of complex problems and formulate sustainable solutions by thinking creatively across technical, business, social, and environmental dimensions.
Excellent Collaborators: Seek optimal outcomes through collaboration and honor intellectual property rights of all partners. They work effectively within co-located and geographically dispersed teams.
Visionary Leaders Are courageous, customer-oriented leaders who develop visions that deliver successful results.
It is a fact that from the earliest times, the engineers, who remained the harbinger of development of any region, always strived for enrichment of their knowledge and skill to upgrade the quality of life and their performance. The pursuit for betterment is a continuous process. There is no end to development and engineering progress. The process of up gradation from one standard to the other, from one age to other, from ‘under-developed’ to ‘developing’, or from ‘developing’ to ‘developed’, is a continuous process, which is led by the engineers after taking into account the prevailing socio- politico-economic conditions of the particular country.
From the archival discoveries it is revealed that it has taken thousands of years for man to reach the present state.
The Prehistoric World: 100,000-40,000 years ago.
The first modern humans emerged in Africa 100,000 years ago. Over the next 50,000 years they colonized much of Asia and Australasia before expanding into Europe. New skills were acquired at different rates in different regions but the landmarks of development followed a similar pattern from simple stone blades to sophisticated iron jewellery. The different ages witnessed various stages of development such as:
Stone Age: Upper Plaeolithic – 40,000-10,000 years ago.
Early humans were already expert flint workers by the upper Plaeolithic period and weapons have been found at sites in Europe and the Near East. Typical features included:
- Stone spear heads, arrow heads and blades;
- Bone and ivory tools and weapons, (fish hooks, needles and spear throwers);
- Jewellery and clothing made of skins sewn using bone needles;
- The ceremonial burial of the dead;
- Cave art and statues.
Neolithic- from 12000 years ago.
The later Stone Age saw the development of farming which replaced hunter gathering as the primary mode of existence. By the end of the Neolithic, humans had learned to cultivate many crops: wheat and barley in the Near East, rice in China and potatoes in South America. Farming created surpluses, allowing population growth and establish permanent settlements. Other features of the period include:
- The domestication of the animals (by 6000 BC in China and Mesopotamia);
- New tools like axes to clear forests and bring new lands under cultivation, hoes, sickles and grindstones;
- The use of pottery to store grain;
- The construction of earliest villages and towns often surrounded by walls to coral livestock;
- Tombs built of stones.
The Metal Age:
Bronze Age: from 3000 BC:
- Copper and bronze tools and weapons (spearheads, arrowheads, chisels, saws);
- Practice of trade throughout Europe;
- Early mines and ore extraction methods;
- High standard for craftsmanship (jewellery, statues, decoration);
- Creation of stone alignments.
Iron Age: The Hitites of Anatolia made iron weapons between 2000 and 1200 BC. Iron working spread to Greece in about 1000 BC. It had advantage over bronze as it gave sharper, harder wearing edge; no combination with other metal needed; supplies were plentiful; used for nails, tools, weapons, casting utensils, jewellery and also for religious articles. European Iron Age ended with Roman Empire. There was no Iron Age in Americas, where iron was introduced by European colonists.
Dawn of History: Civilization is closely linked to the rise of cities. Urban life emerged as agriculture started to support artisans, traders, government and organized religion as well as people living in the land. From about 3000 BC, cities grew up on the banks of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Mesopotamia (Between the rivers), part of the ‘Fertile Crescent’. They were independent city-states at first, then part of empires. At the same time Egypt grew in power, and the eastern Mediterranean became a crossroads for traders and empire-builders.
Ancient Greece: The essential characteristics of European culture and civilization were forged in Greece, which became dominant force in the Mediterranean for 400 years before Alexander the Great briefly created one of the Largest Empires of the ancient world, spreading Greek (Hellenistic) culture to Egypt and deep into Asia.
Ancient Rome: Rome flourished for about 800 years, developing a technically advanced and sophisticated society, not seen again in the Western world until the 16th century. The early Roman state was a republic, ruled by a senate of leading citizens with elected magistrates or consuls. Despite frequent mismanagement, Rome sustained the empire for 400 years.
The Making of Europe: The collapse of Roman world left a mosaic of competing kingdoms in Europe. But most of the Germanic tribes were highly Romanized, had fought for Romans as mercenaries and had adopted their Christian religion. The changes they brought about were often more evolutionary than sudden. It was a time of turmoil, but out of the turmoil emerged new peoples and powers- and a new stage of European history.
Christianity: Within a few years after Christ, Jesus’ message spread beyond the Jews and grew into a cult stretching across the Roman Empire. When the Empire collapsed, the Western church presented much to learning and traditions of Rome, eventually becoming the dominant force of the medieval world.
The rise of Islam: In AD 610 after a series of revelations the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) founded a religion based on faith in a single God, clear social rules and the promise of afterlife. Arab conquests quickly spread Islam through south-west Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Christian Europe was hostile to Islam but later benefited from the preservation of Greek culture, and the scientific and medical knowledge of Arab Muslims. Islam gave unprecedented impetus to the intellectual development of the human race and that early Muslims held high the torch of light and learning at a time when the whole world was immersed in ignorance and barbarity. Islam furthered the cause of science. Modern science owes its origin to Islam and modern progress is the outcome of the freedom of thought and spirit of enquiry proscribed for Muslims by the Holy Quran, and not a product of Christianity which for a long time relentlessly proscribed all free thinking and liberal reasoning and even scientific researches on original lines, and horribly persecuted all those who indulged in these. Muslims laid the foundation of Physical Sciences. Western Civilization is the direct offspring of Arab Civilization in Spain. The very Renaissance was brought about by the impact of Islamic culture and learning. All the knowledge, whether of Astronomy, Mathematics, Architecture, Physics, Medicine, History, Geography, Alchemy and Algebra, Modern Chemistry, Political Economy, Sociology, Zoology, Geology, Botany, Navigation, Agriculture, Irrigation, Gardening, Statistics, Chronology, Topography, even Aviation or Philosophy of which the Europeans later made themselves masters, originally derived from the Saracenic schools.
The Middle Ages: Around 1000 AD. Europe was divided among many monarchs and regional lords whose authority over their territories varied greatly. Trade expanded, towns grew and won autonomy, craftsmen formed guilds, and universities were founded. Writers such as Dante and Chaucer produced masterpieces, and massive cathedrals were built to assert belief in the power of the divine order.
India: There was a flourishing civilization in Indus valley by 2500 BC. Repeated invasions from Central Asia brought a succession of empires, influenced by first Hinduism and Buddhism and then by Islam. The last of these was Mughal Empire. But India’s wealth and sophisticated economy continued to attract both trade and military invasion from the east as well as the west- most spectacularly of the British Raj.
Kashmir has the distinction of being the only place in the world that has a recorded history for the past about 5000 years. According to Rajtarangni kingship was established here right in 12th century BC itself.
China and Japan: For most of the world history, China was the richest and most powerful nation on earth. Until the 19th century, it remained almost self-sufficient, amassing huge national wealth by exporting silk, spices and (later) porcelain. Japan remained culturally in the shadow of its powerful neighbor for many centuries, but was equally insular and self-reliant.
Africa: The vast scale and the natural wealth of Africa are matched by a diversity and richness of culture. From the 1000 year kingdom of Meroe in southern Egypt to the fabulous wealth of the West African Gold Coast to the mysterious builders of great Zimbabwe, African people traded, worshipped and built empires across a vast continent. Arabs arrived from 7th century and Europeans from the 15th–first in search of trade, then as settlers, farmers and adventurers drawn by tales of minerals, gems and gold.
Ancient America: The people of ancient America developed distinctive civilizations in almost total isolation from the rest of the world. In Mexico, Central America and the Andes, farming peoples created complex urban societies centered on religious cults. Their cultures spread to the hunting and farming societies of North America. All these cultures were destroyed after the arrival of Europeans in 1942.
The Renaissance: In 14th century a new mood of enquiry stirred in Italy, and spread across Europe. Inspired by rediscovery of classical learning by Arabs, scholars and artists began to reappraise the world and it took 200 years for the transition from medieval world to a modern one.
The age of exploration: In 15th century, improvement in shipping and a demand for Far Eastern silks and spices led European navigators to explore new waters. The Portuguese followed Arabs and worked around Africa to India and beyond, while Columbus crossed the Atlantic. The whole world was now open to European exploration, trade and settlement.
This was followed by clash of faiths between Catholics and Protestants in 16th century, in which lakhs of people were caught up in the struggle between the two faiths. Next the world witnessed the age of kings followed by European turmoil, creation of USA, the industrial revolution in 18th and 19th centuries, formation of new nations and empires in 19th century, world war I, Russian revolution, World war II, end of empire, The Cold war, The New world order in 20th century.
Landmarks of Civilization: These emerged in the Fertile Crescent after 10,000 BC.
- Cities: Some of the oldest cities were found in the Middle East such as Jericho-8350 BC, Catal Hayuku in Anatolia –the largest city in the world 6250-5400 BC.
- Wheel: It started off in Mesopotamia in 3500 BC as a potter’s tool and was used for vehicles after 3500 BC.
- Legal system: Hamurabi (1792-1750 BC) king of Babylon codified the oldest known laws. The Jewish Torah dates from 4th century BC.
- Writing: Around 3300 BC –the Sumerians developed one of the earliest writing system- a picture based script called cuneiform, impressed on clay tablets. In 1100 BC Phoenicians created a sound based alphabet later the basis of all modern European scripts.
- Mathematics: The number system of Mesopotamia gave us the 60 minute hour and 360 degree circle. The Arabic numerals with Indian zero was a great leap forward in this direction.
- Monotheism: Belief in a single all powerful God was a key feature of Judaism and later of both Christianity and Islam.
Scientific Thinkers: The search for a framework of knowledge about the world around began with the theorizing of ancient philosophers. By the 17th century, experimentation and observation were the preferred tools of deduction. In both approaches, progress has relied on a few exceptionally creative thinkers. Progress was made in the fields of mathematics, matter and energy, earth sciences, cosmology, life sciences and arts, photography, architecture, furniture, classical and popular music, dance, literature, drama, cinema, printing, newspapers, radio, television, fashion, food, games, road transport, trains, steamships, navigation, aviation, space travel, information technology, energy consumption, fossil fuels, nuclear power, renewable energy, mineral resources, electricity and magnetism, radioactivity, chemistry, archaeology, everyday inventions, telecommunications, computer technology, digital communications, the internet, modern medicine, civil engineering, age of armour, nuclear age etc. In all these fields engineers have played a key role. The pace of development in the past few decades has been much faster than ever before and the future poses more drastic challenges due to population explosion and limited available resources.
Thus Engineers are key figures in the material progress of the world as rightly portrayed in today’s theme of the seminar.. A world-class engineer, regardless of the job he is engaged in, is always considered an asset to the nation and the society; as it is he who makes a reality of the potential value of science by translating scientific knowledge into tools, resources, energy, and labour to bring science into the service of the country.
It is a challenge to conclude about the class to which the engineers of India belong. In the diversified, heterogeneous nature of development in our country, the engineers have to work from construction of rural roads to manufacturing of spaceships to Mars. Both are equally important for accelerating the development of the country. There is no scope to undermine the contemporary skill and knowledge of the engineers of our country. It is a matter of pride that Indian engineers, whether working in the country or outside, are a force to reckon with globally.
There is a gap of development in the developed, developing and underdeveloped countries. However the lessons learnt from the experiences in the developed countries can be utilized in the development of the developing and the under developed countries. It was recently in the media that vertical expansion of the cities have not found favour in developed countries, and it was suggested to go in for the smart cities, which may also be suitable for the future development of Srinagar city Master Plan.
I have personally witnessed the excellent contribution of world class consultants and engineers besides the Indian engineers in the development of the modern cities in UAE and had an opportunity to attend the Infrastructure Arabia Summit conference alongside World eco-consult, 22-25 April 2012 Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), extracts of which have been published by me in my book “Environment in Jammu & Kashmir” under the heading: “Building a sustainable framework for the Middle East compared to J&K State”. Besides, American visitors expressed their opinion that the newly developed twin cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi are far superior to the age-old developed American cities. One finds a marked difference between the huge steel sections of Indira Gandhi International airport and the aesthetically designed sections of Dubai airport. Similarly we find every road curve, foot path, signaling system, electric installations etc. strictly according to the prescribed engineering standards as against our constructions in J&K State, violating all norms without any consultancy or quality control. However the knowledge, skill, and wisdom of Indian engineers are no less than that of their counterparts from other so-called “advanced” countries. Due to the socio-politico-economic structure of our country, engineering is still very much labour-intensive. Unlike in other parts of the developed world, Indian engineers are quite capable of blending the modern mechanized systems with prevailing traditional human-oriented activities.
As rightly said, that it does not mean that the pursuit for self-enrichment by Indian engineers will not be perceived. India requires large numbers of qualified and competent engineers to address the numerous challenges faced in the developmental journey. To produce large numbers of competent engineering and technical personnel to take on the global challenges, India will need to complete the following activities to transform the curriculum for training and skill up gradation:
- i) Generate awareness about the global nature of the profession, in-tune with growing challenges and opportunities – In this connection as seeing is believing, exposure of engineers to the problems could be achieved by arranging their tours to the developed and the developing countries.
- ii) Develop a comprehensive understanding in the respective engineering discipline to tackle complex, real-world problems.–One need to keep abreast with the current challenges of engineering issues through modern information technology and enrolling as members of the national and international societies of engineers.
iii) Accept challenges and solve them with wisdom and shared knowledge — Our engineers are equally competent to take challenges and find their solutions if given the opportunity.
- iv) Acquire knowledge and expertise through lifelong education and continuous learning – In the present age of developed information technology this has become easier than before. Besides participation in seminars helps exchange of thoughts and knowledge.
- v) Build familiarity in other engineering and scientific disciplines so that interdisciplinary solution approaches can be evolved.—Holding of interdisciplinary seminars, participation, interaction and exchange of thoughts can be of great help in this direction.
- vi) Pursue opportunities to apply skills in both traditional and non-traditional fields to address societal challenges — Our engineers are quite competent to undertake this task provided given the opportunity.
vii) Communicate and interact with other highly recognized international leaders in engineering, (again present facilities are far better for this job) and
viii) Establish themselves as personalities with ethical and noble values—This is most important aspect for which moral education right from the school days needs to be stressed. In earlier days, there used to be taught to children the stories with moral endings like Shaikh Sadi’s Karima Nami Haq, Gulistan, Bostan, Moulana Rumi’s Masnavi and also Ikhlaq-i-Mohsini etc. that would remain inscribed in the child’s mind all along his life and would help to build his character. This aspect has been ignored in the modern education system and that is why we are confronted nowadays with moral degradation around us.
It is rightly said that achieving excellence is a journey that needs considerable effort. It requires a transition from a reactive, compliance-based approach to a proactive, contributory and value-add mindset to create an environment of sustained operational progress. Over the long-term, it is hoped that the world-class engineers will create a set of approaches and best-practices that will improve tomorrow’s world, create long-term value, and institutionalize business sustainability.
It is engineers who have contributed their bit in creation of world wonders in the past and the process is on with achievement of new discoveries in different branches of science and technology. Right from making of a needle to the creation of spaceship engineering is involved at every step. It is only when blood and sweat is put together that a wonder comes into being. As Dr Iqbal rightly said:
نغمہ ہے سوداۓ خام خون جگر کے بغیر – نقش ہیں ناتمام خون جگر کے بغیر
- Facts at your fingertips-Reader’s Digest.
- Islam’s contribution to Science and Civilization- Maulvi Abdul Karim.
- Wikipedia – the free encyclopedia
Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
The classic seven wonders were:
Great Pyramid of Giza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, Colossus of Rhodes, Lighthouse of Alexandria–The only ancient world wonder that still exists is the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Lists from other eras:
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, some writers wrote their own lists with names such as Wonders of the Middle Ages, Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages, Seven Wonders of the Medieval Mind, and Architectural Wonders of the Middle Ages.
Stonehenge, Colosseum, Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, Great Wall of China, Porcelain Tower of Nanjing, Hagia Sophia, Leaning Tower of Pisa
Other sites sometimes included on such lists:
Taj Mahal, Cairo Citadel, Ely Cathedral, Cluny Abbey
Recent lists:Following in the tradition of the classical list, modern people and organizations have made their own lists of wonderful things ancient and modern. Some of the most notable lists are presented below.
American Society of Civil Engineers:In 1994, the American Society of Civil Engineers compiled a list of Seven Wonders of the Modern World, paying tribute to the “greatest civil engineering achievements of the 20th century”:
||December 1, 1987
||May 6, 1994
||Strait of Dover, between the United Kingdom and France
||February 6, 1973
||June 26, 1976, tallest freestanding structure in the world 1976–2007.
||Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Empire State Building
||January 22, 1930
||May 1, 1931, Tallest structure in the world 1931–1967. First building with 100+ stories.
||New York, NY, U.S.
|Golden Gate Bridge
||January 5, 1933
||May 27, 1937
||Golden Gate Strait, north of San Francisco, California, U.S.
||May 5, 1984
||Paraná River, between Brazil andParaguay
|Delta Works/Zuiderzee Works
||May 10, 1997
||January 1, 1880
||January 7, 1914
||Isthmus of Panama
Top 10 Engineering wonders of the modern world:
- Pearl Bridge Japan – Longest suspension bridge-central span 6532 ft. – completed 1998
- Millau Viaduct — Tallest cable stayed bridge – France- ht. 343 mts.- completed 2004
- USS George H.W.Bush (CVN 77)- world’s largest warship-100,000 Mts.-comp—2009
- North European offshore gas pipeline-Russia to Germany—1,222 kms. long 2011-2012
- Beijing National Stadium China- world’s largest steel structure – used in 2008 Olympics
- Bailong Elevator China- world’s highest and longest glass elevator-330 mts. High-2002
- Palm Islands Dubai-world’s biggest artificial islands- 1500 villas – on artificial beaches
- Euro Tunnel- England to France- underwater -31 miles long, 23 of which is in sea.
- Three Gorges Dam China- Hydroelectric dam on Yangtze River-22,500 MW- com.2008
- Pan-STARRS-for Panaromic Survey & Rapid Response System- see galaxy ever better.