Category Archives: Role of Engineers in the Society

ROLE OF ENGINEER IN SOCIETY

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By

Er. Mohammad Ashraf Fazili FIE, MIRC.*

The creation right from an invisible micro-organism up to the limitless Space/ Universe, covering all animate/ inanimate objects in-between can all be termed to be the result of Engineering Science. This whole creation is the manifestation of an All Powerful, Secret Brain, Perfect Designer, who has done all arithmetic, geometry, chemistry, physics astronomy, mechanics, balance, proportion and what not of the Earth and of the Space beyond the Secret Space that manifests itself in everything above, upon and below the Sun, the Secret Being that exhibits its concern of science in everything & everything that is or is not the concern of scientists or an engineer. Nothing is emotional, accidental, playful, by chance, by the way, by the mood. Each minute detail is the evidence of a master planning, engineering, fitting & balance.

Science works on laws & principles which remain unchanged throughout time & space. Had the laws of Nature been changing, there would have been no science, no material progress of human being. This brings us to the question, who made these laws & why? Besides what & how one has to dwell on, who? & why? Whereby one gets introduced to Nature, which is a definite, planned, designed, prescheduled, predestined purposeful handi-work of the greatest Mechanic, Engineer, Architect, Planner, Artist & scientist. In this machinery, every atom, every electron, proton, neutron counts & every cog calculates. Nothing in the least is immature, uncalculated, irresponsible, half baked, insecure or unwise.

He is the Allah, the Creator, the Shaper out of naught, the fashioner. (Quran)

It is He Who created the heavens & the earth in true proportions. (Quran 39:5-6)

Of the heavens & earth when He decreeth a matter He saith it to “be” and it is. (Baqra 117)

Once I happened to attend “ National Anatomical Society Conference” of Doctors at Jammu. The then Governor Mr. B. K. Nehru gave at home at Rajbhavan to all the participant doctors. While getting introduced one by one, he asked me, ‘How come an engineer among doctors?’ put came my reply, ‘Sir, God is a perfect engineer & it is man who polluted this earth & that is why you find so many doctors around.’ This generated a hearty laughter among all present

.The Supreme Creation:
————————————————————————————————————* The author is Honorary Secretary of ‘The Institution of Engineers (India) J&K State Centre, Srinagar.

Of all the life on this planet, the man is the Supreme Creation of the Lord. He is a vicegerent – a Khalifa.

“I will create a vicegerent on Earth”

It is He Who hath made you “His agents,
inheritors of the Earth. (Anam : 165)

It is He Who hath created for you all things
That are on Earth (2: 29)

And He taught Adam the names of all things.

By the names of things according to commentators means the inner nature & qualities of things & things here would include the feelings. Man was thus able to love & understand love & thus plan & initiate as becomes the office of vicegerent. The Angels acknowledged this. Man has many qualities which are latent or which he may wish to suppress or conceal, to his own detriment.

Again knowledge is already existing, we only explore it to claim to be scholars, scientists, doctors, engineers etc.

Thus it is clear that man is just the custodian of Earth. On the contrary whatever is in or around the Earth, it is for the service of man.

However the status of man as inheritor of the Earth belongs only to him, who is righteous, the keeper of the law, the self controlled one. The unrighteous, the evil doers, are orphans in this universe & are trespassers in the treasure houses of the Earth. He who is unrighteous cannot for long draw nourishment & substance from the Earth. The evil-doers cannot in reality over possess the Earth or have power over it.

“Allah has promised, to those among you who believe & work righteous deeds, that He will, of a surety grant them the land, inheritance (of power) as He granted it to those before them” (Al-Noor: 55)

Engineer’s role as vicegerent:

Amongst the vicegerents (khalifas) i.e. human beings, engineer is charged with the acts similar to those of God but on a minor scale. While Allah creates, fashions things out of nothing. He has to say : Be & it is: an engineer has to work with the already existing matter. He engineers the manufacture process, causes functioning, looks after the maintenance, upkeep, repair , dismantling & reconstruction of the objects that are in use for man. Thus he has to prove worthy of the charge of a deputy (khalifa) bestowed upon him.

The Engineer is a professional, trained to create engineered systems for the benefit of mankind. He designs these systems, produces goods & services which help in socio-economic & human development in many ways. Try to think of it for a while. You cannot go through a day’s life without making use of things the engineer helps to create; namely starting from a needle you sew with to the sewing machine, from bicycle to the spaceship, the house you live in, the road & bridges you use, the car in which you travel, the fan or AC in your work place, the refrigerator in your kitchen, the watch on your wrist, the telephone & now cell-phone in your pocket, the radio or TV set in your living room & much more. The list is unending. All these systems are connected with the people’s lives, their economic prosperity, social well-being, recreation & over all happiness in a peaceful condition without strife & without damage to the natural environment. Thus engineer has a role not only to benefit the society but also in the designing of the society itself. ( The Role Of Engineers Designing Society is explained in the annexure to this paper.)

Engineers, by the very nature of their work, have a responsibility to society. In this role, they have extensive professional responsibilities & they have to address ethical dimensions of engineering problems, designs,& interactions. Students of engineering should graduate with experience in working in teams, have strong written & oral communications skills, & be well versed in the economic, social, environmental, & international context of engineering professional activities. In this connection fora like this august body of Diploma Engineers Association and The Institution of Engineers (India) J&K State Centre can be of great help & we must make it a point to register ourselves as members of these & other such organizations at State, National & International level.

In particular, engineers have a duty to Society to understand & abide by their discipline’s Codes of Ethics. All such codes address the three primary duties of an engineer—duty toward society, fiduciary responsibility towards employer or client, & safeguarding the reputation & status of the engineering profession.

I had an opportunity to attend the 20th. Indian Engineering Congress in Kolkata in last December, where besides other things it was stressed in the presidential address by Prof (Dr) S.C. Naik that more & more scientists, engineers & technologists be inducted in all the planning process, be it in private or government sectors, so as to reap their benefits in future days. A proper blending between scientists, engineers, technologists & planners can usher an era of changed scenario in which the only motto of all will be national development at the earliest focusing our traditional value of ‘Unity in Diversity.’ For the first time ever, all the nine members of China’s elite Politburo Standing Committee, the highest tier within the Communist Party of China, are engineers.

J&K STATE:

The J&K State is low on developmental scale, as its literacy is about 50 % only. The GDP is low. Agriculture is the major occupation of the 80 % population living in villages. Small scale industries are few. Handicrafts are growing at a low pace. Though tourism is a potential industry, yet income from it is still marginal. Health services are inadequate. Weaker sections of the population are not empowered. To add to all this, the last 16 years have been catastrophic.

The state is however well placed on the resources side. Hydropower is still less exploited source. Silk production of quality is below potential limits. Scientific Horticulture is still in infancy. Human talent & skilled craftsmen are a great asset & resource. Women have shown great perseverance, commercial & managerial skills & skills in handicrafts. Tourism is vastly unexploited & is yet to explore a rich store- house of cultural traditions of yore. Nature’s bounties are plentiful & even horticulture & food processing industry & medicinal / aromatic plants are largely undeveloped. On communication side road development including six-laning & construction of railways is in progress. Alternative Inland transport on rivers & lakes & providing of Metro services could be the future targets. Srinagar shall be shortly facing land hunger & vertical development for housing shall be the only solution.

The engineer’s role can clearly be defined in the above context, which at the outset relates to the contemplating of feasible projects, which can be undertaken in various sectors & which have the potential of being unique to our geographical & economic setting. Secondly the engineer’s role is to create the infrastructure for which projects both as engineers in the private as well as public sector & thirdly & most vitally, to work as managers & business entrepreneurs in developing manifold systems & processes for various sectors of the economy. Innovation & creativity are critical in this respect.

Thus there is unlimited scope for innovation in engineering to help new unique enterprises. Proper manufacture of timber products, extraction of pharmaceutical products & perfumes manufacture of materials for handicrafts, horticulture industry, housing development. Institution building for education, mini, micro &macro hydel power plants, computer software & hardware, manufacture of electronic goods & daily food products, developing quicker transport facilities, drainage, sewerage facilities, solid waste disposal schemes of towns & cities, sanitation projects, protection of water bodies disaster mitigation & management are a few in the long list of some engineering tasks that will require professional engineering services. Thus engineers have a great role to play in J&K State to build infrastructure & put a stop to the environmental deterioration. The scope is unlimited but the need to create a social climate & have a will to succeed; which again is an important part of the engineer’s role in J&K State. Engineers have the capability of making a difference to socio-economic development in a big way. They must help improve productivity, which is very poor at present. Engineers must help people in making more skilled persons. “People must be freed to generate wealth from these skills rather than being constantly tripped by middlemen & red tape.” Thus the engineers must accept the challenge & act to achieve that goal. There is no other way.’ as told by Milton Friedman—the Noble Laureate in Economics.

Nietzshe the famous philosopher says:

“There is more wisdom in the construction & the working of the body & mind of a scientist than he can ever think of. There is more wisdom in the making of an ant than what all the libraries of the world can tell.”

Dr. Alexix Carrol – Nobel prize winner in philosophy asserts that:

“Science by worshipping the Maker of matter, & not matter exclusively would restore to man the summit of his development in intelligence, in moral science, in virility.”
Prof. Eddington asks:

“Matter is matter. But what about the education training & confidence of the Scientist?”

The Maker & Master has given you not only a brain but also a soul. Why? Thus the study of science of material leads an engineer close to the appreciation of the disciplined laws of Honesty & Truth of the Maker. As Max Werthiemer declares “Science is rooted in the will of truth. With will to truth it stands or falls. Lower the standards slightly & the science becomes diseased at the core…. The will to truth, pure & unadulterated, is among the essential conditions of its existence