BITS Pilani Clock Tower does a Break on Through Decades of Sound of Silence
Visible from miles and miles around, the BITS Pilani Clock Tower is as synonymous with Pilani, as the Harvard Yard and the King’s College Chapel are with their respective institutes. The clock tower constructed in Vikram Samvat 2007 which corresponds to 1950 was inaugurated on 11 Feb 1951 by the then President of India Dr Rajendra Prasad.
When Rohit John Varghese joined BITS as a student in 2008 for BE Mechanical, he swore to make music with the silent clock tower by restoring the intricate mechanical machinations unlike his 150 year old Bishop Cotton Boys’ School Bangalore which resorted to modern electric clock in their clock tower. In 2009 Rohit Carlos De Sa Teaching Assistant cum Mechanical Engineering Masters student joined hands to form the Rab ne Bana di Rohits Jodi on the Clock tower project.
On 20th October 2011, to mark the 41st edition of BITS Pilani’s coveted cultural Festival Oasis 2011, the core team members climbed the tower to manually release the hammer to ring the bell 41 times thus breaking the nearly four decades of sound of silence of the tower.
The clock tower of BITS-Pilani is an engineering marvel and its intricate clockworks ensure the clock ticks with precision. The clockworks are controlled by a pendulum and Graham Escapement. The movement is guided through gears and shafts to the hands on the four clock faces. The bells are driven by levers and three distinct gear trains. To simplify repair work and to aid conversation, the Team named these trains the Gong Train, the Chiming Train, and the Striking Train.
With students of from other engineering and science disciplines joining, the clock tower project was truly becoming interdisciplinary which is the hallmark of BITS education. Technology was deployed to measure the efficacy of the repairs - the Electronics Sub-team used sensors to measure drift of the clock and continuously monitor the pendulum and all four faces.
The team which worked on the clock tower project day and night over the years included several alumni Rohit John Varghese, Rohit de Sa, Rohit Kaul, Rahul De, Vinay Goda, Kartik Sunku, Aman Khurana, Deepthi Gorthi, Ronak Dhar, Akshay Menon, Ritvik Vasan, Pankaj Maurya, Hariharan Sivaram and Ronak Shah.
The on roll students in the team included Anish Vasan, Saurjya Sarkar, Sai Venkat Anumula, Harshit Mathur, Akshat Khandelwal, Arun Shreyas, Aditya Vijaykumar, Ayush Kataria, Puneet Keshtwal, Manesh Narayan, Abhishek Agarwal, Abhishek Gupta, Fauzan Zaid, Gokul Srinivasan, Mohammed Danish, Saurabh Dabral, Shivam Maheshwari, Rohitkumar Arasanipalai, Harshit Mathur and Akshat Saxena.
Prof Anshuman from Civil Engineering department and Sri Bheem Technician from Workshop joined hands with the students to steer the project. Alumni also highly appreciated the support extended by Sri Ram Awtar Soni from BITS Workshop who retired in 2013.
The break on through to the other side of the silent clock mechanism came on 30 Sep 2016 when the chiming train played short melody every 15 minutes and the gong started ringing every hour. Its for sure that the sounds from BITS Pilani tower is bound to please Cooke & Kelvey C&K - a Master Creator of Clocks from Calcutta whose four faced turret clock in the Calcutta port trust tower set in 1899 continues to tick till date.
For more details see http://www.bits-clocktower.org/
BITSAA International is a global inclusive all-volunteer organization representing BITS Pilani Alumni. The organization is engaged in a wide range of activities to help the alumni remain connected with Alma mater BITS Pilani. The focus is on projects which enhance the quality of BITS education, its infrastructure, its student body, affordability of BITS education to the economically disadvantaged, and ultimately the BITS brand.
Prof BR Natarajan
BITS Pilani Alumni
Pilani Rajasthan India 333031
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