IIT Roorkee organizes the inaugural edition of the Prof. Jai Krishna Memorial Lecture online

Roorkee: The inaugural edition of the Prof. Jai Krishna Memorial Lecture was organized online by the Centre of Excellence in Disaster Mitigation and Management (CoEDMM), Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee. The lecture was delivered by Dr. Pramod K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India and Sasakawa Laureate for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Special Representative to UN Secretary-General and Head, UNDRR, Ms. Mami Mizutori brought distinction to the Programme by attending and sharing her thoughts. Shri. B. V. R. Mohan Reddy, Chairperson, BoG, IIT Roorkee, Dr. R K Bhandari and Prof. Ajit K Chaturvedi, Director IIT Roorkee also spoke on the occasion.

Dr. Pramod K. Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India and Sasakawa Laureate for Disaster Risk Reduction said “I am honored to present the first inaugural lecture of Prof. Jai Krishna Lecture Series. Prof Jai Krishna was a pioneer in earthquake engineering and a man of extraordinary talent. He laid the foundation of modern earthquake engineering and established the Indian National Academy of Engineering that has stood the test of time. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need to learn from the traditional practice of disaster risk management and its relevance in the 21st century. The resolve of Indians to bounce back from events that have caused a lot of human suffering and economic and environmental impact is inspiring. India’s efforts to combat cyclones have been lauded globally. There is a need to establish a multi-tiered disaster risk system in each country and at the regional and local levels”

He identified four black swan events in the 21st century- the tsunami in 2004, the collapse of residential markets in the US in 2008, a triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and damage to the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan in 2011, and lastly, the ongoing pandemic.

He emphasized the need for repurposing capacities from multiple disciplines even research, a calibrated approach to scaling clinical management capacities. Galvanizing citizens’ support, judicious use of technology and research, need for a dynamic risk management tool. Lastly, he called for the need for greater community involvement and leadership that enables the government to anticipate the unintended consequences of its actions.

Summarizing his lecture, he said”Risk is global but resilience in local. There is a need for a systemic resilience by building redundancies, a strong feedback mechanism and a robust modular system at the local level”

Ms. Mami Mizutori, Special Representative to UN Secretary-General and Head, UNDRR said “I would like to congratulate IIT Roorkee for this initiative. Late Prof. Jai Krishna was a giant of earthquake engineering. There is a need to put people at the centre of the narrative as disaster management is not a technical but political issue. Political leaders need to be involved in it as disasters lead to massive human suffering”

She highlighted the need to change the COVID-19 opportunity into resilience and further added”It is important to protect yourself and the local community as endorsed by Sendai Framework to leave nobody behind. We should connect and keep on working to strengthen resilience”

She reiterated Dr. P. K. Mishra’s view that risk is global and resilience is local. However, it has to be politically connected with the central government.

Shri B. V. R. Mohan Reddy, Chairperson, BoG, IIT Roorkee said “I would like to congratulate IIT Roorkee on this initiative. Prof. Jai Krishna was a pioneer in many fields. He immensely contributed to institution- building and nation-building. He was also an outstanding contributor to earthquake-resistant design. This initiative will have an immense impact on encouraging future generations to emulate him as a role model. I would also like to congratulate IIT Roorkee for choosing Dr. P.K. Mishra ji an outstanding civil servant, to deliver this inaugural lecture. He has enlightened us on the significance of learning from the past, living in the present and planning for the future. Amid the global healthcare crisis threatening life and livelihood, digital technology which was slowly transforming the world, it is now accelerating the transformation”

Dr. R K Bhandari said “It is indeed an honour and a rare privilege for me to be a part of the inaugural edition of Prof. Jai Krishna Memorial Lecture Series. I congratulate CoEDMM, IIT Roorkee for starting this initiative. It is indeed an apt response to a person of the stature as of Late Prof. Jai Krishna. He was an original thinker, visionary leader, educationist and innovator. He was the first to use the concept of ‘infrastructure resilience’ in the field of disaster management. His legacy will illuminate the paths for future generations”


On this occasion, Prof. Ajit K. Chaturvedi, Director, IIT Roorkee said “I would like to thank Dr. Pramod Mishra for agreeing to be the inaugural speaker of the Jai Krishna Memorial Lecture. This erudite lecture has thrown several pearls of wisdom that need to be explored for several days. We will make every effort to live up to the responsibility you have expressed for Institute’s like IIT Roorkee to take up in shaping a resilient world. Your lecture will ensure that the significance and standing of this lecture series will grow among the professionals to work in the area of disaster management. As we remember Prof. Jai Krishna, we need to strengthen our resolve to build a resilient world. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the significance of strengthening disaster management and mitigation efforts. IIT Roorkee through its Centre for Disaster Mitigation and Management is committed to augmenting its efforts in this field. We are also glad to announce that CoEDMM has taken an initiative to forge the South Asia Alliance of Disaster Research Institutes (SAADRI). It will be a reality soon.


Prof. Prem Krishna, the Guest-of-honour of this memorial lecture, Prof Jai Krishna’s son and IIT Roorkee alumnus, shared his message which says: “It is a very special occasion for me where a memorial lecture series in the name of my father is being launched, and that too with a keynote lecture by a person of great eminence, Dr. Mishra, and also many distinguished personalities are joining him to express their views, and in the most appropriate Centre, i.e. CoEDMM.

He stressed for the need of steps of Respond and Recover, and, for the future Learn, Mitigate, and if possible, Prevent in the sudden outbreak of disasters.


“While we should never stop learning from the rest of the World, the effort to overcome these various disasters has to come from within. There is a need to develop a resilient, self-reliant system has to develop as envisioned in a clarion call by Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi,” he said.


The initiative has been conceptualized to pay tribute to Prof. Jai Krishna (1912-1999). He was an eminent civil engineer who specialized in earthquake engineering. He was the recipient of several awards including the International Award of Japan Society of Disaster Prevention (1988), Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award of CSIR (1966), National Design Award of the Institution of Engineers (India) (1956), Padma Bhushan in 1956. He served the University of Roorkee, from 1939 to 1971, going on to become its Vice-chancellor between 1971 and 1977. He pioneered the study and application of structural dynamics and established the School of Research and Training in Earthquake Engineering (later called the Department of Earthquake Engineering) at Roorkee University. This is the only program of its kind in India even today. He was the first in India to introduce courses on Soil Mechanics in 1948 and on Structural Dynamics in 1958. He was the prime motivating force behind the formulation of Indian Standards for Earthquake Resistant Design of Structures that was brought out by the Indian Standards Institution (now Bureau of Indian Standards). He is the founder President of the Indian National Academy of Engineers (INAE). International contributions and recognitions to Professor Jai Krishna include establishing an Institute for Earthquake Engineering in Yugoslavia (1967-68) as UNESCO expert, the International Award of Japan Society of Disaster Prevention (1988), and (posthumously) recognition as one of the twelve legends of Earthquake engineering at the 14th World Conference in Earthquake engineering held at Beijing in 2008, among others.


The First JKML was organized by Prof. Mahua Mukherjee, Prof. Anil Kumar Gourishetty, Prof. Sudip Roy and Prof. SaptarshiKolay.


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