M. R. Joshi, former director of Research & Development Establishment (Engineers), a DRDO institution, passed away recently.
Joshi, a distinguished scientist and a brilliant innovator, was a civil engineer by training. He was an expert in military bridging. His work included MLAB, the manually launched assault bridge and Sarvatra, a multi-span bridging system. The idea in these unique systems was to help Indian soldiers make rapid advances in difficult terrains with lightweight bridging equipment.
Joshi was relentless in his pursuit of applying information technology to engineering, administration and knowledge management.His establishment was the first to have a local area network in the city of Pune. He worked towards a paperless office, and pursued several ways to foster knowledge sharing and collaboration amongst project teams using computer systems.
It is in these areas that Harbinger in its early days became a trusted software provider and partner of DRDO. For an engagement spanning several years in the early ’90s, Harbinger continued innovating software applications with inspiration from Mr Joshi.
Recipient of many awards, Mr Joshi was a remarkable person to know. At the time we worked with him, he was about two times my age, and yet always managed to make the difference disappear. The Establishment would organize classical music concerts, and he would personally send a signed invitation every time. Harbinger was a 10-people company back then, and this vendor treatment was indeed very special, as you can imagine.
Joshi had a deep regard for the military genius of Leonardo Da Vinci, combined with the great master’s legendary art. His home was decorated with his favorite Leonardo paintings. His loyal dog was named Ermine. When he commissioned a beautiful new auditorium on the R&DE campus, he named it Leonardo da Vinci Auditorium. It took him a few trips to Delhi to convince the bureaucrats and politicians that this was a good idea.
Mr APJ Abdul Kalam, who later became the President of India, was his immediate boss, and paid him glowing tributes for his work.
Dr S Guruprasad, a young and promising scientist who worked in his team, later went on the become the establishment’s director. In a fitting coincidence, he felicitated Joshi on the occasion of the establishment’s golden jubilee.
Team Harbinger cannot stop counting its good fortunes – this great man was certainly one of them. We will miss you, M R Joshi. Rest in peace.