“IISc - a centre for human progress.”- Interview with the Travers Brothers

History of an institution carries in its annals numer-
ous names whose contributions have laid the founda-
tion for its being. Voices had the opportunity to
meet a part of history itself, the grandsons of the
First Director of the Institute, Morris William Travers.
This interview with Dr. David Morris William
Travers and Dr. Michael Daniel Robin Travers was like
turning the leaf of the past with them revealing some in-
teresting aspects about their grandfather. They bound
on a journey to see the school their grandfather started
and stumbled upon an institution completing 100 years!
Michael, the elder of the two is a medical doctor from
the town of Chelan and David, who holds a doctorate in
Philosophy is from the town ofWest Brook. With a twin-
kle in their eye, they recall how their grandmother was
an accomplished pianist and they are in fact a family of
doctors, musicians and researchers. Their father Robert
MorrisWilliam Travers was born in the year 1913 and his
older sister, Dorothy in the year, 1910 in the Directors
bungalow on campus. Their father was a well qualified
man who immigrated to America as an Indian and not
an Englishman.
Recalling their first understanding of their grandfathers
contribution, they knew he had started a school in India.
This was until the internet showed them what IISc was
and an Indian colleague told David that his grandpa was
the founder of the Harvard of India. They reminisce about
their grandfather and the beautiful and insightful letters
he not, not being a person who could do a lot of talking
to children. He would make bows and arrows for them and
also his lab equipments. He also did furniture designing.
Their grandfather was a very stern man who had his ideas
about how the world should work. From old papers, they
saw how he had a map about what he wanted to do with
this piece of land and wanted to start some specific and fo-
cussed departments to begin with. Though carrying out an
interaction was not his best strength, he was a strong per-
sonality. David and Michael feel that, that is where “Tata
and Grandpa fit in well together”, they had similar vision
and thinking.
Talking about their visit to the institute, they cite how
coming to IISc has been a humbling experience and that
they have never felt as warmly greeted anywhere as an out-
sider as they have here. They visited various labs and said
they saw a glow in the eyes of the students and faculty when
they were discussing their work.
They say that Ratan Tatas wisdom will underpin the
future growth of this institute. The students here have
a strong theoretical background and what is important is
that the Institute should teach them how to make things
and that would be their grandfathers legacy. Each time
students here solve a problem, some more questions should
arise from it.
In their message to IIScians, they say that we need to
keep doing what we are doing and also recognise what we
have here. In IISC, we have no choice but to move up-
wards. The difference between No.1 and No.2 is very small
and they said they hope to see some Nobel Laureates com-
ing out of the institute.
They closing remarks were that this institute should
be a centre where human progress is held forward. Their
grandfather would be very proud to see IISc like this today!

P.S: Shyam and I conducted this interview:)


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