Another year, another batch, and another iconic TechTatva goes by. Ideas were hatched, events were won, friendships were forged, memories were made. Manipal is always bustling with energy at this time of the year. The quest to bring a fest to the people that meets their expectations is an all-consuming challenge. A challenge that organisers try to overcome every year. Looking at the beginning of this tradition, one wonders if the first batch of organisers could have imagined what they were starting.
Kamath Circle stood tall and proud, flocked with the crowd of people that made it what it was- an extravaganza. A life-size ‘snakes & ladders’ board game was laid out close to the small establishment that was Kamath Café. Instead of game pieces, a handful of people were moving from square to square, gliding up through the ladders and sliding down the snakes that were so playfully drawn onto a large sheet. The people there were flaunting their TechTatva t-shirts and caps – oh yes, they had fest caps! Looking at this very sight, it was evident that there was a sense of unity among them. The fest was in full flow.
TechTatva began in 2006 as a small mirrored technical image of the only fest in MIT at the time, Revels. It was proposed by a student named Pankaj Prabhandar who eventually went on to become the President of the Student Council of MIT. At the advent of TechTatva, the post of Technical Secretary came into the picture – thereby starting a new culture of technical innovation in Manipal. The first edition of TechTatva was a tough one to manage – the lack of funds and inexperience of the students in terms of handling a technical fest rendered that year’s fest a simple affair.
Mr Satyakam―one of the professors at the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering―belonged to the batch that kick-started TechTatva. The managing committee had strong support from the administration, but it wasn’t as smooth sailing as one would expect. It was marred by logistical issues and some managerial ones as well. However, there was a wave of excitement among the students who were interested in a celebration that was largely technical in nature which paved the way for the well-oiled machinery of the fest that we know today.
The key aspect of a fest is the publicity that delivers the word to the people. Nowadays, we are bombarded with what most of us would call “spam”– ranging from WhatsApp broadcasts to the volunteers at the Infodesks, it’s more than likely that you’ve experienced this–but it wasn’t always this way. Since its inception in 2006, the methods of advertisement in a fest like TechTatva have probably evolved the most. In the older days, a large majority of the events were publicized through SMS, and eventually, Facebook pages once it went mainstream in 2008-2009. This resulted in a greater audience, and hence greater participation and involvement from the students.
Over the years, the fest has endeavored to include more and more events that cater to the public’s interests. People whose disinterest in technical events led them to flock in their rooms to play Counterstrike and FIFA now get to flaunt their skills in the gaming events at TechTatva.
There is a stark difference between what it was, and what it is today. TechTatva has risen through the stratosphere and reached a new height this year. The DIY Snakes & Ladders game on a sheet and the fest caps have now become gaming centers, food stalls, and dance floors– complete with a mascot named Nic the Cat. In the years leading to 2013, the flagship events of TechTatva were treasure hunts and quizzes. Many would flock towards the academic areas to battle their wits to the teeth, and it used to be a small-scale festivity for each and every student to revel in.
Then, in 2013, TechTatva brandished the Manipal Conclave for the very first time. In 2014, the Manipal Conclave was all set to showcase people who excelled in the field of technology and science, and had three separate categories of speakers- the Thinkers, the Pioneers, and the Veterans. Since then, it has grown in size and quality, eventually making it the primary event of TechTatva. Transcending from presenting speakers only from the fields of engineering and science, it has evolved into a stage for speakers from a potpourri of backgrounds- be it the arts, entertainment, politics, or sports.
Twelve years after its genesis, TechTatva is worlds away from what it was in 2006. It has gotten better publicity and a far wider reach. But there has been a certain monotony in the events and categories over the last few years. A monotony that has led to stagnation in the participation in a thriving fest where innovation is the norm.
Incorporating new ideas is the foundation on which TechTatva was built, and it is essential for it to stay true to its roots in order to push the envelope in the field of technical innovation.
Written by Ribhav Singla, Melvin Jacob and Anirudh Kamath for MTTN
Image Sources: College Yearbooks for 2006-07, 2010-11, 2012-13