Subir Chaki was a good management student and an equally good management teacher, said one of his batchmates at IIM Calcutta from where he had graduated in 1988.
Saroj Kumar Datta recounted how he had invited Chaki in the late-1990s to be a guest teacher at a private business school where he was a professor.
“Subir was interested in teaching and was very academic-minded. Later, he earned acclaim by turning around some loss-making companies into profitable ones. As someone who joined teaching after spending sometime in industry, I believe management education must have a component of case studies. So I always knew Subir could be an excellent teacher,” said Datta, who did his BTech in mechanical engineering from Jadavpur University.
“He (Chaki) simply left the students mesmerised.”
Datta, who stays in Delhi, studied the two-year postgraduate certificate in general management (PGCGM) with Chaki from 1986 to 1988 on the Harrington Street campus of IIM-C.
The programme, which was converted into a three-year postgraduate diploma in business management (PGDBM) in 1996, catered to working professionals.
Chaki enrolled on the course after joining a company in 1983 following his graduation from IIT Kharagpur.
“It was because of his rich collection of case studies that I requested him to share the valued experience, with which I wanted to come up with a revised edition of my book on strategic management.
The plan can never be executed. I feel like crying at the untimely loss of such an erudite person and an outright professional,” said Datta, who runs a company providing online courses on skill development.
Datta, who taught at IIT Kharagpur in visiting capacity in 2008-2009, said a student who had attended Chaki’s classes alerted him about the death of his batchmate.
“Subir approached himself with so many angels – finance, manufacturing, plant location, HR. That is why he caught the attention of the management,” he said.
The classes on the Harrington Street campus in the eighties were held three days a week — Monday, Wednesday and Friday — in the evening.
Chaki stood second in the programme. The one who stood first was from IIT Kharagpur, too.
“During recess, we used to relax eating jhal muri. I don’t remember Subir joining us in those sessions. He was a man of a few words. The teachers were extremely proud of him,” said Datta.
After the duration of the management programme was extended, Datta did attend classes for one year to earn a degree in postgraduate diploma in business management (PGDBM), which was considered equivalent to MBA in management.
The last memory that Datta has of his batchmate is of wishing Chaki on his birthday on Facebook on March 24.
“We last spoke immediately after Covid struck. He might have been busy with his profession but Subir was an absolutely family man. His son and daughter did well in their lives because of his guidance,” said Dutta.
“I am devastated by the fact that I have lost a dear friend.”
Chaki’s murder has rattled his friends so much that many of them have written to the IIM Calcutta Alumni Association, urging it to take up the matter with the state government to ensure a speedier probe
The association will write to the government so that a speedy trial is conducted in the case, said G.M. Kapur, vice-president of the association. “We want to ensure that his family gets justice.”