Every alumnus of IIT Kanpur holds a special place in our heart but there are a very few whose names will go down in the history pages for their exemplary life and extraordinarily commendable work. Satyendra K. Dubey was one of those rare breeds of people who lost his life while fighting against the rampant corruption in our society.As a celebration of his life and in commemoration of his beliefs, IIT Kanpur has established an annual Satyendra K Dubey Memorial Award given to an IIT alumnus for displaying highest professional integrity in upholding human values.
"Don't remember me or my work, just one request, remember my message."
Mr. Satyendra Dubey hailed from a very humble background. Born in 1973 in the Shahpur village, Bihar, he strived hard to receive education amidst the daily struggles of life. He not only topped the 10th and 12th state board exams but also cleared his way through one of the most competitive engineering exams in the country. In 1994, he graduated from the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT Kanpur. Two years later, he completed his M.Tech. from IIT BHU, Varanasi.
When the time came to choose a career, Satyendra opted for the Indian Engineering Services instead of a high-paying corporate job. As his brother recalls, "My brother was one of the most idealistic people I have met in my life. He believed in his country and wanted to contribute towards the building of a strong nation." In July 2002, Satyendra joined the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on deputation. While serving as the Project Director at Koderma, Jharkhand, he exposed severe financial and contractual irregularities involved in the construction of a stretch of NH2. Such was his determination and sincerity that he had the contractor rebuilt 6 km of poor quality road, a huge loss for the road contract mafia. As it has happened time and again, he was transferred to Gaya much against his wishes. However, he continued to embrace his life's principles and exposed large-scale flouting of NHAI rules regarding sub-contracting and quality control at Gaya.
On 27th November 2003, while returning from a wedding in Varanasi, Satyendra was shot dead in front of the circuit house in Gaya. It is speculated that he was murdered as his ideals stood in the way of many. The tragic news of his death drew sharp reactions from various quarters of society. Students and alumni bodies of IITs came forward in demanding justice for him. Two of his batch mates at the institute, Ashutosh Aman and Atal Bansal set up the S. K. Dubey Foundation for Fight Against Corruption in India to systematically fight against the evil. On behalf of the foundation, Ashutosh Aman produced a small documentary on Satyendra Dubey directed by Mini Vaid which was aired on NDTV on 26 November 2007.
Satyendra K Dubey's life is time and again covered in popular media. The famous Indian musician Rabbi Shergill dedicated few lines to him in one of his songs 'Jinhe naaz hai hind pe vo kahaan hain'. Several awards and fellowships have been set up in his name to keep his legacy alive. The Indian Express fellowship, Satyendra K Dubey Memorial Award by IIT Kanpur, Satyendra Dubey Award for civil services by IRDS, Lucknow, are to name a few. Though Satyendra Dubey is no more with us, his unflinching determination and will to fight against the ills of society will continue to inspire the coming generations.