DP Sengupta, 83, shuffles from living room to bedroom amidst a cacophony of ringing landline phones. Ignoring the calls, he scrounges, instead, for an Indian Express clipping from 1976. Ours is a telephonic chat, but one can still vividly picture the bald, bearded and baritoned scientist going from room to room during the conversation. Sengupta is former visiting professor at Bengaluru’s National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) and emeritus fellow at the Indian Institute of Science.
Race against time
Thirty minutes and a wrinkle in (Indian Standard) time
Two ageing scientists have spent over a decade advocating for a modified IST. Will their research hold ground in the future, or become just another entry in India’s chronicles against time standardisation?
Former NIAS professors DP Sengupta and Dilip Ahuja have spent much of their lives advocating for a UTC+6:00 time zone for India, claiming it would bring energy savings and optimum use of daylight
This suggested switch from UTC+5:30 to UTC+6:00 has its share of sceptics. Not least India's timekeeper, whose own (questionable) study suggests that two time zones are better than a half-hour advancement
Arunachal Pradesh and Assam have long called for a different time zone. But as history shows, India has had multiple bones to pick with standardised time. Time-setting, after all, is more political than scientific
Do official time changes, then, make economic sense when what's really needed is sociocultural flexibility? Hint: why not change office timings from one region to another instead of depending on IST?