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Sixty years of India’s scientific and IT might

August 14, 2007

On the eve of India’s 60th Independence Day, let’s us raise a toast and pay tribute to those scientific greats who are responsible for making India what it is today — an IT powerhouse, a nation that boasts of great scientific heritage. These are just a few. There have been so many, many more.

It all started with the late Dr. Vikram Sarabhai, said to be the father of India’s space program. Establishing the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is among his achievements. Then there’s late Homi Jehangir Bhabha, the famous Indian nuclear physicist, who was responsible for establishing the Atomic Energy Commission. The Atomic Energy Establishment was renamed as the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) in his honor, after his untimely death.

We have all the love and respect for Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, India’s 12th president, a notable scientist and engineer. Often referred to as the Missile Man of India, he is considered an innovator and a visionary.

We have R.A. Mashelkar, a leader in science and technology, and former director general, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR). We salute Dr. R. Chidambaram, one of India’s distinguished experimental physicists. Some of the research groups established by him in BARC in high-pressure physics and neutron crystallography are regarded among the best in the world.

There is Dr Sam Pitroda, the inventor, entrepreneur and policymaker. Besides founding the Center for Development of Telematics (C-DoT), he is the man responsible for bringing about the telecom revolution. Under his leadership, India developed the rural automatic exchange (RAX), and the public call offices (PCO) also came into being. Let’s also salute N. Vittal, former chairman, Telecom Commission and former secretary, Department of Telecommunication (DoT).

Salute to the late Dhirubhai Ambani, who’s grand vision of the mobile phones reaching the lower classes of the society revolutionized the mobile phone services industry. Salute to the late Dewang Mehta, who lobbied strongly for India, via, NASSCOM, and under whose leadership India developed into a software powerhouse. We salute F.C. Kohli, considered as the ‘Father of Indian IT’ and former leader of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

We also have Vinod Dham, often referred to as the father of the Intel Pentium processor, is now a venture capitalist and co-founder of New Path Ventures. Then, there is Shiv Nadar, who transformed HCL into the powerhouse that it is today.

We salute N.R. Narayan Murthy, who made Infosys what it is today, as well as Azim Hasham Premji, CEO and chiarman of Wipro. Of course, there’s Sridhar Mitta too, the internationally recognized expert in the management of R& D in IT.

Lest we forget, there are several giants in the Indian telecom industry as well, such as P.K. Sandell, Y.K. Agarwal, Mahendra Nahata, Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala (the inventor or the brain behind CorDECT), and so many more.

In the semicon space, we have visionaries such as Rajendra Khare, Srini Rajam, S. Uma Mahesh, Dr. Ananda, Dr. Bobby Mitra, Pratul Shroff, S. Janakiraman, Dr. Satya Gupta, Dr. Madhu Atre, and many others. One of India’s celebrated sons, Prof Krishna Saraswat, was recently bestowed the TechnoVisionary Award by ISA-VSI to recognize his contribution in semiconductors. Salute to all the wonderful teachers at the IITs, especially those who won the ISA-VSI Technovation awards! What a glorious lot!

Salute to all of these giants, and many, many others who have contributed toward making India a scientific and IT powerhouse! Proud to be an Indian!!

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