Techie President gives India a technology advantage
president of Kalam’s stature and technical prowess acting as a
“technical spokesperson” will add tremendous credibility to our effort to
market ourselves as a nation of technologists, says MOHAN BABU
So much has
been said and written about Abdul Kalam taking over as the next president
that I have little to add to the topic . As a technologist, it really gives
me a feeling of gratification to see a person of his level of technical
prowess taking charge of affairs at the highest office in India. The Western
media has also exhibited considerable enthusiasm about his appointment
although there are concerns that his “technology” background may accelerate
Indian nuclear projects further, when the western countries are looking
towards global anti-proliferation.
community - both in India and abroad — is especially elated at Abdul Kalam’s
appointment. It is hoped that he will be able to empathise with the issues
and problems faced by technologists. A nudge from the president is sure to
help the government move towards opening up the Indian scientific community
that has long been known to produce excellent techies “for export”. That a
poor boatman’s son born in rural south India can rise to the highest office
purely based on his technical prowess says a lot about his capabilities.
Many have a
feeling that a president who comes from a scientific background will be able
to provide a shot in the arm to the indigenous research community. While we
have access to some of the best technical minds in the world, the benefits
of technology have not proliferated to the grassroots. Even R&D in India has
largely been a stronghold of government bodies and organisations. Even
though we have taken great strides in areas like nuclear and space
technologies, very few homegrown “inventions” have taken the world by storm.
This is where real world examples of “application” of high-tech like Abdul
Kalam’s famous use of composites to make artificial limbs, stand out. If the
new president’s leadership can infuse an out-of-the-box thinking among young
technologists, we are sure to find ourselves on the road to success.
previous columns I talked about leading Fortune 500 companies exploring the
benefits of outsourcing business processes to India. Until recently, our
main selling point was the abundant supply of skilled, English speaking
Over the past
month or so since Abdul Kalam’s candidacy was made public, there have been
dozens of e-mails circulating around the world, talking about his
achievements and rags-to-riches story. Even the western media seems to have
picked on his achievements and is especially attracted by his nuclear tag.
Dozens of western newspapers and magazines ran articles on the new
president. Even Wall Street Journal ran a cover page story titled “India to
Propel Its ‘Missile Man’ To the Presidency, a Bully Pulpit”.
over Abdul Kalam’s nomination as a technologist-president will not last
long. Before the dust settles and life gets “back to normal”, techies and
managers of high-tech companies need to leverage the goodwill created in the
media. Deft handling of the public relations along with a focused global
lobbying effort will ensure that we receive maximum mileage from this