Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Monday, September 23, 2013
A talk by author of The Long Revolution at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Libraray
Read the full NMMLOccasional Paper, published under the Perspectives in Indian Development Series:
Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Dr Seshagiri had a pleasing personality, was unassuming yet had a magnetic personality, was eager to help and was always seeking to break new grounds even at 73. He was the shining star of Indian IT and the nation must be grateful for his contributions. Many of the ideas he had about the use of technology, the future of Indian IT and social aspects of IT diffusion are still unpublished and in private domain. I thought I would convince him to pen all his ideas into a new book. Alas, that opportunity has been lost. May his soul rest in peace.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Sunday, September 16, 2012
For readers in the US and other parts of the world, The Long Revolution is now shipping through Amazon.com
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Review by D. S.Cheema, The Tribune, July 4, 2010
THIS book is a fascinating account of how the tapestry of information technology (IT) in India has been woven by the hand of history in the past four decades. This objective record is a fitting tribute to the industry, which contributes maximum to the Indian economy, and also to the exceptional contribution of men like Mahalanobis, Bhabha, Bhatnagar, Naval B. Tata, M.G.K. Menon, Sam Pitroda, Naren Patni, Azim Premji, Narayna Murthy and many others who nurtured the industry during its formative years. These men looked boldly to the future and peered beyond the common to fight the deep-rooted "license-permit culture" and helped in the ultimate triumph of the Indian IT industry. This romance has not waned a bit; in fact, the industry is scaling new heights, thanks to the solid foundation laid by many visionaries.
The eventful story of Indian IT industry has been told in a cogent manner by the author, a journalist with deep insight into science and technology communication. The foreword by Sam Pitroda, who has played a very significant role in the story and is a witness to the entire saga of IT development in India, rightly sees it emerging as "a great social leveler" from a mere "rationed commodity".
Full review at:
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
By Suryakant Sharma, Yojana, February 2010
India owes its spectacular success in the IT sector to the vision, scientific temperament, commitment and perseverance of many - starting from our first Prime
Minister late Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru, to legendary scientists and statisticians like Dr. Homi J. Bhabha and PC Mahalanobis, right down to the Indian bureaucracy, technocracy and industry. IT is perhaps the most widely written about technology
sector in the country, but one rarely comes across literature bringing out the role of the government in developing the sector.
It is this gap that Dr Dinesh Sharma's book fills up, focusing on the government's role elaborately and lucidly. The book traces the history of India’s IT revolution, from the first generation of computers from UK/USA in the early 1960s and the decision to install a hired IBM 1401 machine in 1964.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The Accidental Revolution
India’s $73 billion information technology industry emerged out of nowhere to the powerhouse it is today within four decades thanks to a series of unrelated happenings in the country and abroad.
By Narayanan Suresh, Technology Review, FEBRUARY 2010
When Thomas Alva Edison invented the electric bulb in the latter part of 19th century, he did not foresee the emergence public and home lighting and a huge global power generation and transmission industry. Similarly, laying the foundation stone for today’s aviation industry would hardly have been the main thought in the minds of Wright brother when they designed the human civilization’s first flying machine.The history of humans in the last few centuries is full of such examples of ingenuity of the inhabitants of our planet turning many small steps into collective giant leaps for all in thousands of unimaginable ways.
India’s information technology (IT) industry also owes its creation to one such act that happened at the opposite end of the globe. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) had decided to discontinue teaching of electrical engineering courses in power transmission and electrical machines in the early 1960s. Naren Patni, son of a textile mill owner in Rajasthan, was not aware of this change in MIT when he landed there to pursue higher studies in electrical engineering after getting a no-strings attached scholarship from the Grass Foundation, Massachusetts.
So Patni had to opt to study the newly introduced courses in control systems which were designed to train engineers to handle analog control systems of a variety of modern equipment such as gun turret controls and radar tracking systems. The western world, after the Second World War was moving towards greater use of analog computing methods in industrial production process and control systems.
Patni later met many other pioneers who were working on different aspects of computing. He also happened to work with the team that was converting large amounts of court documents and other public data into magnetic tapes using the rudimentary punching paper tapes. Patni saw the opportunity to get this work done cheaply in India. He founded Patni Computer Services (PCS) as one of the first Indian companies specializing in handling outsourcing services. The famed founders of Infosys were among the first set of employees of PCS and the innocuous decision of MIT to discontinue teaching electrical engineering had played a major role in seeding the growth of India’s IT industry.
The MIT and Patni story is just one of hundreds of happenings in various parts of India and the rest of the world that has had a major impact on the formation of India’s now much-acclaimed IT sector. Veteran science journalist, Dinesh C Sharma, based in New Delhi for nearly three decades, has attempted to document as many of these seemingly disparate happenings which have in some ways contributed to the emergence of the Indian IT industry. Sharma’s monumental effort has appeared as a Harper Collins book, THE LONG REVOLUTION, the birth and growth of India’s IT industry. Sharma’s decades of journalistic writing skills have been admirably combined with the rigors of academic research. The 427-page IT story has been embellished with 36 pages of extensive references, making it an extremely valuable resource for future researchers of India’s IT segment.
Read full review at :http://www.technologyreview.in/computing/24487/
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Frontline, Sep 26 -Oct 9, 2009
THE so-called “Internet Age” we live in imposes what is being called “Internet speed”. This accelerated lifestyle is exemplified in an extreme form by the saying attributed to Marshall McLuhan, media guru of an earlier, more leisurely era: “If it works, it’s obsolete.” Something the lay buyer of personal computing products has come to rue as hardware and software are often outdated even as one decides to acquire them. When events happen at such a frenetic pace, it is difficult to take stock and calmly assess the historic significance of fast-evolving trends such as outsourcing before they are overtaken by events and technology.
That may explain why compiling information technology happenings can be a frustrating exercise, with McLuhan-like obsolescence threatening a publication in the brief time between concept and publication. Yet, for India at least, the story of the country’s rise to become a respected, globally accepted brand in IT is a key component of its wider history, and the task of telling it can be both daunting and challenging. That is reason enough to welcome Dinesh Sharma’s contribution to the subject, arguably the most comprehensive treatment so far of the birth pangs, early development, growth and maturity of India’s information technology industry.
For those who are part of the IT-driven business today as well as for lay readers, the book is a timely reminder of how the industry, which has played a large role in transforming India into a trillion-dollar economy, owes its growth to individuals and governments in almost equal measure across a five-decade time span. Indeed, Sharma, a veteran science communicator, who is currently Science Editor of the Delhi-based tabloid daily Mail Today, is the right person to undertake the task – bringing a combination of subject knowledge and detachment to bear on his measured yet highly readable account. This is no mean achievement because the rise of Indian IT must necessarily touch on the actions and decisions of a few dozen individuals, in positions of authority, most of whom are still around. It would have been easy, with the advantage of hindsight, either to laud or to trash their actions. Sharma avoids both pitfalls. While many of the protagonists may not agree with his judgments, they will be forced to respect them for a calm and uniform objectivity.
Read full review at
SPAN, Sep-Oct 2009
One lesson from Dinesh C. Sharma’s well-written and meticulously researched history of India’s IT industry is the caution against presuming one can find a moment when this phenomenon is static long enough to examine, categorize, guide or predict it. This leads to the question: Was the book not obsolete by the time it rolled off the printing press?
The answer in this case is no. And not only because of Sharma’s skill as a story-teller who, even with a subject some might consider dry, writes with humor, a sense of adventure, painting portraits of flawed heroes, the best intentions gone awry through human hubris and just plain fallibility. For Sharma’s story, just as a classic Greek drama, has a moral, more than one. His tale reminds us of the adage that those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Sharma’s book is of interest not only to historians and IT professionals, but psychologists, statisticians, and students of social and political science. His writing is also forward-looking, with a careful examination of India’s higher education system and how it can be developed to produce the graduates the country needs, not only for institutional research and national development, but to lead the businesses and private industries that will create jobs for the growing population.
Read full review at: http://span.state.gov/wwwhspseptoct0944.html
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
The 1984 policy providing the provision for software exports through satellite links was approved by Indira Gandhi's cabinet but was announced by the government headed by Rajiv Gandhi on November 19,1984, the book titled "The Long Revolution:The Birth and Growth of India's IT Industry" written by science journalist and author Dinesh C Sharma said.
It was the provision of exports via satellite which attracted American firms like Texas Instruments (TI) and opened up new gateway for software exports from India. Two other companies were licensed along with TI to set up software units with satellite links but only TI took off, it said.
In fact,a number of policy initiatives including liberalisation of policies for computer and electronics sector, rural digital telephone exchange, software technology parks and computerisation of railways, which are linked with Rajiv's era, were set in motion by Indira Gandhi after she came to power in 1980, it said.
"Post-1980, Indira Gandhi was a changed person. It was almost as if she was repenting for the excessive socialist policies unleashed under her rule in 1970s" Sharma told PTI. Dr.N.Seshagiri-former Director General of National Informatics Centre and one of the 'computer boys' of the Rajiv Gandhi era - who was present at the launch of the book here last night, said the technology initiatives of Indira Gandhi were vigorously pursued by Rajiv when he became the Prime Minister after her assassination.