Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Thanks to Pakistan, South India is an IT hub

"Why did the IT boom happen in South India and not in North India first ?", asked a family friend of ours who follows IT passionately. I mentioned several factors like the dulcet climate, presence of institutions of higher learning like Indian Institute of Science at Bangalore and the numerous engineering colleges that feed the voracious appetite for talent of the IT industry in South India. He seemed convinced. That was a month ago.

However, I was not satisfied. The question still ringed fresh in my mind. Not that the factors, I had mentioned were invalid, but there was this gnawing thought that there must have been one or two decisive factors or decisions by top administrators of the country that have led IT companies to pour into South India first before branching out to other states across North India. Even to this day, any world MNC in the IT sector puts its first foot in Bangalore, Chennai or Hyderabad ( forming the Silicon triangle) and only after consolidation, do they plan to expand.

Waking today afternoon after a short siesta, I happened to lay my hands on the latest issue of the Week. The cover page article was on '25 days that changed India'. Yummy !!! Sounded delicious reading material. It mentioned 26th July, 1986 as one of the 25 Red Letter Days in the history of the country. It was on this day that India's first rural Automated exchange was set up at Kittur, in Karnataka's Belgaum district. Just outside it was setup a bright yellow box, with the 'PCO' imprint on it. India's villages were on the fast track to the communication revolution. The advent of the STD booth, it says, marked the kickstart of the IT revolution in India.

This kick start was provided partly by Texas Instruments(TI) setting up shop in Bangalore, which was soon to become the Silicon Valley of the East. As an answer to why TI chose Bangalore, lay a beautifully analysed piece that I reproduce below :

Week, Jan 29th, 2006 :
What lured TI to Bangalore ? Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had ensured that many of the nation's strategic defense and space installations were set up in and around Bangalore, off-limits to Pakistani fighter jets. The city had a sound educational and research set up to feed these installations, with higher seats of learning like the IISc. The same pool that fed the government's key establishments became happy poaching grounds for mushrooming IT institutions. TI was soon joined by Siemens, Motorola, Synopsis, Philips, Nokia and Samsung. Infosys and Wipro became home-grown success stories, leading to start-ups in the rest of the country.

Well, there lay the answer to the question that was bothering me. Indira Gandhi, to keep Pakistan at bay, had unwittingly sown the seeds for the IT revolution in Bangalore. Surely, South India needs to thank Pakistan for granting it an upper-hand over North India in the IT revolution.


Rajesh Barnwal said...

Hi Vijay,
Yours is a nice blog with interesting and informative articles.
I have linked this post on my website AlooTechie hoping that it would be found useful by the Aloo readers.
just keep it up dear!

Bit Hawk said...

Nice blog Vijay. Interesting one!

Gopal said...

Hi...I believe the title "Thanks to Pakistan, South India is an IT hub" is a little off-topic, maybe to rouse patriotic feelings to lure the (obviously) patriotic Indian, which is the target audience.

Concentration of sensitive institutions in the strategic centre is natural policy. Also, quite naturally, north west frontier has been on the receiving end, from quite a long time.

A case in point, wild animals that live in groups, herd their young babies in the centre with youth (compare with our Jawans and Officers...-) forming a boundary whenever, they sense some danger.


Anonymous said...

There are more engineers in south india than all of north india combined. South is just more educated.

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