Bangalore May 29, 2013: The Indian print media -- with very few exceptions --has barely noted the passing three days ago of Narasimaiah Seshagiri, arguably, the true father of the Indian IT story, a scientist who fortuitously ended up as a bureaucrat at a critical time in the nation’s technological time line. During the 1980s, his presence in the Electronics Commission and the new entity he created –the National Informatics Centre –ensured that national policies for electronics and infotech were framed with foresight and sensitivity, using regulation to encourage rather than stymie enterprise, private or public.
A product of the Indian Institute of Science and the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Dr Seshagiri, had a long – 25 year stint heading the NIC – and used the clout this gave him to push government into initiatives like the country’s first nationwide satellite-based date network – NICNET – as well as liberal hardware and software policies of the mid 1980s. The push to computerization in government can legitimately be attributed to Seshagiri’s evangelical zeal.
It created the climate which saw India slowly emerge as a springboard for hundreds of international IT players to launch their offshore innovation and service delivery mechanisms… and eventually create the India brand for outsourcing in IT.
Dr Seshagiri who had been living in retirement in Bangalore passed away aged 73, on Sunday.
Prof. S Sadagopa, Director International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore writes:
Dr Seshagiri was truly a visionary, a man of conviction and had the boldness to go against popular thinking. But for his "flood in, flood out" theory, India would have missed the mini / PC / LAN revolution as well! (Let alone the mainframe) and today's 100 billion dollar industry would not have become a reality. He was the "right man, in the right place at the right time"
Not many people might know that the concept of IIIT was originally conceived by Dr N Seshagiri, though in late 80's / early 90's it never took off!
I had the fortune of having him in my office for nearly a day, just a few months back when Anand Parthasarathy and I interviewed him for our forthcoming book "IT Icons". He was at his best and the interview was like "drinking from a firehouse". Alas, he will not be around when our book would see the light of the day! He was full of energy.
IIITB is also fortunate in having him as one of the key members of the UGC Review Committee that gave us the status of the Deemed University in 2004.
All I can say is this
"Sir, IIITB, IT and India will miss you. Keep blessing us from the Heavens"