The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

January - 2000 - issue > Sam Pitroda Column

Gandhi For The New Millennium

Sunday, October 25, 2020
Satyan Pitroda is popularly known as Sam Pitroda. He is an internationally respected telecom inventor, development thinker, entrepreneur, and policymaker. Sam has over 50 years in information and communications technology (ICT) and related national and global level developments. For his contribution towards IT and his assistance to former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Manmohan Singh in bringing computerization as an advisor to the PM, he evolved as the ‘Father of India’s Computer and IT Revolution’. The Odisha-based Gujarati born Sam was raised in a family that highly values Mahatma Gandhi and his philosophy. Sam completed his master’s degree in Physics and Electronics from Maharaja Sayajirao University in Vadodara. Post that, he further pursued Masters in Electrical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Sam Pitroda served as the Chairman of the Smart Grid Task Force, as well as the committees to reform public broadcasting, deliver e-governance, modernize railways, and various other development activities.

Gandhi, the father of the Indian nation, worked for the independence of the country and mobilized the masses, ultimately leading India to freedom. That was 50 years ago, and now he is essentially forgotten in India. We have put Gandhi up on a pedestal to look up to once in a while. Contradictory as it may sound, if you ask average students in India who their role model is, they would most probably say Gandhi. Yet, because Gandhi is so high up in concept, you really cannot relate to him. Until Richard Attenborough’s movie was released, Gandhi was forgotten in the Western world as well. The movie made people aware of the Gandhian values and principles, not just Gandhi the person, but Gandhi the phenomenon. There are several critical elements of Gandhi that we need to revisit today.


Gandhi was the greatest communicator that ever lived. Using very simple symbols and actions, he communicated very complex messages to create a mass movement. Even in this age of high-tech communications, our leadership fails to communicate their vision, whether it is at the political, social or even corporate level. Gandhi knew how to master media. Going forward, several messages need to be communicated, for example, “India going to be a software giant,” “It will be a global economic power,” and “It will be completely liberalized.” These messages can be simplified, packaged differently and conveyed, as Gandhi did. The message must appeal not just the media-aware elite, but to the larger masses, in their own language and style.


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