Technocrat Sam Pitroda, who is credited as the father of India’s telecom revolution, Wednesday called for “collective leadership, coexistence and respect for differences”. “Leadership must be open and responsive to ideas, not just that (only) one has the authority to take all decisions. Even God cannot take decisions on his own,” said Pitroda while delivering the Ahmedabad Management Association Diamond Jubilee Lecture on ‘Technology for Social Change and Development’ here on Wednesday. He said that collective leadership, coexistence and respect for differences had helped India achieve Independence and that Gandhian principles of honesty and simplicity are still relevant.
“If everyone becomes alike, it will be very boring…there should be diversity and people should go out and mingle with different people. Today eight billion people across the world have direct access to each other round the clock through smart phones,” he said, describing how technology has brought about a social change. “Smartphones have the ability to democratise information and knowledge, which can do away with concrete buildings of universities. Phone can double up as your teacher. It is here you become multi-functional and have a multiple identity. World is not about me but about us,” he said.
He added Internet was a big revolution, which generated huge and powerful knowledge base. “All this happened in the last 50 years or so. At present, access to technology has become very fast, which is bringing a great social change and impacting development. But pioneers always had arrows on their backs,” he said, referring to teething troubles of the changes in technology.
Pitroda, who had left for the US in 1964, added as technology changed, things began to change fast. “Telecom revolution is just one example. Technology is all about change but people here (in India) don’t like change. They love (the) past, they are not interested in (the) future”, rued Pitroda who has over 100 patents to his credit. He went on to say that biosciences were more exciting than technology now with mind-boggling growth in areas like producing bald chicken, thus avoiding garbage or developing artificial limbs outside human body.