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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Not A Land Of Snake Charmers!

Prime Focus which started with four young entrepreneurs has now become an institute of perfection in post production and digital work for all the largest entertainment industries in the world. Most of the Hollywood special effects are done at Prime Focus in Mumbai – 'Clash of the Titans', 'Gatesby' and the recent sensational hit film 'Gravity' to name a few...”
- Amitabh Bachchan (Blog DAY 2018)

Prime Focus, and several such high-tech companies in India are today the prime focus of out sourcing by the biggest companies of the West, especially the U.S., and it makes us so proud of the fact. What a sea change from the time, not long ago, hardly any Western executives would dare explore India for IT outsourcing- what, isn't it just a land of snake charmers and fables where corporate westerner would feel lost in the culture, people, bureaucracy, red tape and get scared off by food poisoning and lack of infrastructure. And the US embassy was very reluctant to issue visa to Indian students for studies in computers - "There is no automation in India, why would you want to spend so much money on computer courses in U.S.A.?" - was the stock question of the Councilor interviewing the ambitious students striving to pursue computer courses in USA. That was in the Eighties when our son also faced the same question, but some how got through the grilling interview and was able to go to the US for higher studies in computers.

Now after two decades, Fortune 500 headhunters are always on the lookout for Indian computer engineers-the hottest commodities. American universities love the kids from India, and so do the American companies. Thousands of Indian engineers have come to the U.S. in recent years to work in computer and software companies. "Microsoft, Intel, Sun Microsystems-you name it, I can't imagine a major area where Indian software engineers haven't played a leading role. How many jobs have Indian entrepreneurs created over the last 15-20 years, hundreds of thousands, I would guess,"says Vinod Khosla, co-founder of Sun Microsystems and one of Silicon Valley's most important venture capitalists.

From India's perspective, the best part of the presence of Indian engineers in the U.S. is that each one of them is very sincere in saying the same thing-"I may be in the U.S., but my heart is in India." They have contributed to India's economic progress by the regular remittances of foreign exchange back home. The time has come, most of them are ready to return home to participate in India's ongoing leap forward in the Information Technology. The biggest brain-drain of the last two decades has become the biggest brain-gain for India in the last two years. They were the Indian- born, successfully integrated IT professionals in the West, that paved the way to and for India- built the first partnership with Indian outsourcing firms, helped open the Bangalore offices for their US IT firms. They were the perfect and trustworthy bridge for US companies to send back to India to set up shop there. Check out the bio-data for all the Indian heads for IBM, Microsoft, Sun, HP, Intel,..., all studied in US, worked for parent companies in US, then helped open up their offices in India. Of course, great brains existed within India itself from IITs and elsewhere that started Wipro, Tata, Satyam and the likes. This Indian success was the result of the perfect marriage of those engineers in India and the Indian-born engineers settled in the West, together influencing and convincing the West to take the first chance, the first step offshore in India.

Much credit for this brain-gain for the country goes to India's most modern and computer savvy Prime Minister, the late Rajiv Gandhi, who initiated automation in India. If Jawaharlal Nehru was the father of scientific advancement of India, his grand son Rajiv could be called the father of computer savvy India. His prime thought as Prime Minister was how to make India one of the most advanced countries in computers in the 21st century, and always encouraged Indian universities to give greatest importance to imparting computer courses and to bringing back Indian students who complete their studies of the subject abroad. This anecdote from my son's student days at the University of San Francisco is just one example of what Rajiv Gandhi thought was best for the country: Alok was in his third year at the USF, when to his greatest surprise, his room-mate in the hostel gave him a message from Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi-- "India is all set to start computerization in a big way, and awaits your coming back after completing your courses in computers." The room-mate was son of Morocco's Prime Minister, who on official visit to India had mentioned to his counterpart that his son was doing computers in the US and his room-mate was from India. Rajiv Gandhi requested him to convey the message to the student from India through his son.

So, the companies like Prime Focus and computer giants in India have convincingly proved to the world that ours is the land of the high-tech brains and top software engineers, and no longer the land of snake charmers.