BRIDGING THE FIRST WORLD AND THE THIRD
“The Father of Indian Telecom,” Sam Pitroda, is a powerful force in India’s continuing tech revolution.
Inspired in youth by Gandhi and John F. Kennedy, his worldview and strong personality was shaped by both the East and West. He left the impoverished village of his birth to receive an education and achieved his wildest dreams by the age of 38. However, the telecom multi-millionaire felt unsatisfied. Sam went on to “pursue another American dream.” He returned to India, on a mission to “bridge the first world and the third.”
Sam Pitroda urges that technology cannot be treated as a luxury. He argues, on the contrary, that technological development is as crucial to the third-world as education or clean water.
With a focus on accessibility rather than density, Sam had incredible success making telephones available to the people of rural India. He is currently working with the government to build a national infrastructure connecting libraries, universities and research facilities with high speed internet fiber.
Mahatma Gandhi dreamed of development and decentralization for the villages of rural India, but it was never realized. Sam Pitroda, a lifelong admirer of Gandhi, noted that only the “information element” remained missing. With the growth of information and communication technology, Gandhi’s dream may still become reality.