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Monday, December 1, 2003
Book Review

9 gems of the Indian IT brigade
Kuljit Bains

Silicon Valley Greats
by S.S. Kshatriy; Vikas Publishing House, New Delhi; Pages 286; Rs 180.

Silicon Valley GreatsAfter spices and carpets, perhaps the only other export India has made an international name in is software and other IT services. The raw material that goes into producing this commodity is the human brain, and India has proved that there is plenty of it. The brain that the country has "exported" to the USA and Europe have earned glory and a reflection of that falls on their home country too. Apart from their direct achievements, they have also inspired thousands of software enterprises on Indian soil.

S. S. Kshatriy in his book has paid a tribute to these sons of the soil who have made millions and also donít hesitate in helping young "ignited minds" get an education to equip them to receive the baton and carry on.

We keep reading about the carrier successes of the bright IT stars who have made a name and more. What we usually do not know is where they came from. The book goes into the personal lives and the ups and downs of these pioneers, and brings home the fact that these silicon men have risen from among you and me.

Take K.B. Chandrasekhar, of Exodus and Jamcracker fame; he studied in corporation schools of Trichy and Madras. "Probably it is one of the reasons that I am a survivor," he tells of his earlier life. These peeps into the lives of these greats make the book very readable.

The author spent great lengths of time working on collecting information on each of the nine Silicon Valley Greats. It involved series of personal meetings and e-mails.

Also, the sequence in which the names appear in the book presents a greater picture of how several of them have at one point of time or the other interacted with each other, creating a synergy of strong wills and determination against all odds in a foreign land.

The story of B.V. Jagadeesh, who partnered in Exodus and has made a name in finding viable markets for new ideas, is intertwined with that of Chandraís. His rise from a village school to the top echelons of US enterprise can inspire any young man to consider only sky the limit.

The other names that appear in the book are Kanwal Rekhi (Excelan), Naren Bakshi (Versata), Pradeep Kar (Microland, Bangalore), Raj Singh (InterHDL, Fiberlane, Cerent, Siara, Redwood Venture Partners), Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail, Arzoo), Umang Gupta (Gupta Technologies), N.R. Narayana Murthy (Infosys Technologies). One unique character that finds mention in the end is the inimitable Chandrababu Naidu, who rightly deserves to be counted among the heroes of the Charge of the Indian IT Brigade.

A common trait that comes through in these "soldiers" is their never-say-die attitude and a need to do something for the deserving students back home.