India

Sam Pitroda remembers Rajiv Gandhi, recalls his contribution to India

Sam Pitroda, telecom engineer, inventor, entrepreneur and a friend to Rajiv Gandhi, pays a moving tribute to the former prime minister, assassinated before his 47th birthday on May 21, 1991

Photo courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/VishakhCherian">@<b>VishakhCherian</b></a>
Photo courtesy: Twitter/<a href="https://twitter.com/VishakhCherian">@<b>VishakhCherian</b></a>

Sam Pitroda

For me, every day is a day to remember Rajiv Gandhi. He provided the needed political will to develop Telecom and Information Technology institutions, infrastructure, and human capacity to help build a new, modern India. He emphasised privatisation, liberalisation, free market economy, democratisation, deregulation, technology, entrepreneurship, innovations, etc, in the mid-eighties, with a commitment to expedite the process of development in India.

Rajiv introduced Panchayat Raj to decentralise decision making and technology for development related to basic human needs like education, health, agriculture and lot more.

He helped eradicate polio, make India (along with Dr Verghese Kurian) number one in milk production. He helped plant seeds for India to grow from 2 million phones to 1.2 billion phones today, and also generate around $150 billion worth of software/services export every year.

Today [May 21, 2018] is Rajiv Gandhi’s 27th death anniversary. It is a day to review and reflect on his contribution to India and recognise and respect the leadership and the vision he provided for 21st Century India. He would have been very proud of our accomplishments in telecom & IT.

If he had been alive today, I know for sure that India would in a very different position. He would have provided the needed political will and leadership required to focus on inclusion, diversity, employment, agriculture, health, education, and a lot more to expedite growth and prosperity for all.

It is unfortunate that as a nation, at this critical time in our history, we are engaged in political attacks, lies, false promises, propaganda to misguide our people and create an environment of fear and false hopes.

Today we need Rajiv Gandhi’s young energy and Mahatma Gandhi’s values, morals, ethics, love, simplicity, virtues and bottom-up development with a focus on building inclusive growth, peace and prosperity for all..

The real tribute to Rajiv Gandhi is all about dedicating ourselves to finishing his unfinished agenda with a clear focus on technology and young talent.

I miss Rajiv Gandhi today a lot more when I think of all the things we did on technology missions related to literacy, immunisation, water, oil seeds, dairy development and telecom. It was the most romantic period of my working life.

Today is also a special day to read, review and reflect on some of the speeches Rajiv Gandhi gave during his tenure as the young prime minister of India from 1984 to 1989. Here are some of them. Thanks, Carl Malamud for your help to publish these books.

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