Indians Abroad

Sam Pitroda

Famous As Entrepreneur, Policy Maker and Inventor
Born On 4 May 1942
Born In Titlagarh, Orissa, India
Nationality Indian

Satyanarayan Gangaram Pitroda a.k.a Sam Pitroda, the telephone maverick who revolutionized the state of telecommunications in India, is indeed a name to reckon with. Yes, it was mainly because of the efforts of this inventor, technocrat, and social thinker that telecom revolution started in India. Better feted as "The father of India's communication revolution," his contributions in the domain of telecommunications not just in India but globally, have been gargantuan. With his groundbreaking innovations and novel visions, he introduced many revolutionary ideas that changed the face of telecommunication and information technology. Along with being a pioneer in telecom, Sam Pitroda has made strong case for food, clean water, and adequate shelter for the unprivileged section. Through his efforts, he has brought telephones to the rural parts of India and some of the most isolated regions in the world. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to tag Sam Pitroda as the 'telecom whiz'.

Early Life
Sam Pitroda was born on May 4, 1942 in Titlagarh, Orissa, India. His parents were originally from Gujarat, but were settled in Orissa. Inspired by the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, his parents send him and his brother to Gujarat to learn more about the philosophy and teachings of the great political leader. Sam Pitroda completed his schooling from Vallabh Vidyanagar in Gujarat and pursued Masters in Physics and Electronics from Maharaja Sayajirao University in Vadodara. After completing his studies in India he went to US to obtain his Masters in Electrical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology from Chicago.

All through 1960s and 1970s, Sam Pitroda was involved in making cutting-edge inventions that were to be the new face of technology later. He is the first person to introduce microprocessor in telephone and is known for his invention of first Electronic Diary. In 1974, he founded his own company called Wescom Switching. Later Rockwell international acquired Wescom and Sam Pitroda became the Vice-President of the company. During his stay in the company, Pitroda brought about numerous changes in telecommunications industry, which eventually earned him humungous recognition as telecom maverick. With more than 100 patents in his name, Sam Pitroda became one of the leading names in telecommunications and information technology. The computer-themed card game called Compucards invented in 1983, made him even more famous in the technological world. After his return to India, he established the Centre for Developments of Telematics (C-DOT), which served as an autonomous telecom and R&D organization. In 1987, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi appointed Pitroda as advisor in Indian foreign and domestic telecommunication policies. Pitroda is considered as the main hand behind Indian revolutionary telecom industry and On Public Call Offices (PCO) which brought affordable call rates for both local and international calls. In July 2009, he became the advisor to Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh in the field of Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations. With his global leadership, vision and knowledge, he is known as one of the noted entrepreneur and advisor that India will be always proud of.

Achievements and Awards
The knowledge and dedication of Sam Pitroda has brought him number of awards from around the world. Some of the recognized awards given to him are the Dataquest IT Lifetime Achievement Award (2002), Skoch Challenger Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 Rajiv Gandhi Global India award in 2009 Padma Bhushan award by Indian government in 2009. Pitroda was elected as World Prominent Leader by the World Network of Young Leaders and Entrepreneurs WNYLE in 2008.

1942: Sam Pitroda was born.
1974: Founded a company called Wescom.
1983: Invented the popular Compucards, which created revolution in information technology.
1987: He worked under the then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi as advisor in the field of foreign and domestic telecommunication policies.
1992: His biography, 'Sam Pitroda: A Biography' was published.
1993: Established foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Tradition (FRLHT) near Bangalore, India
2009: Became the advisor to Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh in Public Information, Infrastructure and Innovations.