Kris Gopalakrishnan launches itihaasa, a 'digital museum' chronicling the history of Indian IT
Monday April 18, 2016,
4 min Read
The IT and IT-enabled industry is estimated to have the highest relative share of about 9.5% in India’s GDP. This industry is the largest private sector employer with about 3.5 million employees. In 2015, the total revenue of the industry was estimated to be $146 billion.
In the past few years, the proliferation of IT and IT enabled startups have made India the third largest and fastest growing startup hub in the world. While most of us are aware about the impact that IT has had on India, we are generally unaware of its history and evolution. Not all of us would know who were the earliest IT entrepreneurs or when the first modern computer arrived in India. Or when programming was first taught in India and how education in computer science evolved.
To answer these questions, 'Kris' Gopalakrishnan, Co-founder of Infosys, launched itihaasa, a first-of-its-kind digital app that recounts the history of Indian IT since the 1950s, on Sunday evening.
Image credit- Itihaasa website
itihaasa is one of the largest chronicles of its kind with 600 videos featuring 44 technology stalwarts. Hear F C Kohli, Prof Rajaraman, Prof. Mahabala, N R Narayana Murthy, Azim Premji, S Ramadorai, Nandan Nilekani, N Vittal and others trace this incredible journey - from the installation of the country's first modern computer in 1955 to crystal gazing on Indian IT in 2040.
Available as a free download as an Android and iOS app, itihaasa includes 600 short videos, including over 37 hours of footage, 350 archived photographs and articles. To make browsing through such a vast volume of content easy, the app includes features to help users personalise stories on six dimensions - time, people, organisation, policy, technical terms and place.
The interviews and research for itihaasa were spread over a year and Kris noted that they unearthed hidden nuggets and insights that make for a most compelling digital museum. While conceptualised by Kris Gopalakrishnan as a mobile app to track business history using research-based interviews, he was supported in this endeavour by Krishnan Narayanan and Dr N Dayasindhu. Kris continues to be itihaasa's patron.The history of Indian IT is an ongoing research and will be updated periodically. The platform will explore and publish historical research on other topics in the future
Indian IT has been integral to the rise of modern industrial India. The Indian IT and BPM industry employs 3.5 million people, contributes 9.5 percent* of our GDP and has redefined the country's perception globally. From a single modern computer in the early 50s, today the industry generates close to $150 billion of revenues. I am fortunate to have been a part of this fascinating journey. With itihaasa, we hope to reach the incredible story of Indian IT to many more people across the world.
The success of Indian IT has changed the way the world perceived India - from a land of snake charmers to a nation of smart and technology savvy people - and inspired an entire nation. Today, the success of Indian IT is inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs. In a post on LinkedIn, Kris noted that multiple organisations (both public and private) and many policies and institutional frameworks that shaped the macro environment are among the reasons IT flourished in India. The IT industry evolved from a largely domestic and hardware focused market to an export-oriented software services market in a span of two decades. While paraphrasing the famous quote (We live in the best of times...) from Charles Dickens' A tale of two cities, Kris concluded,
itihaasa is more than an homage to the past or a nostalgia tinged walk. It is a narrative of triumph that has brought us to the present and a missive of optimism for the future.
You can download the app here