December 11, 2007EconomyPublic Policy

Dear Dr C N R Rao

We expected better from you

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

We hold you in great respect. So what made you demean younger members of your own intellectual family?

When it all started, I thought it was a good thing because so many people were getting jobs. Over the years, it has created a large upper-middle-class population who crowd the malls. There is nothing wrong in that, but what is really serious is the influence this has had on Bangalore’s intellectual content.

It is wonderful to have a lot of young people getting big salaries, provided they don’t take away the essential lifeblood of other professions. Bright people at a very young age, before they are even 20, think of IT as an option because they can make quick money. Lots of intelligent people are doing jobs that are much below their intellectual capabilities. They are like coolies who are working for wages and not producing great intellectual material. [Outlook]Why do you think that everyone, or even most people, should work for producing great intellectual material and not for great wages? Or do you define intellectual as only those areas that don’t pay great wages?

You lament that India produces only 25 PhDs in computer science each year. Maybe this is an accurate figure. But why do you think this is the IT industry’s fault? Was Bangalore producing a larger number of PhDs back in the golden age of Bangalore’s intellectual life? You are the chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, so you should know better than us why the Indian government not only spends a pittance but also has nothing concrete by way of encouraging private investment in R&D.

And finally say If IT people are making money, what do I get out of it, unless I am employed in Infosys with Narayana Murthy? The trouble is, we have given them a lot, but have got nothing in return?” Really? Many real Bangaloreans’ like you own property in rather nice parts of the city. Like Basavanagudi. Didn’t the IT boom do anything for the value of your property? And what about the real Bangalorean who used to eke out a living driving a rented autorickshaw but now owns several vans that drive IT workers to work?

It’s not surprising the Outlook magazine would bring out a one-sided story that screamed Real Bangaloreans Hate IT. Especially Outlook magazine. For nobody will give a second look to an article that says Real Bangaloreans Love IT. Dog bites man is not news. (See what another born-in-Basavanagudi Bangalorean has to say)

But you, sir? We expected better from you.

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