DECEMBER  2001
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DECEMBER 2001 Contents


 Joseph Allen Stein
 A tribute by Ram Rahman

A Spiritual Activist
 Rozalia Radhika Priya


 Ghulam Ali

 Prem Joshua
 (Listen to the track
 'Lahore Connection')

 (Listen to the track
 'Moria Badnawa')


 Telecoms & Software
 - Trends in south Asia

 Value/Wealth Creators

 Narayana Murthy - Infosys

 Sam Pitroda - C-DOT

 Aziz Premji - Wipro

 Sunil Mittal - Bharti Mittal

 Ambanis - Reliance

 Safi Qureshi

 Hassan Ahmed - Sonus

 Atiq Raza - Raza Foundries



 'It was five past midnight
 in Bhopal' - Lapierre

Performing Arts

 Simplifying Ramayana
 - Bharatiya Kala Kendra


 Islam's middle-path


 Sakti - Mother Goddess


 Nandita Das


 Wharton India Economic
 Forum Conference

 Editor's Note


the craft shop

the print gallery


Silk Road on Wheels

The Road to Freedom

Enduring Spirit

Parsis-Zoroastrians of

The Moonlight Garden

Contemporary Art in Bangladesh



Page  3  of  10


Telecom & Software - Trends & Future in South Asia



Salman Saeed



Reaping the Telecom & Software Harvest 

- The Value/Wealth Creators from India

Narayana Murthy - Infosys

Graduate of I IT, Kanpur; IIM , Ahmedabad [equivalent to  Caltech & Harvard of USA].
Married and lives in Bangalore with his family; 2 children.

Value/Wealth created in 1999 $ 6- 30 billion company.

Murthy was born in 1946 and comes from Kolar, Karanataka. His values of charity, educational excellence are inherited from his father, a school teacher. As a student in the 1960 he naturally had his heart on the left wing , but kept his wallet on the right, like a good Frenchman. In fact, he was later to learn French and work in Paris, France in the 1970’s for an Indian company called “Patni Computers “. An early exposure to the world of free-enterprise and the creation of wealth was in the form of working with the team on the 400 user Air Cargo real time system at Charles DeGaulle airport. Later on he designed India’s first  BASIC Interpreter and a time-sharing computer system.

Later on after a stint at a Bombay software consultancy Murthy and about 6 other colleagues started up Infosys Technologies with a seed capital of only 10,0000 Rupees [ $ 500 ] . For 10 years they struggled with working for clients and sending staff to the western countries .

In 1991 the Indian Government liberalised the economy and removed the red tape; they also created the Software Technology Park in Bangalore, offering 15 year tax holidays and providing the high speed telecom infrastructure.

Infosys ran with this opportunity to provide customers like Nordstorm, Nortel, Aetna 24 hours , 7 days a week software design & customization services.

Today Infosys has provided stock options to everyone of its 6,500 staff  in the company. A waiter in the company Head Quarters in Bangalore's 50-hectare campus is worth half a million dollars.

As a result the turn-over in Infosys is about 9 % in 2000 against the average of 22 % in the world software industry.

As a company, it is known for its transparent accounting practices which means declaring losses as it did in 1995.

Murthy lives in the same  modest apartment he got 20 years ago, flies economy class and dresses modestly. He is also the first to volunteer to pay taxes as a software company making big profits . Infosys donates about 1.5 % of its net profits  to the Infosys Foundation making schools , libraries,  hospitals for India's poor.  Murthy is also a cousin to Deshpande who founded Cascade Communications , which was bought by  Ascend Communications. Deshpande later started Sycamore Networks and is a billionaire in America.


Murthy’s vision:


In his May , 2000  address to the Asia Society of Hong Kong, he identified the following .

His vision was to make India the country of choice for the customised software development and maintenance. He also believes that this is where the opportunity lies in the coming years. As long as Companies differentiate themselves in the market place by following a unique strategy, this will require a layer of Customization around even standard packing. The value proposition of  the Indian software industry is “ faster, better, and cheaper”.


  •  The key area that India has cornered is software maintenance.

  • E-Commerce has brought Infosys 18 % of its revenues

  • Appliance computing , controlling appliances remotely is another key opportunity area.

  • Global  software delivery means spend as little time at customer  locations and maximize time in low cost base like India.

  •  Asynchronous  production -   e.g.  “ Collaborative distributor model - conceptualization in Canada, architecture in France, design & programming in India and hardware in Taiwan” .

  • Using Video-conferencing technology, engineers from India will become proactive innovators. 

  • Government to act as partner and catalyst rather than as a control.


  • speed , imagination , and excellent execution attributes.

  • Keep the best and enable and empower employees.

  •  Customer retention, adaptability, agility, and flexibility.




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