Padma Bhushan Dr F C Kohli – A Great Patriot

I consider it a great privilege in my corporate life to have met Padma Bhushan Dr F C Kohli, the founder CEO of Tata Consulting Services [ TCS] on 30 Nov 2016, when HYSEA [ Hyderabad Software Enterprises Association] felicitated Dr Kohli  for his Life Time Achievement in the service to the IT Industry in India , during its silver jubilee event at the International Convention Center, Hyderabad. As the Executive Director of HYSEA at that time, I was deeply touched by the passion and indomitable spirit and above all his great humility when I spoke to him on phone after sending him a formal invitation sometime in September 2016 through Mr V Rajanna, the Vice President and Regional Head of TCS at Hyderabad. Mr Kohli graciously accepted our invitation, spoke to me at length asking me about HYSEA and the event. Thereafter, he read out to me major points he would like to cover in his speech and sought my views on that. Coming from a person of his stature, this was a new experience for me.

When I joined the IT Industry with a MNC company back in 1997, Dr Kohli was already a great celebrity in the IT Industry of India. In fact, he is regarded as the ‘Father of the IT Industry in India’, having been the founder CEO of TCS way back in 1969. He was asked by the Chairman of TATA Group to take over the new entity when they decided to hive of an existing department to be a full fledged IT company. Under Dr Kohli’s leadership, TCS pioneered the IT revolution in India and the spectacular growth of TCS to what it is today is due to the visionary leadership and a ‘no nonsense” approach to his role by Dr Kohli.

Dr Kohli not only led TCS to glory but used Information Technology for the masses in India. His various adult literacy programs using computer and his advocacy to engineering students to undertake research and come out with socially relevant programs and innovations shows his great commitment to Nation Building. In his speech during the felicitation ceremony, he exhorted the IT Industry Champions to design software in all Indian languages so that the Internet can be truly an “Enabler ” for the country to harness the digital prowess of IT. A person in his mid 90’s in age, he spoke for more than 20 minutes clearly articulating his vision for the IT Industry in India and pledged his support in this endeavor. Over 900 participants, mostly CEO’s of IT Companies, in the august presence of Sri K T Rama Rao [KTR], honorable minister for IT, Govt. of Telangana stood up for a standing ovation to the Patriarch of the IT Industry in India and a true patriot.

I dedicate this blog to Padma Bhushan Dr. F C Kohli on the Independence Day and pray to the Almighty to give him long life and health to continue to be the Beacon for the IT Industry in years to come.

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Dr. FAQIR CHAND KOHLI

Profile

Born in Peshawar (Pakistan), Faqir Chand Kohli had his early education in Peshawar and Lahore. After graduating from Punjab University, Lahore he went to Queen’s University, Canada and received his B.Sc. (Hons.) in Electrical Engineering and later his MS in Electrical Engineering from MIT.

After a brief stint in US training in Power System Operation Planning, he returned to India in early August 1951 and joined Tata Electric Companies. He quickly rose in ranks to become director of Director of Tata Electric Companies in 1970 and was instrumental in introducing several advanced engineering and management techniques for the operation of power systems. He was also responsible for significant use of digital computers for power system design and control, using the CDC 3600 mainframe computer at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. All this while he simultaneously working as consultant to Tata Consulting Engineers.

In September 1969, when he moved to TCS as General Manager, it marked the beginning of IT development in our country. TCS pioneered India’s IT Revolution and helped the country to build the IT Industry. 

Be it the propagation of computerization in India or bringing the benefits of IT to India’s rural masses through computer based Adult Literacy programmes, Kohli saw IT as an instrument of national development. He has been working on advancing engineering education at undergraduate level to world standards to create a large pool of students ready for undertaking graduate studies and research.

F C Kohli is a fellow of IEEE USA, IET UK, Institution of Engineers India, Computer Society of India and many others. He has received multiple Doctorates in Engineering (Honoris Causa) from the University of Waterloo (Canada), Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, U.K., University of Roorkee (UP), from IIT Bombay, Jadhavpur University, Kolkata and IIT Kanpur. He has received many awards including the prestigious Dadabhai Naoroji Memorial Award in 2001, and was conferred the Padma Bhushan in the year 2002.

A visionary and pioneer by nature, Dr. F. C. Kohli is acknowledged as the ‘Father of the Indian Software Industry’.

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2 Responses to “Padma Bhushan Dr F C Kohli – A Great Patriot”


  • Brig Good to see you back in this role. Nice of you to bring this out. The younger generation today might not know how IT started and the challenges of the 70’s and 80’s .

  • Thank you Ramanathan. Will continue my writings regularly now.

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