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Coding Coolies – The Pseudo IT Maya

By | Elango S. | Managing Director of Galaxy Machinery & Galaxy Intelligentia

British ruled us over couple of  centuries and made many of Indians “Gumastas” (Clerks) and we were content with that – rather – we were proud to work as Clerks in British Government Jobs. Our parents’ parents and their grand parents had considered these jobs as their kids’ great achievement and they were proud to share with the others that their kids are Clerk, Writer, Accountant etc. in British Government Offices.

But British never preferred us to become Scientists, Engineers and Doctors and all these jobs were only with Britons. There were many educational institutions started by British – but only to teach us English, Accounts and Book Keeping. Never, in those days, started  Science, Engineering or Medical Colleges for Indians to learn except few which were meant for British Migrants’ Kids.

Cotton was exported to Britain and converted as clothes to get them imported back into India at high cost with import duties. They never wanted us to become Textile Engineer and they only wanted us to work in the field to pluck cottons and pack them for export. Steel Ore was exported to get them imported back as Steel Bars and Sheets. They even exported our ancestors to work in Tea Estates and Sugarcane fields as workers in Far East and South Africa and never wanted  us to manufacture Tea Processing Plants or Sugar Mills. They never taught us how make steel from steel ore. Britons wanted most of the Indians to become only Clerks to keep us where we were by teaching us English, Accounts and Book Keeping or continue as Workers in Tea Estates and Sugar Cane Fields and as Cotton Pluckers.

It is all we learnt on our own and few leaders like Tatas started high end Engineering Industries.

Here comes the Analogy of similar condition existing for past 3 decades since 1990s, as compared to the centuries under British rule. It was then English, Accounts and Book Keeping & now IT and Computer Science.

British wanted us to do the job of “Coolies” and “Clerks” & Americans wants us to do the job of “Coding Coolies” (So called Developers) and “Glorified Clerks” (Testers) writing codes and Testing for Accounting Software, Ticket Reservation Software, Banking and Insurance Softwares. These Americans converted most of our Engineering Graduates into such “Glorified Clerks” irrespective of whether we come out as IT Engineers or Mechanical or Electrical or Electronics or Civil Engineers. USA exported only these kind of “Donkey Work” Software writing jobs to India and converted all our Engineering Graduates into “Coding Coolies”.

These developed countries retained within them all of the Core Software Development work such as :

  • OS (Operating System)
  • VLSI
  • Embedded
  • CAD OS
  • CAM Graphical Engine
  • Fuzzy Logics
  • Robotics
  • Digital Manufacturing
  • Medical Equipment
  • Image Processing
  • Artifical Intelligence
  • Expert Systems
  • Or any other Core Compilers and Operating Systems

But what India knows so far in IT is only to write codes and test for Insurance, Ticketing and Banking.

However, we have pseudo-proud to share with others in each and every socializing occasions that my son is in Wipro, in TCS, my Daugher got placement in Infosys, CTS etc. without knowing what is their nature of work and responsibilities.  It is strange that these trends went to a stage wherein girls rejected non-IT boys proposed for marriage and the boys chose only IT-girls as their brides.

Great Pity here in India is that most of these young graduates enter into these IT Companies without even knowing which domain or Application they are going to work. Most of them even don’t know whether they are picked up in placement for development or testing. But they are content, if they have got an annual CTC package of 3 to 6 lakhs. Never they bothered to enquire the nature of work or even they don’t have such right to enquire.

An Apartment on EMI and a Car in hand would suffice to keep us sedated in the “Maya of IT” without knowing what is going to be our future and country’s too. Even the Government and Business Leaders are content with export of our low level IT sweat and blood without knowing what is the technological level of Indian IT labor, we are involved into and delivering. Many Indian manufacturing business houses attempted this kind of IT business only to lose few hundred crores except few corporate successes, as compared to the size of our country.

An Electrical or Electronics or Mechanical or Civil or Chemical or Textile Engineer, after working for a decade in their own industry can switch over to another industry with relative ease – but an Engineer (irrespective of his branch of Engineering) cannot switch over to any other Industry after working for even as little as 5 years in IT industry as developer, since he knows only that particular coding syntax in that particular language and platform. He had lost that flexibility and adaptability on the day he entered into IT.

Now the IT industry in its current form of business model started collapsing. It is high time to rethink, country as a whole, what we need. Let us shed our sheep mentality and end this current IT Craze of low Technological level and step into core R&D and manufacturing of Intelligent Products in other fields and even in IT such as Embedded and Intelligent Softwares needed for Industrial and Medical Products.

Let us focus on distributed and included development. There are lot to do in many other fields and even in IT. Indians are capable to do.

Just see where we are now in our R&D efforts and see the number of patents in India Vs. China in 2013 in the graph given below :

Source : https://factly.in

With regard to research in India, just compare the International patent applications from India with the BRICS nations and the USA. India is far behind China both in terms of patent applications & grants. China filed 70 times more patent applications than India and was also granted 70 times more patents than India in 2013 which improved in Indian favor to 35 times in 2015. This is not enough and India has to go a long way.

We need more and more Engineers to work in our R&Ds. We require more and more entrepreneurs to create, design, develop and manufacture many other products, even in IT Industry to develop many core IT Softwares and shouldn’t be content with being “Coding Coolies”.

Will our Policy Makers come out of their slumber? Will our Business Leaders focus on the most needed R&D? Will the younger generations and their parents shake themselves to be out of Pseudo-IT (low level IT) Maya?


An Article by :  Elango S. Managing Director of Galaxy Machinery specializing in the field of “CNC & Digital Manufacturing” & “Smart Factory” & Managing Director of Galaxy Intelligentia specializing in “Embedded Intelligence” & “Embedded IT”


PS: As forwarded through a WhatsApp message

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