Freebirds Stories
The tiny Indian startup

Way back in 1977, when IBM (along with other MNCs like Coca Cola) chose to exit India due to their refusal to abide by the FERA Act, it suddenly left a huge void in the Indian computing industry. Almost 90% of the companies in India who were using IBM machines for all their computerised activities like administration, teaching, research, communication, etc, faced a bleak future.

 

Union Minister George Fernandes appealed to Indian engineers to develop an Indian computer, in order to make the nation self reliant. That's when a tiny Indian startup called Hindustan Computers Limited (HCL), led by Shiv Nadar, rose to the national cause and slogged for the next few months to develop an affordable computer made in India, made for Indians.

 
 

Finally, in 1978, HCL launched the first indigeneous Personal Computer (PC), which was twice as fast as the legacy IBM machines, could be easily placed on a small table, and cost just 1/10th the price! The HCL PC not only managed to fulfill all the requirements of domestic markets, but also went on to become an international brand, exported to several countries around the world with "Made in India" tag.

 
 

All these happened when Rajiv Gandhi was still a college student pursuing his education in Italy. Yes, when Rajiv was in college, India had already developed an indigenous computer which was exported all over the world. But still, "they" say Rajiv brought computers to India!

 
Story by
Guru Prasad

Guruprasad (or “GP” in short) is a Chief Engineer & Technology Mentor by profession and spends a...

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