Man behind telecom revolution in the country
Path-finder and path-breaker in telecom
Laid foundation for telecom in India 50 years ago
An accomplished individual with abiding interest in experimentation
Truly, Tripuraneni Hanuman Chowdary (THC) is an amazing and inspiring role model. But he is much more at national level. He is multi-faceted and an all-rounder. His pursuit has been to think beyond, think about people and villages and the country. No wonder he remains legendary. That is for over 60 years.
As a Tripuraneni he is a thinker and reformer, named as Hanuman he is daring and determined and remained a Choudary with grassroots concern and demonstrate that one could even swim through the current and go against the wind. He is both a path maker and breaker. He ignited many minds over the decadesPioneer, visionary in telecom
Much before any one realised in the country the scope and potential of telecom, fifty years ago, it was TH Choudary who showed the golden path to reach out people in nook and corner, knit and network them irrespective of their socio-economic status and work or location at the same cost anywhere to anywhere.
He motivated linemen to technocrats to bureaucrats to ministers in the states and in New Delhi on how to deal humanly, simply and humbly. All with a Namaskaram. No one in the Telecom family would have done so much as THC at that time in documenting the field scenario and successes of so many. He must have founded over a dozen publications over the decades.
Voracious reader, prolific writer
He continues to be a voracious reader and a prolific writer.
THC is on Khoz mission (quest) on so many aspects of past, present and future. Not all his initiatives and innovations are acknowledged. But that mattered least to him. His outlook is beyond never hesitating to advocate what he believed is good of the country.
As Dr Vikram Sarabhai pursued with the idea of using satellite for television broadcasting wide across and simultaneously, THC pursued democratising technology, making it no discriminative and a level player truly.
Made a mark wherever he worked
THC made a mark wherever he worked in whatever capacity. In Calcatta, Ahmadabad, Pune, Hyderabad, Mumbai and including in New Delhi. Local people and their culture and concerns were his too. He enriched and left behind good memories. Unlike in New Delhi, his contribution in so many places he worked is not forgotten.
Thirty years ago going across the country as national convenor of Social Audit Panel of the ministry of postal and Telecom, I had seen the kind of difference THC has made in the telecom operations. Justice P N Bhagavati, formerr Chief Justice of India, BG Deshmukh, former cabinet secretary of India, and the famous author Kushwant Singh were with me in these field visits and in interacting with the public. Recalling his familiarity with THC as GM of Ahmedabad Telephones, Justice Bhagavati had special praise for THC s work.
One man institution
As a visionary and a crusader he remained a one man institution. Of course, his wife, Mani, remains his partner even after her death a decade ago. I pray for his good health so that we continue get inspired. He is already a blessed soul backed by prayers of many across the country.
I first heard of THC as a student 60 years ago for revolutionary ideas he was experimenting taking telecom to people far off. Then I saw him motivating my villagers explaining why they should go for an exchange in the village and a phone in their home. And, advocating then a call anywhere within the district should be local. I never forget reading what he wrote fourty-fifty years ago narrating incidents how Telcom was changing life In villages and towns and analysing and envisioning what we are seeing today.
(18 October 2021 is Tripuraneni Hanuman Chowdary’s 90th birthday)
(Dr N Bhaskara Rao is a New Delhi based public policy analyst of 50 years standing.)