Founder of Tata Counsultancy Services (TCS), Faqir Chand Kohli, better known as the Father of the Indian IT industry, passed away on Thursday at the age of 96. Besides being the founder, Kohli was also the first CEO of TCS. He also worked as the deputy general manager of Tata Power Company and was the Chairman of the Board of Governors of College of Engineering, Pune.
Kohli pioneered India's 'Technology Revolution' and helped the country build the $100 billion IT Industry.
During a recent interview, Kohli revealed that he remained active in the field of technology until 94 years of age. "Even after I retired I was quite active, until I turned 94. After that my needs started to change and became very different in that if there was a conference I shared what I thought about technology. The main thing is that technology is never static, it is always moving forward," he said.
"I worked on an adult literacy program in or two languages to teach adults who have never been educated and that was taken as a program in other countries such as Africa and it was reported that it did help build literacy. That's perhaps the biggest contribution to my own country and government in helping increase literacy. It allows people to read starting small and basically for those who have never ever read and no options and designed especially for them," he added.
Expressing grief over Kohli's death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that he will be remembered for his pioneering contributions to the world of information technology. "Shri FC Kohli Ji will be remembered for his pioneering contributions to the world of IT. He was at the forefront of institutionalising a culture of innovation and excellence in the tech industry. Pained by his demise. Condolences to his family and many admirers," the prime minister tweeted.
Mourning Kohli's demise, TCS in its statement said, "Tata Consultancy Services mourns the passing of Padma Bhushan Shri FC Kohli, its first CEO, and the Father of the Indian IT Industry. Mr Kohli joined the company in 1969 at the behest of JRD Tata. He pivoted first into management consultancy, and then over the next two decades, into software development, helping the organisation navigate multiple technology waves over two and a half decades by continually investing in people and staying relevant to customers. He stepped down as CEO in 1996 and continued to play an active role in promoting technology to solve the country’s social problems."
Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran also paid tributes to the deceased industrialist, saying: "I am deeply saddened by the news that Mr. FC Kohli passed away this afternoon. He was a true legend, who laid the very foundations for India’s spectacular IT revolution and set the stage for the dynamic modern economy we enjoy today. Mr. Kohli led innovations in areas far-ranging from adult literacy, water purification, software engineering, software automation, complex-systems and cybernetics. I have had the honor and privilege of working with and learning from Mr. Kohli from the day he hired me as a trainee in TCS. Despite his momentous achievements, his simplicity and thoughtfulness is a lesson for us all. His enduring optimism and his ability to make ambitious bets leaves a legacy—one that has advanced a nation. I will miss him dearly."
Remembering Kohli, S Ramadorai, former CEO and Vice Chairman of TCS, said that he was "a brilliant technocrat and a business leader with varied interests."
"He was passionate about the development of our nation and its youth. He was also my mentor, guide and a very close family friend. His demise is a personal loss to our family. The Nation has lost a legend today," he added.
Paying tributes to the legend, Founder Chairman of Wipro Ltd Azim Premji said, "Mr. Kohli was the true pioneer of Indian IT. We have all followed in his footsteps. His contribution to the IT industry and thus to India is immeasurable."
Narayana Murthy recalled, "Mr. F C Kohli laid the foundation for a strong TCS. I had the privilege of working with him on the NASSCOM Executive Council during the early nineties. I pray that his soul rests in peace."