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A young man from Titilagarh, Orissa, buoyed by nothing but dreams, boards a boat to America in 1964. There, in the land of opportunity, Satanarayan Gangaram Pitroda strikes gold in the burgeoning tech space to become the American millionaire Sam Pitroda. Armed with global patents and a vision supported by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, he vows to return home and fix India’s telephone troubles.
Sam Pitroda became synonymous with the bright-yellow PCO/STD booths that sprang up across the country, and was dynamo in the Congress machinery in the 1980s. But his world came crashing down when he was dealt one blow after the other—a heart attack, false corruption charges and the assassination of his dear friend Rajiv Gandhi. To make matters worse, he realized that he had run out of money.
This is the astonishing and heart-warming story of how one man at the top hits rock bottom—only to rise again and make his fortune twice over.
Sam Pitroda is an internationally recognized telecom inventor, entrepreneur, development thinker, and policy maker who has spent fifty years in information and communications technology (ICT) and related global and national developments. Credited with having laid the foundation for India’s telecommunications and technology revolution of the 1980s, Mr Pitroda has been a leading campaigner to help bridge the global digital divide. He was also the founder and first chairman of India’s Telecom Commission. Recently, Mr Pitroda served as adviser to the Prime Minister of India on public information infrastructure and innovation, with the rank of Cabinet minister, Mr Pitroda is a serial entrepreneur having started several companies in the United States. He holds over fifteen honorary PhDs, close to 100 worldwide patents, and has published and lectured widely in the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia.
David Chanoff holds a BA from the Johns Hopkins University, and a PhD in English and American literature from Brandeis University. He has written on literary history, foreign policy, refugee issues, education and other subjects for such publications as the American Scholar, the New Republic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Journal of American Education. Dr Chanoff has authored and co-authored eighteen books, including several on the Vietnam War and the Holocaust.