4th February 2014 will make a pit stop in the annals of history as one of the turning points in India’s transformational journey. A landmark event that witnessed India’s most iconic sports star reach newer, stratospheric heights of superstardom, and the emergence of India’s most successful human export to the business and technology globe-sphere.
Yes, we are talking about the legendary Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar and the soon-to-be-legend Satya Nadella.
It was probably more than a mere coincidence, that the same day that Sachin Tendulkar was bestowed India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, that Microsoft – the $78bn technology super powerhouse, announced the appointment of Satya Nadella as the successor to Steve Ballmer.
So why transformational? Sports has always underpinned India’s unity in diversity, especially the sporting religion of Cricket. But despite it’s incredible following, no sportsperson before Tendulkar was conferred with the Bharat Ratna. Something people don’t realize, that just like Sports, Technology and IT have been the unifying force in India’s socio-economic and cultural history. The country has exported many-a-technology geeks and visionaries to the silicon valley, and with Satya’s elevation, a new chapter has been written in our metaphorical book on “India’s Invaluable Tech Contributions” to the world.
And that’s when it struck me, that there is so much common between India’s 2 Bharat Ratna’s. Here is an attempt to find some seemingly disconnected connections between these Persons of Indian Origin…
Preordained birth places
Both Ratna’s were born in cities respectively known for their career excellence. Mumbai has given birth to some of greatest cricket exponents in Indian history, while Hyderabad is one of the meccas of technology and IT/ITES companies. They seemed destined to leave a mark, globally.
Long career spans
Sachin, though younger than his Microsoft counterpart, spent 24 glorious years as an active cricketer. While Satya has been a Microsoft veteran of 22 years.
Though a complete cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar created over 50 world records with his MRF bat. Satya too, while dabbling with the entire spectrum of Microsoft services, carved a niche for himself in the cloud infrastructure space, rising to the level of SVP of the $20bn Microsoft Servers and Tools Business.
Marriage maketh a man – ok nobody said this, but the non-existent truism did seem to have a positive effect in the lives of Satya and Sachin. Happily married for over 20 years to Anupama and Anjali, respectively, and a happy family, is another common trait between these two giants.
A generation inspired
Like they say, Sachin Tendulkar has been and will continue to be worshipped as the undisputed God of Indian cricket. The little master inspired an entire generation of cricketers, sportspersons and Indians at large, with his records, fitness, genius and humility. Cricket was no longer just a sport, but a preferred career option that commanded respect and earned you a million bucks. Admittedly, I wasn’t too aware Satya till last week, but his well publicized elevation and India story, is bound to inspire a new generation of technology entrepreneurs and IT professionals.
Brand India evangelists
Every few hundred years, there came an Indian that created or added a new dimension to India’s incredible talent on the world stage. We have been a land of many facets, despite our challenges and short comings. The motherland has given to this world freedom fighters, corporate visionaries, sportspersons, authors, scientists… the list is endless. Ratna’s like JRD Tata, Mahatma Gandhi, Sabeer Bhatia, Leander Paes, CN Rao (the other Bharat Ratna awardee and one of the world’s foremost scientific minds) Sachin Tendulkar… and now, Satya Nadella, are just random names from a long, long list. Now Cricket and Technology are no longer seen as the exclusive preserve of the “developed nations”.
And yes, both their names begin with “S”. Yup, absolute force-fit. And on that ridiculously embarrassing note, I am signing out with a hope in my heart that this is just the beginning of what promises to be an India-take over of the world.