Srinivasan Ramani: Thanks to the Internet Society and to Internet Hall of Fame for hav­ing invit­ed me here and hon­or­ing me.

I stand here as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of num­ber of groups of col­leagues. The work that was described was a part of what I did as part of the Indian aca­d­e­m­ic net­work project called the Education & Research Network, ERNET, fund­ed by the gov­ern­ment of India and sup­port­ed by the United Nations Development Programme. And it was con­ceived in the spir­it of net­work­ing for devel­op­ment. For devel­op­ing coun­tries every­where. There was excite­ment with the idea that devel­op­ing coun­tries need­ed com­put­er net­work­ing tech­nol­o­gy very bad­ly, and this tech­nol­o­gy had a very spe­cial mean­ing for them. And the aca­d­e­m­ic com­mu­ni­ty could be fore­run­ners in adopt­ing and adapt­ing the tech­nol­o­gy and inno­vat­ing on it, and mak­ing it avail­able to indus­try and to busi­ness.

So it was part of this large pro­gram that I worked on on this. We were for­tu­nate we were in Mumbai where there were excel­lent tele­com facil­i­ties. And I was the direc­tor of a nation­al cen­ter for soft­ware tech­nol­o­gy, as was men­tioned. And there­fore, we were Unix hack­ers with BSD Unix. For which I paid a prince­ly sum, $110, for. You know, the reel came free. A reel of tape. And with this $110 was the BSD Unix.

We were able to get a lot done. Get the com­put­er net­work­ing suite run­ning. And we were all set and ready for net­work­ing. But the tele­com links were not there. But Mumbai had the Internet—the inter­na­tion­al gate­way for tele­com, so it was not too dif­fi­cult for us to get good tele­com con­nec­tions to the world. And we con­nect­ed with the Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica in Amsterdam. Colleagues there were real­ly real­ly kind enough to give us a con­nec­tion. And we set up the first Internet gate­way in India. This was done by the [?] project team at the National Centre for Software Technology. Which I hat­ed at the time.

But more excit­ing than just the tech­nol­o­gy of get­ting a con­nec­tion was work­ing with six advanced insti­tutes in India, the IITs as we called them, Indian Institutes of Technology, and set­ting up con­nec­tions between Mumbai and these six IITs. And work­ing with the six senior col­leagues at all these loca­tions. And with the gov­ern­ment of India team in Delhi, and work­ing with the UNDP.

So these were excit­ing times and we got this work done. And we were able to train hun­dreds of stu­dents who went on to serve the indus­try and coun­sel for the indus­try, pass the tech­nol­o­gy on to the indus­try.

So this is the back­ground to the work that I was involved in. And I thank all of my col­leagues in these teams at the National Centre for Software Technology, which is now a part of the Centre for the Development of Advanced Computing, C‑DAC.

And also I thank the col­leagues of the Internet, par­tic­u­lar­ly the six pro­fes­sors at the six IITs who coop­er­at­ed with us, who were my part­ners. And with the gov­ern­ment of India. And an amaz­ing per­son who worked at the gov­ern­ment of India as our inter­face with the gov­ern­ment, Mr. Ramakrishnan. Ramakrishnan was a senior gov­ern­ment offi­cial, but he was more of an aca­d­e­m­ic at heart. And he worked with us like an aca­d­e­m­ic. But for him I think we would have done very lit­tle in the Internet project.

I should also thank my wife Lucia Usha, who’s here. And my moth­er who is 99 and who will be the proud­est when I show her the cer­tifi­cate. Occasionally when I take an online course now and I pass the require­ments and I show her the cer­tifi­cate she says, Oh, get it framed! I want it on the wall here in my room.” So at 98 I’m going to give her a frame copy of the cer­tifi­cate. She’ll be very hap­py. With these words I’ll con­clude here. Thank you.


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