Soviet-style unperson

EducationWorld February 2022 | Magazine Postscript

The ravages of several waves of the Covid-19 pandemic notwithstanding, the Mumbai-based TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) Ltd, seems to be going great guns. The management of India’s most valuable company by market capitalisation (Rs.13.9 lakh crore) recently announced a massive Rs.18,000 crore equity shares buy-back programme. Moreover, it’s all set to become the title sponsor of the IPL 2022 T-20 — the world’s most popular and expensive — cricket tournament, and has also bagged the rights to sponsor the Toronto (Canada) Marathon in addition to the New York and London marathon races.

In the circumstances, why the surreptitious campaign within TCS to erase the memory of Fakir Chand Kohli (1924-2020), a brilliant MIT alum who built India’s wealthiest corporate byte by byte from scratch? For over four decades, Kohli brilliantly stewarded TCS that contributes over 85 percent of the profit of the Tata Group. Unsurprisingly, in informed circles Kohli is widely acknowledged as the father of the country’s booming IT services and ICT industry.

After he stepped down as CEO of TCS, but in his capacity as vice-chairman, FCK — a notable champion of education and human capital development — flagged off the unprecedented annual TCS-EducationWorld Teachers Awards in 2005 which selected and felicitated the country’s best government and private school teachers. Annual expenditure: Rs.8 lakh. However, in 2009 when N. Chandrasekaran whom Kohli groomed for the corner office, was appointed CEO of TCS, his first initiative was to scrap the TCS-EW Teachers Awards on the plea of corporate poverty. Since then, despite repeated entreaties to resuscitate the teachers awards, neither Chandrasekaran nor Rajesh Gopinathan, his handpicked kith and kin successor as TCS supremo, have responded to appeals to revive FCK’s pet project to keep his memory alive.

Meanwhile these clannish techies who have little respect for poorly remunerated school teachers, have done handsomely for themselves. Chandra is CEO of the Tata Group with a pay package of Rs.60 crore p.a, while Gopinath (Rs.20 crore p.a) has awarded himself membership of the upscale Bombay Gymkhana. Moreover an authorised biography of FCK remains mysteriously frozen inside Penguin Book publishers. FCK is set to become a Soviet-style unperson in Tata history. Like he never existed.

Also read: Improving TCS-EW Teachers Awards

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