Faqir Chand Kohli
- Peshewar, India
- Death date
- Associated organizations
- Tati Industries, IEEE Eta Kappa Nu (Eminent Member)
- Fields of study
- Information technology
- IEEE Founders Medal
Regarded as the “father” of India’s IT revolution, Faqir Chand Kohli’s vision and leadership helped drive India’s IT industry from a handful of computer professionals to a multibillion dollar industry with over 2 million highly trained professionals. He helped improve and develop the human resources required for successful computer hardware and software engineering growth in India and modernize India’s engineering curricula and facilities to support the IT industry’s growth. As Tata Consultancy Services’ first general manager, Dr. Kohli saw the potential software engineering held for utilizing India’s growing engineering talent. However, India did not have the necessary hardware to support such a vision early on. Dr. Kohli worked hard to develop deep technical strength at Tata by settling for nothing less than the state-of-the-art computer technology, which was crucial to offering quality IT services. Through Dr. Kohli’s efforts, India’s world-class IT services industry has become the country’s signature. Dr. Kohli has championed the use of technology to address social challenges. He designed a multimedia computing system to aid illiterate adults in Indian languages, which has been adopted by the Government of India. The system improves literacy within 30 hours of lessons and its success led to interest from South Africa in addressing several African languages. While significantly enabling India’s global emergence as a leader in business and technology, Kohli has also applied the benefits of technology to address issues ranging from adult illiteracy to modernizing and advancing India’s engineering curricula and facilities to support the engineering and IT industry’s growth. He has spurred a new generation of corporate social responsibility initiatives where professionals use their technological competencies to improve society.
Dr. Kohli was born in Peshawar, where he did his schooling, and went to college in Lahore. He later went to Queen’s University, Canada, did his BSc (Hons) in Electrical Engineering in 1948 and did his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1950.
An IEEE Life Fellow, Dr. Kohli was the former director and deputy chair of Tata Consultancy Services, Mumbai, India. In 2012 he received the IEEE Founders Medal "For early vision and pioneering contributions to the development of the IT industry in India." He was an active IEEE Volunteer, serving as founding Chair of the IEEE India Section, and then of the IEEE India Council when it became a Council of three Sections. Ultimately he served as Director of IEEE Region 10.