The millennium issue of [email protected] tries to recapitulate the past. We have not tried to predict the future, as we all know prediction is a risky business.
When Eskimos of the Arctic or the Bedwin tribesmen of the Arabian desert made rough sketches on pieces of skin or sand, who knew that the same instinct of man would result one day in sophisticated mapping techniques? Did anyone realise that the clay map of Babylonia when it was made would be remembered as one of the oldest maps in history?
When a 13-year-old boy took over the Mughal Empire, did anyone realise that he will become the Great Akbar and would one day be remembered for introducing map-based revenue collection system?
Despite the ulterior motives of the East India Company, did anyone imagine that they would end up making India a prominent place for development of cartographic sciences?
Did anyone imagine that the Canada Land Inventory, while trying to introduce computer-automated procedures for land record maintenance, would end up laying down the seeds for development of geomatic sciences and then end up giving this leadership to the United States?
When Vikram Sarabhai embarked on the Indian Space Programme in the ’60s, would he have imagined that, 40 years later, India would end up having the best civilian remote sensing satellite in the world?
When Nehru built up one of the biggest technical education infrastructures in the world, and later when Rajiv Gandhi, started to encourage the use of computers in the 80s, did they know that they were laying the foundations of a burgeoning software industry in the country, which will play a key role in saving India from economic bankruptcy in the ’90s?
And, in 1990s, when the Internet arrived, it was hardly envisaged that it would become ‘THE medium’ in less than ten years, leaving behind the radio, television and the telephone.
Imagine a situation like this. In the year 2025, when the cold war between the two global super powers, India and China would be on its peak. When the US and Europe would struggle to stop the brain drain to India. When India would be a knowledge super power and it would be a dream for most talented people in the world to come and work here. When the Indian green card would be the most valued possession for any one. When the Survey of India, the ISRO, the CSIR, the DST; all are global leaders in their own fields…..
Didn’t I tell you that prediction is a risky business?
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