Forced To Live In Refugee Camp After Partition, This IASs Son Left Rs 600 Job, Built Rs 320000 Crore Company In IT


New Delhi: Ajai Chowdhry, renowned as the ‘Father of Hardware in India,’ embarked on a remarkable journey that transformed India’s IT landscape. Rising from humble beginnings, he emerged as a driving force behind the success story of HCL Technologies. Born to a family that migrated from Pakistan during the Partition, Chowdhry’s journey exemplifies resilience and determination.

A pivotal moment in Chowdhry’s life came when he, alongside five others including Shiv Nadar and Arjun Malhotra, founded HCL Technologies. Departing from a modest Rs 600 per month job, Chowdhry’s decision to venture into the world of technology set the stage for groundbreaking accomplishments. In the initial days, he spearheaded HCL’s sales efforts in South India, establishing a stronghold in business hubs like Chennai and Coimbatore.

Chowdhry’s vision extended beyond borders, driving HCL’s expansion into international markets, including China and Hong Kong. His leadership extended to serving as the Chairman of HCL from 1999 to 2012, guiding the company through periods of growth and innovation.

Honored With The Padma Bhushan

Recognizing his contributions, the Indian government honored Chowdhry with the Padma Bhushan, one of the country’s highest civilian awards, in 2011. However, his impact transcended the corporate realm. He became an influential figure in education and activism, serving on the boards of institutions like IIT Hyderabad and IIT Patna. As the Chairman of FICCI, he played a pivotal role in shaping India’s business landscape.

Chowdhry’s expertise also found its way into government panels and advisory boards. He co-founded the EPIC Foundation, a non-profit organization, and remained at the forefront of technological policy discussions. His dedication to the growth of India’s hardware and electronics sector is evident through his involvement in initiatives like the electronic research and development committee.

Steps Down As Non-Executive Chairman Of HCL Infosystem

Stepping down as the non-executive chairman of HCL Infosystems Ltd after 39 years, Chowdhry embarked on a new phase of life. His focus shifted towards family, mentoring startups, and contributing to India’s technological advancement. As an investor-founder and mentor at companies, he continued to nurture innovation and connect with the tech world.

Chowdhry’s legacy embodies the spirit of transformation and perseverance. His journey from a refugee camp to pioneering India’s hardware and IT sector underscores the power of vision, determination, and the will to create enduring impact. With an indomitable spirit, Ajai Chowdhry remains an inspiring figure who has left an indelible mark on India’s technological landscape.


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