The Outsourcer: The Story of India’s IT Revolution

MIT Press, 2015

The rise of the Indian information technology industry is a remarkable economic success story. Software and services exports from India amounted to less than $100 million in 1990, and today come close to $100 billion. But, as Dinesh Sharma explains in The Outsourcer, Indian IT’s success has a long prehistory; it did not begin with software support, or with American firms’ eager recruitment of cheap and plentiful programming labor, or with India’s economic liberalization of the 1990s. The foundations of India’s IT revolution were laid long ago, even before the country’s independence from British rule in 1947, as leading Indian scientists established research institutes that became centers for the development of computer science and technology. The “miracle” of Indian IT is actually a story about the long work of converting skills and knowledge into capital and wealth. With The Outsourcer, Sharma offers the first comprehensive history of the forces that drove India’s IT success.

Know Your Heart: The Hidden Links Between Your Body and the Politics of the State

HarperCollins India Publishers

If we want to combat heart disease, we need to tackle a cluster of risk factors – unhealthy diets (energy-dense foods rich in sugars, salt and fats), tobacco consumption, physical inactivity and obesity. So, the doctor’s advice is simple: eat healthy food, cut down on tobacco and alcohol, remain physically active and lose a few kilos especially around your waist. The responsibility to do all this rests with you – the individual.

This book is about exploding this myth – that an individual alone is responsible for his or her sickness, particularly heart disease and underlying conditions like diabetes and hypertension. The book is not about risk factors but about the causes behind the risk factors. It deals with causes of causes. If more and more of Indians are consuming unhealthy diets, why they are doing so? If more of us are becoming physically inactive, what’s causing this behaviour? If tobacco consumption is on the rise, what’s fueling this spike?

An investigation into these questions has revealed something shocking – it is the Indian state which is fueling risk factors for heart disease. It is narrow political interests, faulty state policies and corporate greed which are boosting heart disease in the country

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The Long Revolution: The Birth and Growth of India’s IT Industry

HarperCollins India Publishers

This is the tale of great transformation – how a country engaged in exports of spices and gems became a frontrunner in a knowledge-based sector? How a country known for its red tape turned into favoured investment destination for American technology giants? India’s success in information technology has been a saga of converting skills and knowledge into capital and wealth. The book is an attempt to document this amazing transformation. The IT revolution is often seen as a ‘miracle’ of the new millennium. There are myths and there is hype (‘India is an IT superpower’). There are claims and counter-claims on who fathered this transformation. This book is an attempt to set the records straight. It is an account of computing and information technology industry spanning half a century. How Bhabha and Mahalanobis developed early computers? How IBM entered the Indian market and ruled the roost for 25 years? Why was its monopoly broken? How new age entrepreneurs outpaced giants of Indian industry? How did the state turn into a facilitator from being an overbearing controller? How innovative use of communication technologies turned pigmy software firms into billion dollar companies? What role forces of liberalisation played? Can this miracle be sustained?

Read reviews and related news at:, and order a copy from Read an excerpt from the book at Yale Global Online.

Development Journalism: An introduction

Asian Center for Journalism, Ateneo de Manila University

Development journalism means different things to different people. Though development news is fast disappearing from news pages and television bites, development news still remains relevant. The book addresses, for journalism students as well as practitioners, issues such as why report on development and social issues; Is the press playing this role effectively; Role of other media like radio, TV and online in development and social reporting; What’s wrong with development reporting today? And Impact of social and development journalism

Dinesh has designed and taught two eight-weeks courses on “Reporting on Social and Development Issues”. The courses examined media’s role in society, its potential in development, weak points, and the role that practitioners can and should play, ever mindful of their ability as a catalyst of change.

Witness to the Meltdown – Logs of A Science Reporter from the Arctic

Vigyan Prasar, Government of India, 2015

It is a science travelogue based on Sharma’s my visit to the Arctic in June 2008. The travel to Arctic to report on climate change remains a high point in his reporting career of thirty years. A formal launch of the book in New Delhi is in the offing. Sharma was hosted on CCGS Amundsen, ice breaker of the Canadian government in June 2008.
The book can be ordered online from the Vigyan Prasar Book Portal.

Book chapters, monographs and research papers

Nehru: The Unlikely Hero of India’s Information Technology Revolution”, NMML Occasional Paper (Perspectives in Indian Development series), Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, 2013

“Newsroom: The Changing Profile” in Making news: Handbook of the Media in Contemporary India (Ed Uday Sahay), Oxford University Press, 2006

“The Cost of the HIV Epidemic” in HIV/AIDS in News: Journalists as Catalysts, United Nations Development Programme, 2005

“Technologies for the people: a future in the making” Futures, Volume 36, Issues 6–7, August–September 2004, Pages 733–744

“Transforming rural lives through decentralized green power” Futures, Volume 39, Issue 5, June 2007, Pages 583–596

“Online Technologies Kill Distance in Learning: Managing Participation in Online Journalism Courses”, Journal of Creative Communications, March 2006 Vol. 1 no. 1 75-81

“Indian IT outsourcing industry: ‘Me too’ players, manpower quality and other threats and challenges”, Futures, 2014 [under publication]


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