Those checking the news closely today will have seen some horrific news out of Bangalore, India. According to press reports, on December 28 a lone gunman opened fire at a conference being held at the Indian Institute of Science. According to the BBC account, Professor M.C. Puri from the Indian Institute of Technology was killed. The BBC quoted the state’s chief minister as blaming terrorists for the attack.
If it was indeed a terrorist attack, it would be a particularly troubling one. The Indian Institute of Science is, of course, one of the world’s leading research institutes and a major force behind the high-tech boom in Bangalore. If terrorists, and not a lone madman, are behind the killing, it represents an attack not only on India’s future as a rising technology star but also on technology itself.
According to the BBC report, and one by Chemical & Engineering News, among the injured was Professor Vijay Chandru, a PhD from MIT and founder of Simputer and Strand Life Sciences (formerly Strand Genomics). Several years ago, Technology Review wrote about one of Chandru’s startup companies, Picopeta Simputers. The article began with Chandru’s grand vision: “Vijay Chandru places his pocketbook-sized computer gently on the table. The computer scientist from the Indian Institute of Science believes this gray box could be the future of personal computing in his country.”
It is this kind of technology ambition that has made Bangalore one of the world’s centers of innovation. Now, it seems, that spirit of innovation is under attack.