The Telugu World Column No # 21

As mentioned before, Telugu is one of the fastest growing foreign languages in the USA, with every second urban house in the two Telugu states – at least in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam – having someone either studying or working there. The Telugu dream is to do B.E. or B. Tech. and go to the USA to study and settle down there. It is considered normal for every student. In most new Telugu short stories the hero is a software engineer. Those who do not go to an engineering college are deviants or failures .Study of arts (humanities) is neglected in the Telugu states. Just as Macaulay is accused to designing an education system to produce clerks for the British masters, populist leaders of  ‘independent’ India aim at producing servants for software giants, mostly north American or  European – highly qualified but invent/innovate nothing. Obviously India’s advantage, knowledge of English, has become the symbol of education and states want to switch-over to English as the sole medium of instruction. It only results in millions who know ‘butler English’ and Telugus who cannot read their own mother tongue.

There are around four lakh Telugus in the US now. Telugu is the third-most common language spoken in the US.  There are thousands of doctors and scientists from the two Telugu states working there. The population of Telugu people in Europe is also increasing. We proudly mention that Satya Narayana Nadella, a Telugu-origin Indian-American, is the chief executive officer (CEO) of Microsoft (of Bill Gates fame) succeeding Steve Ballmer in 2014. There are many lesser-known CEOs like Ashok Vemuri in Xerox, Shantanu Narayan of Adobe. What is never mentioned, however, is that there are or were many Telugus at the vice-president of executive director level or working as research scientists, professors or faculty chiefs and similar positions like Aparna Chennapragada, vice-president of Google who designed the Visual Positioning System to replace GPS. In Atlanta, Georgia, my neighbour was a Telugu, K. Suresh, Vic-President of Coca-Cola there, who had quit to go for a teaching job. Dr Anupama Gotimukula is the vice-president of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin. The North American Telugu Association (NATA) has split  and now there is another association of Telangana Telugus. Being Telugus, they cannot be united.

Among the most reputed and oldest of Telugus settled in the US is Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao, FRS (known as C R Rao) is an Indian-American mathematician  and statisticianHe would turn 100 on 10 September 2020.  Born in Telugu-dominated Bellari, Karnataka, he studied in GudurNuzvid, Nandigama, and Visakhapatnam, all in Andhra Pradesh. Considered as one of the top 10 Indian scientists of all time, he is currently professor emeritus at Pennsylvania State University He received an MSc in maths from Andhra University and an MA in statistics from Calcutta. He obtained a PhD and a Sc.D. degree, both from Cambridge University. 

Described as a ‘living legend’ by The American Statistical Association, he was awarded the US National Medal of Science in 2002. His work influenced not only statistics but also economics, anthropology, genetics, geology, national planning, demography, biometry, and medicine.”  He is a Policy and Statistics advisor for the Indian Heart Association, an NGO raising awareness on cardiovascular diseases in South Asia. 

Dr. Rao first worked at the Indian Statistical Institute before joining the Cambridge  Anthropological Museum. Later he was the Director of the Indian Statistical Institute, Jawaharlal Nehru Professor and National Professor in India, Professor at PIttsburgh University and Eberly Professor and Chair of Statistics and Director of the Center for Multivariate Analysis at Pennsylvania State University. He received numerous awards and medals besides 38 honorary doctoral degrees from universities in 19 countries, the 38th being that conferred by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur in 2014 for “his contributions to the foundations of modern statistics through the introduction of concepts such as Cramér–Rao inequality, Rao–Blackwellization, Rao distance, Rao measure, and for introducing the idea of orthogonal arrays for the industry to design high-quality products.”

As Head and later Director of the Research and Training School at the Indian Statistical Institute for over 40 years, Dr. Rao developed research and training programs and produced several leaders in the field of Mathematics. On his recommendation, The Asian Statistical Institute (now Statistical Institute for Asia and Pacific) was established in Tokyo to train statisticians for government and industrial organizations. 

Among his best-known discoveries are the Cramér–Rao bound and the Rao–Blackwell theorem related to the quality of estimators,     Other areas he worked in include multivariate analysisestimation theorydifferential geometry, the Fisher–Rao theorem, Rao distance, and orthogonal arrays. He published over 400 research papers and wrote 14 books.  He is a member of eight National Academies in India, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Italy.  Awarded the National Medal of Science, USA’s highest award for lifetime achievement in fields of scientific research, in June 2002 and the India Science Award in 2010, the top honour by the government of India in science. In 2013, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Miodrag Lovric and Shlomo Sawilowsky, for their contribution to the International Encyclopedia of Statistical Science. 

He was the President of the International Statistical Institute, Institute of Mathematical Statistics (USA), and the International Biometric Society. Inducted into the Hall of Fame of India’s National Institution for Quality and Reliability (Chennai Branch) he had a special issue of The Journal of Quantitative Economics published in his honour in 1991,

 And such scientist of world renown is less known to the Telugu people than a side actor in films. 


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here