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Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Indian Innovators - Book Review

Indian innovators by Akshat Agrawal is undoubtedly one of the best books I have ever read. It is about 20 Indians, both young and old, who have innovated new products, devices and technologies which are both efficient and cost effective. What I liked about these innovators is that most of them have a social outlook. Their innovations are bound to change the destinies of millions of unfortunate souls all across the world. 

The book is about twenty innovations which are in diverse areas, from interactive touch surfaces to mitti-cool refrigerator which uses the traditional pots to act as a fridge. From virtual trial rooms to herbal hair removers and from laproscopic surgery instruments to sanitary pad making machines. The innovations like road construction using plastic material and environment friendly paper must be not only encouraged but widely adopted to protect our lovely planet. The same stands true with regard to the innovations in health care, so that many lives can be saved and healed. Every chapter narrates the background of the innovator, how the idea was generated, the hurdles in executing the idea, commercializing it and getting its patent registered. It also gives the technological details of the innovation, which at places becomes boring.

The story, if I can call it one, which I liked the most is that of Arunachalam Murugantham who invented the low cost sanitary pad making machine. As a part of his R & D he carried out the tests of his pad on his wife, who deserted him for the same. Then he offered it to his sister who severed ties with him and finally tried it on himself by tying a bag containing goat blood around his waist. He succeeded with his innovation and changed the lives of many women by not only making them cheap sanitary pads available but also making them financially independent. His story is poignant at the same time entertaining and holds the potential to be made into a blockbuster bollywood movie.

The book offers nuggets of advice to the researchers as well more particularly regarding the commercialization of their innovations and protecting their intellectual property rights. The book will leave you awestruck by narrating the creativity of the human mind and its capacity to fight all odds. Most of the innovators are highly qualified. The book demonstrates that unlike the ordinary schools and colleges, IIT is the only school which not only encourages innovative thinking but also provides all the infrastructure for research ( and in turn owns these innovations). This is more a matter of shame than pride. Every educational institution should encourage new thinking. That is why I feel that this book should be read by everyone who is in the field of education. 

 The book shows that there are many institutions, including some government agencies, which provide the much needed support to the young innovators (in the form of grants and scholarships) who inevitably turn entrepreneurs. Only their details are still unknown to majority even in this age of information technology. This book will surely encourage the young minds. It will serve as a perfect gift for them. 

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