Statistics of ‘Greatness’

Exhibit 1, from the Times of India:

If you thought that Global Indian Takeover was just a hollow cliche leaning on a few iconic successes like Pepsi’s Indra Nooyi, Citibank’s Vikram Pandit and steel world’s Lakshmi Mittal, there is a slew of statistics now to give it solid ballast.

The extent to which desis have made an impact in the US was reeled off in the Rajya Sabha — as many as 12% scientists and 38% doctors in the US are Indians, and in NASA, 36% or almost 4 out of 10 scientists are Indians.

If that’s not proof enough of Indian scientific and corporate prowess, digest this: 34% employees at Microsoft, 28% at IBM, 17% at Intel and 13% at Xerox are Indians.


The figures of Indian successes were given to the Rajya Sabha on Monday by D Purandeshwari, minister of state for HRD, in defence of the country’s higher education system and the state of research.

Exhibit 2, from the Times of India:

Arrogance. What else explains a lie that continues to do the rounds as an email, especially before the Independence Day. It claims, 12% of all scientists in the US are Indian, 34% (or some such obscene number) of technical personnel at NASA are of Indian origin, 32% of Microsoft’s engineers are from here, and so on. The message was so pretty, it even found its way into parliamentary debate on India’s capabilities. Business leaders quoted these figures while addressing seminars.

The truth is, about 5% of NASA’s employees are of Asian descent (Indians being a subset of this group). A senior official at Microsoft grins rather condescendingly when you ask him the truth. As for Indian doctors tending to all of America, well, all we can say is that the Indian inferiority complex that spreads these myths needs urgent cure.

Indeed, why this desperate need to seek validation from outside? When almost 100% of the doctors in India are Indian, why on earth does it matter what percentage of the USA’s doctors originated from here? Enough already. We shame ourselves with this pitiful desire to be patted on the head.

(Link via email from Prasanna Kovalam.)