Two different paths, two great people once walked!

Posted on October 21, 2012


When I took admission for the course of Computer Science & Engineering, I had never touched a computer with my own hands by then. I know it’s hard to believe for people who live in much developed places, but it’s true. As a small town boy, we did have neither the infrastructure nor adequate equipment as students available to us for studies other than few books and some intelligent minds in form of our teachers. Yes these days computer has reached each home of my home town also, but during my school days it was not there. We had at most 5-10 computers in our town. We were getting opportunity to see it from very close (without touching it) only when our exams results were out on internet. Now it astonish me seeing that, my five year niece is using computer properly. 

So it was really funny that, a 17 years boy who did not know anything about computer took admission in computer Sc & Engineering. But thank god, most of the students coming from small town who took admission also did not know much about computer during those days; but every one of us had that eagerness & confidence that we could learn it in those 4 years of our lives. We had that believe in us that, if one among us could make it, then it would not be impossible for us to learn how to use it. 

I still remember the first day of my engineering college. Seniors of mine were waiting eagerly for us; no do not think they were waiting to welcome us. They were just waiting to rag us, as that day was first day for them as senior and they were waiting to show their superiority on us. I entered my college and walked towards my class room. Some seniors called me near them. As I reached there, one among them asked me “First year”. I nodded. Then again he asked, “Which branch?” I proudly answered, “Computer Science”; without much caring about what they were going to ask me next. Then one of those seniors asked me another question to prove that he was more intelligent than me; that was, “who is father of ‘C’?”  I was about to say “who is she?  If I do not know her; how can I tell her father’s name?” (Now I realize that if he had to ask me about father of any girl, then he would have asked me who is father of her (not she)? But by then I have never talked to anyone in English too. So I thought might be this is also part of spoken English).  But thank god I did not. I preferred to remain silent, although usually I do not like to show my ignorance in front of any one. Still it was first day; I was standing alone with more than ten seniors. So I do not know actually it was due to nervousness or fear, but I preferred to remain silent. Then only one of my senior started explaining what ‘c’ is? May be he was also among those millions of young people who dreamed to become a computer engineer, without even knowing A B  C D alphabets of computer. So I came to know that ‘C’ is a programming language, which we were going to study. And the father of that language is “Mr. Dennis Ritchie”. 

So the first name that came to my knowledge the day I started my journey my journey to become a computer engineer was neither Steve Jobs nor Bill Gates, it was Mr. Dennis Ritchie.

Journey of Dennis Ritchie


  • Ritchie was creator of C languages; which is widely used today in application, operating system, and embedded system development, and its influence are seen in most modern programming languages. He is known as the Father of ‘C’. 
  • Ritchie worked together with Ken Thompson, the scientist credited with writing the original Unix; one of Ritchie’s most important contributions to Unix was its porting to different machines and platforms.


Journey of Steve Jobs-


  • Jobs was co-founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Apple Inc. 
  • Jobs was co-founder and previously served as chief executive of Pixar Animation Studios.
  • He became a member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company in 2006, following the acquisition of Pixar by Disney. 

Yes both of them are icons in their respective fields and inspiration of two different categories of youth one which wants to earn knowledge and the other one which wants to earn money. As I believe Steve Job is a good business man, who knew how to sell his knowledge, while Denis Ritchie preferred to share his knowledge with the world and it’s people. Dennis Ritchie actually gave billions of young people like me chance to know computer even better not as a user, but as a creator. After gaining that knowledge he shared with us, we realized that, “yes it is human who actually made computer”. It’s not that the computer which is performing the transactions or providing all these applications. It’s the mind of a human which performs all the transactions and creates all these applications.” 

Steve Jobs was a good business man, a creator and a visionary; who knew how to make product using someone’s knowledge & how to market sell them and yes there is nothing bad in this. It is one of the most difficult jobs in this world too.

Whereas Sir Ritchie knew how to share his knowledge by writing few books and how to reach minds of young people living in small towns and interior parts of different countries to help them in making their future brighter. 

Today whatever products software engineers  develop with the language which Sir Dennis Ritchie had given birth to, are helping every common man of this world; but it’s a fact that not everyone has that luxury or credibility whatever you may say, to use those products which Steve jobs gave birth to. Someone has to be financially sound to buy those products.  Especially for people like me and billion of others who come from small towns and villages without being exposed to the developed world and its trends. But due to him and the knowledge he shared with the world, he helped millions of young people to buy products developed by Steve Jobs. 

Steve Jobs died on October 5th 2011 & Dennis Ritchie on October 11th 2011, just a week later. When Steve Jobs passed away the media of whole word paid their tribute to this person, all social networking sites were full of praises for him & for his contributions. Yes he deserves it all. Even he deserves much beyond this for what he gave us. But what hurts me most is very few people even came to know that, Dennis Ritchie is no more with us, a person who contributed much more than anyone to the computer science and to the IT industry. Sometimes things like these hurt and send a wrong message that talent deserves recognition only if it is salable.   


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