India’s geek cultural revolution

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BANGALORE, India — When 30-year-old Krishna Kumar decided to quit his job and launch a tech startup aimed at India’s millions of farmers three years ago, he told his boss and his friends.

But he let his parents believe he was happily marching along the corporate treadmill at GE.

After all, by quitting he was giving up a fat salary in return for nothing but a buddy’s $200 loan to jump-start his dream.

“I first quit my job, and then I told them,” said Kumar, co-founder of CropIn Technologies. “Because if I had told them, they would not have agreed on that. They wanted me to get married.”

It’s a common refrain across India’s startup scene. By striking out on their own to launch risky, idea-based ventures, India’s young tech entrepreneurs are defying generations of received wisdom. They’re reshaping traditional ideas about the nature of “doing business.” They’re turning the economics of the arranged marriage market upside down.

And they’re slowly but confidently sparking a revolution in the nerdy world of Indian IT.

“In India, there is a class of people who are only focused on ‘doing business,’” said 34-year-old Debabrata Bagchi, founder of an educational startup called Sparsha Technologies. He was referring to the “Baniyas,” or traders, of the Hindu caste system, who continue to dominate import-export and other buying-and-selling based businesses — at least in the popular perception

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