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Surekha Sastry
Posted by: Totomaster
Updated: 2006-05-24 04:31:30
Category: PANTOTO > Organizations > Servelots > Team Servelots

I am from Hospet, close to the historical ruins of Hampi, the site of medieval Vijayanagar Empire. I did my schooling and Bachelor in Science (B.Sc) from Hospet ( I then did my post graduation, MCA from Bharathidasan University, Trichy. My interest as a kid was to become a doctor. But I got interested with computers after I saw my brother play with a small pocket computer that my dad bought for him.

My job career started from International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Hyderabad in 2002. I was a project associate in Anusaaraka (English to Hindi Machine Translation system). I was involved in developing the user interface to display the output in Indian languages. Working under the project Anusaaraka introduced me to computing in Indian languages. It was a good learning experience for me working with encoding schemes, fonts, etc. Ever since then, I have been interested in Indian language computing. The other thing that I was introduced to working at IIIT was about the open source movement. The open source movement is a large movement of computer scientists, programmers, and other computer users that advocates unrestricted access to the source code of software. Openness in the field of information technology got me interested in working for projects which use open source technologies.

I have been working at Servelots Infotech, Bangalore since March 2004 when I joined Servelots as a Sarai consultant. Ever since then, I have been involved in the development of Pantoto which is an open source CMS. As a Sarai consultant I have been working with Srinivasa Raghavan developing Indic toolset ( Some of the tools developed during the course of consultancy are the Indic IME toolbar ( for Mozilla based browsers, Morphological analyzer for Indian languages (, conversion utilities from ISCII-UNICODE-UTF8 (

Working at Servelots has been a good experience for me at different levels. The first level of experience has been working with different NGO's that pursue activities to promote the interests of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development, etc. Being involved in the development of Pantoto communities software and the different NGO's that I work with, has gotten me excited about the reach of Information Technology. Information Technology that can reach the common non-IT savvy people by providing tools to help manage their communities. And the skills of providing Indian language support to these tools fits really well here because we are looking at the common man/community who can use the information technology to meet their needs. My responsibilities at Servelots range from development, managing the team, discussing and implementing new technologies, re-engineering the product architecture wherever necessary etc.

The Indic project has been supported by Sarai, Delhi, at the Centre for Studies in Developing Societies. Being a part of this project has given me an opportunity to contribute to the community by providing a toolset for Indian languages. The tool is a Indic firefox extension, which allows the users to create content in Indian languages in web pages. Using this tool, users can create/share information in Indian languages across the world wide web.

I have participated at various events. I was a speaker at the event and presented the Javascript Indic extension that was developed for Mozilla based browsers. This event was held during December 2005 in Bangalore. The focus of the talk was on identifying the needs of the people in the local context to use web based applications, how this tool helped meet the needs, some technical aspect of how the tool is implemented, the people who have used the tool and enhanced it for their own requirement, etc. ( I also gave a talk at Mount Carmel College (MCC), Bangalore propagating and motivating students about the power of open source software.

My sincere acknowledgments to Anusaaraka Group (, Sarai (, Servelots, extended Servelots Team, Jason, and my family and friends.

Team Servelots