Chennai woke up and went into celebration mode on Tuesday when news broke that Sundar Pichai has been made Google’s CEO. But it also went into a frenetic editing mode.
All day, one question was hysterically debated on social media, to the amusement of many and the chagrin of some: “Where did Sundar Pichai go to school in Chennai?”
The day broke in India with the Wikipedia entry mentioning “done his schooling in Vanavani and Jawahar Vidyalaya, Chennai.” His higher education, at IIT Kharagpur, and then, Stanford and Wharton — there was no quarrel with that. But alumnus of different schools in Chennai, all excited, decided to claim him for themselves. Premature celebrations erupted on various school Whatsapp groups.
But then began the edits to the Wikipedia entry on Pichai and, in a sense, all hell broke loose.
Subsequently, various permutations and combinations involving three schools — Vanavani, PSBB and Jawahar Vidyalaya — were the flavour of the day. Other notable mentions were GRT Mahalakshmi Vidyalaya and All Angels Matriculation Higher Secondary School. While the first three were at least in the running, the others were probably long shots for publicity by enthusiastic alumni, taking advantage of the open editing format of Wikipedia.
There were several hundred edits on the Wikipedia page. And when things seemed like they were getting out of control, a Wikipedia administrator stepped in some time past noon and did the sensible thing: classified the Sundar Pichai page as semi-protected and disallowed editing from unregistered accounts. The administrator commented: “Protected “Sundar Pichai”: Hopefully things will calm down after a day.”
And while an earlier version (after the lock down) safely said Sundar Pichai did all his schooling in Chennai, it was amended to read: “Pichai grew up in Chennai and did all his schooling in the city at Vanavani and Jawahar Vidyalaya schools.”