We celebrate ‘scientific achievement’ and wrap engineering & technology in the Tricolour. But truth is Indian science is in a sorry state.
Most of India will welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of launching an Indian in space on an Indian-built vehicle with a heady feeling of joy. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has been doing a stellar job and we are proud of it. ISRO is the crown jewel of our scientific establishment. But does its success reflect the state of Indian science? I am afraid not. Indian science is going through a period of great crisis.
There are three reasons behind this. The first, and the most important, is a unique Indian obsession with technology and engineering and confusing it with science. The second, is the inability of successive Indian governments to liberate our science from sarkari control. The third, which results from the first two, is a deep suspicion of science leading to widely popular Ludditism. Probably the only emotion to be found in equal measure in the “liberal” Left and “nationalist” Right.
This leads to many national embarrassments, from believing all new “NASA findings” affirming our ancient science, published and peer reviewed on WhatsApp, to smart and educated people buying the poppycock of the “nano-chip” in the new 2000-rupee notes, Ramar Pillai (remember him?) making petrol from weeds and NASA “pictures” proving Ram Setu isn’t just a reality, but an ancient engineering marvel unparalleled even today. It also leads to our confusing non-scalable jugaad for innovation. This is why even the prime minister trips with his cooking gas straight from a sewage drain into a chaiwala’s stove.
In this environment, excitement over an Indian in space 60 years after the first human got there, is understandable. After all, it will be in an Indian vehicle. Indian scientists will be producing a spacecraft by themselves, never mind if six decades behind the world, while we still do not design a simple jet engine. It will also be done at a fraction of the cost the big powers incurred. So, prepare also for another breathless celebration of our frugal engineering, as with ‘Mangalyaan’. The prime minister never tires of reminding us it got to Mars at a per-kilometre cost lower than a Delhi auto-rickshaw’s.
I hate to be the spoilsport on Independence Day. But it’s only because political leaders love to celebrate scientific achievement that it is important to remind them of the sorry state of Indian science. But before that, we need to understand the distinction between engineering/technology and real science.
We tend to easily dismiss those fearful of science as Luddites. Luddites were British workmen who, generally between 1811 and 1816, burnt and destroyed textile machinery, believing that these took away their jobs. What we are dealing with in India is something more serious. It is the challenge of convincing mostly sincere people, on every side of our divided politics, who oppose science, even as they adore machinery.
Also read: Modi says ISRO eyeing human spaceflight in three years. The claim may not be far off
Or are bored with science, but love technology. Bharat Ratna Prof. CNR Rao explained the difference to me in a brilliant ‘Walk The Talk’ conversation in Bangalore. Today’s science, he said, is tomorrow’s technology. He elaborated to say that a successful nuclear test, a rocket, even the GSLV going up, is not science. It is, in a way, technology, which we love. The prime minister’s announcement of the ‘Gaganyaan’ on Independence Day inspires me to revisit this theme.
Here is the larger contradiction: Every successful rocket launch by ISRO, or a new missile variant tested by DRDO, is celebrated as a great scientific achievement. If Parliament is in session, a thumping of desks is guaranteed.
The truth is, science behind these rockets is at least three decades old, and if these were determinants of scientific achievement, Pakistan and North Korea are ahead of us at least on the military side, and even Iran is somewhere there. In space, our achievements are many, but mostly in engineering, design and some remarkably cheap fabrication. But cutting-edge science? Not quite.
You want to understand Indian confusion over technology/engineering versus science, look at the stardom of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in comparison with Prof. Rao, both Bharat Ratnas. Much before he became a widely loved president, Kalam was a national hero for the design of Prithvi and Agni missiles despite global technology denial. It was an achievement but as far as scientific inquiry went, he never even had a real PhD (his doctorate was honoris causa). Rao, on the other hand, has mentored hundreds of PhDs and has, at any point of time, scores of doctoral scholars working with him.
Also read: ISRO seeks to tap the south side of the moon for waste-free nuclear energy
So deep and so widespread is this belief that even Atal Bihari Vajpayee gave India the slogan ‘Jai Vigyan’ when the Pokhran-II tests were successfully conducted in 1998. And, equally, so dangerous is our understanding of science that many young Sangh Parivar stormtroopers announced a programme then to pick up “holy” dust from Pokhran and take it about the country so all Bharatiya Nagriks could feel justifiably proud, and probably also get glowingly irradiated. Alarmed, Vajpayee stopped it.
A junior, former superstar minister of the then NDA government even startled guests at a dinner (this columnist included) in Mumbai when he said our scientists had built a bomb better than any with the Americans, most of whose nuclear research was in any case done by “Indians at NASA”. “This bomb is not for Pakistan, it is too good to be wasted on them,” he said. “It is for the Americans, they should know if they act funny, we will put one in Manhattan.” It was only in deference to his status and caution because of his high “spiritual” level that I avoided the temptation of asking how he intended to get it there. By DHL? Since Air India might be unreliable.
I elaborate this contradiction because the same political class wraps engineering and technology in the Tricolour. It is not confined to the nuclear and space programmes, from Bhakra and the Bandra-Worli Sea Link to the rail link to Kashmir, everything is hailed as a great national achievement. But when Venkatraman Ramakrishnan wins a Nobel in chemistry (for studying the structure and function of the ribosome), it’s a one-day story. If he had patented, even reverse-engineered (as our pharma companies do) a familiar polymer, or a material like Kevlar (popular for protective coverings, from flak jackets to rocket exhausts), he’d be hailed as a greater pioneer, wrapped in the Tiranga. On the one hand, most people – including an accidental science graduate like me – find it tough to comprehend science. On the other hand, what works, particularly if it goes up or explodes, or both, is much simpler. But real science is intricate and boring and even if it is really brilliant, unlikely to yield anything tangible—a machine, a wonder drug or an app of some sort—right away. But if a nation does not respect science and the free spirit of peer-reviewed inquiry, it cannot even be a technological power. That’s precisely what Prof Rao meant when he said that today’s science is tomorrow’s technology.
There is a peculiar knot in the Indian mind where technology is associated with national pride and science isn’t. Our political class is not alone in believing this. Even the janta at large is willing to hail as a “scientific” achievement only that which “creates” something. The rise of Infosys, TCS, Wipro and many others is wonderful, but it is hailed as a great example of Indian scientific and technological prowess. The fact is, to call them information technology companies is a bit of a misnomer. Most of their revenues come from outsourcing and not from writing cutting-edge software. Their record in original research and development is comparable to India’s much hailed generic pharma companies.
Both have almost no branded or patented products and very little peer-reviewed research. Yet, the achievements of both are seen in patriotic terms. Leaders of India’s generics are given the status of national icons and we never bother them with questions like whether they have actually discovered a molecule of their own, ever. Barring a couple of exceptions like Piramal or Biocon.
Just as our “bomb” is supposed to sober the Americans, our rockets are the envy of the world, our IT industry is apparently beating the West by stealing their own, mostly medium-tech jobs, and our generics are giving hell to the evil MNCs Pfizer, Merck, Sanofi-Aventis, Novartis and so on. That is why it is simple to give these a patriotic colour. These are achievements we can understand, see, feel and count, and flaunt to the world.
This simplistic politicisation of the ideas of technology and science also results in policy distortions. That is why so much of our state funds flow to IITs, engineering colleges and, at a higher level, to nuclear and space programmes while smaller labs, where cutting-edge research should take place, languish. Another consequence of this distortion is that while nuclear and space people become national icons, research scientists have no real lobby.
That’s why our hearts should go out to the small, but brave and talented body of Indian agricultural scientists, all in government-run labs, who have been working on India’s own GM seeds, but only when allowed to. They had an impossible decade under the UPA, fighting two well-educated environment ministers, one a lawyer and the other, what else, an engineer with degrees from the finest Indian and American institutions. What chance would you give them now against the saffron warriors, who believe GM is evil, poisonous and makes you sterile? Our reward: Gene editing is the next scientific frontier in agriculture, 75 per cent of all new patent applications are Chinese and we don’t even make 1 per cent. The science-phobes of the Right will quite happily join hands with the Congress and Left activists to chant ‘Garv se kaho hum Luddite hain‘.
Unless you can convince them that the leaf of spinach that Draupadi offered Lord Krishna in the Mahabharata, a compliment he returned by feeding thousands of sadhus who landed hungry at her door while she lived in exile, was GM. They need no further convincing that anything that mankind is now trying to research had been discovered in Vedic times. And thereby must be virtuous not evil.
Yes , MR. WALK IN TALK ! When u realise it ? perhaps u hv enjoyed ! all prevellages from yr aka in congress party? WHEN U REALISE THAT SCIENCE IS DIFFERENCE FROM TECHNOLOGY? DURING CONGGI ERA U COULD NT REALISE IT OR WHAT? WHEN ALL YR PERKS HAS STOPPED FROM MODI GOVT .LIKE FOREIGN TRIPS WITH PM SPL. INVITATIONS FROM MINISTRY THEN U REALISE THAT WE ARE IN FOOL PARADISE BELIEVING ABOUT SCIENCE N TECHNOLOGY? U R ONLY GENIOUS IN THE COUNTRY U KNOW EVERYTHING? SHAMELESS PEOPLE? U R VERY SERIOUS ABOUT PH.D OF KALAMJI! HV U ASKED YR AKA SONIA MAINO ‘S QUALIFICATION? U BETTER BOTHER FOR IT .
Writer should not have used “India”. He and CNR themselves are Indian who are pointing out the diffrences. So please be specific whom you are refering to in your next article and don’t generalise.
Sure this is an issue and very big one and also you should have mentioned the mindset of a student who is interested in science / inspired by Einstein in 12th standard is forced to do B.Tech in IITs , thats just horrible, He will never learn relativity let alone Physics in an IIT, I know this because I m a research scholar in IIT .
2nd I want to really address something about wrong arguments against current PM of the country , He doesn’t become bad just because he didn’t do a PhD (semi-literate) , People defend him are also like me (who are not dumb) , when we see the data on roads and electricity production and transparency due to Digitization and Mudra bank like schemes for businesses and yes he deserves critcism but a logical one not like this and Its not his fault really if our society has evolved into a obsessed with “Engineering” one . All his efforts seems to correct the path but he is also a victim of same thinking just like every one else in this country Engineering > Science : B.Tech > B.Sc .. It is really that simple .
Now let me come to research environment of our Researchers which I observed closely every single day. No professor/researcher of OUR IIT want to even talk to other researcher about his research because of fear of loosing a paper or something .. and thats the biggest problem than just the political funding(yes this is also a problem) , if u don’t collaborate in Science it doesn’t progress anywhere thats it … no human collaboration for a big science problem means no solution means no Nobel prize..
I quote what Morita of Sony fame said at Royal Society London
‘Science is NOT Technology and Technology is NOT Innovation’
The epistemology and quality evaluation of the ‘output’ of science are both distinctly different from those of Technology and of Innovation.
Though interlinked , the distinction must be made
It is Sekhar Gupta , who has exposed his ignorance between S &T, through his slyimie rant against PM modi, the origin of which is his slavery to 10 JP. Obviously science is different from technology, any school kids know. But society at large and it’s political leaders identify science or scientific achievements through its application, which is precisely what technology is. Secondly, theoretical science ,it’s indepth study and understanding are boundaryless, more so in today’s age of internet and google. What one can easily have access to theoretical science or research material in India is not very different from that in other developed nations.Infact better,cheaper and easier, internet being so cheap in India. Facilities for laboratories and experimentations have also vastly improved over years, although a lot more needs to be invested. So when we compare between nations, it is on the platform of technology or its adaptations and modifications ,even if components are sourced globally. Mission 2022 is specifically about space technology, not theoretical space science, which to a large extent is closely guarded domain inter alia between nations. Same with nuclear technology. To dream of sending indigenous manned spacecraft is a state ment of vision which needs a political backing. PM modi has rightly and appropriately set into motion the realising of that vision. In colloquial understanding and discourse, it is rightfully termed as scientific progress, implying the ability to apply science fruitfully. There is no dichotomy or contradiction in understanding the basic underlying issues. Generating wide scientific temper in a society as ours is entirely a different socio religious political issue to be dealt on a different platform. Gupta is simply stupid in mixing up issues. — initiatives in space or nuclear technology from a political platform is different from spreading scientific awareness, temper et al. S Gupta, being an intellectual crook ,as usual has a set agenda to criticise Modi. So he invented this imaginary conflict of semantics science and technology as he perceived, played one against another dropping names and references,examples and even patronage ( prof Rao) to eventually apportion blame on Modi for the “mess” that he concocted in the first place. More than any politician or Luddites, it is these intellectual super crooks hiding as journous ,who are most divisive, detrimental, negative and destructive of our nation by propagating false, misleading narratives. Identify such crooks, and call their bluff.
P.S. Print.in, have journalistic courage and integrity to publish it. Learn to take criticism just as you expect Modi to take your diatribes.
It is Sekhar Gupta , who has exposed his ignorance between S &T, through his slyimie rant against PM modi, the origin of which is his slavery to 10 JP. Obviously science is different from technology, any school kids know. But society at large and it’s political leaders identify science or scientific achievements through its application, which is precisely what technology is. Secondly, theoretical science ,it’s indepth study and understanding are boundaryless, more so in today’s age of internet and google. What one can easily have access to theoretical science or research material in India is not very different from that in other developed nations.Infact better,cheaper and easier internet being so cheap in India. Facilities for laboratories and experimentations have also vastly improved over years. So when we compare between nations, it is on the platform of technology or its adaptations and modifications ,even if components are sourced globally. Mission 2022 is specifically about space technology, not theoretical space science, which to a large extent is closely guarded domain inter alia between nations. Same with nuclear technology. To dream of sending indigenous manned spacecraft is a state ment of vision which needs a political backing. PM modi has rightly and appropriately set into motion the realising of that vision. In colloquial understanding and discourse, it is rightfully termed as scientific progress, implying the ability to apply science fruitfully. There is no dichotomy or contradiction in understanding the basic underlying issues. Generating wide scientific temper in a society as ours is entirely a different socio religious political issue to be dealt on a different platform. Gupta is simply stupid in mixing up issues. — initiatives in space or nuclear technology from a political platform is different from spreading scientific awareness, temper et al. S Gupta, being an intellectual crook ,as usual has a set agenda to criticise Modi. So he invented this imaginary conflict of semantics science and technology as he perceived, played one against another dropping names and references,examples and even patronage ( prof Rao) to eventually apportion blame on Modi for the “mess” that he concocted in the first place. More than any politician or Luddites, it is these intellectual super crooks hiding as journous ,who are most divisive, detrimental, negative and destructive of our nation by propagating false, misleading narratives. Identify such crooks, and call their bluff.
& gene editing is not tech, Mr Gupta? Till you got to the GM part loved your article
And there I wondered how come the wire or the quint didn’t make any article against yesterday’s announcement! Nevertheless the print will do! Hopelessly trying to show that we are going backwards in science and forward with technology is an act of crying out loud for stupidity to be followed! Anyway they properly differentiated science from technology and it’s understandable but how does that affect our progress in terms of technology? Yes we use the already established science and create a better technology is that bad? Just because we can’t be proud to create our own scientific research or knowledge about it? Is that what this post is trying to say? Why this national pride all of a sudden?
PS: nobody stopped Dr. Rao from making remarkable scientific achievements! Instead of comparing his popularity with the late APJ Abdul kalam “the print” has definitely achieved a new low standard in media! Thanks
Irony of this country is lifafa journalists like Shekhar Gupta who did not even study science are telling us that technology and science are different when they are actually not , some of us work in the field and do this for a living .
A bigger irony are people who do science for a living (and not because they love science) and so have the right to belittle the views of a person from a non-science background. But in reality, these people have no clue about the way basic science works, because they studied science only to get good paycheck for their living. One of the biggest reasons why Indian science is in such a sorry state.
Sorry to wake you up from your long slumber genius, but in truth, technology has always been a by-product of basic science. Without knowing how electricity works (which btw was a result of years of basic research by scores of scientists), others couldn’t have jumped straight to developing generators. But I guess our genius does this everyday (in his dream world).
I appreciate you admitting that you are a LUDDITE on journalism. I feel sorry for you
General public in all countries is like this that they appreciate technology and not science. Also many small discoveries/inventions in science are termed as great discoveries/inventions by media. Political class do understand the difference between science and technology as many scientists are scientific advisor and policy makers in the government. However, they make many foolish sounding statements for vote bank appeasement. Hailing Indian ancient knowledge as better than what we have is a just a vote bank. Not scientist people like to hear this as it gives false satisfaction of being great in ancient times when we are far behind in the modern times.
Scientific temper is based on facts (of any kind), however, at the end of article, the columnist(Shekhar Gupta) says that spinach leaf was offered to Krishna by Draupadi, whereas, it was a grain of cooked rice.
*Such is the irony*
The state of medical research is equally pathetic. A 10 year review of academic papers related to newborn health in India was done by AIIMS. Sadly, most of the papers of case reports or retrospective reviews – both at the lower level of medical evidence. There is hardly any protected time for research and funding is woefully low. This needs urgent attention otherwise we are doomed to copy and paste from the West. Worse – we build their patented tech at low cost and tout it as progress. Building shiny new hospitals is not the answer. Instead – we need to build large research institutions which focus on generating new knowledge.
The article raises an important issue – scientific temper. For developing scientific temper so that science becomes talk of the nation (not only technology), investment in education is a must. In our country most children take up science to gain technical education, engineering or medicine to be precise, not out of sheer love for science. The rush and chaos created by coaching industry transforms the love for science into a very mechanical learning of just getting the answer right or ticking the correct answer. During these formative years scientific enquiry and experimentation take a back seat, mugging up information takes precedence. An ecosystem of success measured through the scale of competitive exams develop. Scientific temper is the obvious sacrifice at the alter of achievement and job security.
Way to glory is becoming a super singer or great dancer. The West knows what we can easily get trapped into and send us these influences and why would i bothet to send my kids for scientific research if the glory is in much easier options. Blame it on value based education
Agreed. If semi-literate politician with suspect degrees start pretending and glorifying themselves as God’s gift to mankind and we allow it to happen and start worshiping them, people with knowledge and education will never get recognised. I am always amused that a politician who lies in our face, wants us to believe that no one did anything for last 70 years. People defend such a person and we still hope that India will get its place in the sun. Our Gods are compared with plastic surgeons of today and people think that is right. I do believe in God and the superpower that nature has (does not matter whose God we are talking about). It offends my basic sensibility that the God is being compared with a plastic surgeon of today. If we are talking about the God, why on earth do we need to compare the God with ordinary human beings? God is God and we are mere mortals. Fellows who have presided over black money generation for decades tell us they are honest – liquor smuggling in Gujarat. How do we prevent our children from falling into the trap of these worthless politician is a more appropriate question to my mind than worrying about how West is trying to influence us?
The reason we lag behind in education is because people like you spread stupidity to such an extent that education is not possible.
It will be good to know your arguments rather than your judgement – thinking is about arguing your case and that is the way science progresses. Calling names or attributing motives does not lead to progress – forget that of science. I am assuming you are serious about the issue that concerns all of us – progress of science and knowledge and what is derailing it or what can be done to get better. I have listed a set of derailing factors – the culture of thinking is the enabler. We are fast losing the ability to question and our leaders are partly responsible for that as they are spreading lies, half-truth and non-verifiable myths.
Agree with the distinction between S&T, but why is that relevant to the speech? He wasn’t making this in a “science only” context… Was a public speech across topics.
Good article, bad context.
Given the kind of political leadership that we have – semi-literate, self-serving, pompous and unthinking – it is not surprising that we get excited about nothing. Mr Gupta, I glad that you have at least called it out.
It’s not the responsibility of Political leaders to conduct research.
They just have to allocate funds.
Rest, the job is of students and scientists.
And, for your information, 1000s of crores of research funds are given to IITs. But have you ever heard of ground breaking research/technology development from them?
If people are failing, it’s natural for illiterate people to point finger at the government.
The reason behind the failure is that the top students and researchers have already left the country for USA/Europe etc.
The reason they flee is the environment in our institutions, not funds(as most people argue without knowing the reality.)
Mr. Shah, I have not referred to funding. I have referred to culture that we have where our leaders talk without thinking or keep glorifying non-achievements and achievement and lower the discourse and the need to think. Science does not progress without thinking and thinking critically – same way a society does not progress without thinking. Money is only a means – I agree with you.
I think we lack basic education. A theoretical physicist would not require much funding but then why we had few in past 100 years it’s only because we have rote leaning till +2.How can you expect them to think like real scientist.
Needless disparaging of APJ Abdul Kalam aside, this was a pretty good article
Great article …
Leaders will say and do what people want to hear … We need soul searching on track record on science with handful of Nobel laureats
Garvse kaho hum Luddite Hain aur rahenge
Whatever author has stated is s harsh reality and I fully endorse the views expressed by him regarding state of science which is currently pathetic. Our neighbour China and other smaller Asian countries like Korea and Singapore are doing great work and we must learn from them. We must try to emulate them rather than looking at west for all the solutions.
The writer needs to open his/her eyes and accept the truth.
Modi-bashing isn’t going to help the nation.
Opposition have no agenda, just want to remove Modi.
If Congress comes back, India is doomed. Then you won’t be able to think of Science or Development, only focus would be on survival.
Sirji, you are confusing between pure and applied science. GM research in agri. is not pure science it is genetic engineering, an application of study of genetic structure, It is as much a technological advance as a nuclear weapon or a rocket engine.
Abstract science is an achievement for human intellect and good for few nobels but has little immediate impact on society. in short or medium term. Technology or applied sciences are the opposite. A nuclear weapon, however outdated in design, provides the country with nuclear deterrence capability and makes the country safer. ISRO’s rocket engines may be not the best technology but they allow us to put our sats in space without dependence on NASA or ESA, Kindly do not undermine their achievement.
I feel that journalist feel that science is same as journalism, you can peddle anything & it would work.
Instead of getting opinion from scientist, Shekhar Gupta feels that he has all the understanding of science & technology to write an article on science & technology.
1. Filing patents doesn’t mean scientific advancements. World has moved beyond the close model of patents.
2. Converting a scientific technology into a product which can be mass produced & actually benefit humanity is a challenge of gigantic proportion & Chinese have not come up with their own significant innovation.
Why do we have so few like you ?
Science is in a “sorry state” because it was long neglected by Congress(50 years is a long time).
Now, people expect BJP to set everything right within 5 years.
They don’t have a magic wand, and with such an anti-national opposition, things become more difficult and take more time(Who walks out of Rajya Sabha every time?).
Give them another 15 years, India will be on top in everything.
// The science-phobes of the Right will quite happily join hands with the Congress and Left activists to chant ‘Garv se kaho hum Luddite hain‘.// – plz read the text in entirety.
They’ve had 6 yrs of ABV, 3 of joint rule (Janata Party) & 4 of Modi…13 gone…
Wrong – there hasn’t been time to engage a debate over scientific rationalism, because we’re still fighting the debate over basic economic rationalism – ie. the need to *reform* the blatantly irrational and destructive pseudo-scientific economic beliefs propagated by the Left, which have absolutely held this country back since it achieved independence.
Like the author of this article, the myopic mercenaries of the Left often use the tactics of guerrilla debaters – they cherrypick arguments here and there, popping up one place to argue in one direction, then popping up somewhere else to argue in a different direction, while counting on us to not keep track of their varying double standards and hypocrisies.
This rambling meandering piece slyly tries to zero in on Hindutva as the enemy of scientific inquiry and open-mindedness, epitomizing illiterate backwardness. Can our scotch-sipping socialist intellectuals who permeate the chattering classes not see their own hypocrisy, when so many among them support the homogeneity of Left-wing groupthink dominating the media, as opposed to promoting a spirit of open debate that draws upon a multiplicity of views?
Have any of Shekhar Gupta’s tribe understood the necessity of meritocracy and merit-based selection in supporting scientific and professional competency, as opposed to this weird cult of ethnic quota-ism that threatens to drown us in an idiocracy? Mandal man V.P. Singh chose to avoid answering when he was once asked if he would prefer to be operated on by one of his quota-admission medical graduates — would Shekhar Gupta care to answer in his stead? Look at the exam-cheating culture we’ve fostered in the newer generations. Most Left-wing student activists come from useless politically-driven liberal arts programs which are the furthest thing from hard science. How would any of them carry us into a scientific age of knowledge?
Ancient India did value intellectualism and scholarliness. Today’s socialist India condemns scholars as a product of elitist values and upbringing, and not as learned minds to be looked up to. Today’s superficial India pitches cricket players and markets movie celebrities as the highest role models, rather than our scientists. Our hypocritical Left-wing commentators simultaneously praise NRIs who have achieved scientific and professional distinction abroad, even while deriding their “right-wing views”. Has it ever occurred to our Left-wing pontificators that this correlation between the highly-achieving NRIs and “right-wing views” exists for a reason? ie. they’re essentially economic and intellectual refugees who have fled an India that has for decades denied its best and brightest the opportunities and the freedoms they deserve in order to live up to their fuller potential. Instead of imbibing their good example and ways to reform India, our stubborn Left have only bred an army of quota-seeking ethnic-baiters and exam-cheaters to inundate the rest of the world with a flood of corruption and incompetence ‘Made in India’.
It’s really pathetic to have to note even a fraction of all the things that Shekhar Gupta chooses not to see, much less comment upon.
Firstly, thoroughly enjoyed reading this article and agree largely on critical issue pointed out. I totally agree its our society first of all which has a strange approach and lack of understanding of how basic science research works and its importance in nation building for future. Keya milega is first question and not keya ho raha hai or keya hai ye?? A critical balance needs to be struck between rehashed Tech obsessions, Technology driven Science, and pursuing basic fundamental curiosity driven Science which leads to unravelling “NEW” processes and properties of materials and life. The latter is the bed-rock and backbone of any chance for us to excel in future.
And for that, the need of the hour is rapid institution building like more IISER’s and fund University projects judiciously, cut bureaucratic red-tapes in disbursal and utilization of funds, and encourage advanced inter-disciplinary basic Sciences with national and international collaborations at individual scientist levels, not just agro-sciences. With ~8000 km coastline there is a lot to do more in oceanography/marine sciences and fisheries. Funding in basic Sciences needs to improve drastically ..atleast 2-3% of GDP needs to be spent on this and scaled up further as our GDP grows.
ISRO also supports many basic science agenda through remote-sensing programmes etc. So, we need not hate rocket launches etc. Sending manned mission to Moon or Mars opens up totally different fields where we can start thinking of exploring life and materials in outer-space – which is again advanced basic science. So, the point is whatever Science Policy and projects we plan both has to be linked judiciously and supportive of each other.
I generally agree with you. However, instead of starting with institution building and more funding, need of the hour is building scientific enquiry. I would rather discount the generations that are working but focus on school kids.
It is important to ask questions. As they say, the only stupid question is the one that is not asked. We can start with schools and hope that in the next decade, the new generation starts asking questions with various points of view.
Who is it who has even written this article? He says “I” this and that, but we don’t even know who he is. The writer is writing anonymously, and the publisher hasn’t even bothered to acknowledge this in the slightest, let alone explain why. Is this an Opinion piece? Typically, such Opinion pieces will at least attribute their source, but The Print can’t seem to be bothered to do so. Is it an Editorial, representing the views of The Print editors? They can’t be bothered to say that either. It all just looks like rambling.
Speaking of sad state – the state of our “journalism” and its shoddy practices are the reason why “journalism” in India should always be kept in quotation marks, because it only vaguely resembles professional journalism, and bears none of its standards or integrity.
If only you’d care to browse up and check the name at the top near title. Written by Shekhar Gupta, anchor of Walk the Talk. Yes it’s an Opinion piece, can’t you see the tag ‘Opinion’ highlighted in red? Next time..well forget next time, just desist from posting your misinformed comments and do everyone a favour.
Okay, you got me man – and so I’ve then posted yet another response just a few spots above this one – let’s see if they publish that one. What I failed to see pales in comparison to what Shekhar Gupta has failed to see.
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