oppn parties The Will to Excel in Science Has Gone Out Of India's DNA

News Snippets

  • MS Dhoni decides to take a two-month break, will skip West Indies tour but will not retire
  • Phagu Chauhan is the new Governor of Bihar while Ramesh Bais has been appointed as that of Tripura
  • Governors: Anandiben Patel shifted from Madhya Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh and Lalji Tandon from Bihar to Madhya Pradesh
  • Naga talks interlocutor RN Ravi appointed as Governor of Nagaland
  • Noted lawyer Jagdeep Dhankhar appointed as new Governor of West Bengal
  • 84 NDRF teams have been despatched to 23 states to tackle the flood situation
  • Three persons lynched in Bihar after being accused of cattle theft
  • Delhi police seize a consignment of 1500 kgs of heroin and busts a cartel of Afghanistan-Pakistan narcotics dealers with links to the Taliban
  • Supreme Court gives 9 more months to complete the Babri Masjid demolition case trial
  • Priyanka Gandhi not allowed to meet the families of the dead in the Sonabhadra firing, arrested
  • ICC inducts Sachin Tendulkar in [email protected]@@s Hall of Fame
  • Stock markets bleed for the second day. Sensex crashes 560 points
  • S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, says Pakistan should release and repatriate Kulbhushan Jadhav immediately
  • Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala asks the Speaker to hold the trust vote latest by 1.30 pm today
  • The Government sends a list of 24 questions to mobile app company that runs video app TikTok seeking answers for anti-national and obscene content carried on the platform
Former Delhi CM and senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit dies following a cardiac arrest. She was 81
oppn parties
The Will to Excel in Science Has Gone Out Of India's DNA

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
Recently, the 2016 Indian Science Congress was held. Were any useful or serious discussions held in it or was it just another network-building and back-slapping jamboree? In countries where science, research and development occupy a pride of place in society, such events see a rush of scholarly papers being submitted and people vying to speak in order to gain recognition, for themselves and their painstakingly conducted research. But in India the Science Congress has been turned into a circus, as Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan rightly lamented.

When was the last path breaking discovery or invention made by Indian scientists working in India? As a nation we wallow in mediocrity as far as scientific matters are concerned. We care a hoot about patents of people who invested fortunes and lifetimes in creating something new. We change the ‘process’ to change the ‘product’ and dish out our own versions, self-congratulating ourselves on our ‘success’ and the fact that we can produce the same things at a much cheaper cost. But in the process we have first lost the will to discover – and hence innovate – and then become complacent. We know others will do the research and we will just copy. So the will to excel in science has gone out of our DNA.

More dangerously, we have increasingly begun to equate science with mythology. If Ram came to Ayodhya in a vaayu vaan, there are takers for the theory that airplanes are an Indian invention. The habit of explaining things through the occult is deeply ingrained in the Indian psyche. Mythology is increasingly being detached from religious beliefs and made to appear scientific. Everything that happens is usually considered an act of God. Scientific explanations are neither given nor sought. Children are not encouraged to be inquisitive about the unexplained (in fact, they are scolded by parents and teachers both, if they are persistent).

If this continues, there will be lesser innovation with passage of time. Scientific temper has to be built from childhood. The government has to invest in science laboratories in schools at the lower level and research at the higher levels of the education institutions. It is surprising that a stream of study that can fire the imagination of kids and make them ask million questions and conduct billions of experiments is reduced to just a subject in textbooks. India needs to inculcate the scientific spirit in its youth if it has any pretensions of being a manufacturing powerhouse. Borrowed technology, designed for other countries and cultures, can take us only thus far and no further. We need scientists who can make technological inventions according to our needs. For that, we need scientists who invest time in research and experiment, not those who try to pass off mythology as science.