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State of scientific research in India

scientific research in IndiaBe it Physics, Chemistry, medical science, surgery, art and craft, technology for medical and production science or engineering studies, navigation and ship-building, India had its genius minds to contribute immensely for development in all these fields. Vedic scriptures have enough mention about the number ‘zero’ and different techniques used in the solutions of Algebra and Algorithm. The Vedic literature has also mentioned about square root and cube root in Mathematics. Three centuries before Leibnitz and Newton found out about Calculus, those originated in India. In 600 BC, Indians researched and knew about concepts about atom and theory of relativity. Let’s talk about Chemistry in the olden days; Indians were aware about distillation process of perfumes, scented liquids, making of dyes and pigments and significantly about extraction of sugar. As news about surgeries and development in medical science are making waves throughout the world, Indians created the entire theory on medicine and science even in 800 BC. Take the instances of exceptional architecture found in the remains of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa civilizations. Are those not reminiscent of a grand past, when Indians were simply superb with their skills in architecture and knowledge in Civil Engineering. In 2000 B.C., when Rig Veda was discovered, the scripture has enough mention about Astronomy. There were days, when maritime activities were simply at peak as Indians ventured to sail out to distant lands on business trips and this is evidence enough that we were knowledgeable about ship-building and science of navigation.  Observers find few parallels of excellence in fine arts that ancient India had in the studies of phonetics and sound. Around 4th Century B.C. Indians experimented with mechanical and production technology by smelting metals and this goes by the testimony of Greek historians. As news about fresh inventions make headlines in the world, Indians bring out evidences that those existed much before in this pristine land.

What led to the downfall of scientific spirit in India?

scientific spirit in IndiaThe scientific spirit in India took a beating in the dark ages that followed with the successive attacks of outsiders in the past. India stayed the birth place of innumerable religions, literally serving as the grooming ground of spirituality. As true spirituality has the perfect scientific temperament, the repeated attacks of barbarians on this holy soil gradually gave place to superstitions. It was acute poverty that made us lose our past with Science. India known as golden bird fell victim to repeated plunders from outsiders. The period from 4th to 6th CE took giant strides in Science and Art under the ruler ship of Gupta dynasty.

Was post-independent India good for Science?

 research in ScienceGrowth of institutions but not research in Science- The post-independent India saw the mushrooming growth of technical institutions in India that offered science education without giving research its due space. Students learned the basics of science from the teachers but the same education system did not encourage the students to go for research. Education in India failed to nurture the keenness to delve deep into the precepts of Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics and question the rudiments of the subjects. Science subjects only brought the tradition to create engineers and doctors, who had the ambition to mint money. The second objective of Science education was such subjects were really mark fetching and helped the students pass with excellent grades or division. Although, Indian education system could flawlessly simulate the research and development in Science from western nations, pathetically Indian education system failed in every aspect to create an environment conducive for scientific research.

Absence of scientific mindsetAbsence of scientific mindset in commercial and political set-ups- Although, a number of companies and commercial organizations flourished from scratch in post-independent India with the help of technology largely brought from west, the entrepreneurship had no intention to promote research in their organizations that would lead to more innovative concepts in the new products. The ‘swadeshi’ slogan for indigenousness in manufacturing merely resulted in making copycats of product ideas from west. The political set up in India, although it has qualified persons, the number consists more of lawyers, bureaucrats, and little qualified politicians, who apparently did not show any interest in promoting research studies in scientific education. A disturbing scientific milieu gradually eroded the foundation of research and development in Science resulting in complete absence of a culture of innovation and discoveries in Science in Indian society. This gradually broke us away from creating a healthy and pro-creative that would sustain growth in the society.

Heavy brain drainHeavy brain drain from the elitist scientific institutions- Take for instance the premier institutes in India promoting scientific research and studies. The pioneers among them are Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc.). Most of the students graduating from such top most institutions nurture the ambition of leading a comfortable life-style in some distant foreign destinations. Seventies, eighties, and nineties saw the exodus of best brains from India to affluent western nation. As a result, the base of scientific research in India weakened to the worst extent and reached the nadir.

economic growthDismal political and economic growth- India has passed through successive stages of political turmoil. Mind-blowing tales of corruption, ever-emerging scams, stories of syndicates between politicians, criminals, and businessmen are responsible for creating fear psychosis in the minds of intellectuals and making them flee to foreign nations and settle there in more comfortable life-style. The political and bureaucratic set-ups have never realized true needs of a scientific community, which becomes primarily responsible economic growth in the nation. Economic growth has continued in India without the underpinning of scientific research and scientific community has stayed at a distance due to indifference meted out to it from other parts of society.

role of mediaThe role of media- Since the nineties, there is a dramatic change in the status of media as number of television channels and newspapers increased manifold. But sadly none from the leading newspapers and television channels has tried seriously to bring the news of scientific research in India, although scientific talent has abounded enormously in every class of Indian society. Unlike the foreign media, the media houses in India give more importance to coverage of incidents from cheap entertainment and political incidents staying completely indifferent to highlights of development in scientific community. The nation that once created the lineage of scientists like C.V. Raman, Jagdish Chandra Bose, and S. Ramanujan has now fallen to the worst level of degradation.