Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Like a fish.

(The general structure of the system)
From IsraCast:
An Israeli Inventor has developed a breathing apparatus that will allow breathing underwater without the assistance of oxygen tanks. This new invention will use the relatively small amounts of air that already exist in water to supply oxygen to both scuba divers and submarines. The invention has already captured the interest of most major diving manufacturers as well as the Israeli Navy.
Amazing invention! From the time Israel came into existence, their scientists have earned great respect in various research areas. Despite the political crisis and feeling of insecurity, their universities are engaged in various cutting edge researches. India, on the contrary, is finding it hard to get some decent researchers. The despair among the science fraternity in India can be seen clearly in the recent interview by Dr. C N R Rao (recently received the prestigious $1 million Dan David prize). Dr.Rao lists various reasons for this sad condition: " The main problems are: Declining or vanishing interest in science amongst the young, partly due to parental/societal pressure and undue importance to certain venues and sectors; sad state of our universities wherein they are no longer contributing significantly to scientific efforts; and bad bureaucratic practices and absence of sufficient incentives like competitive salaries, proper work atmosphere etc. "Coming from IITB I can relate well with his point. Not many IITians stay in India to pursue their research interests. Most of the IITians who stay back, work and have minimal contribution to the research work. If we see it by their point of view, India has very little to offer them. Almost all of them who opt for PhDs in US universities have the solid financial backing in the form of various allowances & scholarships. Once they complete their respective PhDs, I'm told, the companies are very acceptive & it's not very difficult to grab a teaching position or a researcher's job, both with fat paychecks. Situation is very different in India. Industry have fewer positions for PhDs and moreover PhDs from Indian universities, with few exceptions, are not rated at par with the ones from top US universities. We need to revamp our university structure & encourage student towards scientific research. It should not be tough if proper incentives, in the form of well paying jobs and faculty positions can be ensured.

What is most sad & embarrassing is the level of ignorance & false pride in glorious but distant past. We Indians love to relate every new technology to the mythological devices present in vedas, Geeta and Ramayana, etc. Nuclear bombs are new-age Brahmastra, aeroplanes are pushpak vimans, and God knows what else. It would be interesting if some of the Hindu scholars lay claims over this invention also. After all, puranas are filled with mermaids & underwater human life (Duryodhan once threw Bheema in a river after intoxicating him. Under water people sent him back with added powers and their blessings). This attitude is not limited to scientific inventions, Amitabh Bachchan was recently quoted in Bangalore Times saying (link): "Even Hollywood filmmakers copy Bollywood films. There is a man in SpielbergÂ’s studio who makes it his sole business to watch Hindi films and remake them. Now theyÂ’re even remaking Munnabhai MBBS. George LucasÂ’ Star Wars series is nothing but a take off on Ramayana and Mahabharata. So why are we blaming the Hindi film industry for copying?". Now this is stretching it a bit too far! What next, Matrix was Geeta Saar? Duh!


TheDQ said...

Just came across your blog. good work.pretty interesting to read.:-)


chutki said...

I was starved to read some interesting stuff for a whole week and I knew where to come as soon as I got my internet connection :) Good one,boy!Humaara co-authored book ka plan tha na...Chalo "The Great Indian Mentality" pe hi likhte hai and we'll make sure 2 copies are sold - one to you know who and the other to you know who else :)