A2LET TERS India Abroad November 29, 2013 9 The International Weekly Newspaper founded in 1970. Member, Audit Bureau of Circulation
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What ails science in India
‘India aims at Mars,’ (Cover Story, India Abroad November
15), is a story that is sure to elevate the spirits of most
Indians and expatriates.
This is an example and a result of the vision that Indian
leaders of another generation had forged. Indian scientists,
given some support and encouragement, proved that they are
capable of the highest level of achievement in research and
It is sad to observe, however, that
today’s political leaders in India have
mostly narrow interests and little
vision for the nation as a whole.
The characterization of India’s political leaders by Dr C N R Rao, the
newly minted Bharat Ratna awardee,
as ‘idiots’ may be too blunt, but is not
too off the mark.
When political leaders have vision,
the nation rises and achieves as a
whole, but when there is no vision,
when only narrow interests — personal, political and economic — become
the primary goals, the nation suffers,
and could perish.
As an expatriate Indian I feel proud
of India’s democracy, in spite of all its
warts, but it is very sad to observe that
contemporary India’s political leaders
have shown neither vision nor courage to think big. Instead,
they have consistently demonstrated their proclivity to serve
narrow personal and regional political interests.
Having visited China several years ago, and revisited India
twice recently after a long interval, I am struck with the contrast between the leadership’s vision in these two countries.
China exudes national confidence, India shows deep self
doubt. China’s leaders have been able to forge a powerful and
confident nation despite regional issues. India’s political
leadership, enmeshed in personal and regional interests, has
failed to develop a common vision for the nation.
Disturbing remarks from India’s celebrated scientist at this
time, modified later in a ‘damage control’ statement, should
not be dismissed as an angry outburst. These views resonate
with the views of millions who would like India to have a
common national vision.
India’s leaders do need to think big and support science
and technology research more vigorously. Yes, with more
Professor Emeritus, Geography
Kent State University
Professor C N R Rao is absolutely right.
Funding for science is paltry in India, and
it is amazing that even with sparse funding
you see some exponential spikes in the
research output sporadically.
In materials science, except the creamy
layer, many of India’s institutions are conservatively 20 years behind because many
institutions lack cutting-edge facilities.
Computational materials science badly
needs a nationwide fiber optic link.
There is a total disconnect between the
biochemistry, biophysics communities to
integrate materials science with life and
Politicians are not at all understanding
the realities, they are in utopia and delirium.
No one at DST, CSIR ever return telephone calls or reply to
e-mails. They are shy of using Skype, and use the obsolete
Indian postal system for transfer of materials from India to
India needs to revamp its recruitment of scientists. Salaries
are not on par with the rising cost of living. It is a tragic state
of affairs. Poor communication within India is also plaguing
Professor V Renugopalakrishnan,
No welfare state?
Bharat Desai and Shashi Dave’s letters (‘No welfare state please’, India
Abroad, October 25) were equivalent to
Sarah Palin’s one liners.
How could anyone from the Indian
subcontinent be blind to the role of
If not for the government, what
would become of the unmet needs of
Americans who struggle below the
poverty level, face setbacks to finance
education, suffer from being uninsured,
who are subject to the tricks of the
insurance industry, and/or the medical
Most Indians who made their way to
the United States were educated in
institutions supported by funds from
the government of India.
The majority of Indian physicians
here went to medical schools which
were funded by the people of India.
These individuals are now on the
GOP’s tail-pipe as they are supposedly
fighting for their much needed lower
They have forgotten how they bene-
fited in India, yet, are now in big busi-
ness on the backs of many seeking
health care in the US, screaming that
the US government hands out ‘freebies
to the needy and lazy.’
That line, incidentally, is rattled off
by Palin, Cruz, Boehner, and every ill-
educated gun carrying Tea Party sup-
porter in America’s backwaters.
Today, a number of wealthy Indians
unashamedly shuffle their parents here
and despite their wealth, make all the
maneuvers to place them under
Medicaid — a US government benefit
for the needy. They are quick to condemn the needy as lazy, yet adept at
exploiting a government program to
avoid humane expenses for a parent.
Few Indians or recent immigrant
minorities would admit that they continue to benefit from the Civil Rights
struggles of so many African
Americans. Had it not been for black
Americans, we Indians would have
been subjected to more obvious indig-nities.
‘If a free society cannot help the
many who are poor, it cannot save the
few who are rich,’ said President
Kennedy. The rights of the displaced
should never be up to the whims of a
few individuals, and this fact alone
confirms the need for moral and just
President Obama is the voice this
nation needs for affordable health care,
This swarm of GOP killer bees in
Congress will meet their demise with
the increasing acceptance of Affordable
Care Act even though they have man-
aged momentarily to obstruct this law
even from the state level through
This nation has become a war zone
and it is a shame that this President
has to go to battle to create a more just
The GOP has certainly made a concerted effort to destabilize the United
States government through its contin-
ued opposition in Congress. Whether it
is to end gun violence, feed the hungry,
provide equal quality education,
address the stand your ground laws,
expand Medicaid (3.6 million people)
for the needy, or to even get the food
industry to lower sodium…..their peo-
ple are there to deny the truth.
Meanwhile, GOP welfare benefits
keep flowing in the form of subsidies.
Why would any Indian become a
Sarah Palin, or Tom Cruz puppet?
There was one Indian called Dinesh.
He profited for a short time with a
series of hate literature, but he fell.
Professor C N R Rao