Why India is not a great scientific power

Discussion in 'Members Corner' started by agentperry, Dec 11, 2011.

  1. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2010
    Messages:
    3,022
    Likes Received:
    678
    Location:
    delhi
    Let us bring up a generation that will not hesitate to ask inconvenient questions. This generation will be the torch-bearer of a scientific revolution
    The economic growth of the last one decade has prompted Indians to nurse ambitions of achieving the status of a great and exceptional power. The size of the GDP is important, but it alone cannot guarantee that India will be recognised as a world power. It is the robustness of scientific research and innovation that sets apart great powers from the mediocre ones.

    We have good scientists, but why has India not produced outstanding scientists who make path-breaking discoveries that will make the world sit up and take notice? Should we continue to be satisfied with tweaking borrowed technologies? Is reverse engineering an innovative phenomenon?

    All debates about scientific research inevitably end up zeroing in on the deficiencies of our educational system as the root cause of the abysmal record in scientific research. This is only part of the story.

    A nation's culture — belief systems, values, attitudes — plays a significant role in determining the quality of scientific research. The Oriental attitudes differ from the Occidental values in many respects. Asian societies are basically collectivist, that is, the collective good of society ranks higher than individual happiness and achievements. People do not ask what they can do for their country; they are always asking what the country will do for them. They look up to the state for guidance, leadership and direction. There is no burning individual ambition to excel and achieve something new.

    In the West, individuals try to achieve their potential through their own efforts, aided and facilitated by enabling laws and institutions. Self-reliance is the key objective of life. An independent life requires a free and questioning mindset that takes nothing for granted and constantly challenges conventional wisdom. Children are encouraged to push the frontiers of knowledge by self-examination and open-minded enquiry. It is only a sceptical and dissenting mind that often thinks out of the box to explore new vistas of knowledge.

    Collectivism promotes conformism and deference to authority whether it is parents, elders, teachers or the government. It is heresy to question established values and customs.

    We pass on our passivity and uncritical attitudes to our children. No wonder, the educational system encourages rote learning and unquestioning acceptance of what is taught in the classrooms and stated in the textbooks. How can we expect our children to suddenly develop an enquiring and inquisitive attitude when they have been brought up in a milieu that discourages ‘disruptive' thoughts?

    India and China were once advanced nations before foreign rule drained their resources and sapped their willpower and scientific traditions. Cultures tend to become conservative and defensive when subjected to long spells of colonial exploitation.

    Indians are great believers in destiny. But our tradition does not frown upon free will and individual excellence. We must realise that our ability for free action remains unhampered despite what destiny may hold in store for us.

    FEAR OF FAILURE

    Another flaw in our culture that prevents individual excellence is the fear of failure. The stigma associated with failure makes our children risk-averse while choosing their courses and careers.

    Scientific research is a long-drawn war on received wisdom that requires many battles before it can be won. Science was not built in a day. Some of the battles can end in defeat. In the West, they celebrate failure as a stepping stone to success.

    Educational reforms must be preceded by mental deconditioning of parents, teachers, educationists and policymakers — throwing away the cobwebs of uncritical submissiveness to conventional knowledge. Let us bring up a generation that will not hesitate to ask inconvenient questions. This generation will be the torch-bearer of a scientific revolution that will unleash cutting-edge research to make the Nobel Prize committee sit up and take notice.

    We have nothing to lose except our passivity and fatalism. Let us not wait for things to happen. Let us make things happen.

    The Hindu : Opinion / Open Page : Why India is not a great scientific power
     
    amitkriit and Dovah like this.
  2.  
  3. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2010
    Messages:
    4,404
    Likes Received:
    2,782
    Location:
    Gangtok, Sikkim, India
    Answer to your question: our education system sucks.

    With cynical and shortcut teachers, this augments the problem much more.

    Education system in our country is not research oriented but based on mass-memorization. There are news articles that say that now it has changed, but that is government propaganda. I have some cousins who are still in school and NOTHING has changed in their syllabus compared to when I was in school years ago.

    The same methods of dead-end marks scoring, the same amount of no free-thinking allowed, the same method of no requisite infrastructure where school trustees suck up the funds allocated... it has become a rot in the system.

    The reason why India is not becoming a scientific power even to the level of China is because scientific innovation and research is literally discouraged in India with the old generation today insecure about their own self-perceived superiority in danger.

    Those of 70s generation will have to leave the country and the young will have to take command properly. Only then research and development is possible.
     
    niharjhatn likes this.
  4. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2010
    Messages:
    3,022
    Likes Received:
    678
    Location:
    delhi
    i met a person on europe tour where we told me that we was in cpwd till 1990s. he had graduated in 1950s and told me that in today's world he dont know how come people can think of research when everything but basics are told to them( remember telling is different from teaching). he is proud discoverer of what cpwd uses in most of the heavy duty construction, some typical bending mechanism for shafts and rods. it was already in place in west but not in India and none of the institution wass aware of its existence in India. this person after working over the problem used its basic principle and knowledge just like the one in west would had done, to develop a mechanism.
    but in today's world students are made to learn formula to solve existing now problems- even in iits. how come one can expect them to solve something not known till now.

    i go against you tshering22, India may get into more trouble once current generation steps into factories.
    the best students were in 50s,60s and from 80s specifically, irrespective of college course and state, all the students were practicing only one thing ie politics and nothing else.
     
  5. Nagraj

    Nagraj Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    804
    Likes Received:
    254
    let's look around us.
    we have been forced to become zombies.
    there is left leaning scums who won't stop from ratinalising and cleaning indian history of any uncomfortable truth.
    tehen their is congress who had made sure asking uncomfortable question is equated to being an extremist right wing more hate.
    then there is the right wing nut jobs who live in lala land can't stop deluding themselves on how glorious india was .
    man can someone just give me the truth????
     
    Dovah likes this.
  6. p2prada

    p2prada Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    May 25, 2009
    Messages:
    10,233
    Likes Received:
    3,896
    Location:
    Holy Hell
    They won't be leaving the country, they either need to be retired or dead, followed by our current generation politicians.

    The problem is our system encourages learning by rote even for Masters and PhD. Mug, mug, mug and then spit. Quality of the spit matters, that's all. None of it transpires to real world education.

    Lack of funding is another problem. But even if funding is available, there is nobody who can use it because even an idea needs much more than our current level of education allows to apply. The people who do research in India are not ones who are just out of their college, but ones with long years of experience and even that isn't entirely world class to even bother writing about.

    I had recently read an article by an American academic who ridiculed our IIT system and the concept of learning. All are concerned with "spitting" the right answers and then getting a plum job outside the country. No one there gives a damn about research.

    We have hundreds of Universities, thousands of Colleges, but only a few patents between them. The ones who leave the country for higher studies do well as compared to the ones who stayed back home, no matter what kind of geniuses they are.
     
    Dovah likes this.
  7. agentperry

    agentperry Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2010
    Messages:
    3,022
    Likes Received:
    678
    Location:
    delhi
    a just world needs to be made


    you will get what you deserve
    and what you get is what you deserve

    people should crave for superiority. be it science, maths, arts, commerce or gambling
     
  8. Nagraj

    Nagraj Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    804
    Likes Received:
    254
    one more thing the scientific thing is more related to attitude of us indians .
    for example we all know in modern times tipu sultan was the first one to use rockets in a combat .
    do we know who created it??
    we just know tipu sultan
    like really .
    fast forward 21 st century
    aaksh the so called ultra cheap tablet how many stories have read about the engineering team who created it the challeges they faced and how they solved it.
    all we saw a kapil sibbal posing with the finished product and media running thge story day in and day out how many of them bothered about the team who created it???
     
  9. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    6,207
    Likes Received:
    6,495
    All right, all right - nothing to keep worrying about.

    Let us learn to walk before we can run. We have had just around 15 years so far. The pre-liberalization period was as good as a complete waste anyway. Hold on for a couple of decades, and the scientific temperament will start.
     
  10. niharjhatn

    niharjhatn Regular Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2010
    Messages:
    899
    Likes Received:
    388
    University - where much of the research occurs - is viewed as a right, not a privelege in India. And unfortunately this is a view built up from primary school and onwards - all people care about are cracking IIT-JEE, CAT etc. Until society moves away from this, and accepts that: hey, I don't HAVE to go to UNI if I don't want to (i.e. I can still earn enough for myself + family) and the environment exists for this, no real research is going to be conducted. Kids are force fed, especially the poorer people, that unless they study their ass off in primary and secondary school, and end up in a good college, their situation will be as bad as their parents. People are forced into doing things they don't want to do - Hence why you see quite high drop-out rates from people who enter into such systems for the first time (especially IIT).

    Look at some of the greatest "breakthroughs" made in the early 20th/late 19th century in america - most were made by the COMMON man, not people with fancy degrees.

    This will never happen until people stop slavishly working for some crappy degree to end up working in a call centre.
     
    Nagraj likes this.
  11. warriorextreme

    warriorextreme Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,369
    Likes Received:
    536
    Location:
    Mumbai
    because we do not learn science and maths in our mother tongue...
    undefined​
     
  12. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Messages:
    2,808
    Likes Received:
    647
    Location:
    TN
    Blame that on the 3 language policy.Where I come from, Schools that impart education in mother tongue are thriving despite the importance given to English.
     
  13. Nagraj

    Nagraj Regular Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2011
    Messages:
    804
    Likes Received:
    254
    unfortunately people who are learning in mother tongue in india are not thriving.
    i still remember there was a sense of bravado in bihar when lallo removed the english as compulsory subject result man people ended up struggling later while applying for jobs in private sector.
     
    Param likes this.
  14. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Messages:
    2,808
    Likes Received:
    647
    Location:
    TN
    True, people have to learn whatever language or subject that helps progress.
     
  15. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Messages:
    6,207
    Likes Received:
    6,495
    My personal opinion is that there is no alternative to English when it comes to Maths and Science education (i.e. technical education). Let us face it, unfortunately Indian languages do not have the vocabulary required to describe things like the laws of thermodynamics, chemical equations, USB ports, CPU pins, and so on... In nations such as Japan and Germany, they have a vast pool of scientific and technical knowledge in their own languages. That is not the case in India.

    Imparting technical education in Indian languages will require extensive "invention" of vocabulary, effort in translating thousands of technical textbooks, and so on. Basically, it is going to be an artificial effort, doomed to failure. Like it or not, English is the way forward as far as technical education in India is concerned.

    There is a proposed model wherein technical education will be imparted in English, and subjects like social sciences, literature, history, etc. will be imparted in mother tongue. I think this is the most viable solution that will work, and that will also nurture India's native languages at the same time.
     
    W.G.Ewald and Param like this.
  16. warriorextreme

    warriorextreme Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,369
    Likes Received:
    536
    Location:
    Mumbai
    it is because english has become business language in india...if you are not good in english your future is doomed...scientists that win nobel prices publish their papers in their mother tongue and not in english....when we learn something in our mother tongue we understand it easily and we remember it even more easily..
     
  17. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Messages:
    2,808
    Likes Received:
    647
    Location:
    TN
    We need English as a Link language.
    The regional languages do not suffer because of English. If you do away with English you would still need to learn another language that is not a mother tongue for more than half the population of this country.

    Nobody is stopping anyone from learning in mother tongue.


    PS:doing away with English will only replace it with another language, so by that logic mother tongue would continue to suffer.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2011
    HeinzGud likes this.
  18. warriorextreme

    warriorextreme Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,369
    Likes Received:
    536
    Location:
    Mumbai
    mother tongue is not suffering..only thing suffering is our ability to think and do R&D in science...we need to end this three language policy...just keep two languages...give education in mother tongue and keep english as link language as it will be accepted by both south and north indians...
     
    Param likes this.
  19. Param

    Param Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Messages:
    2,808
    Likes Received:
    647
    Location:
    TN
    That's an awsome Idea. But our fellow countrymen from the "Heartland" will not agree.
     
  20. warriorextreme

    warriorextreme Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2010
    Messages:
    1,369
    Likes Received:
    536
    Location:
    Mumbai
    to be honest whatever i am saying is never going to happen...we are just gonna discuss it here and let it go....some wrong decisions in past keep affecting our future forever.
     
  21. JBH22

    JBH22 Senior Member Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    Messages:
    3,620
    Likes Received:
    2,389
    Nagraj likes this.

Share This Page