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  • Ramani

    Ramani

    MemberDec 2, 2013

    THE SECRET DIARY OF BHARAT RATNA

    THE SECRET DIARY OF BHARAT RATNA
    Dr C.N.R. Rao
    He played cricket for 24 years, I was with solid state chemistry for 60 years.
    V. GANGADHAR
    Tense moments. Not possible to do my usual work. At Thiruvananthapuram airport, on my way back to Bangalore, a young scientist rushed in with the news that New Delhi had honoured me with “the Thing”. Not expecting anything of that kind, I flew back quietly without any fuss and began editing research paper 1632. Next morning some friends dropped in at the flat. We offered them Coorgi filter coffee. Everyone was happy over the ‘thing’.
    Glanced at the newspaper. O, someone else too has been offered the thing, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. He played cricket for 24 years, I was with solid state chemistry for 60 years. He told the media that the morning after retirement and the receipt of the thing, he awoke at the usual time of 6.30 am. But suddenly remembered there was no cricket, no net practice, no physical exercises. So he went back to sleep, got up late, made himself some tea and read the newspapers. In my case, I was up at my usual time, 4 am, for I had some papers to work on. That fellow Rajdeep Sardesai of some TV channel who interviewed me would not believe that I always got up at 4 am. In his routine, such timings did not exist, perhaps that’s why our TV news channels are so bad.
    The channels had nothing but Sachin. One newspaper was kind enough to call me an “institution-builder” but here too I was way behind 40-year-old Sachin who had built a huge bungalow costing around `150 crore. That evening he hosted a sumptuous dinner for his friends, teammates and others associated with his cricket. No wonder he could afford all that because another paper reported that post-retirement he could be flooded with more endorsements! Ha, they don’t call me to endorse even a test-tube or pipette! But all said and done, I would not change my solid state and materials chemistry. Fortunately, this was not a topic for any silly controversy but the media reported I had said politicians were idiots. You see, scientists would never come out with any statement which was known to everyone. You see, I will never call anyone an idiot.
    People like me cannot compete with Sachin. He retires, immediately has a gymkhana built for him. Gifts worth several crores are showered on him. Forbes says he’s worth $1,500 mn. As a nation, do we have that kind of a budget for science and technology? How can anyone call me an institution-builder. If I asked for a solid state chemistry lab, will I get it quickly? Recently, I did some specialised work in high-temperature superconductivity and nano sciences and had a hard time explaining to people that I had not joined the Tata car project!
    (The Mumbai-based satirist is the creator of ‘Trishanku’)

    The piece is by the satirist not Prof. Rao
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  • Anoop Kumar

    MemberDec 2, 2013

    True to everybit.
    I was in conversation with one of school friend who completed PhD in Nuclear Physics from IIT Khadagpur. He told that govt is not taking interest in innovation and research and they don't fund well. Area like Nuclear Physics needs money to proceed.
    He quite disappointed and fear that he might end up with some Physics profession in some University.
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  • Ramani Aswath

    MemberDec 3, 2013

    ianoop
    He quite disappointed and fear that he might end up with some Physics profession in some University.
    That statement is the quintessence of what is wrong in India now. When I was a student everyone wanted to study physics and join some university. I too wanted that. To work with Raman. Did not happen. Though later I did work with his nephew and student Prof.Ramaseshan (an X Ray crystallographer and lastly director, IISc) for close to forty years.
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  • Kaustubh Katdare

    AdministratorDec 4, 2013

    From my indirect encounters with the so called 'leaders', I've observed that these people are incredibly clueless about all things science and technology. In fact, they're guided by a single mission - to take a 'cut' of everything they are involved in. If you tell them and convince them that setting up a solid state chemistry lab would let them have a 'cut', and the overall activity will help building their image in public; they'll happily extend all their helping hands to the project. But tell them that they should do it because that's what they're supposed to do - be ready to wait for infinity.

    I don't believe that you need to be a science or engineering graduate to really figure out what would help society. But you need a 'vision' for the society and should be able to command expert help in technical and non-technical matters. Sadly, there aren't many such leaders in India.

    On the other hand, I've also seen a few people doing really marvellous job of 'creating systems' for the benefit of people, without really knowing the technical stuff or the 'formal management techniques'.

    A simple and most obvious step Indian leaders should have taken in the last 60+ years - being self reliant on defence equipment; but didn't do because of lack of vision.
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  • Ramani Aswath

    MemberDec 5, 2013

    Kaustubh Katdare
    From my indirect encounters with the so called 'leaders', I've observed that these people are incredibly clueless about all things science and technology. But tell them that they should do it because that's what they're supposed to do - be ready to wait for infinity.

    A simple and most obvious step Indian leaders should have taken in the last 60+ years - being self reliant on defence equipment; but didn't do because of lack of vision.
    I agree with all that The last is my regret too.
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