BHARATA RATNA AWARD TO THE SCIENTIST C.N.R. RAO SOME LESSONS BEHIND THE ‘SKY ABOVE AND THE MUD BELOW’ STORY

Announcement has been made by the Government of India  to confer Bharat Ratna titles on  the scientist Dr.C.N.R.Rao and the cricketer Sachin Tendulkar for their outstanding contributions in their fields. But this announcement has brought along with it  controversies  as usual in Indian polity.

The award for the cricketer  is  attributed to the political sagacity of the  ruling political  party with an eye on the vote bank in the elections for five  state assemblies to be held very soon. There is nothing new about this as both the rulers and the citizens in our country are well accustomed to such politicisation in every move of the  governments. The obvious cannot be ruled out in this move also.  

 What makes the award to C.N.R.Rao  , more distressing is  the timing of the announcement.  It appears  that  the Central Government was frantically searching for a person to be clubbed with  Tendulkar and the ‘scapegoat  choice’  was the scientist ! Is this an honour or  insult to him ?

The views expressed by Dr.C.N.R.Rao have brought few hard realities to limelight. Dr.Rao seems to have burst out and used words in excess of the situation. He is reported to have  called the politicians  fools  as they do not allot enough funds for the most important  fields. The Governments have not done well in investment into basic education and basic science.

He pointed  out  that for basic education – for ordinary education, the  State has to invest at least SIX per cent of the GDP. But at present, the  investment level remains at  only TWO per cent of the GDP. The State  has to invest more in education, more in science so that future of India is secure. It is not good only if country’s Sensex and business is doing good.  

More so, the  scanty funds allotted  for education, science and research are not sent in time with the  redtapism and the apathy  of the  officials.   Later he informed corrections in his wordings  removing  the sting in  them. However the fact of poor allocation of fund by the Government remains as such.

But there are other  very important  facts highlighted in his  views which are lessons to posterity. ‘ Science is the way to go forward. Unfortunately support for science is not as good as it should be. The  Union Minister, Jeyapal  Reddy has agreed with the views of  the scientist CNR Rao  that enough funds are not allotted and that there is redtapism on the part of the Government.

CNR Rao has  mentioned that  we don’t work hard as the Chinese do and  that we  tend to take everything casually,  indirectly poking  at our inherent laziness.  But the most important  thing  about his views is his deep lament that there is very little scientific  attitude among us which is an absolutely undeniable truth, coming from a scientist of his stature!

The media have  unfortunately  underplayed this statement for quite obvious reasons. In the Indian Constitution, Art.51A(h) has clearly spelt out  the fundamental duty of every citizen to  uphold scientific attitude , research mentality, human love and  progressiveness. It is a big question how much of this is followed in practice.

How many of those who occupy the chairs of office after taking oath on this Constitution genuinely follow this  rule? Do they ever spend a minute on the solemn pledge ? Leave alone others. How many of the Central Ministers, even the President, the  Vice President and the Supreme Court Judges follow this rule? But the climax is, even the scientists seem to  have very scant respect for this rule.

Dr. Rao has condemened his act of carrying the miniature of the Rocket to Mars at the feet of Balaji; It is ridiculous, quite unwarranted and against the spirit of our Constitution.

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