Bengaluru: Favouritism and parochial pressures have often been said to blight Indian science. The greatest of our scientists have had to brave these factors while going about their work. Not even India’s first Nobel Prize winner in the sciences, Prof C V Raman was spared the brunt of this.
Dr Raman started his research work in Calcutta after resigning his lucrative government job to join the Indian Association for Cultivation of Science (IACS). His research at the institute not only fame for him, but also for the institute. But it could not win the hearts of his contemporaries.
Sometime into Dr Raman’s tenure, the institute started receiving anonymous letters alleging that he was favouring South Indian students over Bengalis. As a result of such allegations, he was finally stripped of his position in the IACS and he left Calcutta and joined the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru in 1933.
Instances such as this are rife in Indian science, says a paper presented at the 48th Indian Social Science Congress in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Delving into 150-year development of science in the country, the paper by Prof Santosh K, a former professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University School of Biotechnology, the paper says regionalism, favouritism and paucity of funds are the major reasons for fundamental science research not getting its due attention in India.
“Regionalism and favouritism seem to be ingrained in our system,” says Prof Santosh.
He states in his paper, "Prof. Raman's efforts to attract top-notch scientists who were fleeing from Germany also did not materialise due to the noncooperation of the Indian bureaucracy and industrialists."
Dr Raman’s case was not the only one of a scientist overcoming great hurdles. The paper traces the saga of another prominent physicist, Prof. G.V. Ramachandran, who was a student of Dr Raman.
Prof. Ramachandran was a pioneer in coming out with the Ramachandran Phi-psi diagram, otherwise known as the Ramachandran Plot. His research could have won him a Nobel but did not because his paper could not be published in time, the paper says.
“Prof. Ramachandran worked silently while his rivals were publishing their papers in the West. Although he was an excellent researcher, it was not enough to bring laurels to the country," it adds.
When Prof. Ramachandran sought funds to continue his research, bureaucrats were indifferent, and his research suffered heavily....