Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Indian science needs irreverence

Shares

For India to successfully address local and global challenges and nurture future science leaders, Indian scientists must embrace a spirit of irreverence, says R. A. Mashelkar, president of the Global Research Alliance National Chemical Laboratory.

Indian culture, where "the words of the elders are the ultimate truth", condemns the irreverence inspired by the constant questioning that is essential in science, says Mashelkar. The country's education system, which is textbook-centred rather than student-centred, compounds this attitude, as does heavy bureaucracy, he adds.

The result is that, even if an institute wants to support 'audacious' ideas, finding fundable proposals is difficult, says Mashelkar.

But things are starting to change. India's higher education system is rapidly expanding, with thirty new universities and five Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research that will help to create a new culture of innovation through interactive learning methods and new evaluation systems.

Foreign companies are setting up research centres at a rapid pace, and filling them with many Indian returnees from abroad who bring innovation and new work perspectives to the table.

The recent launch of Tata Nano — the world's least expensive car — shows that a new spirit of adventurism is being embraced by some Indian companies.

"Hopefully, this spirit will rub off onto other enterprises and institutions," says Mashelkar.
 
Republish
We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.