L E T T E R S    T O    T H E    E D I T O R

Reasons behind the decline of Indian science

The article, “Indian science is divorced from people” (Oct 16) by B.G. Sidharth, brings forth the point that the steep decline of Indian science and technology has been the handiwork of the Indian scientific community itself. One cannot deny this despite heavy investments in higher education and research. Who is responsible and how to rectify are the important questions? I, however,disagree with Dr Sidharth that calling back people from abroad is the solution. This may have little or no effect.

Intra-institutional feudal governance vulnerable to influences that often rely on sycophancy undermining merit, logic and reason is the root cause of the problem that pushes brilliant and hard working persons to mediocrity. There is no dearth of brilliant and hard working teachers, scientists and students in universities and institutions of the country. They need to be nurtured and cared for not only by material benefits, but also should be provided a proper competitive environment conducive to their intellectual needs for which the role of the institutional governance system is most important.

Indeed, it is the peer pressure that drives research excellence. However, it is miserably lacking in our system of higher education and research which is being driven by self-serving individuals, groups and unions by influencing decisions and procedures relating to appointments, selections and other matters relating to personal benefits.

It is partly true that Indian scientists work on problems relevant to the developed world. Scientific and technical research must be relevant to the national and local needs; but learning from international experiences is important. The nature of the research work undertaken by most of the research students and young scientists is determined by post-graduate curriculum, field experiences, national and international interactions and directions to carry out particular research and most importantly by the research funding which must be matched to our socio-economic development by proper academic planning and prioritisation of research funding.

Dr V R PARSHAD, Ludhiana

Games’ success

The editorial “Three cheers for India!” (Oct 15) was a befitting tribute to the Indian sportspersons who did us proud, as also a reminder to the Indian Olympic Association to get rid of vested interests.

However, there is no excuse for the last minute fire fighting that we had to do just before the commencement of the games.  It led to an embarrassing situation and bad international publicity. Having finished on a high note does not absolve the culprits and the corrupt. We must learn our lessons. A thorough inquiry must be conducted and the culprits taken to task so that we do not have to suffer such humiliation again.

While the corrupt should be punished and inefficient shown the door, the 101 medal winners (38 gold, 27 silver, 36 bronze) deserve not only our kudos but also suitable financial award.

Unlike cricketers, they are not paid in lakhs, and most of them hail from humble families. They have come up the hard way. The nation now must look after them and provide them international training facilities, free of cost. The state of the art facilities created for the CWG must be duly maintained and made available to our sportspersons. We are quite good at ignoring these things once an event is over, and forgetting our heroes once they have delivered. We must now spur ourselves to win medals at the Olympics. We can do it because the talent is in plenty in our villages as has been proved by the present Games. What is needed is recognition, financial support, and international training facilities. Let the spectacular CWG performance be a turning point for the sporting India.

Colonel R D SINGH, Ambala Cantt


It is a matter of great satisfaction and pride that the Commonwealth Games have gone off well without any major hitch or embarrassment to the organisers, despite initial hiccups and acts of negligence and wrong-doing that must now be investigated with a view to punishing those found guilty.

For their noteworthy performance on the security front, Delhi police, other intelligence/surveillance agencies who kept constant vigil, both on the ground and in the air, as also the Armed Forces personnel deserve appreciation.

Wing Commander SC KAPOOR (retd), Noida 

Invincible human spirit

The editorial “Triumph of human spirit”(Oct 14) portrayed the true picture of a real life drama. People’s joy knew no bounds when Florencio Avalos, first of the 33 miners who had been trapped 2,000 feet below the ground in a mine in Copiapo, Chile, resurfaced after 69 days of living underground.

Kudos to the Chilean government, led by the President and the Mining Minister, in locating the miners trapped in a small copper-and-gold mine 2,000 feet below the ground in Copiapo, Chile. 

The role played by Luis Urzua, the trapped miners’ shift in-charge, in boosting their morale as well as providing them with material and emotional support for their survival during those 17 days when they had no contact with the outside world, deserves recognition.

Future generations will be inspired by this humane story. I hope the incident gives more insight into how to make mining safer.


Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor, neatly hand-written or typed in double space, should not exceed the 150-word limit. These can be sent by post to the Letters Editor, The Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh-160030. Letters can also be sent by e-mail to: Letters@tribuneindia.com                                                 — Editor-in-Chief



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