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US open to recognising talent

The work of an Indian scientist such as Satyendra Nath Bose not getting recognition in the developed world is nothing new. In 1930, 20-year-old Chandrasekhar left for the University of Cambridge to enhance his knowledge on how stars evolve, under Sir Arthur Eddington whose influential text on astrophysics had lured him to the subject. In 1935, as 24-year-old Chandrasekhar presented his theory before the Royal Astronomical Society, the mighty Eddington himself stood up to ridicule it as ‘self-evidently wrong’. For Eddington, a student from India could never have an upper hand over a self-righteous Englishman. Chandrasekhar decided to leave England for the University of Chicago in 1937.

From 1937 onwards, he spent five years studying the motion of stars within a galaxy; from 1943 to 1950, he concentrated on the transfer of radiation within stellar and planetary atmospheres, and between 1974 and 1983 he explored black holes.

His book, ‘The Mathematical Theory of Black Holes,’ Oxford University Press, is easy to understand and can turn a non-professional into a lover of nature. For the finding of the ‘Chandrasekhar Limit,’ a cornerstone of modern astrophysics, he received the 1983 Nobel Prize belatedly. True to his name, ‘Chandra’ means “moon” or “luminous” in Sanskrit.

NASA launched a powerful $ 1.5 billion Chandra X-ray observatory in his honour in July 1999. It is capable of gazing 10 billion years back in time. NASA’s astronomers use Chandra to map the clouds in A1367 and other galaxy clusters 300 million light years from earth.

America is the only country in the world which gives due credit to foreign-born scientists. Leaving developing countries aside, even Europe and Canada have not been able to emerge from their respective ‘black holes’ of inherent prejudices.

Another Indian-born American biochemist Har Gobind Khorana joined UBC in 1950. Since Canada failed to recognise his potential (discrimination against Indians was rampant in those days), he had no choice but move to the US. In America, he became a professor in the University of Wisconsin (1960-71) and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1971 onwards. In 1968, Khorana received the Nobel Prize for his work in genetics. The broadminded Americans waste no time in adopting intellectuals irrespective of the country of their origin, colour or creed.

G. THIND, Vancouver

Women speak up

The revolt in Haryana by women against dominance of patriarchal mindset and garnering of mass support to decimate old social customs creating road blocks in their efforts to upgrade their social status is a praiseworthy effort (editorial “Small mutinies”, July 10).

The men -women population ratio in Haryana is not evenly balanced. Several families do not find it easy to get brides for the grooms in the state and they are left with no option but to look for one in the neighbouring states. In spite of this, there are unfortunate instances of foeticide, gang rape and honour killings which carry indelible social stigma.

It is not that the Haryanvi women are not talented, educated and brave. There is a long list of sportswomen who recently brought laurels to the country in national and international events.

Why should the older generation, like members of khap panchayats, be silent spectators on the spate of killings and gagging of the born and yet-to –be–born girls? Let all the educated women gird up their loins to wage a relentless war against customs, mores and folkways which are hindering their constitutional right to equality.

R M RAMAUL, Paonta Sahib

Key player

It is very significant for India to capitalise in South-East Asia’s regional business and politics (N Ram’s article “Look East Policy”, July 10). The recent past has witnessed growth of strategic development partnership between the dragon (China) and the bear (Russia). They want to capitalise all the opportunities in the region and maintain their supremacy.

In the present scenario, opportunities will also grow for India to build bilateral relations with ASEAN nations. Dependence of smaller Asian nations on India is increasing. India has already started playing a positive role in their economic, technological, defence training and development sectors. ONGC’s project of oil exploration initiative with Vietnamese company in the South China Sea is an imperative step to show the world our technological and strategic prowess.

The Indian government needs to broaden the LEP perspective and capture available opportunities. She should not leave any stone unturned to showcase the world our importance in maintaining peace, sustenance, development, growth and regional balance of powers.


Address the warning signals

The rising trend of suicides among the youth, housewives and farmers is a matter of great concern (editorial “All is not well”, July 5). Unfulfilled materialistic expectations as well as aspirations are one of the reasons leading to this extreme step. Many precious lives can be saved if the warning signals are paid heed to. There may be social, economic or personal reasons behind the increasing number of suicidal deaths, but if there is a supportive family structure and social factors like an alert educational system and a responsive mental health care set-up, this problem can be addressed to and many precious lives can be saved.




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