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Rao is right, more funds needed for science, R&D

Bharat Ratna C.N.R. Rao is right in criticising politicians for not allotting sufficient funds for science projects and education. Owing to the paucity of funds, India’s ranking in innovation is a poor 66 among 140 countries. Similarly, not a single Indian university or institution finds a place in the top 200. Even in small countries like Malaysia, Brazil, Hong Kong or Taiwan, institutions of higher learning are ranked higher than those in India. India ranks 12th among the top 20 countries in terms of publications on science and technology. We have 119 researchers per one million people, as compared to 715 in China and 468 in the USA. The government must allocate sufficient funds to encourage research and development (R&D), which leads to innovation and patents.

S.K. Khosla, Chandigarh

Rao is humble, true Ratna

This is with reference to the front page news, “Bharat Ratna for Sachin, top scientist Rao” (November 17). It was a privilege for me to have Prof CNR Rao as my vive voce examiner for my Ph.D thesis in physical chemistry in the early seventies in the chemistry department, Panjab University.

I vividly remember having a glimpse of his sharp intelligence, quick wit and to top it all, tons of humility. It is very rare to come across an examiner putting at ease the examinee to extract the  maximum insofar as the quality  of his work is concerned. This inspired me to emulate this trait during my career as a teacher in Panjab University.

Later, I accompanied my research guide Professor Lakhanpal to see off Professor Rao at the ISBT, Sector 17. There was another glance of Professoer Rao’s simplicity when he boarded a bus to Delhi without bothering about its type.

It is a matter of honour for PU to be associated with Professor Rao till date. His immense contribution towards basic sciences and society, in general, has earned him the top award.

He is a Bharat Ratna in the true sense.

Dr IM Joshi, Chandigarh

A home-grown scientist

The announcement of the Bharta Ratna for Prof C.N. R. Rao is great news for Indian science. His admirers are legion not only in India but also in several countries abroad, many of whom are overawed by his vast contributions to materials chemistry.

A prolific researcher, he has published over 1,794 papers in reputed science journals, many of which are heavily cited (over 55,000 citations, and an h-factor of 107), which can be the envy of top performers of science, globally.

He is also an excellent teacher who has inspired generations of scientists/professors, many of whom became top performers themselves.

He earned a PhD from Purdue University at the age of 24. And though he has always been much in demand abroad as visiting professor or to deliver lectures, Professor Rao likes to stay and work in India. In fact, all his pioneering research work has been conducted in India, making him truly a home-grown acientist. He published his first book "Ultra-violet and Visible Spectroscopy" at the age of 26.

Dr J.V. Yakhmi, Mumbai

Nehru appreciated Milkha

Apropos the pictorial write-up "Jawaharlal Nehru and Punjabi" (November 15), the late Jawaharlal Nehru was a great sportsperson and lover of sports too, besides his deep connection with Punjabis.

When Milkha Singh won the gold medal with a new record in 400 metres at the Commonwealth Games in Cardiff (Wales, 1958), Pt Nehru was so thrilled that he clapped in delight and sent him a congratulatory message. He directed his sister Vijay Lakshmi Pandit, the then Indian High Commissioner in the UK, to go to Cardiff and congratulate Milkha Singh on behalf of the country and reward him with whatever he wanted. Milkha Singh did not ask for any monetary award. He simply asked for a holiday in the whole country, which was accepted.

And when the athlete returned, Nehru went to the Delhi airport to receive him.

Milkha Singh is the only sports personality who has adopted a Kargil martyr child: Gurvinder Singh, the late Hav Vikram Singh's son.

Narinder Singh "International", Chandigarh

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