Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Indian Science Congress-2011

Now is the Time to Revive Nalanda Spirit

Vinod Varshney
  India needs to revive Nalanda Tradition of learning if it again wants to become a scientific power. This is the key message Amartya Sen, a Nobel Laureate gave during his lecture to hundreds of delegates in the 98th Indian Science Congress being held at SRM University in Chennai. Sen said it was time to recollect the scientific tradition of old Nalanda
  Prof Sen reminded that Nalanda University was destroyed 700 years ago by Afghan conqueror Bakhtiyar Khilji in 1193. That was the time when Oxford and Cambridge were taking birth. The oldest European university at Bologna was born when Nalanda had been more than 600 years old. The Al-Azhar University in Cairo, another distinguished university with which Nalanda is often compared, was set up in 970 A.D. -- more than 500 years after Nalanda was founded.
Need to Generate a New Indian Story
  This is an old story of old Indian glory. Any modern Indian today cannot just keep repeating and feeling that we were great in the past. Nalanda culture and spirit should pervade Indian mind. Only time will tell how the effort of five countries – Japan, China, Singapore, Thailand and India – to build new Nalanda would be able to do it.
  While we revive Nalanda, we need to really think of today’s decay, and try to know who are destroying our universities. Most Indians would agree that the true reason of educational decay is our political and business culture which has taken over our educational system.
Indian Science Declined During Last 20 Years
  But government priorities are also to blame. Scientific Advisory Council of the Prime Minister told in a report that the science in India had declined in the past 20 years. It was because of “sub-critical and inadequate investment by the Government and Industry in research.”
  One needs to remember how successive Indian Science Congresses had been during the entire previous decade exhorting Central Government to increase R&D expenditure in terms of percentage of the GDP, but it remains stagnant only at 0.8 percent. Prof KC Pandey the General President of the Indian Science Congress said in his address that “advanced countries spend around 30 per cent of their total Research and Development expenditure in the university sector, while in India it is only six per cent.”
  Prof Pandey wants that the Centre or state governments, in collaboration with the private sector, should establish Special Education Zones primarily dedicated to the development of higher professional educational institutions and R&D centres.


  1. Great Idea Bhai Sahib...
    It should be..

  2. I am with the thought that a lot need to be done to revive the education system in India.
    This country is bestowed with the unique intellectual capital that any other country find it difficult to match with, but still India has not produced any Einstein, Edison, James watt etc.
    An urgent need to to channelize the resources and make optimal use of the mental agility that people posses.
    LAst day I was reading about the number of students who pursue their studies in foreign countries has increased humongously, which is an evidence of education opportunities, obviously thin, available in our country.
    And the talent, which is sown and reaped on our resources brings fruit to other countries.
    I am happy that our education minister had came up with lot of reforms in this sector like setting up National Knowledge Commission, National Skill Development Corporation, SSA for primary education etc.
    Another interesting deveopment I witnessed is corporates are setting up learning centers as part of their CSR initiative. Recently Shiv Nadar, Founder of HCL Technologies has promised to give away 10% of his wealth to charity. They have set up an school which provides all modern facilities to the deserving school children from villages.
    India need many such initiative to transform the face of India, and further fuel the west's anxiety of shift to power from west to east.
    I wish all the best to my India..!!
    Vinay Jain