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Why India is not developed as a great scientific power?

India, a gigantic sub-continent in South Asia, has been the cradle of various prodigious civilisations. It not only taught the western civilisations the importance of trade and commerce, lavish lifestyle and the use of renowned spices, but also happens to be the bridge for knowledge transfer and exchange, may it be Politics, Economics, Law and Order and even Military science. One of the most apprised and notable wealth created by the people from the soil is in Science. It is said, proudly, that it is the civilisations in India who augured and stressed over the logical reasoning. No doubt, the revered, noble and acclaimed scholars like Sushruta, Varahmhira, Aryabhata, Brahmagupta, Pingala, etc. are credited with the knowledge which was prevalent, what today the westerners claim to be theirs. The essence of Vedas, which have many scientific rendering perfectly places India's glorious past to be of logical Reasoning. The land where spirituality is connected with scientific exploration of inner as well as outer world and teachings are imbibed to every person. It was not just the theoretical knowledge but also the its practicality what distinct the landed scholars from the others. Just for an insight, the decimal system, which is said to be one of the pinnacle of mathematics was given by Indian Scholars to the world. Also, it is a proven fact now, the Harrappan Civilisation used proper measurement systems for building purposes. The King Ajatshatru (son of the great King Bimbisar of Haryanka Dynasty) had developed state of the art Defence Technology (obviously in comparison to their cohorts of that time in the world) like Mahashila Kantak (Canon), Rathmushal (Tank) etc. Hence, there is not even a dearth of perturbation to put Indian historical accumulated knowledge and development to be a falsified claim, as what the western scholars call it to be.

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A dive into the great history of the land, proves it, that the scourge of internal turbulence have withered away the compounded knowledge, just like the 'Dark Ages'. The land had been under attack since yore of the Gupta Empire ( 2nd - 3rd AD circa), which led to the establishment of the rule of Kushanas, Shakas, Pahalvas etc. From the Turks, Afghans, Uzbeks and even Mongolian raids meant not only looting, incinerating cities, villages and mass genocide but also, resulted, asunder the knowledge and its keepers. Furthermore, after deliberate jabbed formation of British Empire through sly means brought India into an era of further oppression continuing till independence. The enlightening fact lies is that, although, India had earlier faced barbarism through raids which were for short period. But the Britishers, to rule, implied cunning and slew practices which looted not just economically but also of the great sense of identity of being progeny of great ancient civilisation.

Post- Independence India faced realities, i.e. poverty, hunger, security dilemma, partition, Cold-War politics, lack of technology due to age old oppression which led to food crisis, destruction of traditional structure of society which held the paternal knowledge, and the vices introduced by the Empire. But, the forefathers with proper insights and a leg into the future formed Constitution to rein India back to its hitherto held place. A place of prosperous land. Hence, by re-aligning the priorities, under the democracy, we still heading straight to the target. Today, we stand tall in the Aerospace industry, one of the responsible nuclear power, cradle of innovation as well as technology application. After independence the nation faced exigency related to the survival of Citizens, and today India is striving towards excellence may it be Science, Governance, Economy, Politics or International Relations. There was a time when India was threatened with embargoes, but it is only the perseverance of the people which brought it out as a bright star. As per IMF, India is going to become World's Fifth largest economy, surpassing United Kingdom and France by 2018 and Third largest by 2030. Also, India is going through a period of demographic dividend, where about sixty percent population is under Thirty years of age. Yet ,although a number of theoretical criteria are in favour, India is considered to be technological backward when juxtaposed to US, China or other developed nation. The reasons for conditions somewhat lies in the Historical related facts, rampant corruption, illiteracy, internal politics, and many more. Keeping these facts to the fore, another sets of facts tells a different picture, for example India is reckoned amongst the top aerospace technology destination, developed missiles like Brahmos, have indigenous developed Inter-continental Ballistic Missiles ( Agni-V), having Nuclear capabilities, etc. What these facts point to?

Though, it is quite right that India lacks in High-end technology development relating to manufacturing industry, material technology, etc. In pharmaceutical sector, India is lacking behind in production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), which is being imported in bulk from China! Similarly, in manufacturing sector India lags behind in exporting goods. India's share to the world export lies close to 2% only, whereas China's share is nearly 13%. Such facts cut across all the lines and raises obvious dubious representation.

Technical education is facing quality deliverable challenge. Today India is producing nearly more than 1.5 million technical graduates annually, but due to lack of infrastructure, improperly guided and lackadaisical education policy these graduates are facing hurdles in the form of industrial knowledge, add-on value skills, innovation skills, lagging entrepreneurial development opportunities and many more factors which directly or indirectly relates to the job creation and Indian Economy. First and foremost step towards checking the aberrance is correcting policy paralysis relating to Education. What Graduates require is market ready skills, which now is being answered through schemes like 'Skill India'. Apart from that innovation funds have been set up under tinkering labs, and other entrepreneurship programmes. Secondly, Job creation is also a challenge which is being handled through 'Make in India' initiative. Thirdly, availability of government aided educational institutions alike of IIT's, NIT's, IIIT's and more and more effort should be made to establish more and upgrade present infrastructure with benchmark of MIT, Harvard, Imperial College of London etc. Fourthly, creating infrastructure and correcting policies will have no use until the government devices the plan of holding up to created assets. The issue of brain drain has profited more the western, already developed countries. Sons and daughters of India, although ruling the Multi-National Institutions, would prove more beneficial to India if they produce and integrated their ideas by participating in Indian economy directly. Fifthly, providing research funding is another crucial aspect for the technological development. Today, Chinese are attracting worldwide scholars and researches and providing all the facilities from research funding, highly paid salaries, are taken care of the residential facilities etc. Such practices has to be accorded well with a proper policy frameworks. Taking into account all these factors and a hope that government works towards these basic tenets, it would take at least a decade to see fructified image. Another aspect, which relates to the psychology of Indian society is a cult of Government Jobs, Corporate Jobs and tacit outlook towards entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is one and only way to develop India Technologically. Indian land has given birth to dextrous minds like Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai, Shantanu Narayen, Sanjay Mehrotra, Dr.Soumya Swaminathan, Tanmay Bakshi etc. Until unless young minds tinker up their heads for solutions of the past problems and prognosticate needs, a dream of Prosperous India will remain unattained.

- Nitin Thakur