By Ratdeep Banerji
The inception of modern science in India and its passage has left its lasting imprint for the posterity to dwell upon the subsequent proliferation of science. Indian scientists were not given the credits of discoveries which were passed on to British officers even if they didn’t have anything to do with the discovery. Scientific fingerprinting was born in India but the laurels were heaped on others, the ming of Everest was not justified among many such other instances.
The Indian Independence in 1947 brought the urge to explore, indigenize and also usher in modern science and nurture sophisticated technologies. And now Indian detection of gravitatiol waves opens up new frontier for understanding of universe!
During the period of Independence, particle physics in India was highly developed and world recognition followed. Bose-Einstein collaboration and the findings of Meghd Saha are some exemplary instances. The study of tural sciences was on full swing. The Botanical Society of India and Zoological Society of India came forward with the unchartered flora and fau of the planet. Paleobotany flourished under Birbal Sahni. The Geological Survey of India and the Survey of India had laid its modicum of research areas that later bore results at the hands of people like DN Wadia and Radhath Sikdar.
Meghd Saha ushered in stellar astrophysics. He started the physics department in Allahabad University and Institute of Nuclear Physics, tiol Academy of Science in 1930, Indian Physical Society in 1934 and the Indian Institute of Science in 1935, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics in 1943, and the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science in Kolkata. Meghd Saha was also the chief architect of river planning in India. He made the origil plan for Damodar Valley Project.
CV Raman excelled in astrophysics while working at the Indian Association of Cultivation of Science, the cornerstone of modern science in India founded in the earlier century by Mahendralal Sircar. SN Bose became an advisor to the newly formed Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). He was the President of Indian Physical Society and the tiol Institute of Science. CSIR has been ranked 12th in the world amongst government institutions, with overall global ranking of 99 in 2016, as per SCImago Institutions Rankings.
On an average, CSIR files about 250 Indian patents and 300 foreign patents per year. About 13% of CSIR patents are licensed, which remains above the global average. Subsequently, the Indian Institutes of Technology came up in Kharagpur in 1951, charting a semil course of research & technology.
Indian Arctic program started in 2008 with the setting up of Indian research base Himadri. In 2012, India became a member of the Intertiol Arctic Science Committee and in 2013, India was accorded permanent observer state in the Arctic Council. There have been 42 expeditions so far. In 1981, Indian scientists reached the Antarctic and set up Bharati station. In 2014, India’s first moored observatory was deployed in the Arctic. In 2015, India became a part of Intertiol Ocean Drilling Program in Arabian Sea.
Science without Humanity [is sin], maintained Gandhiji. One apt instance of science benefiting livelihood is the Potential Fishing Zone Services for all 14 sectors of Indian coastline. It has raised net profit of fishermen 3-4 times in Rs 34,000 to 50,000 crore range.
Earthquake monitoring, cyclone predictions and tsumi warning system are safeguards against vagaries of ture.
Rural Technology Action Group (RuTag) of IIT Delhi at behest of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has launched Unt Bharat Abhiyan with an aim to connect institutions of higher education, including Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), tiol Institutes of Technology (NITs) and Indian Institutes of Science Education & Research (IISERs) etc with local communities to address the development challenges through appropriate technologies.
India has caught up with interdiscipliry studies benefiting health sciences and agriculture in a profound way. Indian scientists prodded by the present government have taken up the daunting task of scientific validation of Ayurvedic formulations to be brought under the category of standardized medicine in the ambit of modern science.
There are efforts to do the same for folk medicines of North East India and some other places too. Similar steps have been taken for Tibetan medicine and Uni medicines too. A tiol facility for Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) pilot plant for extraction, formulation and packaging of traditiol herbal medicines has come up at CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIM), Jammu. The whole genome sequencing of basil has also been achieved to better understand traditiol knowledge around it. The creation of Traditiol Knowledge Digital Library to fight against bio-piracy is a victory.
Department of Biotechnology has become a cynosure for becoming a leading vaccine manufacturing hub. One out of six children over the world receives vaccines manufactured in India. India is among the top 12 biotech destitions in the world and ranks third in the Asia-Pacific region.
India once faced the scourge of brain drain that has now turned into brain gain with technocrats preferring to work in India than immigrating offshore. Schemes like New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative are bolstering entrepreneurship as well as R&D heralding new technologies. (PIB)