Mast Kalandar

bandar's colander of random jamun aur aam

Fri, 23 Mar 2007

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Award Hunting

awards, india, politics, science [link] [comments ()] [raw]

A. I think scientists in India are overly concerned about awards and recognition. There are at least two reasons that come to mind:

  1. Since one is surrounded by a multitude---there is an intense desire to distinguish oneself from the hoi-polloi. This is not limited to scientists.

  2. Doing science in India has meant (and to some extent continues to mean) that one is "outside the circle" (the "circle" is inside the Western world).

B. For all Indian scientists there are nagging questions about their chosen profession and place of work:

  1. Will it be better to just work abroad?

  2. How do we convince good students to study here?

  3. Why does India need to spend money on research in science? (Science as distinct from technology.)

The combination of (A) and (B) means that an award to a distinguished mathematician who is of Indian origin will be seen as a mixed blessing or no blessing at all. If you add the statement "this work would not have been possible in India" to this mixture then it becomes fairly toxic.


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