I am delighted to participate in the "Sastra Pratibha Sangamam" and interaction with the winners of the science talent contest in the past 6 years. My greetings to the Organizers and the winners of the Science talent Contest. I am also happy to greet the winner of various student's project competitions conducted as a part of Swasraya Bharat 09. My best wishes to all of you.
I am happy that the activities of Swadeshi Science Movement which imbibes the spirit scientific inquiry in the young by inculcating the ancient and modern day scientific contributions from India which kindles the spirit of creativity and science. This activity has resulted in locating the scientific talent among the youth and it is spreading year by year among the youth, I greet the organizers and the participants. I would like to talk to you on the subject "Science empowers the nation".
The role of scientists in Indian independence movement
Friends, I was reading the biography of the great astrophysicist and the Nobel laureate Prof. S.Chandrasekhar, written by Shri Kameshwar Wali. While I am in the midst of young scientific community, I would like to quote from the book:
"Chandra:I mean it is a remarkable thing that in the modern era before 1910, there were no (Indian) scientists of international reputation or standing. Between 1920 and 1925, we had suddenly many internationally well known men like J.C.Bose, C.V Raman, Meghnad Saha, Srinivasa Ramanujam, and Chandrashekher Subhramaniam." Chandra continued, "I myself have associated this remarkable phenomenon with the need for self-expression, which became a dominant motive among the young during the national movement. It was a part of the national movement to assert oneself. India was a subject country, but in the sciences, in the arts, particularly in science, we could show the West in their own realm that we were equal to them."
Dear young friends, today many decades after these pioneering work by Indian scientists, the new challenge before us is how science and scientists can play a vital role in making the nation economically developed in another decade. I call this economic transformation, as the second independence movement for the nation.
Basic research leads to competitive and prosperous India
When I was studying the Global innovation report for the year 2009, I found that as per Global Innovation Index, South Korea is ranked 1; USA 2; Japan-3; Sweden-4; and India 15. There is a relationship between innovation index and competitiveness. Even though India is 15 in innovation index, our ranking in global competitiveness index is 49 in 2009-10. If India has to graduate from the present ranking in competitiveness index of 49 and become equal to economically developed nations (within the top 10), we should note that India will have to depend on the technologies derived from Indian science originality and improve its innovativeness index to better than 5. The present growth has been achieved by the use of technologies essentially developed elsewhere based on scientific discoveries and patents generated before 10 to 15 years. In all the top branches of basic sciences and technology we are only followers. We are 3rd or 4th country to achieve a particular breakthrough. I call this as having a 3rd or 4th syndrome. Now our scientific mission is to overcome this syndrome and be the pioneer in sciences. Definitely, latest technologies resulting from latest scientific results are not available from developed countries to India at least for a decade. Hence, research is very vital, particularly, basic science which will result in the latest technology required for meeting Global Competitiveness by Indian organizations, institutions and industry. The Swadeshi Science Movement with a rich heritage in research and human resource development in basic sciences and technology research, can contribute extensively in uplifting the country's status in innovation and competitiveness.
In science, there is nothing like impossible
Friends, in 1895 Lord Kelvin, the then president of Royal society declared that anything heavier than air cannot fly. But in 1903, Wright Brothers made their world's first successful aero-plane and demonstrated the first, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight. Lord Ruther Ford who discovered the nucleus of atom dismissed the possibility of building of an atomic bomb. The discoverer of energy equation Einstein also thought atomic bomb is not possible. Black-hole were once considered to be science fiction. Einstein said that black hole could never be formed. Today, the Hubbles space telescopes and the Chandra x-ray telescope have revealed thousands of black-holes in space. At the end of 19th century scientists decided that it was impossible for the earth to be billions of years of old. The impossible was finally proved possible with the discovery of the nuclear force by Madam Curie and others showing how the centre of the earth heated by radio active decay could indeed be kept molten for billions of years. Hence, young friends, there is nothing like impossible. Science in course of time makes everything is possible. How is it possible? "Through mission and work".
What Science can give you?
Friends, as you can see, science gives you better eyes because science can remove the mental blinkers and it gives your brain, a challenge to solve many scientific problems that are yet to be solved. When people in general, talk in dimensions, just less than one millimeter or few hundred thousand kilometers requirement in flight, the scientists will easily move from the behaviour of proton (10-15M) to the size of visible universe approximately 1028M 43 orders of magnitude. Most of our friends, who are not in the field of science, will slice the time perhaps maximum upto one hundredth of a second. Scientists will slice the time into femtoseconds (10-15 Sec), which may decide a fast photochemical reaction. When you think way back in time, it will be big bang, some 15,000 million years ago and the beginning of the life on earth, about 3800 million years ago. Again you will be ahead of 17 to 18 orders of magnitude. Science indeed will connect you into the brains of many smart people who were there before you.
As you know, among the millions and millions of stars, we belong to a small star, what is that star? Sun. Our galaxy and our Sun and its characteristics have been identified. Exact location with respect of Sun and Galaxy has been discovered. Again you ask yourself what science has done. What scientific discoveries have led to? We know that earth rotates in its own axis in 24 hours. We get day and night. How do you get the full moon night. Earth has its own satellite, Moon, which orbits around the planet earth in 29 days. And how the moon shines? Anytime have you thought, the beautiful full Moon night how do we get? How do we get the new moon? You all know it has been discovered. It is the dynamic movement of earth, sun and the moon in the space, which decides, the full moon and the dark night. Friends, do you know, it takes nearly 250 million years for Sun to orbit around the galaxy. We can talk about many aspects of science. I am sure, you will yourself discover the possibilities through the search based on your area of passion. You can explore outer space; you can nurture environment; you can delve deep into ocean; you study the complexities of the human mind; you can research the diseases haunting humanity and the cure/alleviation mechanisms; you can study behavioral patterns of human species; and you can go on and on.
Now I would like to focus on specifically how science can be harnessed for Indian rural community.
Empowering people with science
Friends, when you go to a remote village, which does not even have a connecting road, you may find a farmer using a cell phone to enquire the price for paddy. We have seen how some villagers have done their own experiments on organic farming. Solar powered LED lamps are lighting many houses in Sunderban area. India has the unique experience of electronic voting machines in all its elections. What a world of information that is contained in internet today! Have you ever wondered what the sciences behind these routine events are? That brings to the point as to how science can empower us in solving many apparently intractable problems of today? How will we provide minimum guaranteed quality of life to every citizen? How will we ensure that future wars are not fought on energy and water? If you analyse these, you will find that there are many ways in which science can empower a nation and humanity.
Now let me describe my visualization of the distinctive profile of India by 2020.
Distinctive Profile of India by 2020 1. A Nation where the rural and urban divide has reduced to a thin line.
2. A Nation where the rural and urba2. A Nation where there is an equitable distribution and adequate access to energy and quality water.
3. A Nation where agriculture, industry and service sector work together in symphony.
4. A Nation where education with value system is not denied to any meritorious candidates because of societal or economic discrimination.
5. A Nation, which is the best destination for the most talented scholars, scientists, and investors.
6. A Nation where the best of health care is available to all.
7. A Nation where the governance is responsive, transparent and corruption free.
8. A Nation where poverty has been totally eradicated, illiteracy removed and crimes against women and children are absent and none in the society feels alienated.
9. A Nation that is prosperous, healthy, secure, devoid of terrorism, peaceful and happy and continues with a sustainable growth path.
10. A Nation that is one of the best places to live in and is proud of its leadership. n divide has reduced to a thin line.
Integrated Action for developed India
To achieve the distinctive profile of India, we have the mission of transforming India into a developed nation. We have identified five areas where India has a core competence for integrated action: (1) Agriculture and food processing (2) Education and Healthcare (3) Information and Communication Technology (4) Reliable and Quality Electric power, Surface transport and Infrastructure for all parts of the country. (5) Self-reliance in critical technologies. These five areas are closely inter-related and if progressed in a coordinated way, will lead to food, economic and national security.
Scientists and technologists have an important role to play in realization of all the pillars through the integrated action on five areas which I have just now described.
Value of Science
I was reading the two volumes of the book titled 'The Big and the Small' from the Microcosm to the Macrocosm written by Dr. G. Venkataraman. In this latest book, author establishes fascinating link between particle physics and cosmology in two volumes. Since I am in the midst of Scientists and Technologists, I thought of sharing with you an incident narrated in the book about Sir CV Raman. Raman was in the first batch of Bharat Ratna Award winners. The award ceremony was to take place in the last week of January, soon after the Republic Day celebrations of 1954. The then President Dr. Rajendra Prasad wrote to Raman inviting him to be the personal guest in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, when Raman came to Delhi for the award ceremony. He wrote a polite letter, regretting his inability to go. Raman had a noble reason for his inability to attend the investiture ceremony. He explained to the President that he was guiding a Ph.D. student and that thesis was positively due by the last day of January. The student was valiantly trying to wrap it all up and Raman felt, he had to be by the side of the research student, see that the thesis was finished, sign the thesis as the guide and then have it submitted. Here was a scientist who gave up the pomp of a glittering ceremony associated with the highest honour, because he felt that his duty required him to be by the side of the student. It is this character that truly builds science and scientific temper in the minds of the young.
Friends, I will suggest all of you should ask a question, what would you like to be remembered for? You have to evolve yourself and shape your life. You should write it on a page. That page maybe a very important page in the book of human history. And you will be remembered for creating that one page in the history of the nation â€“ whether that page is the page of invention, the page of innovation or the page of discovery or the page of fighting injustice or the page of contributing towards inclusive growth of the nation in a time bound manner. I am sure, you would like to do something different â€“ out of box missions, what are they? I would like to put-forth a thought:
1. Will you be remembered for a visionary action for the nation, like Prof. Vikaram Sarabhai or Homi Bhabha? Or responsible for discovering in innovation that will challenge the present way of thinking?
2. Will you be remembered as a great teacher? Great science teacher, great teacher of economics, great teacher of philosophy?
3. Will you be remembered for creating a company which finds a place in the top 100 of the Fortune 500 companies from India?
4. Will you be remembered for facilitating the creation of 100 PURAs (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas) in your region?
5. Will you be remembered for becoming the pioneer in developing a smart water way in the states and Interlinking of Rivers in the nation?
6. Will you be remembered for revitalizing or revolutionizing the integrated Primary Healthcare Centre in a Public-private-participation model?
7. Will you be remembered for working and creating a validated system for the production of 340 million tons of food grains and value addition through food processing by the year 2020?
8. Will you be remembered for modernization of 10 million SMEâ€™s and addition of another Million by providing Private equity funding ventures?
9. Will you be remembered as a venture capital banker by introducing the unique private equity funding for the ideas that will bring new dimension to the society.
10. Will you be remembered as great astronaut who have walk Moon or Mars?
11. Will you be remembered as a noble political leader?
12. Will you be remembered for bringing energy independence for the nation?
13. Will you be remembered for the action oriented â€“ "Clean home, clean environment, clean state and clean nation" programme?
I would suggest you that all of you decide on "what you will be remembered for" as quickly as possible, since that statement will act as a goal post for you and facilitate your systematic work for the realization of the goal. Once again I greet all of you and my best wishes to all the young scientific talent who own the contest for promoting excellence in science and technology for societal transformation. May God Bless you all.
Eight point Oath
1. Science is a life time mission. I will work, work and work and succeed.
2. Wherever I am, a thought will always come to my mind, that is what I can innovate, invent or discover.
3. I will always remember that â€œLet not my winged days, be spent in vainâ€.
4. I realize I have to set a great scientific goal that will lead me to think high, work and persevere to realize the goal.
5. My greatest friends will be great scientific minds, great teachers and great books.
6. I firmly believe that no problem can defeat me; I will become the captain of the problem, defeat the problem and succeed.
7. I will work and work for removing the problems faced by planet earth in the areas of water, energy, habitat, waste management and environment through the application of science and technology.
8. My National Flag flies in my heart and I will bring glory to my nation
By, Dr. APJ Abdulkalam