Sunday, November 24, 2013

Regard for Science

India is a country that delights in contradictions. This is welcome. But what is irksome is our lack of sense of proportions at times.

For example, our Mars Orbiter Mission costs USD 75mn. This has been described by many 'activists' as a gargantuan sum which a poor country like ours cannot afford. Harsh Mander, an activist and a former bureaucrat, who is normally known for sensible ideas says, "The Mars mission is a remarkable indifference to the dignity of the poor".

Such arguments are based on ignorance about scientific pursuits. Investment on science cannot be pitted against priority for poverty eradication. One is not at the cost of the other.

Protests against spending USD 340mn (yes, I am not exaggerating the figure) for erection of the tallest statue in the world for Sardar Patel are justified. Surprisingly, this does not attract the attention of activists.

There is a worrisome tendency to criticise Narendra Modi for wrong reasons and to keep quiet when criticism is justified.

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