Page 27 - Aug 2021
P. 27

 Rebirth of National
Madras Science Club was started in 1935 with the initiative of KS Varadachar
Science in India
Suppression of Indian scientists by colonial government was a blessing in disguise as it forced them to set out on their own through indigenous societies and journals
as Jagadis Chandra Bose and Acharya Prafulla Chandra Ray were denied their due are now legendary, as also the case of Pramatha Nath Bose, who was super- seded by a junior British officer as the director of Geological Survey of India. Scientists were being robbed of the rec- ognition they truly deserved.
Struggling to bring back their national scientific identity, scientists such as PC Ray, JC Bose, CV Raman, Meghnad Saha, Ashutosh Mukherjee, Mahen- dra Lal Sircar, M Visvesvaraya and many others were very much a part of the emerging nationalism and free- dom movement even though they did not directly participate in the political struggle. JC Bose once mentioned that ‘the highest expression in the life of a nation must be its intellectual eminence and its power of enriching the world by advancing the frontiers of knowledge’.
 n Sonam Singh Subhedar
Henry Benedict Medlicott is not someone an average In- dian would have a quick recall about. But it would be worthwhile to know this British officer whose com- ment on Indians and their scientific ap- titude and potential best sums up the discriminatory attitude colonial rulers had against Indians hoping to study, do research or make a career in the sciences.
Head of the Geological Survey of India from 1876-87, Meldicott believed Indi- ans were incapable of any original work in natural science. He wanted to wait till the “scientific chord among the natives” was touched and added that “if indeed it exists as yet in this variety of human race so let us exercise a little discretion with our weaker brethren, and not ex- pect them to run before they can walk”.
It’s no wonder then, that the British blocked the advancement of scientific research among Indians and discrimi- nated against those who made attempts to pursue it with rigour. Avenues for re- search in science were under the direct control of Britishers, and not easily ac- cessible for Indians. Stories about how deserving and exceptional Indians such
        Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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