Page 50 - Science India August 2022
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Swatantrata ka Amrut Mahotsava
under British control. As the Universities were left to their own devices to generate resources for the appointing teachers, different departmental structures were created in different universities.
A movement to establish institutes with full Indian funding and recruitment of Indian teachers to have autonomy of teaching and research free from Impe- rial control can be discerned during this period and a support system for Indian Science research and teaching was created. Asutosh Mookerjee, the Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University, raised funds from Indian sources to es- tablish a University College of Science. This was the first college to offer a post- graduate degree in Science in India. He established two professorial chairs in Physics and Chemistry, called Palit Pro- fessorships, reserved for Indian scientists and appointed CV Raman and PC Ray on them.
The success of Asutosh Mookerjee’s initiatives spurred the promotion of re- search and quality post graduate Science education in universities at Lahore, Al- lahabad, Mysore, BHU, AMU, Dacca, Waltair, Baroda, etc. In 1904, an As- sociation for the Advancement of Scien- tific and Industrial Education of Indians was formed. The objective was to send qualified students to Europe, America and Japan for studying Science-based industries. In 1909, another completely Indian organisation, the Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), was established with monetary grant from Sir JN Tata and the Maharaja of Mysore. The institute conducted basic and applied research in many fields of science and technol- ogy. Annie Besant and Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya laid the foundation stone of India’s first research university at Varanasi in 1916.
Though research was carried out both in governmental universities as well as private institutes, these Indian insti- tutions were very productive in terms of scientific research and collabora- tion. The research publication activities
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thrived during the mid-1930s. The maxi- mum research activity was in the area of Chemistry followed by Agricultural and Biological Science. Considering it as a matter of national pride, the Indian sci- entists preferred to publish their research in Indian journals. The Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences pub- lished by the Indian Academy of Science
felt the onus to establish the ‘Indian’ per- spective on modern Science which was to decide the future orientation of Science education in the country. JC Bose and PC Ray proved to be the pioneers in put- ting forth their original ideas of placing the ancient wisdom of India firmly as the foundation for the practice of modern Science. Situating Science in the context of scientific rigour, ethics and peoples’ welfare gave a robust understanding of Indian Science to the students thus en- countering the Imperial agenda of pre- paring mere assistants and helpers for British Science missions.
The excellent quality of the first generation Indian Science teachers fa- cilitated the harvest of the subsequent generations of brilliant students such as Satyendra Nath Bose, Meghnad Saha, SK Mitra, SK Banerjee, JC Ghosh, JN Mukherjee and many more. Induction as research and teaching faculty of some of the University toppers in the newly created institutions spread across the
   Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833) was the first to ask the British to give modern science education to Indians
The excellent quality of the first generation Indian Science teachers facilitated the harvest of the subsequent generations of brilliant students
since 1934 was the most preferred jour- nal of publication. The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, published more than 600 research papers within 30 years of its establishment. It is also observed that the authorship collabora- tions of pre-independence researchers were mainly restricted among the Indian authors with negligible collaborations with scientists of Britain, thus indicat- ing their capacity to conduct indepen- dent research of international quality with indigenous resources. Despite the insurmountable troubles encountered by Indian teachers of Science in higher education institutes, they contributed immensely to the development of Science and finally the international scientific community had to sit up and take no- tice. The names of JC Bose, PC Ray, CV Raman as scientist teachers come up again and again in this context.
These Indian teachers of Science also
country furthered the cause of Indian Science education. Some of them went on to establish new institutions which proved to be strong pillars in the domain well into the post-independence years.
The story of Science education of pre-independence India is as much a story of colonial suppression, discrimi- nation and exploitation as it is an inspir- ing story of the grit and determination of Indian educationists, teachers and scientists who laid the corner stone of world class Science education which was modern and Indian at the same time.
*The writer is Faculty, Human Resource Development Centre, Panjab University, Chandigarh. In 2013, she was the recipient of National Award for the Best Short Film on ‘New Drugs for Tuberculosis’, conferred by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Open Source Drug Delivery and Vigyan Prasar

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