India's Science Progress

On August 15 2007, India would cross a landmark in history by completing 60 years of
Independence. It has been a tedious journey with many ups and downs. But after 60 years if there is
one sphere, which makes India strong, and an international player to reckon with it is science and
What India had in 1947?
There were a few universities and research laboratories. But there were spirited and visionary
scientists Mahalonwis, Bhabha, Sarabhai, Saha, Sahani, Randhawa who had big plans for the poor
nation. Jawharlal Nehru, Indira and Rajiv Gandhi, Atal Bihari Bajpayee provided tremendous boost
to indigenous scientific research and technological development. Nehru was a truly modern,
progressive, rational personality. During his 17 years of prime minister ship a very solid foundation
of India’s scientific and technical infrastructure was laid down. A network of public sector research
laboratories and industries was created.
India did not produce a rifle or a tank or an aircraft in 1947. India had to beg for arms and
ammunition during the Chinese incursion in 1962. Indigenous missiles, frigates, warships, tanks
were a distant dream.
And where we have reached today?
India has a powerful battery of missiles. We can produce our own tanks and aircrafts. A state of the
art aircraft carrier is being built. Nuclear submarines and air breathing hyper planes are on drawing
board. Light combat aircraft-Tejas would go on production line in a few years. Fast breeder reactor
technological, magneto hydrodynamic, superconductivity, nanotechnology and nanomaterials
research is booming.
Haffkine Institute could produce some vaccines in 1947. Today India is engaged in developing
recombinant and edible vaccines. India had nothing to show in 1947 in space and ocean research.
Next year the Chandrayana 1 mission would orbit the moon with a payload of advanced technology.
There are now ambitious plans to explore the solar system. Very soon India would...