Noted scientist Dr Raghunath Mashelkar on Friday said India’s image in the scientific community across the globe has taken a beating because of the tendency of “jugaad” in making innovations affordable.
“In the field of innovation, India’s image is bad across the world because of our tendency to have ‘jugaad’ (to do something in a make-shift way), which means getting less from less people. Somehow cost is the only consideration and not the safety in India,” Mashelkar said at his felicitation function at Kala Academy here.
The Goa-born internationally-famed scientist said he personally disagrees with such kind of ‘jugaad’.
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“We bypass everything and somehow fix things. I don’t like this,” the Padma Vibhushan awardee said in presence of Goa Chief Minster Manohar Parrikar and other dignitaries.
The idea of “affordable excellence” is what India needs to support, he said.
“I have been propagating the idea of affordable excellence. You might say that whatever is affordable is not excellent and whatever is excellent is not affordable, but the real challenge is how do we get this. The poor, who is at the base of economic pyramid, has the same right to get the same quality of excellence as all of us enjoy,” he said.
“We should be using high technology, creating something that is affordable for the people,” said the 71-year-old scientist, who has been on several scientific advisory committees of the Central government in the past.
“Science has to be relevant to the society and to the people. Finally, it has to be influencing the people. It’s not just science for the sake of science, but at the end of the day we should see what does it mean for the people,” Mashelkar said.
The scientist, who formerly headed the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), narrated anecdotes about his childhood when he studied under street light pole.
“One of the scientists asked me whether I had computer in childhood. I just laughed, imagining that we had difficulty to get two square meals during that time. It was during that time that my uncle worked on this computer of mine (brain) which helped me to achieve success now,” he said pointing to the head.
Addressing over thousand students during the felicitation today, Mashelkar said there is no alternative to hard work in life and that short cuts don’t work.