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Mars mission remarkable, but not true innovation, says scientist

He claimed that focus of our culture has been on self realisation and not on worldly knowledge as propagated in Upanishads and Gita.

Written by Mihika Basu | Bangalore/mumbai, Mumbai | Published: January 5, 2015 4:33:02 am

Stating that spirituality is the hallmark of Indian ethos and there is little interest in experimental sciences, R K Saxena, vice-president of New Delhi’s South Asian University, said Sunday that the Mars mission cannot be called a true innovation.

Speaking at a session on ‘Science and Technology in SAARC Countries’ at the Indian Science Congress, he claimed that the focus of our culture has been on self realisation and not on worldly knowledge as propagated in Upanishads and Gita. This, he said, explained why the country had not become truly innovative.

“In India, the focus has been on spirituality and understanding of the self. There has been no genuine curiosity about understanding processes of nature and little effort in exploring cultures. Replication of a demonstrated technology represents great intellect in developing specific skills, but it is not true innovation. The Mars mission is a truly remarkable achievement. But you cannot call it true innovation, we have copied technology,” said Saxena.

When asked what he thinks of a session on ancient Indian sciences through Sanskrit, in which a paper spoke of how before Wright Brothers’ first flight, a Mumbai couple pulled off a demonstration flight on Chowpatty beach, Saxena said science is objective and unless there is tangible proof, people will consider it hearsay. “If we were so good, why doesn’t it get reflected in society today? Our achievement in spirituality has been great, just as the West has made great achievements in science,” he said.

He questioned: “What’s our strategy, let the West innovate and we shall keep following them?

Or we shall learn to innovate and not keep doing peripheral science?”

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