November 17, 2010
Where is Odisha actually headed? That’s one thing that has occupied my mind for a long time now. OK, I originally hail from Odisha, which is to say my family and friends and my loved ones, which includes my teachers till I was an adult, they all are from this place. This is the place where I was inspired, but truth be told I have lived in many different places of the world so I connect to the complete Globe even though I haven’t lived everywhere.
This is like if you have been to ten places in a city you pretty much know the city. You don’t have to go to every other avenue, with time you will do. SO I have been to pretty many places in the world and I connect to all of them, so I do have a special affinity to Odisha and to the other entire places.
There are just two things here; my scientific vision would be incomplete without all the international experience. I connect a great deal to people from West Virginia and Maryland, at the same time I have come across people from Yokohama and Tokyo who I connect a great deal to. They all find an affable person in me. Some of you may already be thinking how high I am thinking of myself and how much of myself I am telling you here, but this is my way to tell you that everything we do and tell to each other are meaning less without a great deal of subjectivity and personal touch.
If I tell you a lot of quantum mechanics without your knowing my personal traits and so on, you will possibly not think any less of me, but isn’t this more fun this way. When the hours are over you have some one who is telling you a lot of personal stories and it has an impression forever, I think I am just sending you a message that if everyone get this as a message and while they teach you, if they keep on telling who they are it just means they are devoted to their job. Because devil may care if I drink to my class and give a lecture.
On the other hand if the students can appreciate the addicted person as someone who is a devoted teacher that does the trick of teaching. People will be inspired before they take a dip into understanding something, which may not have something that they may carry forever into their psyche. If you think I am advocating for drugs and alcohol, I think I am not, because I have never done that to my class. I can tell them a story about who I am but gradually they will learn who I am and it will take time, at least I need to complete 3 autobiographies before that will be so. Till then they may read my articles on my word press blog site.
The other thing is I have a great deal of experience and living in Odisha so naturally even when I am living in Texas much of my heart may go to the affairs of Odisha for a year or two when I may get busy with the nuisances of everyday life and I may loose the cord that binds me to my roots. But till that happens I will write what occurs to me. Since it’s an article on Vedanta University let me take the short turn here into the matter of my discussion today.
I think the way the affairs of Vedanta University and all the other mega industrial projects are going in Odisha it’s sending some waves in my heart and mind. Something is terribly wrong and despite of the seemingly innocuous democratic affairs people are not seeing the tiger in its true color. Let me be a little less metaphoric and more direct with what I am proposing here. May be a conjecture. But think hard about this if you can connect to this.
Odisha is a landlocked region. Am I out of my mind? Not a bit. I know the state has one of the best-looking seacoast I have come across and in another article I told you what a Globetrotter I have been, how I have been to pretty many beaches and cities around the world. Well I never told about the cities and if you promise it does not matter where some one has been I will tell you my stories about the cities I have been. How many people have made to that stature. Many. (and you say there is no sentence with just one word) Say a 10 thousand at the minimum. So if 20 of them are reading this article then they know that they are listening it from someone who has done it all and been there, pretty much everywhere.
The landlocked attribute of Odisha is about how it had a social structure of landowners. If I own a big patch of land I am a millionaire in Indian currency and if I can manage it a bit well I am a millionaire in any currency. So most of the vibes of the society go in terms of how the land is getting manipulated or where we want some development to come up or how it is going to benefit the capitalists (the ones who live in the state capital, or its outskirts and they are some kind of elitists)
Now if the Vedanta University is coming up in the so-called Puri Konark marine drive the capitalists are going to make a huge issue of it. Lets get its straight. Apart from the aesthetic angles there is nothing really in the Puri Konark seabed. What are you telling me, the great Indian geologists are coming up with this Thorium reserve discovery over night? Aren’t they utterly incompetent if they come up with this after 60 years of independence, because pretty much everywhere and in the famed Kalam 2020 there is an avowed account of the Mineral Map of India. Lets check the great scientists diary, Vision India 2020 and see what was available in Puri when he wrote that.
I don’t have my copy with me, which I had purchased a long time ago. In any case even if there is a Thorium reserve, which is more of a Cargo Cultist way of blocking progress of a visionary University, we still need this University at that site. What are they going to do, have a conveyor belt underneath every god damn building and classroom and apartments and restaurant they have so that they can carry the minerals? Didn’t I say Cargo Cultist? Yes, I can see what I am going to write before actually writing. I surprise myself and I may surprise you as well. So when you are sleeping they have this noise of humming under your bed or a culvert in the Lab and you say, oh that’s the Thorium. Lets get back to work, if you are sleeping, lets get back to sleep or whatever it is that you are doing. What’s this, some kind of Pearl Harbor movie?
To take another angle from the discussion, we have an IIT and NISER (the new Indian Institute of Technology and the National Institute of Science Education and Research) purported and planned at a site I made a motorbike tour half a year ago. We continue on the so-called high way through the capital and take a left turn and after several miles arrive at a remote place with a village nearby and a nice commuting road. Rest of it is forest and designated campuses, like, this research institute and that research institute, all of which except the NISER and IIT you will see will starve for funding after a couple years of their functioning. If you want high quality organizations their standard and practices must be world class, if they are Indian in class they still need to spend a huge amount of money to create a brand.
It’s a great depression of quality institutes in our country of this size that not many great organizations have come up. Our vision and our quality are philosophical and poetic in nature. I am usually like that in my bathroom. Pardon my sense of criticizing but I am an international class scientist who just has no business doing this since there is pretty much a chance that nobody cares what I am saying. Why would anyone have so much interest despite of the fact that he has so much opportunity? Let me tell you one thing I am just brimming with ideas and brewing the insights and when I live in a country like ours for couple years I am out of my usual humor and my love for my country shows up.
So lets say the IIT and NISER will somehow come out of any quality issues because the best building structures are in place and once that is the case you have one of the best library and cafeteria and AC offices. The labs have best instruments so the students come out feeling like they are already the scientists that can argue with M. Dash, because face book and twitter is kind of cool about it all. I think in the end its all good. We have the best now, we can afford to have better than we did even a decade ago. So lets measure economic progress in matter of decades and leave the details to the experts and keep the politicians out of it. The politicians have a better job to perform.
They are the ones that have to facilitate progress and enjoy their new-found luxury in Indian democracy, a handshake and mango laussy with Barack Obama and a chit chat with Michelle. The Indian democracy is giving the politicians and the officers (read bearcats or beaurocrats, it’s the same thing) a high five on flying Air India literally free for no good reason except a swelling in our political ego. What are they really going to bring to us.
Mr Chauhan, minister of Science and Technology, visited the high-energy accelerator research organization in Japan where I was an honorable scientist for more than 5 years. I was to be privileged if he was going to visit the lab anytime before 2007 and I was the one probably who was going to be asked to go with him taking him places. Of course that would have been a good thing, as I might have expressed my great concerns of where Indian science is actually headed. If this lack of coincidence wasn’t enough, when Mr Chauhan comes back home, the president of Indian Congress is out of good Chauhans and he is made a chief minister.
Whatever happened to the scientific visions? Please read my “Is science a Page 7 culture ” Now I cant even congratulate him on his visit to my most loved place in the world where I literally lived for 3 years in campus. Neither I am sure if anyone told Manmohan Dash was here, he is this or that. People don’t talk like that, how do I know, I know because I am also a people. When I go meet people even in the lab I don’t ask them if this minister or that minister means business. It’s just for the articles.
Now I believe this article might not be in your best practice to be called as I mean business. But I definitely mean what I say. So here is what I think the Vedanta University has been made out to be. It’s a mountain that is being made as a mole. Lets agree that somebody might have advised the Vedanta group to bribe the government in Odisha. Its not at all unlikely. Its actually doing a round in many quarters that this is so. I have talked with people who are professionally in Odisha for decades and are actually capitalists. That is, they live in the state capital although they may not all be elites of the kind I proposed. But they all were cynical in one line about the Vedanta University Project. I even discussed briefly with people at other places, they didn’t seem to know and the really experienced ones didn’t have a clue if it’s doing any authentic change at the ground. A mole has been made out of a mountain. The so-called ruling party is eyewash to the people of this region. Democracy or Maoism they all speak one thing about the so-called rulers. The rulers don’t mean business. They may mean vendetta to the Maoists and business to their self-interest.
But I have one thing to take up with the loved people of this region. Why it never concerns you what development is taking in your region. Why you have to watch Kyonki Saans bhi kabhi Bohu thi or Sanjog se bani sangeeni. Why you don’t make serials called Kyonki chor hamesha chor hota hai. Minister hamesha bakwas karta hai. Kyon ki, ok too many kyon kis. (the last one, kyon ki itna pyar tumse karte hain hum, kya khak doge humko sanam)
But I think and definitely that’s a very ideal optimism that Vedanta University will come to this region and in the marine drive. The Judiciary must see reason and change its decree for the true development of people.