By Dr Kallol Guha
Infosys chief Narayana Murthy, at the convocation speech of Indian Institute of Science on July 15th 2015 stated,
"No big invention, earth-shaking idea from India in 60 years". "Is there one invention from India that has become a household name in the globe? Is there one idea that has led to an earth shaking invention to delight global citizens? Folks, the reality is there is no such contribution from India in the last 60 years."
In reference to the statement of Narayana Murthy; we must recall what the towering figures of India who at the peak of their fame advised fellow countrymen – that a young mind can understand and absorb concepts and acquires a much better ability to think originally in his/her indigenous language. It was their words of wisdom out of life experience.
Let there be no miscalculation. Higher education in mother tongue is the main catalyst for generating new and original ideas. That is precisely the reason why all great personalities advocated for higher education in vernacular language. Deprivation of education in indigenous language prevents original thinking.
Personalities like CV Raman who won a Nobel Prize in 1930 and the only Indian Nobel Laureate in Physics, discovered that though incident light was monochromatic, the scattered light due to it, was not monochromatic. This observation is known as the "Raman Effect". Being confined to colonial India, his interest was in Sanskrit and vibration of strings in Mridanga and Veena. These are the kind of personalities who, thoroughly conditioned by their own culture and heritage, also mastered skills in outlandish language.
Jagadish Chandra Bose in 1895 used an electric wave generator to fire a gun 75 feet away even though the two were not connected by wire. That was the prelude to days of remote control. His essays on scientific theories written in Bangla are proof of his literary talent in his own mother tongue.
Satyendra Nath Bose's work laid the foundation of quantum statistics and gave rise to Bose-Einstein condensate – a dense collection of particles with a number of angular momentum called BOSON. Bose's life dream was to introduce higher technical education in mother tongue. Just recently one of the mainstream media houses wrote an article on "Who was Satyendra Nath Bose"? Needless to say "Good Schools" of India do not bother to teach Indian children what they are and who they are.
Native Indians of USA often talk about the policy of "Take the Indians from the Indians". The implication is that the design of American education is to de-link American Indians from their heritage and identity. It is tempting to ask WHY DELINK? The answer is simple–brand of education that de-links its students from their roots also blunts their intellectual capability and creativity.
Students conditioned through thoroughly Indianized education system have much better chance to make new intellectual contribution to various fields. A student well schooled in his/her language, literature, culture, tradition, history, religion among other factors, when exposed to technological subjects in outlandish language has a much better aptitude for innovative and original thinking.
On the other hand, students who are culturally conditioned through foreign language and are dissociated from their indigenous culture and language, as the situation in India today, may become "Your most obedient servant" -(an expression that was – in colonial legacy – commonly used in official correspondence in India until late sixties) but effectively stripped of the capacity of any original thinking.
Medium of current education in all former colonial countries like East and West Africa, Caribbean, South Asia is a language which is not indigenous. Hence, there is no chance that such an education will generate any original thinking, at least it has not done so in India since 1947.
The 10 percent Anglophonic Indians are able to imitate but not express their thoughts in either indigenous or in adopted language. Not only that, these pathetic elements are ignorant about their indigenous culture, heritage, literature, history, tradition and are comparable to the disposition of an illiterate who can barely read and write. They are proud of their pathetic imitation but ignorant of how they are treated as an object of pity by those whom they imitate.
This Anglophonic species is a miserable hybrid who can be branded as uncultured upstarts who are not conscious that they are suffering from identity crisis. These are the kind of products present day education is breeding. Nothing could be more stupid than to expect original contribution from products of such education which is designed to de-link Indians from India.
I wonder if Narayana Murthy would accept this as an explanation to his comment.