Why India is losing its Scientific Temper?

At the time of writing, India is being hit by certain issues with the NRC, and the toxicity spewed by all types of influencers is drifting India away from the “Scientific Temper” that the constitution of this nation seeks to encourage.

A “Scientific Temper” basically refers to a way of thought where our beliefs are held firmly on the basis of thorough facts and evidence. It also teaches us a way of living where we don’t act upon our intuitions and judgments unless we have a careful, morally unharmful reasons to explain our actions.

What is the Importance of having a Scientific Temper?

To understand the importance of having a scientific temper, we need to go into the past.

Ages ago, there was the Scientific Revolution. It was a time when the human species first began understanding the potential of Science & Technology. This scientific revolution brought along new ideas such as the three laws of motion, understanding of how our planet works, among a lot of newfound knowledge in the streams of Mathematics, Physics, Astronomy & Biology.

This is how we thought our Solar System looked like before the 17th Century. This thought might have carried to the present day had it not been for the “scientific temper” in some revolutionaries of the past.

These advancements then led us into the Industrial age which witnessed the invention of steam engines, cars and the rise of capitalism. Today, we’re in the Information age where computers and Internet services are mainstream across the planet.

Nearly every service we enjoy and cherish today is the result of years of innovation in science & technology. From the Internet platform that allows us to freely express our opinions today, to the finer things that make our life convenient; all this could never have been possible without a scientific temper, and capitalism, of course.

Take, for example, our smartphones. What if Phone manufacturers in the early 2000s stopped their research in making their product better? Then we would have never seen the launch of a revolutionary iPhone and the subsequent smartphone revolution. We might have continued using bulky PCs for communicating with the world around us.

Taking another example, think about the competition between various companies in different sectors of the market. The Automobile Industry, for instance, has many companies fighting to have the largest base of Customers. If every company uses the same engine, same design, and same body concept, it would result in saturation, thereby reducing competition and registering no growth in the economy.

Tesla wouldn’t be the US’s top automaker today if it introduced standard Internal Combustion Engine-powered vehicles at a time when they were commonplace. What made Tesla stand out and grab the attention of consumers was their new technology of self-driving electric vehicles, (and now their unique approach to automobile design with the Cybertruck) which are supposed to make our lives easier.

You may feel that the above-mentioned examples explain more about capitalism than the importance of scientific temper. But when you see from a vantage point, the fruits of capitalism can be leveraged in the best way possible only through scientific temper. There’s no substitute for it, at least not one that I can think of.

Today, there are several global threats such as global warming looming over the planet. There is an urgent need for scientific temper and research for understanding the dire situation that we’re in and bringing innovative solutions to problems harming our environment. Faith on Gods and Superstitions alone won’t make that possible. We need new methods and products such as Bio-energy and electric vehicles to make less use of rare or polluting elements such as Coal or fossil fuel.

In addition to all the things mentioned above, a scientific temper is also crucial the running the industries of today, i.e., for businesses. There is an important reason why companies like Microsoft, Google, and Apple invest so much of their revenue on Research & Development. 

Without new products consisting of some unique tech and features, no business could grab customers on the basis of advertisements & marketing alone. Thus scientific research facilitated by a scientific temper is necessary for a business in order to gain customers and get ahead of the competition.

Why India is low on Scientific Temper & Research?

In most developed and even some developing countries across the world, the total funding for Scientific and Technological Research is close to 2-4% of the Country’s GDP. In India, the funding for scientific research is less than 1% of the total GDP! 

Despite such low funding though, Indian advancements in Science and Technology are highly commendable.

India Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has the achievement of being the first nation to land a spacecraft on the Orbit of Mars at the first attempt itself and in a low budget of just $71 Million Dollars (which makes it the least-expensive Mars mission). This achievement clearly highlights the potential of Indians in the field of Science and Technology.

What’s disappointing is the fact that despite so much potential, the professors and scientists leading India’s Scientific Research have no funds to elevate themselves to the next level and create the next major innovation in these fields. 

There are several reasons why India has such low funding on Scientific research & development:

  1. While advancements in Science and Technology could be helpful for any business. It is not a business in itself. Therefore, investing in Scientific Research is a highly risky task in terms of finance. Businesses and even governments only prefer investing in the kind of research that results in revenue generation. 
  2. Scientific Research and development could sometimes take years, or even decades to finally bring out something which could be used to generate profits. Thus businesses and the Government are not always interested in spending lots of money on Research as the chances of high yield are impossibly low.
  3. India is a diverse country consisting of communities with beliefs in different cultures, traditions, and religions. In the midst of all these, science finds a little value. Children are taught the cultural traditions way before their studies in School. Some of these cultural values that Children grow up learning have a few assumptions which are totally illogical and have no reasonable evidence.

Note: The problem I’m trying to highlight is not with the culture, but with the false beliefs people end up having. Cultures, traditions, and religions have a lot of importance for the country and the communities within. But there are a few beliefs and false assumptions that needed to be rooted out of people’s minds in order to build a scientific temper.

Scientific temper is a way of thinking which allows people to question and analyze every information they get before making a logical assumption. With a scientific temper, a person won’t believe anything he sees or hears without proper application, knowledge, testing, and observation.

India is one of the most populated nations in the World. It consists of many young adults and growing children who can help in shaping the country’s future. If only people understand and encourage a scientific temper, education, and research among themselves and others like them, then the human capital of this country could be perfectly utilized to make the nation greater than ever before.

Arushi Meena

Arushi is a Digital Marketer by profession, but a writer at heart. Aside from being a hopeless romantic and a quirky personality, she's all about having fun and letting others have a share of the same!

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