The Argumentative indian
This is the name of a collection of essays by Prof. Amartya Sen. D.Balasubramanian, who writes frequently for Thursdays `Science & Technology' section in `The Hindu' has penned his thoughts about the book in this week's issue. I found it to be interesting reading. Discussions, arguments, analysis, application of logic, the openness to accept other people's opinions, unbiased thinking etc are crucial to the development of scientific thought. The Indian tradition has encouraged all these ever since the age of Mahabharatha or the Upanishad's. The western view is that all these ideas were introduced by them to their `colonies' - Sen shreds this belief to pieces. Here is what I believe: ancient Indians had the `scientific temper' which helped them achieve great heights in science and arts. Much of our glorious achievements in the past have gone unrecognized mostly because we ourselves had little idea of this glory (and too little pride in it); also many ancient Indian inventions and ideas were later `assimilated' by the west and their original roots conveniently forgotten. By the time the western society began discovering `scientific temper', Indian science mysteriously started declining. The decline has continued to this day, and in this age of computing, we seem to have lost it completely. Our `argumentative' nature these days is confined to `big fights' on the television starring stupid (but glamorous) presenters and an equally clueless `audience' arguing about anything and everything (example: Which is more interesting - the Ashes or India-Pak series?). Our `argumentative' nature also shows up in Parliament when our great leader's quarrel with each other on who has been doing the greater `good' for the people! Shame. What can we do to regain our `scientific temper'? The key is in education. But who cares for that?
Thu Oct 29 16:49:46 2009
Yes.. you are absolutely on the point.. the fear that started to creep in Indian minds did outplay the argumentative mindset restricted only to the social part of life biased to politicsl domain.. after the advent of the western scientific era...