Why Indians don’t get Nobel?


Do you know the man in the picture? I didn’t know him till this Tuesday. He is a scientist who was denied of the honour he deserved. And we, Indians, denied him of that honour. His story answers the long-lasting question that we ‘patriotic’ Indians ask many a times, “Why in a country of 100 crore+ population we don’t find many Indian Nobel Laureates?” His tragic story has been covered on many news papers and websites since last Tuesday, still I feel I must share it on my blog.

You must be aware that this year’s Nobel Prize for Medicine went to Robert G. Edwards for the development of in vitro fertilization or in layman’s language for the invention of the test tube baby technique. Using his techniques, World’s first Test Tube baby Louise Brown, was born through Caesarian section after a full-term pregnancy, on 25 July, 1978. Great achievement indeed in alleviating infertility related problems. While Edwards was honoured all over the world for such a remarkable achievement, another scientist in India who had developed such techniques independently was mistreated in his own country. The scientist was Dr Subhas Mokhopadhyay, the man in the above picture. In fact, the word ‘mistreated’ understate the misery that was inflicted on him.

This scientist along with Dr Suneet Mukherjee had, as said above, developed in vitro-fertilisation techniques independently and was able to give life to India’s first test-tube baby Durga alias Kanupriya Agarwal on October 3, 1978, mark the date, just after the 67 days of the 1st test tube baby was born. And yes, I must mention here that Durga was World’s second test-tube baby. He was able to achieve all this with few general apparatus and a refrigerator in his small flat. Sounds great? Feeling proud of being an Indian? then read the next paragraph.

When Subhas claimed about his success, the society as well as the government was skeptical about the success. People were jealous of his success. Government was not happy as he didn’t listen to the Bureaucrats. An ‘expert committee’ was appointed by the Government of West Bengal to check facts. And the committee with a ‘pre-determined’ intention denounced the claims of Dr Subhas, calling such claims to be bogus. He was transferred to another department. He was handed an insulting life to live which he decided to end by committing suicide on the 19th June, 1981.

His feat was posthumously recognised. He has been given belated recognition as the Indian physician who in 1986 was “officially” regarded as being the first doctor to perform in-vitro fertilization in India. Still thanks to the controversy related to him, some records still consider “Harsha”( born on 16th August 1986) as India’s first test-tube baby giving the credit to Dr TC Anand Kumar.

 

A film was made on his story in 1991 called 'Ek Doctor Ki Maut'

 

This case isn’t an isolated one. Dr Har Gobind Khuranna, another Indian scientist who has won a Nobel, was denied a job in Delhi University. Jagdish Chandra Bose too was denied of the success he deserved. This is probably the culture we have in India. This culture promotes neither successful persons nor their success stories. This culture excludes the idea of research from science. Probably that is why most of the Indians who have won the coveted Nobel Prize in science categories have won it after doing research in USA.

Are you still the same ‘patriotic, proud’ Indian? Shouldn’t we change this culture? Shouldn’t we promote a culture which creates a conducive environment for the scientists doing research and development? If the answer is yes, let’s implement this answer first; I am sure the question “Why in a country of 100 crore+ population we don’t find many Indian Nobel Laureates?” will automatically get answered.

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11 thoughts on “Why Indians don’t get Nobel?

  1. Even I came to know about him quite recently. And frankly speaking I have no words to express my outrage. I am glad we’ve been able to move on from such a society..or have we?

  2. Thanks for the informative link. I’m in a field and in an institute, from where I get to see this pathetic attitude form close quarters. Right from our education system, to exam system to job market – everything’s based on strong concept of hierarchy. The idea is to please those in position of power, and thus to try to reach there. The culture of sycophancy gets established, and nothing from there on works.

    This attitude has lot to do with government control, which is seen in form of socialism. Had there been greater freedom of market forces, it is automatically efficiency and innovation that would have been rewarded, and not sycophancy or nepotism.

    Great work!

  3. Sanchit says:

    Sadly, we will never move out of such a society.. 60+yrs of Independence, and even after so many educated beings in our country, issues like dowry, caste bias and discrimination, inter-caste marriages issues etc exist. Even the new generation doesn’t care to do anything, rather is happy with the way their parents think.

  4. Hello there,came to this post attracted by its title 🙂
    Felt really sad after reading it. Yes, there are many such attitudes we need to change not just for justice and equality but also to encourage new people to conduct groundbreaking research. We do not need to find our role models outside our country, when we have so many in our own land. I am so sad to know of the consequences of his life even after his great achievement !

  5. Sripathy Subramanian says:

    The Indian media is totally corrupt! It only promotes cinema & cinema celebrities! Any outside cinema is seen as unimportant including Indian literature & the other arts.

    People in India made such a big fuss about AR Rahman winning at the Oscars. Yes it’s great that he won, but what about Aravind Adiga winning ‘The Booker Prize’ for his first novel ‘The White Tiger’ in 2008? There was absolutely no mention on any major Indian TV channel! By the way, AR Rahman isn’t that popular worldwide. More white people in Europe have heard of Aravind Adiga than India’s most coveted music director. AR Rahman has sold so many albums worldwide only because so many so-called “Indians” worldwide buy them. I’m a patriot of any kind, I’m just pointing out facts.

    Indians hate reading, especially South Indians and that’s why they can’t open their minds to anything unusual, thet requires them to think beyond a superficial level.

  6. Sripathy Subramanian says:

    The Indian media is totally corrupt! It only promotes cinema & cinema celebrities! Any outside cinema is seen as unimportant including Indian literature & the other arts.

    People in India made such a big fuss about AR Rahman winning at the Oscars. Yes it’s great that he won, but what about Aravind Adiga winning ‘The Booker Prize’ for his first novel ‘The White Tiger’ in 2008? There was absolutely no mention on any major Indian TV channel! By the way, AR Rahman isn’t that popular worldwide. More white people in Europe have heard of Aravind Adiga than India’s most coveted music director. AR Rahman has sold so many albums worldwide only because so many so-called “Indians” worldwide buy them. I’m a patriot of any kind, I’m just pointing out facts.

    Indians hate reading, especially South Indians, and that’s why they can’t open their minds to anything unusual, that requires them to think beyond a superficial level

    • vicky singh says:

      Thank you so much for this useful information……………..and i think we have to think about it seriously……………….

  7. Rajiv Kumar says:

    Nothing has changed. Indian system still has the same mindset of promoting mediocrity. I was in AIIMS for 7 years. I have seen some very dedicated young senior resident doctors who did excellent research being systematically harassed and denied faculty positions. People with “connections” were offered coveted posts even when they did not have required minimum qualifications. Some of them went abroad and at least in 2 cases, I know, doing excellent work. Though, some of them gave up academic medicine- which is a terrible loss to India. But who bothers !!

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