India lagging behind in the Nobel prize race!
Nobel Prize is awarded every year this time around, but no particular interest from us – it has been 90 years since first Nobel prize in science. A small handful of Indians have won the Nobel prize in these 120 years around. This time, though, there was an unusual curiosity regarding nominations – some even hoping for a loss for India.
This is strange!
Why don’t a few people want our country to win Nobel?
We shall explore this in detail. But first, the winners of 2022 – why does India not win a Nobel prize?
What happens to those who wins?
Let’s discuss these!
Alfred Nobel gave the most of his wealth (94%) in 1895 to create the Nobel Prize – to reward those inventions and discoveries that benefit humanity. It has been continuing since more than 100 years now. New categories were added later on peace and economics. Nobel Prize is the highest honour in science – first awarded in 1901.
Who are the winners in 2022?
Nobel Prize in Chemistry – Carolyn R. Bertozzi, Karl Barry Sharpless and Morten P. Meldal.
They made the complicated process of making chemicals simple and easy, which was earlier expensive. Their research allows molecules to fit or click like Tetris or LEGO.
Nobel Prize in Medicine – Svante Pääbo discovered how humans share DNA with extinct cousins like the Neanderthal. He found why our immune system fared better than our extinct cousins.
Nobel Prize in Physics – Alain Aspect, John F. Clauser, Anton Zeilinger – for the power of quantum mechanics.
Nobel Prize in Literature – Annie Ernaux, first French woman to win Nobel in literature.
Her first book ‘Cleaned Out’, chronicles her own life, her illegal abortion before it was legalized in France. Currently, USA is struggling with abortion debate again.
“I will fight to my last breath so that women can choose to be a mother, or not to be. It’s a fundamental right,” she has said.
Ernaux wrote extensively about choice, her words provoke and encourage you to ponder all preconceived notions.
Nobel Prize in Economics – The SverigesRiksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2022 was awarded to Ben S. Bernanke, Douglas W. Diamond, Philip H. Dybvig “for research on banks and financial crisis”.
Nobel Peace Prize – Now, coming to the most controversial Nobel Peace Prize, one of the winners is Ales Bialiatski – Belarusian human rights activists. He spent much of his time in jail for democratic principles. Russian Human Rights Organisation Memorial and Ukrainian Centre for Civil Liberties also jointly won the peace prize. This year’s Nobel peace prize was a message to Putin.
No Indian laureate another year. Only 5 Indians have won Nobel Prize in 120 years – Rabindranath Tagore (The Nobel Prize in Literature, 1913), CV Raman (The Nobel Prize in Physics, 1930), Mother Teresa (The Nobel Peace Prize, 1979), Amartya Sen (The Nobel Prize in Economics, 1998), Kailash Satyarthi (The Nobel Peace Prize, 2014).
So many IITs – some say NASA and Silicon Valley are full of Indians – then why not Nobel prize winners? In fact, we tend to make fun of our Nobel winners.
At Tokyo Olympics, Neeraj Chopra won India’s first athletics Gold medal in Javelin throw. Same hunger can’t be seen for the Nobel Prize. Although both are prestigious awards with historical significance. First modern Olympics started in 1896 and first Nobel prize given in 1901. India’s first Olympics participations in 1990 (Rome) and India’s first Nobel laureate was Rabindranath Tagore.
The Nobel prize for scientists is similar to the Olympics for athletics – at least, we are winning more medals in Olympics, but why not more Nobel prizes from the country?
- Lack of Investment – One of the reasons is lack of funding. Countries that spend more on research and development tend to score more Nobel prizes – 468 laureates are from countries that spend 2-3% of GDP on R&D. India invests 1% of its GDP. Yet, some countries spending less also win – then what is that?
- Lack of Infrastructure – Second reason is the lack of research institutes. There are far more scientists and engineers than sportspersons, still hardly any Nobel prizes.
- Lack of motivation – Third reason could be lack of motivation due to missing respect and admiration for science. On the contrary we make our sportspersons mega celebs.
But, do we respect science? If education minister says in the parliament that astrology is superior than science, then how can we expect to win Nobel in sciences? Like Olympics, when an individual wins Nobel prize, s/he also makes name for the country.
Can we have more Nobel prize winners in the next 25 years?
For that, firstly, our attitude towards science has to change. Anti-intellectualism is rising in the country. Intellectuals are mocked at, opinions targeted and trolled, there is no admiration for innovation or diversion or out of the box thinking – this attitude should change.
Secondly, when Nobel prizes are announced every year, Indians call negligence, say Nobel prize is fixed. But when an Indian origin wins, Abhijit Banerjee, for an instance, a US citizen who was an Indian during his research years, but he was trolled for his opinions. Why? Because, Abhijit had different views on demonetisation and implementation of GST, and favoured NYAY scheme of Congress – lo and behold he was targeted by politicians here.
Worst treatment was with Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, who is an Indian by citizenship, was heavily trolled for speaking against the Modi govt. regarding Gujarat, riots etc. Academic freedom is becoming an alien thought in India, Sen said. He also expressed views on majoritarianism. Amartya Sen was disrespected because of his opinion – his 9-year-long association with Nalanda University ended because of that.
Kailash Satyarthi, who won a Nobel prize, worked for children and against child exploitation. But it made the then govt. unhappy. His Nobel prize win was not celebrated much. What about the glory of the country?
Similar reaction was made when TIME magazine wrote that Pratik Sinha and Mohd. Zubair were among favourites that year to win Nobel peace prize – Voila! Reactions and trolls began. Every year speculations were made – this time, Alt News co-founder was named and meltdown ensued online. Senior retired police officers also reacted saying a dialogue of a film – “can donkeys win amongst horses?”.
Horses, meaning, so far the Nobel prize was prestigious – even Narendra Modi’s name was suggested so many times, for vaccine strategy. But the same Nobel prize is bad when favourites are not your favourites.
What if they bust fake news and check for facts? Why is it wrong? Why don’t you want your country to win? Because Alt News is in the run. Anyway, Alt News did not win; celebrations began. It was merely a speculative article by TIME magazine.
How will we win the next Nobel prize?
Sometimes Nobel committee gives the peace prize wrongfully. Like Obama? Seriously? Did he deserve the peace prize?
But if we want a Nobel prize in sciences, then we must appreciate how science and scientists’ work make lives better, become scientific in general life too. Otherwise, science ministry funded trial on effect on Gayatri Mantra, and research is going on cow urine, can we publish papers on those and win Nobel prize?
Winning in literature is extremely difficult – one who questions society can be in the race to win. Here in our country, Geetanjali Shree’s “Tomb of Sand”, in Hindi, won Booker Prize, yet no respect and admiration, because she raises questions of tradition and rituals in our society.
And about Nobel Peace prize – Is peace prize possible when police are acting like Talibans, thrashing people behind bars in the name of UAPA etc.?
Asking questions is becoming unacceptable here. So we need to understand that change is necessary. At this rate Nobel prize for hate is possible for India.
Nobody, it seems, would be able to snatch this prize away from us – the prize for HATE.
While we get blinded by hate, World Bank slashed our growth for year, unemployment is still a concern.
But yes, if you truly are patriotic, then you’d want to see our ranking improve in press freedom, democracy index, Olympics table or Nobel laureates list.
[Images from different sources]
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