ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Fading Halo

IN India the political emphasis laid on science and the development of the scientific enterprise has, as commentators have pointed out, always been closely linked to the process of legitimisation of the modern state. In consequence, science on the one hand became the lingua franca which promoted the particular path of development chosen by the newly independent welfare state, but on the other was increasingly kept out of the context of mainstream politics. The scientific establishment became increasingly divorced from developmental decisions. It became in fact a legitimiser, in a petty way, of political decisions. This is not of course a unique situation. Even in developed countries it is always the dominant political needs which determine the choice of technology in the final analysis. However, in India especially, and in other third world countries, because of several factors, that is, lack of private enterprise in science, the state protection afforded to scientific establishments, and the close association of eminent scientists with the nationalist project of building the independent nation, science was elevated to the status of a deity, to be worshipped and invoked selectively, but with-out independent authority to challenge the political decisions of the state, even on technical issues. It is not therefore surpris-ing that the scientific enterprise has descended into a morass, and with it critical thinking on what are technical issues.

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