The “India Story” is a narrative in numbers.
GDP growth rates, profits after tax, auto sales spurts, price per square foot, cellphone penetration etc, are all coolly and conveniently flung around to show that India is growing, shining, booming.
Is the DNA of India changing for the better in the process?
Are we adding to our civilisational wellspring, or are we getting too caught up with the here and now? In our thirst for the material and the superficial, have we squandered and sacrificed the intellectual and the spiritual?
Chintamani Nagesha Ramachandra Rao, the former director of the Indian Institute of Science, has not been afraid to puncture the hype and hyperbole surrounding IT in the past.
Now chairman of the scientific advisory council to the prime minister, Prof C.N.R. Rao said in Mysore yesterday:
“India’s contribution to the top one per cent of the intellectual and scientific output is negligible. Though the country is progressing economically, it is declining intellectually and spiritually.
“The 21 century may belong to Asia, but India’s contribution is not significant. China and South Korea have leapfrogged over us on various indices including education and science and technology.
“In India, mediocrity is a way of life and people have learnt to accept it as such.”
Photograph: courtesy The Hindu