A nation’s tribute to an institution of rare success - 15th Dec 2008

The 14th morning, 11 am saw the presence of some
distinguished guests at the J N Tata Auditorium. His
Excellency Vice President of India Shri Mohammad
Hamid Ansari released the commemorative Postage
Stamps for the centenary celebration of IISc. In his own
words he said, “A nation’s tribute to an institution of rare
eminence.”

The event was attended by Shri Rameshwar Thakur, His
Excellency the Governor of Karnataka; Shri V.S.Acharya,
the Home Minister of Karnataka; Dr. K.Kasturirangan, the
chairman IISc council; Prof. C.N.R.Rao, Chairman IISc
committee; Shri M.P.Rajan, Chief Post Master General,
Karnataka and Prof. Balaram, Director IISc.

The Vice President also delivered the Golden Jubilee
Lecture. His speech highlighted the importance and
excellence of IISc in the past hundred years and its duty
for sustaining its work in the new century.

Here are excerpts of his speech. The goal of India is to be
a knowledge society of ensuring access of knowledge to
more and more people and IISc must remain the “Torch
bearer” in this endeavor.

Even though much has been done in the past six decades
to create an infrastructure for science and technology
and endow it with the potential for advancement, it is
still inadequate. The recent years are seeing a declining
enrolment and an acute shortage of qualifi ed teachers
in basic sciences, engineering, technology and medicine.
This is indicated by the paucity of scientists, attracting
young minds to the domain of science, the methodology
of teaching science and the inadequate national
performance in the area of innovation and patents.

The need of the hour is Capacity Building in science. In
the words of Sri Mokshagundam Visvesvaraya: “To build
a better nation, build better individuals and action not
sentiment will be the determining factor.” He concluded
by saying that scientists have a special responsibility
and IISc needs to set the pace. As B.J.Marden wrote as
early as in 1921, “Science has made civilization possible
for mankind. It must now provide civilization with that
authority the lack of which is causing such wastage of
human energy today. Men of science alone have the
power, they alone are above suspicion.

P.S: Kumudhini, Vasanta and i wrote this piece.

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