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SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT - INDIAN PERSPECTIVES

If glaciers are melting, eco-system is getting unbalanced, bombs are exploding, and accidents are taking place every where who would you blame? If garbage piles are increasing, pollution is increasing, river water is getting polluted, whom would you blame? The modern science, which has brought about many miracles, is also giving us these unwanted gifts. Now we are wondering with the present pace, we may kill our own existence. If earth is ruined today it is by the modern science and technology. The science and technology, which has give the most powerful medicines, is also generating the most powerful poison pills for the world. Science and Technology must work in the direction of promoting sustainable development. We want scientists with a concerned heart. The technologists must look at the impact of their technology in the years to come. When Ajit Foundation Bikaner promoted Tanga in Bikaner city everyone asked why Tanga (horse-cart) why not Auto- the answer is now known to everyone the technology in Auto is not as environment friendly as Tanga. Auto has removed Tanga from the streets, but now the people miss Tanga. It was truly sustainable and eco-friendly. Can we have scientists who look beyond theshort term profits and try to develop technologies for generations to come? The Junagarh palace of Bikaner contains many rooms and sections, which give feelings of AC chamber

without having any AC fitted there. The technology used therein was far more superior as it was able to create products for generations without any side effects. The modern products are designed to be short lived and they are presented in such a manner that they further create a thinking that the products should be like use and throw kind of products. In the traditional Indian homes, people used to use products for years and years hence they had virtually no garbage. It is estimated that the garbage generated in Jaipur in one day is more than the entire garbage generaged in one year in entire India in the year 1900. Where are we heading for? Plastic continues to become more and more popular and every thing is packaged in plastics which is of the kind use and throw. Sustainable development can only be fully realized at the regional level if it is being substantially realized at the global level and vice versa. In the current context of ever growing global inequalities and irreversible environmental damages India has to judiciously forge its own future for its own interest. In a world where cars continue to shed billions of tons of pollutants into the air year after year, where water, forests, lands and biodiversity continue to be degradedi, one may ask if the sustainable development paradigm is not yet another myth that will turn out to be another mirage. In any case, the sustainable development paradigm which could eventually evolve into a Knowledge for All paradigm - is currently and for the foreseeable future the most powerful and practicable development paradigm at hand, a paradigm capable of bringing about the radical changes that are needed to achieve a prosperous or decent and sustainable livelihood for everyone. Regardless of a lopsided process of globalization of knowledge, Indians, in cooperation and partnership with the industrialized world, have to solve their own sustainable development crises, including the unsustainable exploitation of the resource base, notably the unsustainable use of agricultural soils that

continue to be eroded, desertified, mined, depleted and impoverished. Benefiting more from local knowledge can only be achieved with modern scientific and technical knowledge. Scientific and technical knowledge can validate and upgrade indigenous or mythological knowledge and it drives modernization - a myth pursued relatively successfully by more than a quarter of Indians, particularly those from the well-connected, entrepreneurial and opportunistic urban quarters. It is mostly euro or americano-centric and its relevance for Indian development has to be better assessed. It is not surprising that today the elite class is again learning Yoga and ancient Indian techniques for self rejuvenation. Indian herbal medicines and tonics are again becoming popular. Indian dietary practices, which have been influenced by western practices, is again changing towards traditional knowledge based practices. Only a tiny fraction of the potential of modern knowledge is utilized but its use is growing. It needs to be discovered, cultivated, harvested and promoted more vigorously for socioeconomic transformation. It emerges mainly from the release of the power of questioning against traditional forms of thought, which could be encouraged throughout India for removing obstacles to modern knowledge generation (Godin, 2000), acquisitionii, dissemination (Altbach, 1998) and diffusion and for transforming deficient knowledge edifices into efficient ones. Knowledge flows and the globalization knowledge has been extremely important for Indian development throughout history, as it has been for any continent. The Romans, Greeks, Persians, Turks and Arabs took knowledge from India and brought some of their knowledge into India more than two thousand years ago. Arabs and Chinese brought oriental knowledge by trading on the West Coast of India for centuries.

Rigveda give mention of our deep understanding of environment and natural forces. Prithvi Sukta gives description of the Earth, which is beyond the understanding of the modern science even. Ancian rishis, saints from India (from all religions namely Sanatan Dharma, Jains and Budhism) followed practices, which are far more scientific than the present science and we have yet to understand their deep understanding. The understanding of Zero, or the understanding of psychic centres or the understanding of astronomy was far more in the India of 3000 years old than what we can find today. Their practices were blended into the environmental forces and they didnt harm the environment in any case. They cultivated practices for the sustainable development of the civilization. Anciant farming practices encouraged farmers to grow rice, cotton, mango, bean, cress, lettuce, muskmelon, onion, pea, radish, rhubarb, spinach, cucumber, endive and orange. Indian farmers had far deeper understanding of environmental friendly pest control systems in the ancient India. Indian had a very rich system of administration and technology 3000 years back. However, much of that has been lost. The modern technological knowledge (electricity, telephones, roads, airplanes, military), administrative knowledge and knowledge of international languages, etc., came into India from Europe. Today knowledge is coming into the region through a variety of mechanisms, including the Internet. The globalization of knowledge is as important today for Indias development as it has been since ancient times. Studying abroad is an avenue that is bringing modern if not the latest - knowledge into India. It is estimated that 130,000 Indians are studying in industrialized countriesiii. Still the number of agricultural researchers per million agricultural workers, for example, is around

1000 in India and around 2,400 in industrialized countries. An important knowledge issue here is promoting ways to acquire new embodied forms of knowledge relevant to Indias development and the domestication or Indianization of this knowledge. India must be fully open to these channels of knowledge transfer and acquisition, which must be part of any comprehensive development strategy of India. India (as well as South Korea) may offer a best practice in this area. Industrialized countries have a responsibility to formulate and implement policies for environmental management and for maximizing the contribution of this knowledge to the development of India. This includes stringent norms regarding vehicles, polluting industries etc. NGOs are also promoting some knowledge in India that is useful for sustainable development. Most are doing a good job, particularly those working in the area of humanitarian relief, democracy, education, health, energy, human rights and gender issues. Recently, critics of the work of some NGOs have become more serious, particularly toward those that have ventured into areas such as economic policies, globalization, indigenous knowledge, genetically modified food, governance and religious proselytism. These are areas in which some NGOs may be spreading confusing, if not conflicting, knowledge. Some NGOs are also promoting images of destitute and starving Indian families on global and national medias in order to appeal to the sense of pity of potential financial contributors. These images emphasize the worst of India and project a region in desperate need of assistance. No wonder that international investors are looking at other places to invest although there are plenty of good investment opportunities to be found here. Bihar, Rajasthan, Orissa are projected as states of destitutes. The reality is that the remotest villages in Rajasthan has more knowledge base (stored in Traditional knowledge practices) than any other

modern city but that knowledge base is shrinking in the wake of so called modernization. The villages in the remote part of Rajasthan could survive in just a few liters of water daily but the modern cities of the country need millions of gallons of water daily just to maintain their gardens. Which one is sustainable you can decide. The patents in India are still less in numbers. The number of patents in India are far less than those in the USA or China. We need to have far more number of patent offices and far more simplification of the processes. We have to encourage our scientists to generate patents. Knowledge, in some cases, is just a commodity that can be rented for production purposes. If renting knowledge is profitable then there should not be any reticence of doing business with this knowledge. In the 1970s Indian government promoted the idea of an international code of conduct for technology transfer limiting the percentage of royalties to be paid for the use of the knowledge associated with the technology. This approach did not succeed because these royalty payments must be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Industrializing countries generally make extensive use of licensed and franchised knowledge. Not using this knowledge forecloses important knowledge sources for development. Complementary knowledge is acquired from an estimated 10,00,000 NRIs, / Indian knowledge workers a sizeable number by any standards - reflecting India strength in science and technology. Large number of Indian scientists are willing to return back to India to serve their mother country but there is dearth of excellent laboratories in private sector and the government institutions are run in very closed manner and not suitable for merit oriented person. Thus there is a need of initiatives by the private sector to collectively start world class research laboratories, so that we are

able to use our huge scientific resources in positive direction and to establish world class infrastructure for development of science and technology. An estimated 2,00,000 professional knowledge workers (such as doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, scientists) are leaving India every year and more than half of these wish to return back to India after 2-3 years of service because they wish to work in India only if they get a chance to work in world class institutions. It is estimated that 3,00,000 Indians holding a Ph. D. or other similar qualification are working outside India. They are willing to share their knowledge and expertise and many of them are willing to resettle in India. There is a wealth of knowledge among Indians in the Diaspora that could be better utilised. New knowledge generated outside India is also coming through partnerships, joint ventures and FDIs. In many cases there is no alternative to these knowledge acquisition mechanisms. There exists an abundant literature and numerous meetings have been organized on these transfer channels. FDI can and must be strengthened for the benefit of both the transferors and the transferees. Indian government has not opened a number of important sectors of their economy to FDI, such as retailing, banking, insurance, education, communications, agriculture and others. An important issue here is not only to attract efficient and competitive knowledge but also to promote ways to internalize this knowledge. India can acquire a lot more knowledge from the Diaspora, FDI, partnerships and joint ventures through adequate policies than it is the case now. About 100000 students undertake summer training every year in different sectors like management biotechnology etc. There is a need to use this huge human resource positively. Most students waste their time and energy and later they waste paper also. Some of them only copy and paste their reports. What is

required to channelise their energy in positive direction of documenting traditional knowledge practices and in promoting practices for sustainable development. My ideas may look like negative ideas but it is important to wake up before the destruction. Let us take positive steps for our sustainable development. The internet (outcome of the modern science) has enabled me to mail my ideas to you I am thankful to the modern science for that but I also wish that we should be able to overcome the negative effects of science and technology. Let us continue to remain scientific and let us embrace modern science in its true spirit but we must remain spiritual at the core of our heart then only we shall be able to use science properly.
COPYRIGHT : I shall be thankful to you, if you share or publish or distribute any of my article / research paper. I shall be grateful to you if you give me suggestions / join me in writing something useful for this small planet. Humbly submitted by : Dr. T.K. Jain Address: Parakh Niwas, Veterinary Hospital Road, Bikaner 334001 Contact : 9414430763 tkjainbkn@yahoo.co.in, jain.tk@gmail.com, afterschool@in.com, www.afterschool.tk

More pollution, contamination, degradation, depletion, extermination, destruction, division can be expected on the global scale according the current trends analyzed by the WorldWatch Institute. ii The World Bank identified three key means of facilitating the acquisition of knowledge from abroad: an open trading regime, foreign investment and technology licensing. iii In OECD countries.