High aims are worthwhile
The Pioneer, October 3, 1997 (Letters to the Editor)

This has reference to the article, ‘A great leap forward’ (October 1, by Soumyajit Pattnaik. I greatly appreciate Mr. Pattnaik’s comment that, ”The PSLV-C1 launch is a rebuff to the untiring efforts of the big powers to constitute a technological cartel”.

Some of the frustration we have met with in our effort to progress in the field of science and technology, has been on account of the fact that we have not been as alert to our core values as we ideally should have been. We have also been particularly complacent about the machinations of the technological cartel formed by the developed world to target India.

Now that we have emerged as a major global power in satellite launching, we would do well to remember the words of Alfred North Whitehead: “The vigour of civilised societies is preserved by the widespread sense that high aims are worthwhile. Vigorous societies harbour a certain extravagance of objectives, so that men wander beyond the safe provision of personal gratifications. All strong interests easily become impersonal, the love of a good job well done. There is sense of harmony about such an accomplishment, the peace brought by something worthwhile.”

We have become so caught up in the trivia of politics today that Mr. Pattnaik’s excellent presentation provides an opportunity for reflection, not only on our capacity to explore and extend new frontiers of science, technology and engineering, but also on the active and cooperative part that India can play in ensuring a better future for humanity as a whole.

We must make a beginning by a collective and concerted effort at restoring a sense of national prestige and self-confidence in ourselves as a nation.

Centre for Science Policy
School of Social Sciences
Jawaharlal Nehru University
New Delhi – 110 067

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