Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Memories Of Science And More

I never find it easy to write about people I know well, so this is going to be a brief blog, with a link.

The Indian Academy of Sciences has begun an oral history archive, and as part of this, they have interviewed Dr. S. Varadarajan.  Dr. Varadarajan has been a part of Indian science from pre-Independence times, and still retains vivid and detailed memories of his experiences with industry, academia and administration in the area of science and technology.

The interview was conducted last year (when he was 87).  It was an 8 hour interview that has finally been spliced and presented as a 30 minute video.  It shows glimpses of a changing India and the challenges of building research and industry, post independence.

The editing may not be perfect (there are gaps and jumps) and Dr. Varadarajan is visibly tired by the end of the interview, but I still find myself being moved each time I watch it.  Many things perhaps are left out, due to various constraints and I can only add a few things which may not be evident to a viewer - his strong attachment to the country and its people, his tremendous urge to help when he sees people in need, his distress during national or industrial disasters.  (The Bhopal gas tragedy is one such example.  What he doesn't mention in this interview is that every evening he spent hours sitting by the lake, just to regain his equilibrium in the face of so much suffering).  I'm happy that a small part of his vast repertoire of memories has been recorded and that we can get a glimpse of a country and its changing scientific and industrial environment through this recording.

Here is the link:

#Header1_headerimg { margin: 0px auto }