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The challenge of saving basic science from being orphaned

Technology has played an important role in the journey from the display of military action to the moon by air attack on the neighboring country. This technique is finally beginning to affect political will as well. Demonstration of technology has become a strong political tool to strengthen people’s emotions. It has been said earlier in this column that such a display of technology creates strong feelings on the minds of the people rather than the voters. People start feeling strong with this. It has been observed around the world who by performing such acts reinforces feelings of compulsion.

The political leadership that thrives on the agenda of nationalism and self-pride displays, whether from developed countries or developing countries. Examples of developing countries may include India. After the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russia is once again testing the new technology in the military field and not only grabbing the world’s attention but also keeping the agenda of its government. Of late, now America is also answering this. The two countries seem to have sparked rivalries like the one during the Cold War, but this time the context is different. China has already mastered technology and is gradually expanding its identity to the world with complete strategy.

India stayed awake all night on 7 September so that she could witness this moment by seeing her lander landing on the moon. Although it did not succeed, despite this, the technical skills of the country continued to celebrate. The political leadership redeemed this “new” avatar of India as much as possible. There is no harm in widening the chest on every small and big scientific achievement.

But the worrying aspect is that the political use of such high-grade technology will not affect the science and technology that are related to people’s daily problems. Take for example the technique of toilets. India decided not to defecate in the open, but reports from various agencies suggest that the right toilet technology in India has not yet been developed. This will be a big challenge in the coming times, especially when the country is completely free from open defecation. In such a situation, who and how will solid and liquid waste be managed? If the basic toilet technology is not effective or does not meet the technical parameters, the challenge of disposal of waste will remain.

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Similarly, political initiatives are being taken to tackle the water crisis. When it comes to the use of less water in agriculture, we are told about the technology of Israel. There are very few instances where politicians should take pride in the traditional technique of saving water and publicize it. It is a different matter that stories of ancient skill and prudence of saving water are heard in national groups. But that ancient understanding does not figure in the national agenda to solve contemporary problems.

Providing water to every household after the cleanliness campaign is the next big agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Apart from space and military technology, he has also spoken about the challenge of water crisis. It is clear that the political leadership has not rejected many of India’s challenges. But there is also the fear of electoral acceptance in front of the elected government. It is heartening that technological proficiency has been accepted at the political level but there is also the challenge of protecting basic science from being orphaned.