We, the people

January 26, 2006

Nehru

Happy Republic day to all my fellow Indians ! It is on this day in 1950 C.E. that our constitution came into force. (The above image shows our first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru signing the constitution on 24th Jan,1950. From here) It’s Preamble declared

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;

LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;

EQUALITY of status and of opportunity; and to promote among them all FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation;

IN OUR CONSTITUENT ASSEMBLY this twenty-sixth day of November, 1949, do HEREBY ADOPT, ENACT AND GIVE TO OURSELVES THIS CONSTITUTION.

Our Constitution protects our fundamental rights which are broadly classified into

  • Right to Equality
  • Right to Particular freedoms
  • Right against Exploitation
  • Right to freedom of religion
  • Cultural and educational rights
  • Right to Constitutional remedies
  • and it calls forth Indians to perform their fundamental duties

    (a) to abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem;

    (b) to cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom;

    (c) to uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India;

    (d) to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so;

    (e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women;

    (f) to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture;

    (g) to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures;

    (h) to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform;

    (i) to safeguard public property and to abjure violence;

    (j) to strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.

    Indian Republic is one of the greatest experiments in democracy by humanity – It is arguably the greatest legacy that the 1950s generation have left us with. I wish my fellow indians all success in this experiment on our Republic day.

    Now, time for some interesting links on science – I figured that there is no better way to celebrate our republic day than performing my fundametal duty “to develop the scientific temper … and the spirit of inquiry ” 😉

  • Mark Trodden at Cosmic Variance has a post on How General Relativity is useful for finding new earth-size planets outside our solar system ( based on this BBC Report . Chad Orzel at Uncertain Principles also has a related post.)
  • Nominations are up for The Greatest Physics Experiment Ever at Uncertain Principles. Don’t forget to put in your votes :). Also have a look at his call for great experiments in other sciences. And yeah, even if you don’t look at anyof these , the article titled Physics Face is a must-see.
  • Meanwhile, PZ Myers at Pharyngula has some interesting things to say about evolution of cervical vertebrae(neckbones) in mammals and cancer .
  • Also check out Carl Zimmers at the Loom talk about Parasites exerting mind control ! “Mind-Boggling” stuff, literally !
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    In Your Own Words..

    January 17, 2006

    It is so much fun telling it in my own words ! 😉
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    Science in China

    January 14, 2006

    I am a skeptic when it comes to reporter-type articles. By that I mean articles which
    follow the format ” X says, “blah, blah”.But, according to Y…. “. After seeing how news about physics or IITK gets reported in the media, I think I am perfectly justified in my skepticism.

    Now that I have said that, let me point to an interesting article I came across – What Happens When Science Is Made In China from the Gossip column of Seed Magazine .I will let you read the whole thing – yeah, i know it is a bit long, so just to give an idea, I’ll quote some bits

    The mood in Chinese science is energetic, buoyant and even, as one Western science administrator described it, “euphoric.” China is determined to show the West that it can develop scientifically even as it does so economically—that it can turn out impressive achievements with less than half the funding allotted to the sciences in the West. And that it can do so, in some cases, more efficiently….

    Economically and diplomatically, China has already positioned itself as a leader of the developing world. Now it is doing the same scientifically, strengthening its own research foundation and honing its expertise. This puts China in the unprecedented position of being a developing country that has resources to call upon. It’s country whose business leaders rank among the Fortune 500, and whose biotech and nanotech labs are some of the best in the world, where 130 million people still live below the poverty line. China’s rapid economic growth allows it the opportunity to tackle development issues in a way that the West never could. It has the tools to think big and to do it right the first time. And when it comes to the kind of research that will make a difference here—studying pollution reduction and agricultural technologies—the West doesn’t feel the same immediacy. This is where science with Chinese characteristics becomes an investment in the future of developing nations, as well as a saleable commodity; this is how China becomes positioned to do no less than shape the future of the five billion people living in the developing world.

    Now again, I am skeptical of how much of this is for real , but irrespective of whether it is being actually done or not, these are things that ought to be done – not only in China but also in India and other nations of the world. For all we know, in about 20-50 years or so India will have a developed China in our neighbourhood ( I just hope it brings light to the lives of the large majority of chinese – Let us not forget that IF this happens it will be a day to celebrate ! That would be the day when development reaches the masses – Chinese still make up a large chunk of humankind ).

    And, Indians are definitely going to wonder what went wrong if a similar thing is not happening over here in India… It is hightime Indians start building a new India but unfortunately it’s builders are either too cautious in their optimism or too much steeped in their pessimism or happily unaware ! You see, the previous sentence is a perfect example of what I refer to as “too much steeped in their pessimism” 🙂