You remember the Herbal Petrol incident long ago when an Indian village boy made petrol out of plants and leaves? He created a national sensation, gripped all Indians’ attention for over a week, was invited and honored by many leaders in
This was a classic case of how
Every post-colonial country and every fascist country during 1920s has relooked at its own history to find gems of achievements. Some nations went onto rewrite them to glorify themselves in their past.
In near future, we might see news items like these-
‘Indian Ayurvedic finds cure to AIDS disease’, ‘Indian village boy creates Apple IPhone alternative’, etc.
Not limiting themselves to Indian villages, the Indian media is now looking for such gems from Indian Diaspora. Everyday news at Times of India or The Hindu keep writing about some NRI who has done something great, when in fact they are quite ordinary feats in those countries. Recently, it was Sunita Williams. The fact that she almost never visited
Since we don’t seem to generate such people within
Here are two news items from same day newspaper –
Story One: Indian brain powers Nasa's mission
It will once again be a story of an Indian brain powering an important Nasa flight… it will be a cause for celebration in
So, what we have is a 40-year old programmer coding his software at NASA and he happens to be from
There are thousands of Indians writing software everyday working with fascinating stuff, starting from Ferrari cars, to Apple Phones, to world’s biggest turbine engines, to NASA flights. These programmers happen to be doing just their job. To describe those ordinary jobs as remarkable feats underscores something very dangerous- either we don’t have any other achievements to write about; OR that our standards are so low that we are ready to take pride in smallest of our achievements.
Story Two: NRI making chips for US space flights
Though the title says that an NRI is making chips for US space flights, the new article writes:
…an Indian American researcher on embedded computers said to be the “brain” behind many everyday mechanisms, is now developing embedded software code generation for space missions.
Embedded software is NOT same as chipmaking. Where is the connection to the chips that the title is talking about? Here it comes:
He is also interested in nano-scale chips… (He) is attempting to create novel tools and techniques to help solve these problems.
I guess, having thought about it is good enough to make it newsworthy. Not writing about actual achievements is quite OK for news items these days.
Story Three: Indian engineer powers the cellular networks worldwide
…An Indian engineer writes software into cellular networks that make your everyday mobile phone work.
Well, I made this one up. If I had lived little longer in US, this is what TOI would have written about me, when in fact I am just one of hundreds of engineers who do the same; when in fact all I do is my part of writing software which is just one chunk of the big thing.