Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Jawaharlal Nehru and Science and Technology

Tyabji, Nasir (2007): Jawaharlal Nehru and Science and Technology. Published in: History and Sociology of South Asia , Vol. 1, No. 1 (June 2007): pp. 130-136.


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Nehru was deeply identified in the public mind with science and technology. From the mid-seventies, however, there had been a strong current of disenchantment, as the chasm between those who benefited from Nehruvian developmental policies and those who bore its burden widened.Scientific temper was essential in the building of a secular society. Nehru’s scientific vision was realised in the institutions for scientific research and defence strategies that he was instrumental in setting up. However, many of Nehru’s statements were part of his personal vision that did not find representation in state policy. The Science Policy Resolution 1958 was drafted by Homi Bhabha. The Resolution contained the unusual formulation that the key to national prosperity, apart from the spirit of the people, lay in the modern age in technology, raw material and capital. The recognition of ‘the spirit of the people’ in the context of science and technology was what makes the resolution unusual. Of these other factors, the Resolution asserted that technology was the most important because it could cover up the deficits in the other two spheres.The application of science on a large scale was the dominant feature of the contemporary world. It was only through science that the idea of progress and of the welfare state could be realised. Despite this initial vision, the focus in later years shifted to an instrumentalist view of science in which the wealth of nature and human resources was to be exploited only for the growth of industry.

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