Friday, June 02, 2006

CASUALTIES OF PEACE

I met a guy from Karachi who has recently joined our department as a post-doc. He did his PhD. from Oxford university. I happened to have a conversation with him in a 'lab-warming' party, and he mentioned that after the 1999 nuclear tests, scientific research suffered enormously in Pakistan. The labs which previously had a decent amount of US or international funding suddenly found themselves without support. He said that in the first place, there are only a few good institutes holding out on their own in Pakistan, and even their continued progress is not being ensured.
He said that getting even simple, high quality chemicals is a problem for Pakistani scientists; they have to order the materials from Germany or the UK, which sometimes takes months. Unlike India, there are few incentives for foreign companies to set up manufacturing units in Pakistan, because labour is not not as plentiful as in India, and also because the demand is less. But the people who suffer are the few good scientists and students who are trying to make a home for their science in the middle of political anarchy and the quirks of their country's present and future. He said that it would be really good if Pakistan could import those chemicals from India, which has both indigenous as well as foreign manufacturing plants.
I unambiguously agreed, saying that there's absolutely no need to mix up other differences and such issues. We need to keep issues separate. Unfortunately, our politicians don't, and slap on moral arguments to justify their actions.
That's the real problem; in all these conflicts and differences, it is the simple people who suffer. These are the ones who could care less about their country's political disagreements. They are the ones who have it hard for no fault of theirs, except that they belong to a particular nationality. They are the real casualties of peace. We will live with their dilemma as long as we continue to have differences of any kind with anybody.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Aniket said...

You are absolutely right. But don't most people always put emotions before logic and abstract thought? And since when has clarity of thought been the requirement for becoming a politician? But yes, it is deplorable that people cannot separate issues.

Aniket

11:56 AM  
Blogger Ashutosh said...

Yes, but that's what we as a race are trying to do. Think clearly with logic through the thicket of emotions. At least it will be a preventive measure, if not a curative one.

9:35 AM  

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