Wednesday, December 27, 2006

'Even' the East Asians are doing better than us!


Let me give two recent examples, all of which are about the shoddy state of affairs in our higher education system. First up, we have Seyed E. Hasnain, Vice Chancellor, University of Hyderabad, lamenting in an otherwise must-read Current Science editorial about the crisis in our universities:

... China which was far behind in India in terms of scientific contributions is today much ahead of us by at least a factor of 40. [...] Even South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore are fast catching up or have already exceeded India's scientific research productivity in terms of scientific publication, impact factor, citation or even sheer number of Ph.D.s. [Bold emphasis added]

Next up, we have Ram Kelkar, in this op-ed:

... [B]y almost any traditional metric used for measuring the worth of a university, the IITs are nowhere compared to leading universities of the US and Europe. Even the Chinese and Koreans are pouring their financial might and national will into building truly world-class universities. [Bold emphasis added]

Am I the only one seeing here an implicit message of desi superiority over the East Asians?

3 Comments:

  1. Rahul said...

    I would say "even South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore" could mean "even tiny countries that were economically comparable to India some decades ago" -- that is, nothing derogatory.

    It is a bit harder to interpret "even China", but it may just be lazy writing. Many Indians use "even" to mean "too" or "also", as in "even I enjoy cricket".

  2. Tabula Rasa said...

    look at it this way -- if it's not even it's odd :-D

  3. Balaji said...

    The message is clear because of India's superiority in abstract sciences since ancient times. While Chinese were good in manufacturing & engineering, even they didnt compete with India in pure sciences. I dont even know where all these tiny countries were till a couple of decades ago.

    Even, during most parts of last century India was a leader in sciences with one of the first Asian nobel laureates - Sir C.V. Raman, and a lot more from emigrant community like Dr. Khorana & Dr. Chandra. In another decade, majority of US engineering departments would have a lot of Indian origin profs (seeing the number of grad students with me) and a lot more Turing Awards (Raj Reddy), Nevanlinna (Madhusudan) and Nobel Prizes might be awarded to Indians.

    We were overtook after thousands of years only in the last decade and I dont know why someone thinks this is not a suprizing fact.