Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sunita Narain: "Indian Scientists Missing in Action"

Her op-ed in The Business Standard is filled with strong stuff. Example:

Take the issue of genetically-modified (GM) crops. For long this matter has been decided inside closed-door committee rooms, where scientists are comforted by the fact that their decisions will not be challenged. Their defence is “sound science” and “superior knowledge”. It is interesting that the same scientists will accept data produced by private companies pushing the product. Issues of conflict of interest will be brushed aside as integrity cannot be questioned behind closed doors. Silence is the best insurance. This is what happened inside a stuffy committee room, where scientists sat to give permission to Mahyco-Monsanto to grow genetically-modified brinjal.

This case involved a vegetable we all eat. This was a matter of science we had the right to know about and to decide upon. The issue made headlines. The reaction of the scientific fraternity was predictable and obnoxious. They resented the questions. They did not want a public debate.

Thanks to my colleague Atul Chokshi for the alert.


  1. Dheeraj Sanghi said...

    Sunita Narain is unfortunately right in this case, but perhaps those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones at others :-) The quality of research at CSE, if that can be judged by the ethics that their associated scientists have displayed over the years, should be abysmal.

  2. L said...

    And I suspect the same is going to happen about nuclear reactors. We will be assured that all possible precautions have been taken..as if the Japanese at Fukushima and the US at the Three Mile Island did not take any precautions... and assured that no tsunami or earthquake will hit us at those sites...