Saturday, February 10, 2007

Pushpa Bhargava may have been a great scientist ...

... but right now, he seems to be intent only on being a big-time troublemaker at the National Knowledge Commission.

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Sidebar: Previous posts on Bhargava's "contributions" to NKC are here, here and here.

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According to this DNA story, when NKC Chairman Sam Pitroda asked for his resignation sometime ago, Bhargava (who is the Vice Chairman of NKC) wrote this in his e-mail:

“This refers to your call to me yesterday when I was in Delhi, asking me to resign from the NKC. As I had mentioned to you then, would you kindly send me a (signed) letter by fax asking me to do so, so that I may go to the Prime Minister with it for his advice…Till the time he desires me to leave the NKC, I will of course continue to work…”

The (signed) letter from Pitroda never materialized. Perhaps emboldened by Pitroda's backtracking, Bhargava has got at least one political party to muddy the waters further:

“Pitroda does not understand the Indian ground realities. We are concerned about the functioning of the NKC and the CPI (M) is with us. We will convey our displeasure to the PM,” said CPI national secretary D Raja, who expects the support of the CPI (M) on the matter.

Bhargava too has been keen on painting himself as the champion of the underprivileged. He has been quoted as saying "... Others [in the Commission] have an elitist view which only reflects 20 per cent of the population but I stand for the under privileged people."

Interestingly, he doesn't find any support for his position from JNU professor and NKC member Prof. Jayati Ghosh who, to my knowledge, has never been accused of holding elitist views nor of being a right wing stooge. While Bhargava has charged that "there is no consultation", Ghosh's response is quite blunt: "there is no lack of consultation and there is no ideological battle ... It is all a clash of egos. "

In a clear case of "backlash through embarrassing leaks", the NDTV story goes on to insinuate that Bhargava's outbursts may be "linked to the review of the contract of advisor Chandana Chakrabarti, whom Bhargava appointed, on a salary of a Rs one lakh a month." Bhargava, of course, has denied any wrongdoing.

Given that the Left parties are sympathetic to Bhargava (or, more likely, their deep antipathy towards Pitroda), I am willing to concede that some of NKC's recommendations may need some re-jigging to get the Left on board. However, I am yet to see any credible criticism -- either from Bhargava or from the Left parties -- that explains to the public which aspects of the NKC's recommendations they oppose and why. In particular, all that Bhargava has been doing is to carp on Pitroda's "style of functioning." Is this a case of the political being (primarily) personal?


  1. kuffir said...

    elitism isn't exclusively a right-wing domain.. in india, the left has always stood for policies which helped build an elite in every field.

  2. Anonymous said...

    Sure Bhargava is a troublemaker. Just like all the retired fellows trying to extend their lives by getting involved in policy matters and taking decisions that affect the lives of thousands of honest people who are still in service. Why is it that only in India, life begins at 70?

  3. Anonymous said...

    Leftist and Rightest views are for the profane to consume themselves with. Those factions are created to soothe the ignorant public from the parallel government that has run governance since Plato's time 2400 years ago. The elitists own the media and the universities where the most educated are the most likely to be brainwashed by their bought out peers so they can fit in.

  4. Anonymous said...

    Dr Bhargava is eminent scientist and please dont drag his view as politically motivated. He is well know personality and he is definitely concerned with the life of the people so he should be let free to air is suggestions and recommendations. We should be tahnkful for his bold view in expressing the flaws in gene technology (Bt)though most of the memeber of GEAC are dumb to the pressure of MNC and the funding agency.

  5. quicksilver said...

    As a personal conflict between Sam Pitroda chairman and Pushpa Bhargava vice chairman, I would ask over what matter and in whose interest the loss of either person would have on the Knowledge Base of India.
    Simply put Pushpa Bhargava has serious reservation over the safety of GMO technology and RIGHTLY SO.
    In science TOO MANY people are being pushed out of OFFICE not because of their lack of science but because they are TOO DAMN GOOD at science.

    As the author succintly puts it:

    He may have been a great scientist but today he is one heck of a lot BEETER scientist.

  6. Unknown said...

    P M Bhargava is not only a great scientist but also an honest responsible patriotic citizen of the country who keeps public good in mind rather than his own inflated egos. What he said to Pitroda was perfectly justified because what the latter did (if this news is true) is cheap, insulting and illegal.