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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Nobel Prize and South India

The seventh in an official list to win the Nobel Prize is Venkataraman Ramakrishnan, this laureate is the third such awardee from Tamil Nadu. The list starts with Rabindranath Tagore (1913 Literature) and is followed by C V Raman (Medicine 1930), Khorana (Medicine 1968), Mother Teresa (Peace Prize 1979), Subramanian Chandrashekar (nephew of C V Raman; Physics 1983), and Amartya Sen (Economics 1998). Two more names Naipaul (Literature 2001) a person of Indian origin and Ronald Ross (born in Almora, Medicine 1902) are associated closely with our country.

South India has been the cradle for a great deal of people associated with research, writing, medicine, sciences and mathematics. It has also seen a huge brain drain and has exported some of the best brains in every field to the rest of the world. The Brahmin and upper castes have had to necessarily leave their shores to establish themselves in more friendly and encouraging surroundings. This section of society was legitimately denied seats in universities and jobs based on merit and achievement as the bias was towards other communities.

Today, these NRI’s, from the Middle East and US and UK are sending money back home to set up their parents in better surroundings, to invest in real estate and to establish a home away from their current dwellings to come back to in case of need or after retirement. These NRI’s have got together and in fresh pastures have built temples, churches and other holy places, social organizations and associations that keeps alive and flourishing the values and traditions that they have left behind.

There was a joke that was popular: Hillary climbed the Everest with a lot of stress, adventures and great difficulties. He reached the top, turned around and said, “I am the first man to climb the highest mountain on earth” and let out a roar of exultation.
An echo came back, “Saar! What about a cup of hot tea?” A South Indian, some versions specify as Nair, had already set up shop!!

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