There are other fundamental ironies as well. Marxist governments have traditionally run inquisition against quantum mechanics. Often their theoreticians denounced the new physics as ‘bourgeois science’ and ‘decadent fall into mysticism’.
Sure enough, even in the path to quantum computing and teleportation of the scientists we saw, Bohm was almost a mystic and his conversations with philosopher J Krishnamurthy are legendary. Anton Zeilinger the man who made the first quantum teleportation over the distance of more than 100 km, had invited the Dalai Lama to his laboratory. He and his colleagues had visited Dharamsala and discussed quantum physics and cosmology with the Dalai Lama.
Despite all these hurdles at the theoretical level, the Chinese had pulled off a technological achievement over all others in the field of q-computation. Of course, behind this success is a huge human cost.
The Long March rocket series of which one took the satellite to sun-synchronous orbits have been tested with the least concern for human safety. Failed rocket launches had exploded over populous villages and casualties are unknown to the outside world. They could build their satellite land centres in high altitude places of occupied Tibet and still engineer the cooperation of global scientific community. All these have gone into the success, which is definitely a great milestone in the history of science.
What about India?
India is bound to compete with China in science and technology. However India does not have the luxury of the tyranny of state power. It has chosen the harder path. It has chosen democracy and still she has to achieve and perhaps even outsmart the Chinese competition. When Sputnik was launched by the Soviets, it shocked the Americans because they realised not just the technological superiority of the then USSR but also the propaganda value of the achievement – that the Marxist society is superior to democratic society. Today India faces the same challenge.
Unlike Marxist China, India does not have any dogmatic opposition to quantum mechanics or genetics. India has to revamp its education system. It should make science popular and interesting for the coming generations.
Unfortunately, Nehruvian ‘scientific temper’ degenerated into a political slogan often aimed at slandering the Indian culture as ‘unscientific’. It has had two major ill effects. One is the absolute psychological alienation of the masses from science as something alien to Indian culture. Another is the childish cargo-cult like claims of the Eric Von Daniken variety. We need to revamp not only our educational system, but also the socio-cultural orientation towards science.
It is not an accident that China has also emerged a major contributor to global science fiction. China has ignored all the ideological incompatibilities its official dogma has with the worldview of quantum mechanics. India, in this regard, actually had an initial advantage over China. In fact, then some Indian teams sitting in absolutely impoverished science departments in isolated universities in India were competing with global leaders of science in unravelling profound mysteries in science of that day. Yet down the line China has beaten us down and has emerged as a world leader in the technology of the people.
While China can build anything anywhere for making itself a world leader in science and technology, in India, as we just saw in the case of Neutrino Observatory in Tamil Nadu, a bunch of lunatic Luddites stopped the international project in science that could benefit the nation and humanity. Given all her handicaps, and her ethically laudable determination to stick to democracy rather than dictatorship, India does have impressive achievements in science and technology. In his recent book Deep Thinking, while pointing out to Chinese ascendancy in the field of artificial intelligence, Gary Kasparov recalls the response of the US to the ‘crisis’ in telling words: