Skip to main content

Dr Iyengar's life was a saga of boundless pursuit of science

December 23, 2011 12:45 IST

http://www.rediff.com/news/special/dr-iyengars-life-was-a-saga-of-boundless-pursuit-of-science/20111223.htm

 Nuclear scientist Dr PK Iyengar, who passed into the ages this week, was uncompromising as far as national interests are concerned, recalls Dr AN Prasad It is with a profound sense of respect and admiration for Dr PK Iyengar, with whom I had the privilege of working for a number of years, I write this. On December 21, the country lost a highly accomplished a scientist dedicated to the national cause. Dr Iyengar's life was a saga of boundless pursuit of science extending beyond the frontiers of physics, which was his forte by education and specialisation. He was a firm believer that the key to the country's overall economic development lay in the advancement of science in its holistic sense and constantly strived to bring about scientific culture in whatever he did. He was quite uncompromising as far as national interests was concerned.

He was extremely forthright and fearless in expressing his views boldly however controversial they may be, unlike many even among the scientific community. He simply was averse to the very idea of 'toeing the line'. One can say he represented a breed of self-respecting Indians, maintaining the identity of his own, perhaps resented by some of his pliable associates. It was always a pleasure to engage in intellectual conversations with him on innovative ideas. Though he gave an impression of being unyielding and stern, actually those who knew him well can vouch-safe that he was amenable to convincing arguments and quite open-minded. It was his nature that he would not accept an answer just to please others or under pressure. On a personal level, he was extremely kind at heart and hospitable. Dr Iyengar started his scientific career in neutron-scattering, contributing to path-breaking research on lattice dynamics.

He built up an internationally recognised neutron-scattering group. Under the leadership of Dr Raja Ramanna, he played a key role in the peaceful nuclear explosion at Pokhran in 1974. As director of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, he motivated basic research in a wide range of fields and initiated new technologies like lasers and accelerators. Later, as chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and Nuclear Power Corporation, he championed the cause of sustaining a strong indigenous nuclear power capability in pursuit of Dr Homi Bhabha's [ Images ] vision of long-term energy security and independence. He was terribly averse to our nuclear programmes being driven by major dependence on external sources, whether technology or supplies. Iyengar was one of the few scientists who revelled in educating the public, especially those involved in making policies at the government level, on what nuclear energy was all about and its multifaceted applications in industry, agriculture, medicine apart from generating electricity. Production of an extremely informative and at the same time highly educative monograph as recently as in 2009 is illustrative of this. His exposition covers a wide spectrum starting with what science really is, efforts which went into developing nuclear science and methodology adopted for converting the same to technology indigenously, and astounding organisational effort involved. He was quite forthright in expressing his strong views on controversial topics like nuclear testing and non-proliferation, in the long-term national security context.

 Dr Iyengar felt strongly that deliberate attempts made by the developed countries for blocking the knowledge of nuclear science to India [ Images ] and placing restrictions on its development, were contrary to human dignity especially for a nation with an ancient history of amply demonstrated peaceful existence. However, on the flip side, he used to say with a degree of triumphant satisfaction, that 50 years of managing a nuclear programme with more than three decades of humiliation of discrimination in the international fora has not weakened the resolve of the country's scientists from making tremendous progress and come out stronger and be noticed, to the envy of even some of the developed countries! In recent years, Dr Iyengar was visibly upset with the terms of the Indo-United States nuclear deal and has written and spoken extensively expressing his views without mincing words. It was not for the lack of faith in the US, with whom it would be good to have the best of relationships, especially strategic relationship, but he felt that in our eagerness to clinch the deal we have forsaken the rights of the future generations in this country. He firmly believed that there are weighty reasons why the nuclear deal is not in the best national interest. He went even to the extent of reasoning why the deal should be scrapped. Dr Iyengar believed that a country can declare itself a weapons State when it has an arsenal in which all the devices stored are certified as far as their yield is concerned. He believed that this cannot be done through computer simulation alone, more so the thermo-nuclear devices.

 The circumstances in which India tested its first nuclear device in 1974 were forced on it by the Indo-Pak war by which Bangladesh became an independent nation and many advanced countries had cast their neutrality to support the military regime of Pakistan. The Disarmament Committee in Geneva has been discussing nuclear disarmament for several decades and yet we do not see any agreement on the part of the weapons' countries to give up nuclear weapons. The global and regional security situations are in a dynamic mode. Under these circumstances, was it prudent for India to tie up its future by foregoing the nuclear test option, not withstanding the quibbling of words by our government? The answer should be obvious. India has its self-respect and self-interest to defend. Dr Iyengar was also concerned that contrary to the oft-repeated pronouncements by our government, the terms of the nuclear agreement do not comply with the requirements of 'Full Civil Nuclear Cooperation' even in its simplest definition. On this we have been taken for a ride and our government seems to have meekly surrendered. While getting an opportunity to come out of embargoes is welcome, the question is whether it is on honourable terms commensurate with the status of scientific prowess achieved over the years and self-respect? After many decades of suffering and hard work, don't we deserve better? While going by the present trend, the future is going to be full of struggle at every step, to the possible detriment of the indigenous nuclear power programme, which has been unduly rocked by this agreement. It is perhaps God's will that Dr Iyengar is not be alive to see his apprehensions if they unfold. May his soul rest in peace! Dr AN Prasad is a former director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre Dr AN Prasad

Comments

Anonymous said…
I reаlly lіke ωhat you guys tend to be up toо.
Such сlever work and exρosure! Keeρ up the great workѕ guys I've incorporated you guys to blogroll.

My web-site; quick payday loans
Anonymous said…
Just desіre to ѕаy your аrticle is aѕ amazing.
The clеarness in yοur post iѕ just speсtaculаr аnd i сan aѕsumе yоu're an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the gratifying work.

My page ... best payday loans
my web page - best payday loans
Anonymous said…
It's hard to find knowledgeable people on this topic, however, you sound like you know what you'гe talκing about!
Thаnkѕ

Feel free to ѕurf to my wеb sіte quick cash
Anonymous said…
As the admin οf this web site is working,
nο doubt veгу shortlу іt ωill be famous,
duе to іtѕ fеature cοntents.



Taκe a look аt mу weblog Eternity rings
My website :: Eternity rings
Anonymous said…
Just want to say youг aгticle is aѕ astonіshing.
The clearnеѕs in your ρost
is ѕimply greаt and i can asѕume уоu're an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your RSS feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the rewarding work.

Check out my web site - losing weight
Anonymous said…
I am rеgular гeader, how are you everybοdy?
This piece of wгiting posted at this site іs trulу
pleaѕant.

Ηere is my blog poѕt loans for bad credit
Anonymous said…
I uѕed to bе able tο find
gоod аdѵice from your
blog рosts.

Cheсκ οut my web-site; quick cash loans
Anonymous said…
Attraсtivе cοmρonеnt to content.
I just stumbleԁ upon your web site and in
accession cаρital to claim that I acquire in fact еnjoyеd account your
weblog posts. Αnyway I'll be subscribing on your augment and even I fulfillment you get admission to consistently quickly.

Look into my page payday loans

Popular posts from this blog

Pakistani firm whose chemicals were used to kill US troops seeks subsidy for Indiana plant

By Jennifer Griffin, Justin Fishel
Published March 22, 2013


A Pakistani fertilizer maker whose chemicals have been used in 80 percent of the roadside bombs that have killed and maimed American troops in Afghanistan is now seeking U.S. taxpayer subsidies in order to open a factory in Indiana. 
The request appears to be on hold pending further review, but the situation has stirred outrage in Congress, where some accuse the Pakistani government of halting efforts to clamp down on the bomb-making. 
For the past seven years, the U.S. government has known that the raw material calcium ammonium nitrate, or CAN, is making its way across the border into Afghanistan where the Taliban use it to fuel their most deadly weapons, namely the improvised explosive device. IEDs have long been the number one killer of U.S. and coalition troops. 
The material largely comes from Pakistani fertilizer maker the Fatima Group. But the Pakistani government has stymied attempts by the Pentagon to stop the flow of the…

Menon meets Karzai, discusses security of Indians

Kabul/New Delhi/Washington, March 5 (IANS) India Friday said that the Feb 26 terror attack in Kabul will not deter it from helping rebuild Afghanistan as National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon met Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul to review the security of around 4,000 Indians working in that country.

Menon, who arrived here Friday morning on a two-day visit, discussed with Karzai some proposals to bolster security of Indians engaged in a wide array of reconstruction activities, ranging from building roads, bridges and power stations to social sector projects.

The Indian government is contemplating a slew of steps to secure Indians in Afghanistan, including setting up protected venues where the Indians working on various reconstruction projects will be based. Deploying dedicated security personnel at places where Indians work is also being considered.

Menon also met his Afghan counterpart Rangin Dadfar Spanta and enquired about the progress in the probe into the Kabul attack in…

Revathi from Karnataka got selected in Civil Services

Miss. Revathi from Karnataka got selected in the civil services became IAS. Above is the picture of her house. She is the role model for everyone. Let's congratulate her.