Photo courtesy: telegraph.co.uk
SUDDENLY, everyone is claiming "ownership" of (or affiliation to) the 2009 Chemistry Nobel laureate Venkatraman ("Venky") Ramakrishnan. The press in India. The town where he was born. The state where this town is located. The town in another state where he lived. The university, where he completed his undergraduation. The universities, where he made presentations ... the list goes on ...
Venky, however, left India some four decades ago and received significant education and a culture/environment (for such work) in the US and UK.
There are brilliant Indians like Venky. However, are there institutions/companies in India that can encourage/enable the Venky kind of world-impacting work? If not, is it alright to make claims such as we've seen since the announcement of the Chemistry Nobel prize? And, why were the claims made only after an Award was announced? Why did they not celebrate Venky's great work earlier? As Venky himself asks (reported in The Times of India, October 8, 2009), "None of you called me about my work even two days ago, right?"
Only when celebration of the WORK becomes part of the culture, celebration of a subsequent award becomes a natural and accepted thing to do.