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Sending Pakistan to Mars

Updated Oct 18, 2014 01:02pm


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The author teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.
The author teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

When spacecraft Mangalyaan successfully entered the Martian orbit in late September after a 10-month journey, India erupted in joy. Costing more than an F-16 but less than a Rafale, Mangalyaan’s meticulous planning and execution established India as a space-faring country. Although Indians had falsely celebrated their five nuclear tests of 1998 — which were based upon well-known physics of the 1940s — the Mars mission is a true accomplishment.

Pakistanis may well ask: can we do it too? What will it take? Seen in the proper spirit, India’s foray into the solar system could be Pakistan’s sputnik moment — an opportunity to reflect upon what’s important. Let’s see how India did it: First, space travel is all about science and India’s young ones are a huge reservoir of enthusiasm for science. Surveys show that 12-16 year olds practically worship Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking, are fascinated by black holes and Schrödinger cats, and most want a career in science. They see more prestige in this than becoming doctors, lawyers, financial managers, or army officers. Although most eventually settle for more conventional professions, this eagerness leads India’s very best students towards science.

Ten years ago, I had personally experienced this youthful enthusiasm during a four-week lecture tour across seven Indian cities that took me to all sorts of schools, colleges, and universities. In places, hundreds turned up for my talks on scientific subjects. Every city had at least one much-visited science museum, and sometimes two or three. Student scientific societies, which appeared active, were everywhere.

How can we Pakistanis get to our bit of the solar system? Or establish a presence in the world of science?

Second, Indian universities have created the necessary backbone for advanced scientific projects. University quality goes from moderately bad to very good, with the median lying around fair. Many mediocre ones produce rotten science PhDs and publications prodigiously, suffocating growth. On the positive side, research in the theoretical sciences carried out in India’s very best universities — as well as institutes such as TIFR and IMSC — compares favourably with that in the world’s top universities.

Rigorous entry standards for students, and a careful selection of faculty, have been important ingredients for this relative success. National examinations for entrance into the Indian Institutes of Technology would make the best students anywhere in the world sweat.

Third, India values — nay, venerates — its top mathematicians and scientists. There is scarcely an Indian I’ve met who doesn’t know the story of Srinivasa Ramanujan, the child prodigy from Madras who astonished the world of high mathematics but tragically died at the age of 32. India is dotted with institutes bearing such names as S.N. Bose, C.V. Raman, M. Saha, and Homi Bhabha.

Back to space: a developing country looking at faraway Mars can take either the Arab way or the Chinese-Indian way.

The first needs a ticket. Petrodollars paid for Prince Salman ibn Saud, the first Arab in space, and put him aloft an American space shuttle in 1985. Recently the UAE announced plans for a Mars mission within 18 years. Just as cash and foreign experts built Dubai and its mega-sized airport, they will also put sheikhs on planets.

But how can we cash-strapped Pakistanis get to our bit of the solar system? Or establish a presence — which we so far lack — in the world of science? The process will be slow, but here is how to do it.

First, create enthusiasm in our young people for science. Space exploration is only a part of the larger whole. Instead of TV channels saturated with dharna news and random political “experts”, have good educational programmes. Standards of English in Pakistan must improve; they have fallen so low that English-language TV channels no longer exist. Sadly, the world of science is closed to those who can only read or understand Urdu.

Second, we must re-educate ourselves to know the difference between science and “cargo science”. This phrase, borrowed from anthropology, was introduced by the physicist Richard Feynman during his 1974 commencement address at the California Institute of Technology.

Feynman said: “In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During [the Second World War] they saw airplanes land with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they’ve arranged to imitate things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas — he’s the controller — and they wait for the airplanes to land. They’re doing everything right. The form is perfect. But it doesn’t work. No airplanes land. So I call these things cargo cult science, because they follow all the apparent precepts and forms of scientific investigation, but they’re missing something essential, because the planes don’t land.”

We must stop teaching a kind of science in Pakistani schools which is science only in name but which bypasses its essence — evidence and reasoning. Students experience mathematics as a bunch of cookbook prescriptions, physics and chemistry are mountains of formulae, and experimental science has been almost totally banished.

Our universities need even more drastic reform. Desperate to show evidence of improvement, government organisations such as the Higher Education Commission and Pakistan Council for Science and Technology have institutionalised a reward system that has led to armies of cargo PhDs — with wooden pieces sticking out of their heads — as well as mountains of cargo publications. Serious de-weeding is needed else academic fakes will crowd out the few genuine academic scientists around.

Third, and last, individual scientific achievement must be recognised while narrow prejudices, both religious and ethnic, must be firmly rejected. India has had many, but Pakistan has had only one great scientist — Abdus Salam. His tragic marginalisation must be reversed. This will be a strong signal that the country is finally prepared to move into the future.

The author teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2014

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (383) Closed

R Banana Oct 18, 2014 06:01am

agree with the above article

BRR Oct 18, 2014 06:15am

The writer is right - the "spirit of scientific inquiry" is as essential as the methods of science. Often people think the method will deliver the results, but without the spirit of inquiry, science becomes a routine regurgitation of known facts and the manufacture of nonsense to look like new insights - like engines that run on water.

Explorer Oct 18, 2014 06:18am

Always a pleasure to read Hoodbhoy. He indeed carries the spirit of Dr Abdus Salam who used to visit India fairly regularly. Will be great if he discusses the "slingshot method" used in the Mangalyan mission.

Johar Oct 18, 2014 06:32am

And see there are very few audience here at teh article already. Anyways good work.

khan Oct 18, 2014 06:42am

Pakistan need leader like imran Khan if we want to see progress and prosperity. Imran khan can not change everything overnight but he is very sincere leader and i hope he form very good team

NORI Oct 18, 2014 06:50am

Thank you, Mr.Pervez Hoodbhoy. You have showed the difference between the development in two countries instead of writing articles on usual 'Living conditions of Indian Muslims' and 'Secularism'. Hope Pakistanis understand the academically vibrant India and look India beyond the 'poverty and lack of toilets' prism. Also, You have raised a valid point on English language. Today, a person fluent in English needs no teacher as Youtube has lecture videos on every topic and subject. Oh, my god, I forgot, Youtube is banned in Pakistan !!!

nimesh Oct 18, 2014 06:56am

I am super jealous of Pakistan and of its greatest son Abdus Salam who made fundamental contributions to Supersymmetry and Eletroweak theory. Truly, India has never produced near about the same prodigious talent. In the modern era, maybe Ramanujam. Maybe. A devout Muslim, Dr. Salam loved Pakistan. I have no idea why. What a waste of his precious love! He wanted his tombstone to read:' Here lies the first muslim Nobel Laureate.'. Islamists struck out the word 'Muslim' (he was an Ahmadia), so it would be read as the nonsensical: 'Here lies the first laureate'. The best way to honor him is to stop the persecution of Shias, hazaras, ahmadias.

Iqbal Arshad Oct 18, 2014 07:19am

Very well written. We have to struggle for another 200 years to catch up with the rest of the world in terms of knowledge and education. Teachings should be in the context of the next century and not taken literally. Madrassas should teach science along with religion.

Sanjiv Oct 18, 2014 07:27am

Article worth reading! May your tribe grow in our subcontinent! People of Pakistan are no way less than any other in the world. What they need good role models like you and late Dr. Abdus Salam !

Hrushi NYC Oct 18, 2014 07:30am

The right message and hopefully kids in pakistan will lookup to scientists and value critical thinking vs cheap conspiracy theories and religious dogma.

Ammy Oct 18, 2014 07:36am

Finally some Sane voice !

Ajay Ladkani Oct 18, 2014 07:36am

Well written by Pervez Hoodbhoy. I do admit India for lot of bad things but I can say without hesitation that my country has taken great care for education since last 20 years. I have seen students from remote villages competing for IIT entrance examinations. You go to small nondescript cities and you will get good schools and colleges and lot of coaching institutes which prepare the students to compete in prestigious engineering and medical colleges of the country.

Lucky Star Oct 18, 2014 07:39am

Abdus Salam. His tragic marginalisation must be reversed. This will be a strong signal that the country is finally prepared to move into the future A agree with author, and we must shun religious bigotry.

Ravi Dallas TX Oct 18, 2014 07:41am

I slightly differ with the author. IMO It all comes down to importance given to education in society and in middle classes.

If you go to any middle class family, priority is always about education, which school is good, which material is good, what is the right path. This enabled Government to build proper education infrastructure, and build several world class universities.

Space in one successful vertical as a result.

JAY JOLLY Oct 18, 2014 07:42am

Pakistan is very lucky to have a great science educator like Prof.Hoodbhoy. His suggestions to improve science education can be equally used in India. The sub-continent has been a cradle of Mathematics and Astronomy from antiquity. Pakistan hosted a recent conference on the international Crystallography. It was a great experience for many Asian scientists. I do not see why science educators cannot get together to produce science material that can be used in both countries.

Shah Oct 18, 2014 07:46am

First of all Abdus Salam is venerated across Pakistan. Him going to Italy has more to do with finance then politics.

Second, science is the ONLY future!!

Third, we have rules who do not understand the importance of science. But they do understand the importance of corruption. Zardari and Nawaz Sharif are not exactly science lovers are they?

Shehz Oct 18, 2014 07:58am

"Standards of English in Pakistan must improve; they have fallen so low that English-language TV channels no longer exist. Sadly, the world of science is closed to those who can only read or understand Urdu."

That is so true, and sad. Urdu is our national language, and should be revered. I am proud that I speak Urdu. But we shouldn't fool ourselves that Urdu is the only language that we need. Our hatred for other cultures and civilizations is blinding us. One can only have quality education if they could read, write, and speak English. Every good research material, case studies, and reports available online or in the libraries are in English. Besides English is our official language, why not educate the masses in both?

When Dawn News started their channel, it was the first English language news channel. I started watching Dawn only, and really enjoyed their reporting. I found their quality at par with BBC News. Today, Dawn News channel's standard has dropped so low that I find it intolerable. Not because they switched to Urdu as such, but to cater to the masses mindset, the quality went down too. While Al-Jazeera captured world markets, Dawn lost local audience as well. Instead of starting 2 separate channels they replaced a quality English channel with Urdu.

Desi Oct 18, 2014 08:02am

One of the best articles i ever read on Dawn, bhaiyon.. get inspired, be reasonable and think logically

Reddy Oct 18, 2014 08:10am

I really wish you were born in India, always liked your thoughts and commentary.

Ahmed USA Oct 18, 2014 08:12am

Pakistan does NOT have to go to Mars or to the Moon...and indulge ourselves in tit for tat with India...for sending satellites Pakistan may seek help of other developed countries...Pakistan need to straighten its priorities and device a plan to eradicate, health are the other two areas we need to work on...we have to be clear on one thing that..."Food does not grow on Mars"...

ghanshyam Oct 18, 2014 08:12am

For science to prosper you will need scientific temper ie courage and attitude to question and reason. West which revolted against church, where its intellectuals questioned answers given by Bible and Priests gave rise to scientific temper. A society which believes in superstitions and dead customs can never gain scientific temper, they will forever remain photocopy machine

Aurora Oct 18, 2014 08:17am

An eye opener for Pakistan.Will it be heeded by those who profess hate.Pakistan needs an introspection.No need to be Indiacentric as you have lost on time for obvious reasons.Better concentrate on creating a healthy environment for future generations.

Abdulrehman Oct 18, 2014 08:19am

You are an eminent scientist yourself Hoodbhoy. Why don't you make it a mission to popularize science in the country. If I remember correctly, you used to host a science TV show a long time ago. Why not pursue this again. Maybe you can take a leaf out of the BBC scientific documentaries but not sure how you can make a meaningful scientific TV show on a shoestring budgets.

roger_davis Oct 18, 2014 08:21am

Lets do it Pakistan :-)

Architect Oct 18, 2014 08:23am

From Scientific India: 1) It requires at least 20 years for creating a new generation for science enthusiatic..i.e from School to Laboratory... 2) It requires bearing pain from bureaucrates, who are reluctant to change their mind over their political gain..and not sacrificing civil applications of scientific education..over traditional. 3)Military requirements are way more seperate than civil seperate them and create good civil partnerships which have respect with them. 4)Without money nothing can be gained,but support for basic science to advance science experiments does not require much investment..peoples spend much more on festivals than science.. from which 10 mars mission can be performed.. In the End : ALL THE BEST FROM SCIENCE LOVERS..WORLDWIDE

Parry Oct 18, 2014 08:23am

For any Muslim country in today's world to contribute towards science they will have to reduce the Islamic fundamentals. This religion goes against science completely. Even abdus Salam got his training in western universities and society. His early education was during British India governance.

Deepu Oct 18, 2014 08:24am

God Save Mars..!!

Unshackle Pakistan Oct 18, 2014 08:24am

A wonderful article from a wonderful mind. For me the solution is simple. Take government out of the business of education. Most things that are run by government have crumbled or are working with extreme lethargy. Let people decide what's better for them and they'll choose what brings them the greatest reward.

For some it may be science and for others it may be something else. With so many people crammed within a country top down management isn't the solution. It wasn't even the solution when the West developed and bolted ahead. Freedom of speech and choice leads to the kind of situations that help develop a mind. And it's the curious mind that eventually comes up with novel ways to do things, ways that are more efficient.

Dr. Salam is such a wonderful example for humanity and the people of Pakistan and the globe. We do need to bring him back into our minds to realize the sacrifices he gave and the love he had for this country and humanity in general. I hope his upcoming documentary is completed soon so we can all benefit and learn from things were done right and things that were not so right.

Pakistan needs to remove all barriers to trade so that as a country it develops. With development comes skills and knowledge and with knowledge comes understanding. It's this understanding that leads to innovation and experimentation. The sheer focus on politics is stifling. Governments are supposed to stay out of the business so that people could prosper, and not become a soap opera that keeps people so engaged they have no time to do anything else.


Amna Oct 18, 2014 08:27am

Couldn't agree more ... I always cringe at list of publications and no discoveries ... people are not enthusiastic about what they have discovered rather they rejoice at what have published.

Dishum Oct 18, 2014 08:28am

A nation can either tend toward religion or towards science. It cannot do both. They are like oil and water.

Canada Oct 18, 2014 08:29am

As much as I admire the authors somewhat enthusiasm and optimism, I think Pak is decades if not more away from creating something similar. The country is in shambles and has been in self destruction mode since 1950s. It continues to deteriorate. It has never been independent, in unison and stable. It continues to be corrupt,vulnerable, have incompetent leaders (one after the other) and there is just no hope.

Qasim Oct 18, 2014 08:32am

If there is one positive that I see in India, it is religion taking a backseat to education and technology. Religion is a very corrosive force and the sooner nations control it, the better.

Indian Christian Oct 18, 2014 08:34am

In 1947, two countries got freedom. One has reached Mars while the other is still trying to infiltrate to India. See the difference !

Hassan Oct 18, 2014 08:35am

Very well written. You are someone, I respect a lot, but I am not sure if anyone cares in the land of the pure. My kudos to you for sticking out in Pakistan, while mere mortals like me took the easy way out and comments from the comfort of my home far far away....

Indian...1 Oct 18, 2014 08:35am

@Shah It is not fault of Nawaj and Jardari it is fault of the system. Nawajs and Jardaries are every where. It is our responsibilities to protect our society through education.

Baljit Singh Oct 18, 2014 08:36am

When I see on TV the pictures of northwestern Pakistan, with people dieing because of violence and young kids running around the TV camera crew, I wonder if these kids ever played with the same type of toys that kids in India play. I see they have lost their childhood to violence and they seem to have started using the gun, bullet as their toys instead of the cars, planes that we see across the border. Its really sad that the current generation of adults have given such a wrong childhood to these kids. My only request to the Pakistani adults is that shun violence for the sake of your kids. Adopt a path of non-violence and let the world grown. Religion is just a set of rules, your soul is above all rules. Don't allow your soul to be over taken by some rules. Let the kids grow and see the world that is open to their mind. Don't kill the curiosity by imposing some religious rules. Live and let live!!

jaynarayan Oct 18, 2014 08:37am

AS a science lover and seeker of truth, I liked this article and spirit of the author to bring the science in forefront of the current education system particularly in Pakisthan. Learning and collecting inspiration from neighbours is another important force in the path of advancement. Advancement of science definitely brings certain reformation in the social life howeverewe must carefully observe and learn that science alone is not sufficient for prosperous and happy society. We need social science and much of the social science is to come from our spiritual culture. Hence we must have to formulate a way such that these two stream science and spirituality can flow together.

The act of revenge for any reasons is going to give us no benefit for now or for the future. Hence the life is there in harmony and love.

Ahmer Oct 18, 2014 08:43am

Dr Hoodbhoy, I see your enthusium and great ideas but do you think our rulers will pick up any of your suggestions? Will they have time left from their looting of the country's poor?

imtiaz Oct 18, 2014 08:43am

Pakistan needs people like Dr Pervez Hoodbuoy at helms of educational affairs. If he is made Education minister with a free hand to change school curriculum to science heavy international, Pakistan's dwindling fortunes will turn around after two generations.

truly Oct 18, 2014 08:43am

Most Pakistani youth is deeply into their religion. They lack scientific thinking and most think reason has no space in their lives. They see conspiracy against their religion in everything that happens anywhere in the world. With people like Imran Khan riding high on the wave of popularity, I can only see bleak future. Honestly, scientific progress comes about when the society is free and free, independent thinking is encouraged. With minorities being persecuted and society at large being silent, the first problem to resolve is to address the lack of tolerance and ensure rule of law. Then things like artistic freedom, freedom of expression, flourishing of science and liberal arts, and eyeing Mars come. However, things pointed out by the great PH in this article are correct. But I think unless we address the systematic problem of too much religion and everything connected to religion, no sustainable progress in arts and sciences can be made.

rehan Oct 18, 2014 08:45am

Glad to see a positive discussion going on for once. Scientific education is indeed important . It is also very important to encourage our children to actually think and ask questions . They need to be able to imagine , which as Einstein had once said "Is more important than Knowledge."

Astro Vivekanand Tewari Oct 18, 2014 08:49am

sir good article .being an indian i can say here are to much problems too. sir whyso you people not comprision ur self with usa. uk or china .why do u think only become greater than india is sufficient ,

DarHaqiqat Oct 18, 2014 08:49am

@ Professor Pervez Hoodbhoy : Thank you sir for your insightful and a 'need of the hour' input. You have diagnosed the disease as well as prescribed it's remedy. I hope we go for it's cure than aggravate it. More power to you Professor !

Anil Oct 18, 2014 08:53am

Please tell why you will send Pakistan to Mars.I am sure India will love to see that happening soon. I am sure your real dream will come true and soon.

DarHaqiqat Oct 18, 2014 08:54am

@Sanjiv : Thank you kindly...and we love you too.

John Oct 18, 2014 08:55am

Time for Pakistan to set it;s priorities in right order. At present expenses on Khaki outweigh everything of national importance.

Data Oct 18, 2014 08:56am

Pakistanis must stop making anti India rhetoric and focus upon thier own wellbeing. then only Pakistanis can develop their nation. Whole pakistan is living under wrong philosophy.

abdul Oct 18, 2014 08:56am

@an opportunity to reflect upon what’s important. Let’s see how India did it: First, space travel is all about science and India’s young ones are a huge reservoir of enthusiasm for science. Surveys show that 12-16 year olds practically worship Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking,

You want 12-16 years old Pakistanis to worship Albert and Stephen too?

Mirza Oct 18, 2014 08:58am

Of course we would go to Mars on a vehicle powered by water. Nobody has done it before and as our top scientists had endorsed that great invention proves that we don't have what it takes to move ahead.

Moby Oct 18, 2014 09:00am

@Shah you need to read more about Dr. Abdus Salam, you are badly mistaken. Recall Salam's comment about putting bricks in a mosque? It was Pakistan that turned its back on the great man.

Payal Oct 18, 2014 09:07am

Excellent article. Learnt new stuff. Wish Pakistan luck on their journey through Science and Technology. The other day I was zapped to see my 9 year old niece checking out youtube videos on stem cells. Indians and Pakistanis are naturally inquisitive and some inspiration and grooming of kids can build great scientists in them.

Ismail Oct 18, 2014 09:08am

Twenty years down the line, when poverty is eradicated in India and Pakistan (hopefully) the main line of comparison that would be drawn is what else did you do? Science, space exploration, IT, and other technological advances will standout as differentiators.

Sunil Oct 18, 2014 09:09am

Long way to go for Pakistan, for space research. Oct 18, 2014 09:10am

greatly respected individual this man is

Arshad Oct 18, 2014 09:13am

@Reddy A great complement indeed! Every Pakistani is proud of respected Hoodbhoy.

pankaj kumar Oct 18, 2014 09:13am

Dear Sir,

Your article touches very basic requirement of Science Education. You have written the Article for Pakistan but to some extent it is relevant for India too. As both countries belongs to South Asia which is home of largest no. of illiterate population in the world. Problem has two aspect: Quantity & quality. And have one answer: Increase investment in our education system and provide world class research facilities . We have limited resources and can be done only when we go away from wasteful expenditure on "defense". I am sorry but admit that it seems impossible under present political environment. It needs overhauling from mindset of persons at helm.

pmrao Oct 18, 2014 09:14am

thanks to the author for saying a good thing for india .but we all know india is decades behind front runners in science and technology.for example IITs ,undisputed excellent institutions in engineering do not rank in the top 200 in the world. even taking for granted wests self orientation still fact remains that they are behind the best.only in management and software they may reach finals in the science Olympics .we all wish ,for our own good Pakistan concentrates on these things rather than crossborder terrorism.modern Indians definitely have no stomach for these eventhough they are capable.

Ramiz Oct 18, 2014 09:15am

If we channel our energy towards constructive endeavors, rather than wasting it on scheming against India, we could transform Pakistan in about 50 years to a totally very different nation from what it is now, that can compete with the best, let alone India.

NB Oct 18, 2014 09:24am

Well I have the answer for your query - An that is NO. Hows that! To achieve something you guys need to remove the blinkers from your eyes. I hope you got my point.

M Khan Oct 18, 2014 09:29am

Another great article by Mr. Hoodbhoy.I think first step toward scientific development in Pakistan is to teach students, to question every thing, to find out why, how, what, when, where things happens. Pakistan education system needs to treat all sciences including social sciences this way to find solution for social problems facing the country. We need to produce best academics who studies human behavior and can question why certain things happen in certain way in our society. Pakistanis should keep Religion separate from science,while religions plays a very important role in most people life we Pakistanis lack understanding that no religion has all the answers facing us in 21st century, these new answers have to be found through scientific investigation.

Gandhi Oct 18, 2014 09:30am

Pervez Hoodbhoy is one of those very few Pakistans who are more well known in India than in Pakistan. He is a true world citizen and his ideas behind things are beyond his country and if implemented can benefit humanity in a big way. Lets hope Pakistan understands the importance of people like Hoodbhoy as these are the only people who can get Pakistan out of its present gloomy scenario.

rajesh Oct 18, 2014 09:31am

if Pakistan stops concentrating its efforts on putting down India and controls its Islamic fanaticism i am sanguine that Pakistan can reach the frontiers of space. Instead of breeding militants concentrate on building a strong educational and economic polices. Finally do not compare with others you will find peace and vision to move forward. Godspeed

Payal Oct 18, 2014 09:31am

@Iqbal Arshad Yes it is very important to promote science and technology in Madrassas. For example, in India, recentl,y Modi has started converting Madrassas into high-tech learning centers with an emphasis on Science and Technology. Even scientists from Kashmir who had left the world awestruck by cloning the high in demand Pashmina goats, quite a few of them including Dr. Riaz Ahmed Shah, come from Madrassas and humble schools Kashmiri pandits and others go to, from interior Jammu & Kashmir.

I somehow do not agree that Pakistan is 200 year behind civilization, but I feel few constructive steps and prioritization can put Pakistan in the forefront of development.

Indian Resident Hindu Oct 18, 2014 09:33am

Writer is right on spot while talking about education system in India. Indian education system has been generally encouraged meritocracy without bias agaisnt any one language, religion, class, gender, caste etc. Indians have celebrated scientific and technological acheivements since centuries..days of Aryabhata . Post indepedence , political leadership had encourages to develop scientific temper among Indians , even though India was facing crises on various fronts. Research institutes like TIFR, BARC, IISc, ISRO , DRDO and education institutes like IITs, IIMs were established with complete autonomy to these bodies for them to prosper. Recent space voyages of India is result of hard work put in by the Indian technocrates, leaders . This was result of strong, rich legacy estalished since decades. Political leadership, of which ever spectrum has only encouraged further the scientific temper since 1940s. Time to celebrate for Indians, but als reflect on reasons for such sucess and steps required to be taken so that growth is not only sustained but accelrated.

Freeman Oct 18, 2014 09:35am

We have almost killed science in Pakistan. How many people can and are ready to listen hoodbhoy, save dr salam. Sometimes it feels disappointing.

murthy Oct 18, 2014 09:37am

Parvez hoodbhoy is not only great science personality but a great human being. Instead of utilisibng his capabilities for the benefit of the country, Pakistan is abusing him. Pakistan does not deserve him.

Vikram Oct 18, 2014 09:39am

@nimesh Salam was not close to the league for Ramanujan. And it is Ramanujan not Ramanujam. Today, mathematicians win the filed medal by just proving one of Ramaujan's thousands of results. Ramanujan is one of the greatest mathematicians the world has ever known. He is in the league of Jacobi and Euler, perhaps better. He created some of the greatest mathematics the world has ever known. Salam was a great physicist, but not close to that league. Salam and S.N Bose were probably in the same league. Bose was the one after whom the 'Boson' was named.

Syed Haider Ali Oct 18, 2014 09:42am

Dr. Hoodbhoy: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Your insight provides guidance to those who are not in fields of Education and Scientific Research. Please continue to share your thoughts. You never know who may be touched with your articles and thoughts.

Haider Ali Maryland, USA

kepler-8 Oct 18, 2014 09:43am

If we keep building Bilawal house all over Pakistan like Mughals did in India how we going to progress.

Anoop Oct 18, 2014 09:49am

is this possible in a country where Theory of Evolution is called "just a Theory", ignoring all the Genetic and Paleontological evidence?

irshad Oct 18, 2014 09:52am

@khan Only time will tell

Ravindra Sharma Oct 18, 2014 09:53am

Problem in Pakistan is not of talent rather attitude . In Pakistan the most respected job is of an army officer whereas in other parts of the world this profession is considered less attractive and the men in uniform considered to be without brain . Till this scenario will not change in Pakistan there shall not be a scientific development and research .

Addy Oct 18, 2014 09:54am

Dear Sir, Religion is a matter of faith and science is a subject of severe scrutiny. They cannot go hand in hand. You will have to segregate religious teaching from scientific learning. In India, a large number of Muslims have come out of their stupor and realized the importance of scientific studies. You will find universities in India brimming with bearded, skull capped, hijab wearing students pursuing education in fields of science, arts, medicine, culture and so on. Many of them have risen up in social ladder and the numbers are rising. Overwhelming majority in India is not against any religion but its incorrect interpretation and that is the reason that our society is lively, vibrant, forward looking and flourishing. India is poised to be the next superpower- socially, culturally, economically and militarily- in that order. we wish to see same happening in Pakistan but then you have to discard and dump people like Musharraf, Bilawal and Saeed. The list is long.

Chaigram Oct 18, 2014 09:57am

Pervez sahib, present your proposal re: Mars in 2030 to Nawaz Sharff..........he will suggest we buy Mars chocolate from the corner store. This is the depth of our scientific knowledge!

Fahe Oct 18, 2014 09:58am

Great read but there are several key questions that needed to addressed, 1) Do we need science? 2) who are our models?(pakistanies mostly like to go to Madina rather than wish a Martian voyage). 3) what future we want to have? A khilafat like ISIS/Taleban/ Alqaeda or a modern welfare country.

Sarita Talwai Oct 18, 2014 09:59am

@ghanshyam I agree that scientific temper overrides rituals and customs. The Guardian , in its article about Mangalayan, gloated about the coconut breaking superstition practised by our scientists. Our scientist pray to the Almighty or visit temples before an important launch. But never has it intruded or interrupted scientific thought or vision. For the longest time religion and science have been mutually exclusive and I hope and pray that india and Indians of all faiths nurture this happy synergy.

iyer Oct 18, 2014 10:01am

@Ahmed USA it is attitudes like yours that hold the country back. Getting to Mars has almost nothing to do with getting to Mars. Watt's little boiler changed the world forever and made Britain the richest empire in history. NASA's moonshot spawned so many technologies we're still counting. India's satellites are preventing thousands of deaths from natural disasters. Food DOES grow on Mars.

Arya Oct 18, 2014 10:01am

Science is a progressive knowledge which progresses with sharing. If Pakistan need help or wanted to help others in this progress, whole world is an open plateform. Today is an era of information noone can deny you or hide it from you forever.

Anand Oct 18, 2014 10:05am

Keep watching India launching GLSV MK-3 heaviest rocket ever , two things to achieve crew module for manned space mission and 4 tons of payload to make complete self reliant in launching heavier satellites.

This will be imp milestone.

Narayan Oct 18, 2014 10:06am

I am so impressed with the article of the professor, yes, unless the environment of science is created and kids from very school level is shown the big picture ,it wont happen with the existing mind sets which are more set towards madrassas (although I do not say against anybody's religion values and its practice) but application of science and creating a culture at the school level will help your nation to greater heights although its result will start showing after decades but this wait will be worth it.We in India worship our scientists/ mathematicians and our kids wish to follow them.You(pakistanis) may not like us but think about the future of your nation and take the best which is available to your next door and grow together with us.Rest I leave it to you.....

Nauman Shah Oct 18, 2014 10:07am

Mr.Pervez Hoodbhoy, I think this is the first i am reading an article by you. Its seems to me that you as the rest of Pakistan is naive to the fact that learning start at pre-school level (after home), and that is where the schools starts destroying the life of our youth. No, i am not talking about the public schools which are a joke, but of the private schools, even the prestigious ones. They have a policy that a student must not fail & other evil policies, where the parents are kept in an illusion that their child is performing well where as the truth is way off the mark. Or others like the Cadet, Fazia & Army Public School systems that have cramming systems. So Mr.Pervez Hoodbhoy, before you talk of improving the higher education system you must look into the Schooling systems if we are to plug the hole of this sinking ship PAKISTAN!!!!

davinder Oct 18, 2014 10:07am

yes, everyone in india knows stories of kalpana chawla, ramanujan, abdul kalam and they are role models of many young people

Ajay Ladkani Oct 18, 2014 10:09am

@Ahmed USA Thats the problem with you guys. So, you will go to mars just to do a TIT FOR TAT vis s vis India. When we we experimented missile Prithvi( earth )- a earth to earth missile- you did a Ghauri despite prithvi was in no way related to Prithvi Raj chauhan.

JERRY Oct 18, 2014 10:10am


First, create enthusiasm in our young people for science. Space exploration is only a part of the larger whole. Instead of HATE TOWARDS INDIANS, TV channels saturated with dharna news and random political “experts”, have good educational programmes. Standards of English in Pakistan must improve; they have fallen so low that English-language TV channels no longer exist. Sadly, the world of science is closed to those who can only read or understand Urdu.

We the Indians at the age of 3.5 start thinking of science and maths, our Governments are doing a lot for the same. and at the age of 21 we are thing of getting better placement and not of JIHAD, Dharnas & at the outset KASMIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ankit Oct 18, 2014 10:10am

Mr Hoodboy. I am from India. Let me tell you, very few people 'worship' science here among the younger generation. Bollywood movies and reality TV are all the rage. Science enjoys more of a cultural premium in South India. The North which shares culture with Pakistan is devoid of any burning enthusiasm for science - its superstition and Bollywood all the way. I am from the North, so I know.

TRVERMA Oct 18, 2014 10:13am

First Pakistani I have fever found who knows something about India in the deep . salute you sir in your effort to learn and telling the same thing to Pakistani people , unlike many so called intellectuals who learn about India selectively and spread the same among Pakistani people . Coming Indian generation has passion to learn Science,Mathematics and computers instead of learning religions things and believe me we are going to overcome western countries in the area in a decade or so to make India superpower in years to come .

Just to give a small fact about India people , NASA is running by 36% of Indian scientists.

sunil Oct 18, 2014 10:15am

Good article but as an indian i don't believe that its just the educational institutions or scientific temperament that set's us apart, its something more fundamental. The Idea of India is stronger than an indian and idea of pakistani is weaker than a pakistani.

Rajeev Nidumolu Oct 18, 2014 10:20am

For science to develop scientific temperament needs to permeate among culture of elites and educated people. Ascendency of Western society in the last 350 years is due to scientists questioning the religious dogma of religious hierarchy and relying on empiricism. Transformation of Indian society to scientific temperament is too slow. Only couple of univarsities in India are ranked among top in world as compared to West and China

rkp - part 1 Oct 18, 2014 10:21am

Part - 1------------>

I think this article deserves a detailed analysis into the points raised by the author.

If he feels there is a difference in scientific achievements of India and Pakistan, the cause lies not only in the infrastructure. Yes, there is no point of denying that infrastructure is very much needed. Names quoted by Professor Pervez were from the era, where infrastructure of India and Pakistan was almost same. Of late, infrastructure in India has been developed into a robust one.

The main reason for the difference is in the mind. As Professor Pervez could not stop claiming "India falsely celebrated nuclear tests of 1998", the average psyche of Pakistani has diverted from the main topic of discussion. When a senior professor, who was writing an article on the need to develop science in Pakistan need to start his article criticizing India, it shows the real problem.

More than infrastructure, free minds that can think on their own, are needed. The reason why western countries could progress has emphasized on the basic requirement of free thinking minds. Without such minds, even if infrastructure is provided, development would be restricted to imitation and occasional innovations, like those happened in Russia and China.

Although there is not much difference in the societies of India and Pakistan, at the time of partition, over time Pakistan has drifted towards a religion controlled society. It is not that India has given up religion. Most Hindus, restrict their spiritual business to their homes, apart from the open celebrations of few festivals, that had become more an extravagant carnivals, in the recent past. We don't give much importance to our spiritual leaders when it comes to deciding what children shall study, to whom one shall vote for, what dress to ware.

Another aspect is Indian schools teach the history of Pakistan in the name of ancient history - Indus valley civilisation. Most of the Indians take pride on the achievements of the ancient Indian society that extended to include even Afghanistan, where Takshasila university existed. On the other hand, driven by anti Indian obsession, Pakistan had bunked all that was native to the locale and adopted everything foreign. Here, I am not talking about spiritual preferences, but practices, customs and culture. It is an established fact that imitators can never equal creators

John Oct 18, 2014 10:21am

The only correction I can think of in this article : Although Indians & Pakistanis had falsely celebrated their nuclear tests of 1998

Sree Oct 18, 2014 10:21am

Nice to read a very good article. AND nice responses too. off late, I have stooped reading article and responses which contain a lot of filth and dirt. But, This one comes great. May the whole world fill with this kind of scholars with positive kind of thinking. Salute to you sir. You have pin pointed whats the need of the hour.

Prof. Nasik Elahi Oct 18, 2014 10:21am

Along with cargo science Pakistan has to learn to sip rather than gulp advanced scientific applications. During my stay in Pakistan it was rather shocking to see both government agencies and institutions spend tens of millions of dollars on state of the art scientific equipment for which they had neither the resources nor the support system to operate. These inoperational technological white elephants were there for all to see but no one wanted to face the truth. The country needs to maximize its capacities through a systematic and realistic long term plan of action. Short cuts only serve to short circuit rather than enhance.

rkp - part 3 Oct 18, 2014 10:21am

For Pakistan to develop into a nation (I am consciously not using the word - country), that may be better than India (Yes! Think of becoming something really better), first the societal reforms are needed. Probably this may be reason why many western technical universities have departments of arts, history, sociology and anthropology. While India and Pakistan are slitting each other's throats, ancient Sanskrit scripts were being studied in Germany and America.

First, stop comparing with India, as this will restrict your vision and ambitions and limit your efforts. Second, restrict mullahs from interfering with LIFE in general but allow them to say prayers. If these two things are done, it is only human to evolve and reach greater heights, but this would be a slow process.

Chanakya Oct 18, 2014 10:22am

Young minds should be weaned away from Jehad and terrorism and deployed in technical education.if you improve relations with INDIA,thousands of young Pakistani boys and girls can study Engineering,Medicine and Science in Bangalore,Pune,Ranchi,Kharagpur,etc.Hatred of INDIA is the FIRST STUMBLING BLOCK.No one can grow in an atmosphere of hatred.

Nikesh Kumar Das Oct 18, 2014 10:23am

@Ahmed USA Food might or might not grow in Mars but for any developmental activity you need capital and technology. How will you eradicate poverty when you don't have enough budget??? Science will obviously bring in the technology and it will also bring in huge capital inflow. Apart from getting worldwide recognition many MNC will be interested in investing in a developing country, Surpluses from those investment are used for funding developmental projects which have low or negligible ROI. I wish you think beyond India and try to replicate good things from us...

roarwali Oct 18, 2014 10:25am

For me, we need to focus more on philosophy, logic and maths. Reasoning either inductive or deductive is the essence of research and lead to explorations.
We need to explain our students beyond simple algebra. I have asked master level math students what's logarithm for or what's the purpose of matrices etc. They don't know. One last thing, we should also instill in our students the curiosity as it's the impetus for learning.

Abu-Salmaan Oct 18, 2014 10:26am

Our great national poet Allama Iqbal had already emphasized the importance of education and science by saying, "mohabbat mujhay unn jawanon sey hai sitaron pey jo daltey hein kumand". Unfortunately we forgot his message and became one of the most corrupt nation and repeatedly chose the corrupt ones and now reaping the hardest of what we have sown despite the same great philosopher's warning, " na samjhogai tou mit jao gai aiy Hindostan walo (presently Muslims in India and Pakistan including Kashmir) tumhaari dastaan tuk na ho gi dastaanon mein".

raja hindustani Oct 18, 2014 10:26am

Great vision sir. You r real gem of pakistan. Salute you.

Mish Oct 18, 2014 10:30am

Of course it is the same blood, Pakistan have the same potential,i am sure they already have some tech on this.


PRS Oct 18, 2014 10:36am

Frankly... Pakistan is a doomed state. Unless you respect your citizenry, women in particular, and have peace within, Pakistan can never be recognized in the world for such things... Pakistan is famous around the world only for Terroism.. PERIOD!

Narayan Oct 18, 2014 10:39am

A "sample of the example" showing so many Indians expressing their positive views when something was said in the article on science and technology should give you some idea how much passionate we are about science.We(Indians) are always ready to help your nation to take to greater heights if you change your mindset !!

AL Oct 18, 2014 10:43am

Well said, but we need to provide best educational opportunities in all disciplines and not just in science. Moreover, social environment in Pakistan is suffocating for an open and intellectual debate on any issue.

VIjay Oct 18, 2014 10:44am

Writer is very correct : Need to generate complete one young generation who has respect for science and cultivate minds with WHY, HOW and by WHOM. I disagree with necessity of English and it is up to teachers to create interest in scientific inquiry mindset irrespective of language.

being human Oct 18, 2014 10:49am

@Ahmed USA science and economic progress are inseparable.ISRO provides employment to thousands and has also bagged the 300mil $ market of launching satellites for the west.

imran ali Oct 18, 2014 10:50am

do you expect improvement in science and technology ? with Lawyer heading ministry of science and technology .. not a single meeting of the ministry has been held so far...

Be Positive Oct 18, 2014 10:50am

Writer is absolutely right about cracks in our education system which has become a race to acquire degree rather then knowledge. Very strong steps are necessary to correct this biggest problem which we cant apparently see.

Sadia Oct 18, 2014 10:50am

@Shah: venerated? you must be joking! is there any library, university, department or even a street named after him? is his birthday celebrated in any educational institute in Pakistan? even his tombstone has been defaced. is this veneration?

nuno Oct 18, 2014 10:51am

After 18 amendment, I very much doubt it that there can be a 'federal' space programme.

JORDAR THALIA Oct 18, 2014 10:54am

Good article. Very incisive and objective. Let all from the South Asia grow together !

Raj Oct 18, 2014 10:55am

Not to play the spoiler but how about pakistan aim for something in the realm of possibility? Like eradicating Polio by 2020.

Ranbir Singh Chauhan Oct 18, 2014 10:55am

It is matter of great pleasure and satisfaction that people in Pakistan speak highly and admire Indian achievements in space and science . It is good sign for Pakistani science and for the two countries in the long run. I think that by forgetting history we [India and Pakistan] should move forward and base our foundations on scientific reasoning and secular thinking.

Listener Oct 18, 2014 10:56am

Love reading him... Thanks, many take away for Indians too...

INDRASIS Oct 18, 2014 10:58am

Mr. Hoodbhoy....i have seen many of your lectures on youtube and they were would be great if you start a youtube channel and your lectures once again.....A digital student of yours from India

Saj king khan Oct 18, 2014 11:00am

Once the craft is ready please put all the politicians of the sub - continent on it and say fare well! Asta la vista baby!!! Chow !

K S Suresh Oct 18, 2014 11:05am

Nicely written but lacks supportive data. I am curious to know:

1) Does Pakistan have as many IITs as India has? 2) If Science and Mathematics are not given importance how come Pakistan is a Nuclear
Capable country and has test fired Missiles as claimed many a times? 3) Does it also have a national entrance exam system the way it is conducted herein India?

crane Oct 18, 2014 11:05am

The author is right.But How can a nation get Scientific temper it is still trapped in the the "K" issue,Jihadism,Revengefull towards its neighbour etc.Any nation can develop but only in peace.I am not saying that India is perfect but our Fore fathers have framed a constitution where peace,growth,freedom,love for individuals is given more importance than their religion.This is the mindset which makes a indian grow in knowledge.Of course there are bad incidents involving religion or caste happened in India before and will happen in future also but for a country of 125 crore people these do not come in the way of Sceince as they are just marginal incidents.Our press has the maximum freedom ,See any news programme,you will see some politician or some powerfull person getting a banging from the news reporter.Tough,very uncomfortable questions are asked by the dominant press to our leaders and they are made accountable.All these may not be related to Science but are necessary for the development of science.

Sarab Mann Oct 18, 2014 11:06am

@nimesh Religion is based on faith and on the contrary science is based on reason. Once you start teaching science in madrasas then some of the students start questioning religion; do you allow it? I guess no then forget the innovation and progress in science. Of course, there will be few exceptions who manage both. I am not arguing that religious person can't be a good scientist but education in science simply provokes a person to question anything and everything unreasonable.

Until the ideas are constrained in any framework the flame of innovation never sparks. A balanced society is required to create conducive environment, and I mean by balanced society that offers different viewpoints and living styles, for example there will be people who question Quran, like gays/lesbian life style, atheists, fundamentalists, liberals, conservatives etc. And I don’t any Islamic country is ready for the diversity and allows free thought process free of boundaries of religion.

Satish Kumar Dogra Oct 18, 2014 11:23am

Mr. Hoodbhoy, a very well written article indeed! Straightforward and right from the heart!

Mr. Bhutto once said Pakistan will eat grass to keep abreast of India, by which of course he meant abreast in preparedness for war. Indian parents would say they would eat grass to admit their child to the best educational institution in the country -- or perhaps in the world. I think it is this difference of attitude which has created the gap between the two countries.

Rohit Oct 18, 2014 11:24am

Development of any country hung upon its education system, India realised it well in time and producing the best of the talent which however went to western countries due to lack of opportunity but slowly the reverse brain drain happening and the example is Mangalyan which is completely indegenous project of Indian Scientists.

Muhammad iqbal Oct 18, 2014 11:26am

There is only one way pakistan can make it to Mars. Commit 10% of the budget to the rulers and the project will take off

Jashan Oct 18, 2014 11:37am

And I saw people calling Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy "Jaahil" on a TV show. Hoodbhoy as Jaahil!!! I often see him saying the right things but being surrounded by majority can calling him agent of America and when they get out of logic they go personal on him. I must appreciate his courage for standing up for the right things. I am surely scared about his life. Well the root of all problems in Pakistan as also pointed out by Hoodbhoy is the population growth. In 1947 the population of Pak, BD and India was 30, 35 & 300 M. Now as per the latest estimates it is 195, 156 & 1225. So as a rough comparison BD and Ind have grown about 4 times while Pakistan has grown 6 times!!! The population growth of Pakistan has not slowed. The Total Fertility Rate(No of children a women has in her lifetime) is 3.3 in Pakistan compared to 2.55 & 2.2 of India and BD (2.1 is considered ideal). The Annual population growth rate is 2.4% in Pakistan compared to 1.6 & 1.5% of India and BD. On top of the the Primary school enrollment in BD and India is 99 & 98% respectively while in Pakistan it is just 75% (All UNICEF numbers). So Pakistan is growing more quickly as compared to the countries of former British India and it is not sending them to schools. Where do you think these people will go. The energy of the state would be to suppress them and science and technology would be out of focus (As it is happening now). All these numbers are having a great impact. The latest global hunger index shows that India is ahead of both BD and Pak. In fact BD which was much poorer than Pak in 1971 are now at the same rank in Global Hunger Index. Poverty in both India and BD has greatly reduced but for Pakistan it has increased from 1990 levels as per the HDI reports. The Population density of Pakistan per arable land which was 40% less than India in 1947 is now 962/sq km of arable land as compared to 833 of India (15% higher than India).

So my dear friends it is my responsibility as a responsible south Asian to make you aware on this as this would not only have a impact on Pakistan but on whole region. The root cause of many of the issues (Not all) is somewhere linked to Population explosion.

sunny Oct 18, 2014 11:45am

After long time by reading such a great article i do believe that the land has such visionary writer can progress for sure. just need of million more this sort of.

moorkh Oct 18, 2014 11:46am

The article is good but it has some flawed details. India is not as good as it is shown here. But good thing is that it is improving slowly. I hope peace prevails between India and Pak and we create a SAU (South Asian Union) like EU.

Robert Oct 18, 2014 11:49am

Ideal perception. Above all, Pakistan needs a stable government, similar to Indian democracy where the army abides by the democratic principles.

Akram Oct 18, 2014 11:52am

Pervez Hoodbhoy is one of the Pride of Pakistan figures. always respect him. However we have a lot to achieve on earth before we even think off moon or Mars. Hnooz Dilli door ast.

Haider Rehman Oct 18, 2014 11:52am

We dont need Mars, but I agree on improving curriculum.

Listener Oct 18, 2014 11:54am

Hoodbhoy, One of few people you would love to read/listen...after reading his article one feel he is standing on a dais in a 'Mela' and shouting his omnidirectional country men to make a discipline platoon to move forward in the field of science!!!

Thanks professor, your comments has many take away for India too...

VINAY SINGH Oct 18, 2014 11:59am

gem of an article thanks for inspiring me pervez bhai :)

SHIRAZ Oct 18, 2014 12:01pm

If we must go to Mars we must first need to be sincere with this country. No one can cast an evil eye if we are united and true patriots, not in terms of religion but nationalism.

M.Saeed Oct 18, 2014 12:02pm

Science is natural for enthusiasts. We need to launch science at the elementary school level. Long time ago during the days of first Pakistan democracy of 50's, there used to be a UNESCO programme launched in Karachi for creation of interests in science and technology in school students. Therefore, Science fairs were organised in a competitive way where school students were encouraged to bring their new scientific and technological ideas. Handsome prizes were given for brilliant ideas and models. Unfortunately, the programme vanished after shifting of Capital from Karachi, in 1959.

Pervez Oct 18, 2014 12:04pm

What can I say Mr Hoodbhoy?

David Oct 18, 2014 12:10pm

@NORI Pakistan should at least unblock the educational part of youTube if not more.

saketh Oct 18, 2014 12:10pm

@Ahmed USA " pakistan should send from developed countries".seriously u mean that? U mean from france;russia;usa;israel?.while the developed countries are sending sati"s from india since it is 5 times cheaper.u want pakistan to send from developed countries?

abhinav Oct 18, 2014 12:11pm

Separate religion and science .. the message from Prof. Hoodbhouy

Neutral Oct 18, 2014 12:13pm

First sensible article which i found talking about future of pakistan in a good manner. Its very important for a country like pakistan to develop their young children in education & develop in science background. India widely celebrate such teacher across to educate in every stream.. I believe pak can do, if they put their more of money in education rather then defense or supporting terror group wic deplete them internally.. there lack of government control who talk less of devlopement and talk more of blame games internally.. i just believe where there is hope there is way..

ramsinghsachan Oct 18, 2014 12:19pm

Such a scientific temper is needed everywhere in the globalized world of today. While respecting our centuries old knowledge,we must build and enhance our knowledge base and move away from scriptural dogmas, superstitions and "final " statements from the mouth of "God Himself", either directly or through the Revelations and Enlightenments.

Zia Uddin Oct 18, 2014 12:27pm

Excellent analysis by a patriotic Pakistani.

We must also stop "Dharna", "Drama" and "Daily" political talk shows on TV.

Only education can bring development in Pakistan.

Thiru Oct 18, 2014 12:34pm

@Ravi Dallas TX It must be true in Pakistan too - there are a lot of Pakistani doctors, lecturers etc in UK.

Ajeet Oct 18, 2014 12:35pm

But Science and religion don't go hand in hand.

the eddy Oct 18, 2014 12:42pm

@Qasim Could not have agreed more about that religion thing ....Sadly very few people agree that religion needs to be moderated.

Vinayak Oct 18, 2014 12:44pm

@Dishum Science is what but one aspect of religion.

Jophink Oct 18, 2014 12:48pm

The article is very encouraging and being an Indian I feel people of Pakistan have got good talent , brains and ability; only thing is that it's society needs set priorities right. Any researcher done in Pakistan, India or any part of the world should be beneficent to every inhabitants of the earth to get its true value. Sometimes co-ordination among nations are required to achieve the right result and we are always ready to welcome anyone with similarly will power.

Vinayak Oct 18, 2014 12:51pm

@Qasim Religion is belief. As long as this belief is not detrimental to others, it will be helpful. In fact, belief is important in Science as well. You have a belief and you prove it by the test of logic and it becomes Science. The Project Director of the Mars Orbiter Mission (Mangalyaan) project took a model of the project to Tirupati temple for blessing of the god. If that reinforces his belief and without harming others, so be it.

Indian Oct 18, 2014 12:53pm

In pakistan education system is very and they teach distorted history and anti indian histories, pakistanis must have change their mindset, before going to mars you have to lots things in ground level such as education system, basic amenities to common people, infrastructures etc, your political leadership and experts misguiding youths about india and kashmir.

db Oct 18, 2014 01:09pm

Hope yr 6 tests were real ? what was the need to conduct them any way if what india did was no big deal?

ramesh Oct 18, 2014 01:12pm

Nice to see all Indians rejoicing the article. I think the existence of Pakistan has helped India distance from the influence of the West. Particularly, the south of India culture is nurturing the advancement in science, despite various religion. You will find devout religious scientist sharing the same platform be it Hindus, Muslims or Christians. Look at scientist seen celebrating the Mars achievement. They are hardly influenced by other parts of India, leave alone the outside world. One reason could be that South of India has been relatively free from North-West invasions and the civilization like the world's oldest civilization of Vijayanagaram may have fossilized the culture. North was totally destroyed, like the Nalanda University by the Moghuls.

Baan ki moooooooon Oct 18, 2014 01:13pm

Follow Sariah or Science..choice is yours...

Sidharth Oct 18, 2014 01:14pm

The ideas you are suggesting could be perceived as blasphemy and heresy in your part of the world. Unless the footprint of religion is reduced, the above mentioned "curious minds" cannot exist in numbers good enough to make a change. That way Pakistan is sadly fighting the science round handicapped.

Sandeep Oct 18, 2014 01:20pm

As always a good article by Pervez Hoodbhoy. However besides him I don't see many intellectuals from Pakistan shouting aloud for a scientific temperament. As he rightly pointed out best engineering colleages in India are IITs(Mumbai,Delhi,Kanpur,Kharagpur,Chennai and Guwahati), BITS (Birla Institute of Technology at Pilani and Ranchi) and IIS (Indian Institute of Science,Bangalore). Then comes 'Regional Engineering Colleage' which are one each in every state.After that there are numerous engineering colleagues in all states which also produces some quality engineers. However so far as research is concerned there are not many. I remember only three, TIFR (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research,Mumbai), PRL (Physical Research Laboratory,Ahmedabad) and Indian Statistical Institute,Kolkatta. Someone may add others.

Ahmed Oct 18, 2014 01:22pm

To reach MARS there are simple steps 1. stop terror support. 2. stop hindering others progress 3. Ban all the stupid politicians who do not talk about progress & Science. 4. Talk about science instead of Kashmir.

Sajjad Khan Oct 18, 2014 01:28pm

Very true!!!!!!!!!!!

Sanjeev Oct 18, 2014 01:29pm

Knowledge of English is not a must to learn science. If you are able to read and write English, it is enough. In India many students study in their provincial languages till age of 17 and then after matriculation go to colleges where they learn in English. I studied in Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and received masters degree in Mechanical Engineering. I was not able to speak English well, but could graduate with good marks. Indian government gives scholarship to many students and charges very low fee for government colleges. Hence the best colleges are also the cheapest. If Pakistan wants to promote science, they have to spend money on education instead of military and nuclear program. If most of the students only learn religion, they cannot develop science projects. If a graduate from madarasa knows only religion, he will join the Taliban and other jihadi organisations.

V P Singh Oct 18, 2014 01:32pm

Not very long ago, just 5-6 century before this European peoples were not called so civilized as we Indians(Then India= India, Pakistan & Bangla Desh now). But by the development of SCIENCE, they are THE LEADERS.

Adv. kazi muhammad bux Oct 18, 2014 01:46pm

pakistan can be transformed through only science.there is no other option.

TAKhan Oct 18, 2014 01:48pm

Pervez Hoodbhoy(PH) is certainly the finest science educationist in Pakistan. He understood a long time ago the importance of true scientific education. In fact, Professor Salam wanted exactly the same for Pakistanis and beyond that, for the Muslim world. Unfortunately for him, he was an 'Ahmadi'. In a way, PH is the modern equivalent of Sir Syed Ahmad who wanted to pull the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent out of their ignorance and improve their plight. For this he should have been given far more credit than he really got.Pervez's battle is focused on improving the educational deficit, especially in science (and therefore in critical thinking) of the Pakistani youngsters. I sincerely hope he will succeed.

Shahid Oct 18, 2014 01:50pm

Its an excellent idea. But we should start from Pakistan first and same applies to India as well.

Goggy Oct 18, 2014 01:51pm

I dont say that indians are the best, but for sure they want to be the best, which makes the difference.

Sridhar Oct 18, 2014 01:51pm

Many countries which are smaller than Pakistan in the world, have achieved good results in science, technology, education and in economy. Then why Pakistan is lagging behind. Mainly two reasons. 1. Giving more importance to the religion in every matter than it requires. 2. Spending maximum resources on cross border activities for a small piece of land. In this process, many generations among Pakistan got pushed behind in the race of development. Pakistan have good natural resources but no great visionaries.

Arvind Oct 18, 2014 01:53pm

Understand, he is only trying to provoke for the good.

SIVAPRASAD Oct 18, 2014 02:03pm

Rather surprised by the well written article by a Pakistani Muslim talking logically. Scientific education, scientific temper, logic and freedom of thought are the keys. We need a garden with flowers of different colours, scents and beauties. On my last visit to middle east on a lecture tour, I was asked how India could have nearly all the religions of the world - EVEN JEWS, they asked. This is the mindset that is blocking them from logic and scientific temper.

Roosh Oct 18, 2014 02:06pm

History has clearly shown that Muslims in the field of science have dominated the world. In fact all the scientists whether it is physics, chemistry, Mathematics and all other natural sciences sector and then rest of the world start exploring the same lines settled by Muslim scientists. Reaching Mars would not be impossible job for Pakistan. But it is not like India which despite of drowning its people in floods, dying due to famine, engulfed with radiations coming from nuclear facilities, increasing population can go for extending its wings to Mars. Rather it is in efforts of stabilizing the country first then would think of going to Mars. Suggestions given in the article are appreciating but definitely would take time and resources.

siddharth Oct 18, 2014 02:07pm

While Prof. Hoodbhoy is right on all accounts, I would like to point out that Indian youth are largely driven my money and less by scientific enquiry. They prefer MBA, engineering, software work, MBBS, Law and everything else over science because science pays less and takes much longer to settle in life. Exceptions are always there, but I am talking about large picture.

Sasindran Oct 18, 2014 02:13pm

Respected Sir,

Even India has got CARGO Scientists and Engineers: You will be surprised to know that the quality of Indian PhDs are not too far from those of Pakistan - barring a minuscule exceptions.. And again, amongst dozens of scientific institutions, perhaps SPACE stand apart devoid of lethargy and nepotism......

Hassaan Oct 18, 2014 02:15pm

Don't know about you Mr Hoodbhoy, but a career as a doctor is considered part of sciences worldwide.

Indian Oct 18, 2014 02:19pm

@Indian Resident Hindu : Thanks for correcting IMSC to IISc. :) Certainly article presents a very grim situation in Pak. Lets see the Establishment has got something to do about that. Went through some comments made by Pakisatani Readers good to see they don't bash against India and the Kashmir Rhetoric.. It's always an advantageous situation to have a prosperous neighbor, let's hope for the best for Bangladesh, Nepal , Pakistan , Sri Lanka citizenry to become more prosperous then their Army.

Atanu Oct 18, 2014 02:29pm

Well written. First youths needs proper access to quality materials. But the way they get doctorined is harming the society. Throw such pests (making inflammatory speeches and brainwashing youth) into jail and creating a safe and quality environment is the need of the hour. This will bring necessary FDI for cash strapped country. Quality universities are waiting to open shops in India.. how do they do it? Youth is given that positivity and encouragement, and of course opportunities. Trimuphs are celebrated and failures are just putting the best foot forward. Boundaries can left to politicians for their benefit.

Asad Tashfeen Oct 18, 2014 02:33pm

Science can be as useless as we wish to make it.

Ramesh Oct 18, 2014 02:39pm

Science and religion are incompatible. Europe came out of the dark ages after a thousand years of theology and clergy rule. There are many countries that got formed on linguistic, racial, ethnic divisions, but Pakistan is the first country to be created on basis of religion (Israel is the second). It is going to be very difficult, almost impossible task for it seek higher levels of progress without compromising or neglecting the very reason of its creation.

Good luck.

Govind Tegur Oct 18, 2014 02:40pm

Pakistan should refrain from anti India rhetoric, that itself give them enough resources for many development activities. Pakistan people should stop getting carried away by its politicians inciting against India. Developed Pakistan is good for India. People in Pakistan should start with comparing why India achieved and what Pakistan achieved. .

Sami Oct 18, 2014 02:43pm

reward system by HEC was necessary and important in my view but it should be proportional and a small % of those "scientists" who are not "cargo scientists" should be rewarded/ honoured more. Its not possible to "inject" love for science or education and we can only set some incentives for young people to get this inspiration. One great incentive like veneration for scientists or educationists is missing and that can only be produced mainly by scientists and educationists themselves by showing their "fruitfulness" to the society.

E. J Oct 18, 2014 02:43pm

And here I see some sensible people. People like Dr. Hoodbhoy are an asset of our nation. But then again who will listen to him in a country full of Non-Sense and Missed Placed Priorities. He has fought JAHALAT (IGNORANCE) in this country very bravely despite it has cost him, but he goes on. I am so lucky to meet him once on a bus en-route to Lahore from Islamabad.

Dr Sidiqui Oct 18, 2014 02:44pm

Number of students in science groups for SSC and HSC is dropping at an alarming rate!

Young students need to be motivated to take pursue scientific fields!

Private institutions making money by selling MBA and IT degrees should be banned!

Thinker Oct 18, 2014 02:44pm

Kashmir issue must be solved before ,we do anything else ..(pak mind set)

Abd Oct 18, 2014 02:45pm

I fully endorse the views expressed by Hoodbhoy.

Varntvar Oct 18, 2014 02:46pm

Not going to happen Mr Hoodbhoy - till your people start loving good and knowledgeable people - even if they are Hindus, Christians or Jews.

Anil Saxena Oct 18, 2014 02:57pm

I am an Indian (by birth) but otherwise I consider myself a world citizen. Till now I was reading Mr.Irfaan Husain on Dawn regularly, but now I have added Prof. Hoodbhoy in my list. Whatever he has written is very true for almost all countries of region. I would consider comparison with India is of no relevance, until the two neighbors are in peace. May I humbly suggest that let us temporarily bury the Kashmir problem for 50 years, and by then we both will become prosperous countries, and then try to find a solution (the best in my opinion is to accept present borders as permanent borders). Thank you Prof. Hoodbhoy, for such a nice article.

Reddy Oct 18, 2014 02:57pm

Good luck ! May be in 50 years.

kamal maan Oct 18, 2014 02:59pm

@Ahmed USA bravo great comment..well india makes 4500 crore rs by launching foreign sattelites..surely food comes from sky...dsnt it??

Aatif Oct 18, 2014 03:01pm

need to get rid of rulers who distribute money and loan instead of spending such money on education or industry that will automatically generate jobs. Rulers want to keep the nation in control so they won't prefer growth and education in illeterate masses (vote banks)

blue_led Oct 18, 2014 03:02pm

@nimesh Look at the works of ECG Sudarshan. No less than 8 people were awareded Nobel based on his insights as a 26 year old, including that of Salam.

gary Oct 18, 2014 03:03pm

@Ramesh But Israel is doing it very successfully, in spite of religion. They are very secular people, and also very bright.

Masoud Oct 18, 2014 03:06pm

Pakistanis may well ask: can we do it too? With due respect to the learned professor, the answer should be NO Need. Why India then did it, its simple projecting to be big. May I ask a simple question by spending billions of dollars sending mission to Chanda Mama what the players achieved some kilograms of moon rock. " father you don't know the way to post office & you want to show us the way to heaven" Aids, Ebola, Malaria, Cancer are some of the options much, much more important than wondering in the space.

AdHawk Oct 18, 2014 03:11pm

Weren't we trying to harness 'Djinn-Energy' at one point? Maybe Nawaz Sharif should try reviving that project.

Jokes aside, science and religion just don't mix. Pakistanis may find it harsh, but it really is that simple. For Indians; ditch religion and they can match China. Pakistan can't even think about it since the penalties for deviating from religion are too harsh over here. Even the 'Naya Pakistan' crowd flaunts characteristic middle-class religiosity so I don't see much hope for the near future either.

Sam Oct 18, 2014 03:12pm

Getting Terrorists, Fanatics and Radicals out of Pakistan would be a greater achievement compared to sending people to space.

hs Oct 18, 2014 03:12pm

Pakistan is a country where mullahs certify that polio vaccines are not anti Muslims whereas in developed world doctors certify the implications of a medicine. Think about the difference.

Bangalore Guru Oct 18, 2014 03:20pm

Pakistan simply needs to decrease army's influence in politics. Army makes Pak spend a huge budget on themselves. A healthy neighbor will benefit India and it is well known here. The day Pakistan realizes that getting Kashmir is not its sole prime motto, it will grow like anything.

Irfan Oct 18, 2014 03:23pm

Pervez always make a lot of sense... just wish people with power act upon it...

I started reading you when you wrote an article in 2000 in another daily about the havoc Zia wreaked with our school syllabi. How he tried to transform young school children into warriors. We are still waiting for someone who could cleanse our text books.

Tabish Oct 18, 2014 03:27pm

The writer is right , in Pakistan we need drastic changes in our education system specially in science . Government must announce and implement practical policies in science specially ,in physics and chemistry . Government must allocate grants on scientific research and development (R&D) . Hope the writer must highlight in detail to the relevant ministry and introduce a practical plan which is in his mind . I am a student of O.level we think about our future Pakistan in my mind Pakistan must need a technocrats and scientists team in our education.

javaid Oct 18, 2014 03:30pm

We talk of Khwazrami, AlJabbar, & other scientific luminaries of our glorious past, feel good & proud, & go back to sleep.......!

Bob Oct 18, 2014 03:44pm

@Ahmed USA What about Kashmir?

Sam Oct 18, 2014 03:44pm

@Astro Vivekanand Tewari

Friend, I'm Sam from Bangalor, India... Pakistan can never and will never answer that question because of the Truth that, 'whatever Pakistan does is India centric'

Parivel Oct 18, 2014 03:45pm

@khan First, Pakistan must come out of petty politics / bad rules like blasphemy & forcing women stay home etc... to grow economically. Most Important, they can even think of joining India as a one nation to get rid of these issues. My comment may hit some one mind in a bad manner. But, My point is only Pakisnis are none but brothers of Indians who got forcefully converted to Islam finally become so much addict to it. Not at all necessary that, you must convert back toHinduism but, we can be still one country with out going beyond a limit in Religious beleif. Many In India don't believe god & progressing better manner.

Dr S.G.Prasadi Oct 18, 2014 03:45pm

@Ahmed USA Its not whether one goes to mars or moon, but its scientific education and culture that makes a man modern. The same cience can produce more food for any country which has happened in India

G M Patra Oct 18, 2014 03:47pm
  1. Ask Jr. Bhutto to work on Polio problem in stead of trying to grab the power.

  2. Ask Musharaff to work on reviving and ensuring good education plans for Pakistan's children.

Dr B.N. Anand Oct 18, 2014 03:58pm

Sir, a very thoughtful and logical article, coming from someone who looks to be knowing his subject so well that he can be a source of inspiration for all the ambitious science students there. In the end , I share his sorrow of having the way the country treated Professor ( Dr.) Abdus Salam, the only Nobel laureate from the subcontinent after Professor CV Raman for his discovery of Raman Spectroscopy. Professor Salam was so much humiliated just because he was not recognised a Muslim despite being a Pakistani and was not allowed to rest even in his grave when it was defaced. The country has to learn to value its role models.

Dr B.N. Anand Oct 18, 2014 03:58pm

Sir, a very thoughtful and logical article, coming from someone who looks to be knowing his subject so well that he can be a source of inspiration for all the ambitious science students there. In the end , I share his sorrow of having the way the country treated Professor ( Dr.) Abdus Salam, the only Nobel laureate from the subcontinent after Professor CV Raman for his discovery of Raman Spectroscopy. Professor Salam was so much humiliated just because he was not recognised a Muslim despite being a Pakistani and was not allowed to rest even in his grave when it was defaced. The country has to learn to value its role models.

manoj Oct 18, 2014 04:03pm

Gret article! The day Pakistan starts competing with India ,china on space,science, the destiny of Pakistan will change. Millions of people will have opportunities you can't even think now.

Focus on science education will make Pakistan a new aspirational society. Think about it. Having a million scientists is better than having a million millionaires.

khudakabanda Oct 18, 2014 04:05pm

stop facilitatation of terrorism on pakistan soil and come forward with Bharat in the development journey. everything will be ok and both country will feel spirit of brotherhood as it was before aajadi.

Mirza Asad Baig Oct 18, 2014 04:07pm

Governance is the key to all things. Simple , basic stuff needs to be in place otherwise it will be one-off shot like the nuclear success. Until we have a legitimate government returned through fair n free means , we cannot expect policies n subsequent execution. Therefore the dharnas these days are quintessential to our sustainable growth in all facets of life including science.

Rishabh Jain Oct 18, 2014 04:21pm

People it is 'Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy' and not Mr. Pervez Hoodbhoy. I am just happy he is writing something. His love for Pakistan is great, that even after facing stuff such as being called Jahil on TV, he chooses to stay there and reason with people.

If the Pakistanis don't agree with him or have a problem with him, Please send hime across the border. We adore him. his contribution to science and his valiant efforts to create an intelligent discourse.

Vikram Oct 18, 2014 04:22pm

@Indian Christian

This is the best quote I have read about Pakistan in a very long time

Mate you must get an Intellectual Property right for this gem

Arif Khan Oct 18, 2014 04:25pm

Wonderful Article which opens our eyes.

Gurbinder Dhillon Oct 18, 2014 04:32pm

Its always fun to read Mr Hoodbhoy. It would have been nice if he had also mentioned that for Mangalyaan it costed only 7paisa per km whereas the standard auto fare in N Delhi is between 12-14p.

It would have been even better to be explained the difference between American and Indian approach and the reasons/uniqueness of the sling shot method.

N. Oct 18, 2014 04:42pm

I read a lot of comments. The article is very well written. The writer refrains from any reference about religion and rightly so. Someone said religion has to take the back seat to science. Another said religious schools should teach science also. In India worship, prayers have their place in every walk of life. The Director of Indian Space Research Organization went to a temple to pray before the lift off of Mangalyan. In all everyday life people pray worship and seek comfort if unsuccessful and make offerings if successful. It is absolutely outrageous to regard science or learning English is anti religion. In India there are more temples and various deities now than fifty years ago. The first thing Pakistan must do is to legally protect minorities, remove blasphemy laws, and develop ways to uplift the minorities. There are no two ways about uniting and progressing competitively. The question then is who are the financial mentors of Pakistan? Can Pakistan afford to lose them? It is just not possible to have people geared to learning science and taking pride in their efforts without the top political and educational bodies taking lead.

Zaman Oct 18, 2014 04:43pm

I wish I could reply to each one of the comments from across the border, but I must one... @ rkp: I think you need to read the article again or else take someone's help. The article opens and all through its course, praises India's scientific achievements. Ironically however, you have bullied all through your comment, the way you perceived 'the negativity'. Besides, as for the comment on 'nuclear blasts' of 1998, he has always said the same for Pakistani scientists too!

Akhtar Oct 18, 2014 04:47pm

India has shown that even with a small budget (if you compare it against NASA's) that third world countries can achieve the same in science.

Education and science must be given priority otherwise Pakistan will be left far behind and rely on others for its technology and progress.

ali Oct 18, 2014 04:58pm

@Shah Even if his reason for going there was financial then the govt of pakistan should have solved his financial worreis ..A single persons financial ambitions shouldn't have been a challenge for pakistan

ajit mali Oct 18, 2014 04:58pm

@Ahmed USA dear Ahmed every body knows food doesnt grow on mars. reaching mars is just an end result in process upgrading the pupulation with education make the nation empowered and food will come with empowerment they will start to earn themselves

Pawan Oct 18, 2014 05:01pm

Although Indians had falsely celebrated their five nuclear tests of 1998 — which were based upon well-known physics of the 1940s — the Mars mission is a true accomplishment. Can any one explain me what this means, as i don't remember exactly when did India did.

Sarang Oct 18, 2014 05:03pm

@NORI Agree with you Nori

Kishdg Oct 18, 2014 05:04pm

First of all built railway engines of your own instead of begging it from china, korea and india.....

azfarqureshi Oct 18, 2014 05:07pm

A well written article which reflects upon the current poor state of affairs of science and Technology of our beloved country. This situation is rightly compared with our arch-rival, India, which inherited the same education system after partition. When we are mimicking everything from Bollywood movies to Nuclear arms race with India, we have lagged far behind in even copying the science and development..

Atam Vetta Oct 18, 2014 05:07pm

I have a rather a little more experience than Mr Hoodaby and he might, among others, wish to reflect on my comments. English teaching has not got worse in Pakistan because it is impossible. Around 1940 when I attended the middle school in Warburton (now a Tehsil of District Nankana Sahib) and the Muridke Model School (Muridke is now the HQ of a terrorist group), English was taught in the Warburton School only (it was introduced in Muridke in 1944). I had to learn by heart sentences like ‘A cat sat on the mat’. In my experience a cat never sat on a mat as no one in our street had a mat and cats roamed the street. My English teachers did not even have the Matriculation certificate. Their pronunciation was terrible. Applications, letters, etc. were dictated to us and we had to learn and reproduce these by rot. Today, given the internet, modern children books and the availability of English speaking teachers, English is better taught than at my time. That some of us made the grade, as well as contributed to science and the British institutions is due to the cultural and philosophical environment of the home. I knew that ‘karma’ is my only salvation and had to work hard. Imagine, for a moment, that Pakistani schools have improved to the level of our English schools. Would that improve the lot of Pakistan? I doubt it. My doubt is based on the fact that children of Pakistani Britons are at the bottom of GCSE examinations in England, whereas the Indian origin children are near the top. What is even more fascinating is that the girls in all ethnic groups do better than boys. Attitudes in Pakistan need to be changed to ensure progress.

Hamza Oct 18, 2014 05:15pm

I am a Pakistani who studies in Turkey and by experience, i can tell you that we lack far behind many developing countries. Our attitude towards science and technology puts us in a very uncomfortable place. Hoodboy is a very respected author on scientific endeavour of Pakistan and he is respected a lot here. I have read many of his articles and agree with this one as well. People who say that we dont really need to compare ourselves to India or any other country are stupid. These are the ones who never want to leave their comfort zones and as a result, pull the whole society down. Turkish students have an exceptionally coherent understanding of science whereas, us Pakistanis, lack so much basic knowledge because all we were ever taught was how to get A's. Its a really sad state of affair. And please please, its high we stand upto the people who deliberately involve Islam in Science. Yes, there is a connection, but you cannot succeed in all aspects of science if you look for those answers ONLY in the Quran. Take both of them together.

vasan Oct 18, 2014 05:15pm

I did not see who the author was until I had read through the article. I was thinking to myself 'this sounds very, very similar to hundreds of such other articles written by a guy named Hoodbhoy...' and there it was! Mr. Hoodbhoy, this must be the 10 thousandth time you are saying this over the course of your life time! I admire your perseverance!

Makhawa Oct 18, 2014 05:18pm

First of all Pakistan should stop benchmarking itself against India. It should compare with itself and set priority for growth and achievement. Else it will create one more race like matching India's military power spending all the money on defence and leaving nothing for education and development.

N. Oct 18, 2014 05:22pm

@Norman Pakistan amended its constitution and declared Ahmadi are not Muslim. Abdus Salam was Bandai. He let for England and left in his will to be buried in his home town. His tombstone is defaced erasing the word Muslim. It should be restored.

Md Imran Oct 18, 2014 05:28pm

Suparco's many designs from the 1960s were foolishly shared with the Americans thinking they are our allies. Some of these designs went on to their Apollo missions and one such mission was Apollo11 which took them to the moon. Suparco was never funded properly and hence a majority of its engineers and scientists left for western shores benefiting their progress in the space race. Inshallah, with the new rise in income among middle class, we will soon have more scientists to take us to the moon by 2020.

Md Imran Oct 18, 2014 05:30pm

Isnt it a well known fact that India's ISRO buys stuff off the shelf from Russians/US and paints them orange, renames them and fires them ? How many parts of this mars mission was actually their own ? Hardly any.

N. Oct 18, 2014 05:33pm

@Explorer Abdus Salam was invited and visited India after Nobel award. Indira Gandhi offered him Indian Citizenship but he declined because he loved Pakistan. He finally left Pakistan and lived in England until his death. He wished to be buried in his home town where his tombstone is disfiguired because he was Ahmadi.

N. Oct 18, 2014 05:44pm

@khan He may be sincere but anyone who breaks the law creates anarchy where people lose their life is certainly unable to comprehend the ill effects of such an approach. Regardless of who runs the government, the academicians need to be given free hand. India has followed this approach and absolutely didn't allow any interference from any other institution. This is what Pakistan needs to do, not because India does it. This is the way it is done everywhere.

Arvind Oct 18, 2014 05:46pm

I would say religion is the most unwanted thing in the world now. Fighting for unknown. Religion was created by people who could mark their presence, this was ok in the past as the boundary of countries were changing due to war and death of Kings etc but now it is fixed in the world and systems and rules are in place. Everybody live on earth with hope and science is hope and truth.It gives mantle pleasure and earning for life. Look at Japan or Norway etc nobody speak much about religion there. Hence Pak, get rid of obsession with religion and join hands with your mother country India - promote welfare,science and Technology in people.

Birbal Oct 18, 2014 05:48pm

Dr. Hoodbhoy represents a voice for sanity and reason in this world dominated by unreasonable and insane people. I wish the young people everywhere follow his ideals.

Raman Oct 18, 2014 05:49pm

@nimesh Have you heard the name CV Raman, Chdrashekhar and did you ever meet in person Prof. Salam? Latter was a product of undivided India first and foremost. Partition physically left him across the border. Dr. Salam actually said so when he addressed a gathering in New Delhi, and I was fortunate to be there.

Dr. Siddiqui Oct 18, 2014 05:52pm

A timely article a s the country goes down the slope of inefficent governance,rich old corruption,grade three politicians a malignant feudal system killings and mayhem and dance and drama!

Mik Oct 18, 2014 05:55pm

Pakistan needs to focus on education. Get rid of Madrasas and instead have the values of religion embibed into the curriculum, so those with religious views do feel left out while studying practical realities of life. If Pakistan attains 50% literacy rate, they will have the capability to reach Mars in next 10 years- or even less. India and Pakistan come from the same roots-it's the philosophical differences that has taken both countries in opposite direction and only progress can justify who took a better path.

Rahul Oct 18, 2014 05:58pm

To start with, the title has India bashing. When India went to Mars and Moon, we did not compete against anyone, we set goals for ourselves. Similarly Pakistan does not have to compete with India or anyone, Pak can have its own space program with totally different goals. From this article I get a feeling that since India went to Mars, so should Pakistan. What if India would have never gone to Mars? Would this article be even written by the author? Are there things which Pak can do which India has not done yet in any field? Instead of asking such questions, you start with downplaying India first. Downplaying India will not make you any better, it is just an illusion that you are better. Anyway, nicely written article, but with this kind of mindset of emminent scientists in your country, nothing will be realized in the field of science.

sandeep Oct 18, 2014 06:00pm

very 1st people should reach home safe ! after mars and others ,

Arslan Oct 18, 2014 06:01pm

Very well written article again Mr Hoodbhoy. I am struck by your similarities to Pakistan's greatest scientist and an extremely passionate and dedicated person ---Prof Salaam. He is one of my most admired heroes and you probably also feel some of the thanklessness as you travel on the same lonely path guided even as you are by your inner convictions and a deep love for humanity in general and Pakistan in particular.

Mahendra Singh Oct 18, 2014 06:02pm

Beautiful article, Hoodbhoy is a true and rational scientist..

Ikbal Buland Oct 18, 2014 06:07pm

@Hassaan Sorry, doctors are technologists, not scientists.

sanjeev kulkarni Oct 18, 2014 06:09pm

Excellent article. Thought provoking and right on the mark. I wish there were more such thinkers in not just Pakistan but also in India. Such people opening eyes of the people are real assets of the society which should count and not F16s and tanks.

N. Oct 18, 2014 06:09pm

It is absolutely ridiculous to talk about formal education and religion in the same breath. Religion is about morality, character building, empathy, social harmony, tolerance for differing views, introspection and seeking comfort. Formal education, higher technical education, scientific inquiry, is for developing skills to utilize a natural instinct to problem solve, to explore the unknown, to master various aspects of nature. Religion is for mastering our innerself, science is for mastering nature. If this sounds too simple, may be it is.

Alex Oct 18, 2014 06:13pm

Few corrections,Just sending a satellite on mars is not the only measure or sign of India's scientific prowess,its one of them.India has achieved much more in other scientific areas.Complete polio eradication from a billion plus,highly diverse and subcontinental level geographic area is by no means a lesser accomplishment. IT and medical are two other sectors to note. Pakistan's current direction is opposite in every sense that you can think and talk about. So what's said will only remain a hope.

nasiroski Oct 18, 2014 06:16pm

@Ahmed USA You have completely missed out the soul of the article, this is exactly why logical and critical thinking is so important.

Duresameen Oct 18, 2014 06:23pm

Nice write up. However, all science is good science. The process is what matters.

Suraj Oct 18, 2014 06:37pm

Dr. Hoodbhoy is an honest and true patriot of Pakistan. Any country in the world will be honored to have him as its citizen. I wish there were more, lot more Pervez Hoodbhoys in the world.

KARNATAKA-Indian Oct 18, 2014 06:51pm

@Shehz Very Well Said, truth you spoke. Not An Ounce Is False.

Last Word Oct 18, 2014 06:52pm

Pakistan, undoubtedly can reach new heights in both space and science technology if it focuses on improving its failing economy and education. Educational curriculum needs to be overhauled as advocated by many Pak scholars such as scrapping overdose of hatred, jihadism and distorted history which has lead to frustration, fanaticism and sectarianism respectively in young generation in Pakistan. Pakistan which spends major portion of the GDP on its defence needs to reduce it drastically as the same can be utilised in improving economy and education. To achieve above, improvement in relations between the two neighbours is of paramount importance for which Pakistan needs to urgently address India's major but just demand of creating peaceful environment on LoC and abandon its decades old policy which has outlived its utility since long and only leading to more complex situation both at home and all neighbours.

Hashmi Oct 18, 2014 06:55pm

Hood Bhoy is asking too much from a down trodden society . The system can be changed by the society by acknowledging the realities of the life and introducing merit , justice free from prejudices . We are far away from Moon or Mars.

dk Oct 18, 2014 06:57pm

Its scientific education and priority of society at large .......Leaders, notwithstanding their political ends need to focus on modern education .There is a need for Pakistan to groom and nurtue more Syed Ahmed Khans and not likes of Hafiz Syeds

Vijai Murugan Oct 18, 2014 07:00pm

@Md Imran You buy your stuff from North korea and China and change the paint and nameplate. That's why you think in the same line. If it is so simple, try sending something up there (Other than kites)

Asutosh Oct 18, 2014 07:03pm

I've read number of articles in Dawn, where intellects talk about how something is missing in Pakistan in terms of education or science or growth etc. But I guess no body is addressing the fundamental issue. The issue is tolerance in the society and more importantly inclusion, regardless of region, religion or language. Till Pakistanis keep on struggling to prove that Pakistan is the best country in the world, Islam is the only and the best religion, Urdu is the best language and history of Islam is the only and most contributing thing to humankind, nothing will change. I'm not saying everything is good and great in India. No society is perfect and neither Indian. We have great number of problems, but holistically, by enlarge, we have a society which is inclusive and tolerant. We don't ask every best thing in India, be it science or business or art or literature, to be Hindu thing only. Never argued if Einstein or Ramanujan or Abdus Salam for the sake or religion or nationality. I guess, thats the fundamental difference. Just my opinion.

Dinesh Oct 18, 2014 07:09pm

@Indian Christian Indian was talking to a Pakistani and this is what he said .........."we both are in a hole but the difference is we are looking up to the stars while you are looking down the gutter"

Mohammad Mubashir Khan Oct 18, 2014 07:19pm

Thank you for openning our eyes. May the people who matter read it and also our dharma youth. Not forgetting the very promising young religious lot who are after recognition in the society.

MTA Oct 18, 2014 07:22pm

A great article written by a great scholar. True experimental science has been lacking in Pakistan for years and this trend must be reversed if the country is going to progress in the 21st century.

Weirdity Oct 18, 2014 07:23pm

Pakistan will definitely improve if some infamous Pakistanis are sent to Mars with a one way ticket. I will start with IK.

Yogesh Oct 18, 2014 07:24pm

Why pakistan always do comparison with India...why are they too obsessed , Now Pakistan want to go mars just because india did? i don't understand the point... in terms of development Pakistan is not even near to Bangladesh, Pakistan need to start doing the right comparison.

Weirdity Oct 18, 2014 07:26pm

I think the Pakistan government and most of society would ignore the good professors pleadings just like they ignored Dr Abdus Salam all for the wrong reasons.

ROHIT PANDEY Oct 18, 2014 07:29pm

@Masoud Religion hardly counts in India-we already match is just that they have a more widespread higher education and more Chinese higher educational institutes which are recognized internationally. Their economy is 3.5 times that of India and everything they do is much bigger!

Point out JUST ONE Hindu-born who says that scientific knowledge is found in religious texts of Hindus?

sam Oct 18, 2014 07:31pm

hahahahahaha .. pipers dream .. pak can never ever accomplish anything related to space .. reason .. Religious brainwash!!! U guys beg before europe and usa for dollars and u want to build a space shuttle .. maybe if u beg, one of the christian countries might oblige ..

ROHIT PANDEY Oct 18, 2014 07:31pm

@nimesh Jogesh Pati is an American of Indian origin who partnered with Abdus Salam in developing the theory is actually called Salam-Pati,you can feel proud and not jealous?:):):):)

a1 Oct 18, 2014 07:34pm

Instead of TV channels saturated with dharna news and random political “experts”, have good educational programmes. Standards of English in Pakistan must improve; they have fallen so low that English-language TV channels no longer exist.

We must stop teaching a kind of science in Pakistani schools which is science only in name but which bypasses its essence — evidence and reasoning.

-- right

Bahomans Oct 18, 2014 07:35pm

Although indian made it to martian orbit but their space craft is sending pictures which have quality equivalent to my Q Mobile:)

sridhar Oct 18, 2014 07:36pm

I respect Professor Hoodhbhoy a lot. His faith in science, his love for his country is unmistakable when you listen to his speeches. I am not sure he is right to say that Indian youth are very much into science. Science is coveted no doubt as it is the pathway to Engineering, Medicine. But are the Indian youth really "into" science? Indian schools still teach science in the way it has always been taught: rote learning. If something has changed in the last 10 years or so, i have missed out on the change as i have been in US for the past 20 plus years. Learning in school is to pass exams. Very few show real passion for science. Still, due to sheer numbers, we do find some areas of excellence in India but that is few and far between and cannot be compared to western nations. When I read the text books that my nephews and nieces learn in school, i am just amazed. Concepts are honed in the minds of young people in US. There is no place for rote learning. India and Pakistan can collaborate and compete with each other in science. It is better to do this than to compete in weapons which only benefits the big weapon industries of the West.

ROHIT PANDEY Oct 18, 2014 07:39pm

Indians/Hindus did achieve quite a bit in the centuries past.Where India lacked behind was the absence of theory/experiment to prove or disprove model developed by the Greeks which lead to flowering of western science.

Carl Sagan,a NASA scientist,in his popular science program called ' Cosmos" points out as how close Indians of the past were in figuring out the origins of the Universe....unfortunately it is mere speculation and not acceptable concrete mathematical models.

Islamic world in general,lacks behind the rest of the world...of late,however,Turkey and Iran have been credited with a number of high quality scientific papers!:):)

VG KRISHNA Oct 18, 2014 07:48pm

Hats off to Mr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, I fully agree with you. There is a saying in Sanskrit "Vidvaan Sarvatra Pujyathe" (An intellectual is respected any where in the world). A success will have a thousand reasons and so is a failure. One who shows maturity and tries to understand things and analyses the shortcomings and works to improve it is a successful person. My respects to you. VG Krishna, Hyderabad, India.

ROHIT PANDEY Oct 18, 2014 07:49pm

@Abdulrehman Dr pervez Hoodbhoy was honored by the state government of Odisha for popularizing science in Pakistan-the Kalinga prize was awarded to him!:):):)

Anand Oct 18, 2014 07:50pm

Dr Hoodbhoy...immigrate to India. We would love to have people like you!

Dr. Singh Oct 18, 2014 07:55pm

Considering Pakistan's reputation around the world, these days, As far as "putting (all of) PAKISTAN on Mars", I am afraid the Indians may actually be in agreement here, willing to pay for the entire thing and some more, if it can put the entire nation up there!

Dr. Pervez is right, on the interest and enthusiasm of middle class Indians for science. however, I am afraid our curriculum and the teaching of science and engineering in our schools is pathetic and pedestrian. The text books are true "cargo cult" science text books, teaching all of the forms and none of the reasoning and thinking. We have ways to go, before our worship at the altar of science turns into a mastery of science.

I hope, in this one regard, Pakistan surpasses India - where reason and common sense find more room than they have today. Good luck.

ROHIT PANDEY Oct 18, 2014 07:56pm

@Qasim Except for the Muslim world...religion takes a back seat to science in ALL modern societies.

Japan opened to the modern world in 1858 and a process called Meiji Restoration where modern education was given a precedence saw Japan catapult into league of modern nations.

They designed,built and commissioned their own warships and defeated an European naval power Russia in early 1900's!!!

Since 1947,,,,and particularly in the last 30 years Pakistan has gone BACKWARDS...while India has,in a slow,stumbling manner moved forward.

I am a Hindu and an atheist...and,Hindus will tell you that it is NOT a is a choice to keep my rational analytical self away from religious dogmas!!!L(:):):):):)

harishgoswami Oct 18, 2014 07:58pm

@M Khan i doubt pakistan have institutes like IITs.

sridhar Oct 18, 2014 08:06pm

While i see more and more Indian youth drawn to the nonsensical TV dramas, bollywood related shows, i do not see any show based on science. It may be a good idea to start a TV show on Science with various schools from both India and Pakistan competing for honors. I remember there used to be such a show when i was in India more than 20 years ago with 2 teams (One called Einstein, the other Bose) competing. It used to be simple. The anchor (or one of the anchors) explains a scientific experiment and asks the team the scientific basis for the result. For example, when you blow a current of air between 2 suspended pendulums, the 2 pendulims are drawn to each other. The team is asked to explain the scientific phenomenon here. This will enthuse the young generation. May be Professor Hoodhbhoy can take a lead to kick start such a program involving both nations.

ROHIT PANDEY Oct 18, 2014 08:08pm

@Indian Resident Hindu Spot on,sir!:):):) In his book, " The world is flat" Thomas Friedman a famous journalist speculates as to why India and Pakistan born at the same time took a very different approach to higher education.

India went in for higher education almost immediately under Nehru...and Pakistan had no real direction here? Or so I understand?

The difference is probably religious-cultural....Indians-Hindus have revered knowledge for sake of knowledge and fully recognized this for centuries and not just in recent times,

Going by the backwardness of the Arab or Islamic world in particular...I would say it is not in scheme of 'to do/must do" priorities?:):)

Nehru was in favor of EMPOWERMENT across the board and education was high in priority and Jinnah was never known to have accorded REFORM of a feudal society..ah mere speculation on my part...but,I suspect that I am not too far away from truth?:):)

ROHIT PANDEY Oct 18, 2014 08:08pm

@Indian Resident Hindu Spot on,sir!:):):) In his book, " The world is flat" Thomas Friedman a famous journalist speculates as to why India and Pakistan born at the same time took a very different approach to higher education.

India went in for higher education almost immediately under Nehru...and Pakistan had no real direction here? Or so I understand?

The difference is probably religious-cultural....Indians-Hindus have revered knowledge for sake of knowledge and fully recognized this for centuries and not just in recent times,

Going by the backwardness of the Arab or Islamic world in particular...I would say it is not in scheme of 'to do/must do" priorities?:):)

Nehru was in favor of EMPOWERMENT across the board and education was high in priority and Jinnah was never known to have accorded REFORM of a feudal society..ah mere speculation on my part...but,I suspect that I am not too far away from truth?:):)

max Oct 18, 2014 08:13pm

I agree with the article above but recommendations will be very difficult to follow for Pakistan ! Does a Pakistani have courage to question everything ? Because that would also include Islam. Arab countries are basket cases because they cannot question the very fundamentals of religion.

Tanveer Oct 18, 2014 08:15pm

Thank you, Mr.Pervez Hoodbhoy, a big salute from India, its amaze me to see that people like you are still there in so called muslim world.

Keep up your good work and spread awareness about the importance of scientific education.

Sarwat Oct 18, 2014 08:31pm

In essence, we lack proper education. the education level and type is only producing corrupt educated masses which is just as bad as an illiterate. The true meaning of educated person has lost its meaning in our society.

AD Oct 18, 2014 08:35pm

I'm a physics graduate from India, although I don't practice physics anymore,but studied Glashow - Salam-Weinberg model related to UFT and Electro-weak theory;especially related to W+- and Z0 Boson. Boson the particle, named after S.N Bose an Indian physicist. Feel bad,but perhaps we Indian physics graduate respect and know more about the life and works of Dr. Salam than average Pakistani students..

AD Oct 18, 2014 08:35pm

I'm a physics graduate from India, although I don't practice physics anymore,but studied Glashow - Salam-Weinberg model related to UFT and Electro-weak theory;especially related to W+- and Z0 Boson. Boson the particle, named after S.N Bose an Indian physicist. Feel bad,but perhaps we Indian physics graduate respect and know more about the life and works of Dr. Salam than average Pakistani students..

Jaysekhar Oct 18, 2014 08:43pm

Excellent thinking,full of commonsense and practical.I hope someone makes him the president.

weq Oct 18, 2014 08:49pm

I have been living in Pakistan for 45 years now, my country could not even make Mars Chocolate with original taste, rest assured a space trip to Mars. Please stop competing with India

Concerned Oct 18, 2014 08:50pm

The author intent is well intended however, the Pakistani educated elite need to direct their enthusiasm towards reforming or rather establishing the education system in Pakistan. There is no need to compete with any country rather, if efforts are directed to excel our youth in different branches of science, economics, social sciences etc the rest will come naturally.

Sandip Oct 18, 2014 08:53pm

I hope people like Dr. Hoodbhoy gain ascendency and finally take control of Pakistan.

Suyogee Oct 18, 2014 09:09pm

"Although Indians had falsely celebrated their five nuclear tests of 1998 — which were based upon well-known physics of the 1940s"

The Indians celebrated the political decision and not as a scientific one. Most of my country men know the perils and evils of weapons of mass destruction, hardly a matter to celebrate from a science point of view.

Great article, the author is one of the best minds in today's Pakistan.

Ahmer Oct 18, 2014 09:16pm

Dr Hoodbhoy, Sir. You have very good ideas but unfortunately education is not a priority in Pakistan. We need the right kind of rulers first.

bhupal Oct 18, 2014 09:20pm

@ROHIT PANDEY. It s a " UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science is an international distinction created by UNESCO in 1951..." & not a Oddisha govt award

It's (still) Economy Stupid Oct 18, 2014 09:32pm

Pakistan needs a leader who can say this again: “We(Pakistan) will eat grass, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own (Mars Mission).... We have no other choice!”

― Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

aditya Oct 18, 2014 09:32pm

@Baljit Singh are 100% correct. We should think beyond any religion.

ali-Indian Oct 18, 2014 09:40pm

Porf Hoodbhoy awesome write up !! I had a chance to ask you few questions in one of your seminars in India few years ago however as far as the nuclear test by india was not to create nuclear arsenal but to create nuclear power stations which is complete now after the test we have dozens of power stations !!! as far as the nuclear test we detonated it 14 km below the surface to limit nuclear contamination !! what ever india does it is always indegenious unlike Pakistan we make mistakes but we also learn from them please keep the stats right

Imran Oct 18, 2014 09:42pm

@Addy "You will find universities in India brimming with bearded, skull capped, hijab wearing students pursuing education in fields of science, arts, medicine, culture and so on". Sir jee it is the same in Pakistan also.

DifferentPerspective Oct 18, 2014 09:45pm

So glad that someone took on this subject. Since the launch of Indian Mars missions I have been thinking that for how long we will keep thinking and solely prioritizing "Roti, Kapra aur Makam". Not denying that these things are necessary but we need to run different priorities in parallel the way India is doing. We have to prioritize Research & Development, Science and Quality Education and progress in fields such as Space Exploration and Microchips Designing & Manufacturing.

Great article, hope we soon take some tangible steps to achieve the Mars Mission for Pakistan inshAllah.

gary Oct 18, 2014 10:14pm

''Desperate to show evidence of improvement, government organisations such as the Higher Education Commission and Pakistan Council for Science and Technology have institutionalised a reward system that has led to armies of cargo PhDs — with wooden pieces sticking out of their heads — as well as mountains of cargo publications. ''

Dr.Ata-ur-Rahman, an ex head of Pakistan higher education commission, wrote in THE NEWS that when he was the head, so much articles they had published that Indians got scared. He wrote this not once, but on three different days. Pakistanis like to blow their own trumpets wherever they get a chance. Most writers in their English newspapers would certainly tell the world their educational qualifications as if no one else graduated from there. This showing off is a disease among most Pakistanis.

kamal Oct 18, 2014 10:17pm

This article shows still there are some sane people with cool heads survived in Pakistan. Hope atleast some pakistanis realize and the things move the way along the proposals of the authour of this article.

Sanjeev Oct 18, 2014 10:17pm

@Ahmed USA nor does food grow in space, air and water- dont veture out. Hint of "khatte angooor"???

Sandeep Oct 18, 2014 10:26pm

situation is not that great in India also.. however it is just that we have a middle class that puts value on education and cuts corners to spend on the best for their kids.. this middle class is 300mn+... rest is law of averages. It is not that the IIT's are great , but they just get the best students.. the top micropercentile out of the millions.. & the English that the queen left behind, more a twist of history than a conscious effort by the government, help also in getting ahead..

Rest we have as useless a government as in Pakistan, that pulls deserving people down..

Banks Oct 18, 2014 10:54pm

Are you out of your mind Sir? Talking science in an Increasingly relifious ly fundamentalist country is akin to blasphemy!! It will bring all the lies carefully perpetuated by your religious leaders. Pakistan is approximately 300 years from launching a space mission!

David Oct 18, 2014 10:57pm

Thanks for your time devoted in writing, unfortunately I do not see any hope in near future, as basic material is not available and whatever is there is rotting very fast.

Anwar ul Haq Oct 18, 2014 10:58pm

It can be possible provided we can get huge sums placed abroad. Else, still you will find one Pakistani will still be flying to Mars alone. Hopem you get the point!

GK Natarajan Oct 18, 2014 11:09pm

the author hit the nail, on the head on the thierd point, ie.prujidices,relegeon\sectarian, should go! can it happen in pak. they can get scientific co-operation from india if we have friendly relations. incidentaly DR.ABDULKALAM, our ex-president was a space scientist!

VRM Oct 18, 2014 11:35pm

As the saying goes, things start from the top. In India, we have a Ministry of Science and Technology, and Ministry of Earth Sciences, presently been headed by Dr. Jitendra Singh. While individual Science Institutes set their own agenda, they have a body on whom they can look up to, and ask for financial assistance when required. I remember at one point, the Prime Minister used to head this Ministry.

Middle Indian Oct 18, 2014 11:49pm

Interesting article , it highlights what India has done right. It shines a torch on the number of factoids. But like in a iceberg, some underlying facts are hidden from public view. Some of these are the absolute commitment to democracy even when things look horribly broke and un-fixable, subservience of the military to civilian authority even when civil authorities behaved as bullies, empowerment of girl child to the extent that there exists no glass ceiling, abolishing feudal powers to a large extent, having good role models from every strata of society, providing the poor with nutrition & education at state costs. Maybe a distinguished professor like you should champion some of these factors in Pakistan to promote science from bottom up.

pathanoo Oct 18, 2014 11:52pm

An Excellent and Absolutely True article. But, will any one listen?

Vishal Oct 18, 2014 11:56pm

I really like Perez sir.he is honest intellectual.he doesn't mind critizing Pakistan if needs big courage to do it and You won't find many people including in India.thats where I am from

Mohammad Ali khan Oct 18, 2014 11:59pm

Before any thing we need a culture where good values come naturally.

Rehman Oct 19, 2014 12:05am

Now India has started work on a space program called "Indian in Space". Only 3 countries have this capability of putting human in space, US, USSR and China. Side effect of this program will be a heavy rocket which will make India self-sufficient in launching any kind of satellite into space and creation of space tourism industry.

Tayyab Malik Oct 19, 2014 12:11am

Dr. Hoodbhoy, This country doens't need to go to Mars, instead, we are preparing ourselves to directly land in heavens. Far easy and straightforward. Shame on us (the Pakistanis).

Musla Oct 19, 2014 12:12am

Fourth: Establish good relation with USA like india so you could go with an American probe visits Mars

mukul Oct 19, 2014 12:13am

pakistan needs people like hassan nisar atleast 1 crore in population.

mukul Oct 19, 2014 12:13am

pakistan needs people like hassan nisar atleast 1 crore in population.

MeBornAzad Oct 19, 2014 12:38am

Pakistanis have to move forward instead of always tied up with debates about religion, language and extremism. Let Abdus Salaam rest in peace and let India enjoy the triumph sold and supported by European and US competencies with their government blessings - unfortunately because of Pakistani ethnic and religious divide, many of Pakistani minorities openly work against the welfare of Pakistani state which is not very helpful. Pakistan needs a justice system to move forward - a system which can provide justice for all not just for few.

Patriot Oct 19, 2014 12:41am

Time to wake up Pakistan!... unfortunately it is still victimized of corrupt politicians fighting for power

basharat Oct 19, 2014 12:46am

We Pakistan need to more practical than theoretical approach toward science but unfortunately the education system which prepare the young minds need to be improved first. How a child studied in govt run Urdu medium school, without properly trained teacher can be enthusiastic about the science. We need to priortise our efforts rationally and implement them. The task is indeed difficult but not impossible.

Ashiq Ke Rasool Oct 19, 2014 12:50am

True education is Allah's education.

vishwajith bhat Oct 19, 2014 12:52am

beautiful , flawless , full of life n accurate perseption , my comments may get deleted sir but they cant take away admiration ..

Zarrar Sikander Oct 19, 2014 01:07am

Let's follow India in solar energy initiatives first. With declining cost of solar PV cells, this is the right time to be bringing this up as pakistan has a massive shortage of electricity supply. As for launching spacecrafts, Pakistan will not be able to justify rocket tech as that also demonstrates capability of long range ballistic missiles. Too much international pressure to allow that at the moment. How about removing the ban on youtube for starters.

javed Iqbal Oct 19, 2014 01:35am

The suggestions by the writer for encouraging scientific learning should not be taken seriously by us. If some non-Muslim wants to go to Mars or Moon why we Muslim (particularly Pakistani) involve in such an act of utter foolishness. I wonder when we can buy a cell phone for Rs.1000/ & Laptop for Rs.10000 / then why the writer wants to waste our time by lecturing on scientific research / education . I think we should concentrate only on present text books, the poetry of Iqbal & prose of Nasim Hajjazi.

Vijay(Toronto) Oct 19, 2014 01:36am

@ROHIT PANDEY You can also thank Abul Kalam Azad for that.

JAGMOHAN Oct 19, 2014 01:44am

In a country where you will be killed for saying anything which is perceived to be against Islam or even defending some one of another religion, the talk of scientific enquiry is laughable. To make progress in scientific field there has to be fundamental change in attitude. I don't see that happening in the near future,

Not that it can not be done. Catholic church persecuted the scientist when they presented stories which did not confirm to the Bible, but it took more then a century to reverse this. Does Pakistan have that kind of time?

Yusuf Oct 19, 2014 01:57am

This guy is all wrong. As Pakistani our primary aim should be freedom to Kashmir. As that doesn't happen, we should look for Jihad. Why should we go to another planet?

Azhar Oct 19, 2014 02:12am

Pervez Hoodbhoy- you are very passionate educator and you are quite a brilliant man. You served the mother land very well and you had produced many scholars. I want to join you in this quest to tour each and every corner of Pakistan and to meet our motivate youth and their teachers. Once we have mass then we will have a pull. For sure, we must admire India for their academic development. Although, there are many Pakistani who want to come home and serve the nation and Pakistan can also recruit many Professor from India and invite many of them visit our universities. I must admit, our youth due to their ignorance thriving to get rich, gain power, and also crime rate is up, economic gap is far bigger what any one can imagine. Passion to serve our nation is at its lowest rank.

Manish Oct 19, 2014 02:26am

@nimesh : Do you remember Aryabhatta, Varahmihira, and Bhaskara? If not, you must remember "dashmalav" or decimal provided by Indian mathematicians.

RG Oct 19, 2014 02:57am

Spot on article. I am an admirer of dr. Hoodbhoy. I saw him on several pak TVA discussions and sorry to see him sidelined by anchors or politicians. The man needs to be given respect and pay attention to what he says. I wish he belonged to India. The entire country was created on basis of religion and unfortunately science and Islam do not go together. Hence his insistence on delineation of religion is spot on.

Harish Oct 19, 2014 03:19am

@khan If Mr. Imran Khan is so beloved to you guys than why didn't you chose him in the very place in your last general elections. A voting scam can not larger than the will of a Nation.

A country deserves the government that it chooses.

fida sayani, USA. Oct 19, 2014 03:28am

@khan Wrong you need a leader like MAO or ATATURK. Mr. Khan lives in a luxurious house, he will never understand the a common Pakistani.

Jawad Oct 19, 2014 03:31am

@Lucky Star Really surprised to see you talk about Salam. --- See. May be not politics but There always are areas where people can agree on. And that's where people should concentrate on. Sky is the limit.

Rocky Khan Oct 19, 2014 03:36am

A very well written article with details and facts. Keep it up !!!

Civi varghese Oct 19, 2014 03:54am

what a brilliant article!Education should be separated from religion.Dawn news can do more to enhance standard of English education.

Babar Oct 19, 2014 04:04am

Mr Hood hud bhai, the foremost thing to do for Pakistan and India is to put food in the plate for thousands of homeless IDPs.

Abdul Wahab Oct 19, 2014 04:05am

Listen to Dr. Hoodbhoy. He speaks the truth and is a famous scientist himself from MIT. So, he really knows.

Indians connect with their 5000 years of scientific achievements. Along with two or three other civilizations they can claim to have invented a number of scientific fields today: number theory, geometry, astronomy, logic, computing, linguistics, etc. And, they consider their greatness as pre-destined. That gives them confidence. I only learned about this psychological aspect when I shared a house with an Indian grad student in the US during my doctoral study.

It is Pakistan history too, as both countries were the same till 65 years ago. But we shun our pre-islamic history and live on borrowed Arab culture. We don't expect to be great ourselves but try to behave like alien people with the excuse of religion.

Whereas the Indian thinking is "we used be great for thousands of years in science, and we will be again". Even a semi-literate person in India thinks their ancestors were great and their future will be even greater. That makes a big difference. Because you will be what you believe you will be.

Dishum Oct 19, 2014 04:19am

@Abdul USA ."Food does not grow on Mars"...

Like you, Abdul, I was highly skeptical about India's priorities vis a vis the Mars orbiter. I have changed my opinion perhaps because it was successful. Or perhaps, it cost so relatively little and serves as a tremendous multiplier in terms of inspiring a scientific temperament amongst the young. Someone mentioned that a lot of kids don't watch anything but entertainment programming. Well at least for a few hours, they were watching science and that too live. How cool would that have been!!!

To take this reasoning a step further, it is akin to a poor person spending a few bucks on buying coloring books or an educational toy for his kids. One could say that he should have only spent on food and clothes and such and not wasted it on such staff. But think how tremendous that would be if it spark the child's imagination so one day they can go on to grander things than just survival.

Ash Oct 19, 2014 05:15am

One of the vocal rational persons in Pakistan.

Liaquat Khan Oct 19, 2014 05:34am

Brilliant write-up. I would like to add one additional pre-requisite for growth of scientific enquiry: "Teaching of religion in its proper perspective". Muslim psyche, in general sees no need for enquiry because it already knows the answers to all of nature's mysteries and that one and only answer to sll questions is "Allah's Will". Curiosity instigates the hunt for truth but in the Muslim mind that curiosity is missing, it is already filled with a belief-system. Hence, while no one can deny Allah's Will in all that's happening in nature, there is a need to emphasise those teachings of Islam where Man has been commanded to quest for knowledge.

KJ Oct 19, 2014 05:35am

@Ahmed USA You are totally missing the point! The exercise of going to Mars is not for the purpose of showing to the world that Pakistan can also do it. The purpose is much, much, deeper than that. If Pakistan can also demonstrate something similar, not just with a single-minded view to show it to the world that if India can do it, we can do it too, then Pakistan will truly start progressing in the field of Science. That will start rolling the ball towards bigger and better things, hopefully. I hope you get my point.

Arshad Jamil Oct 19, 2014 05:47am

Nice article, but when taken in broader perspective, the article's criticism of higher education commission of Pakistan, hurts the very sector of higher education, which gets a meager 12% of education budget, and of that science may be receiving only a third. The bulk of education budget, at about 47% goes to primary education, which despite not showing any results, is still being pursued actively. The literacy rate stands at 57%. We need more balance approach to tackle education system. We have to invest more on higher education in science, technology and professions.

KJ Oct 19, 2014 05:47am

@Md Imran, Keep talking negative, if that makes you happy, but that attitude has not taken your country anywhere, has it? If India simply bought that technology and all that stuff from the west, how come it did it at 10% of the cost of what the nations in the west could do it at? There is little point in arguing logic with you, is there?

mabob Oct 19, 2014 05:47am

Pakistan should have done it earlier to show to the world that Pakistan has the talent as good as one may find in other space exploring rhetoric. Let this mission even be a show piece if not even a genuine dividend return piece. Pakistan should stay at par with the world at knowledge achieving war. No slack should be accepted in achieving the space knowledge objective.

KJ Oct 19, 2014 05:50am

@It Are you going to wait for those leaders to appear somehow, or someone will get up from their backside, and take up on the challenge to become that leader?

Ashfaq Oct 19, 2014 06:16am

What does Kashmiri youth want to learn? Science or Jihad?

najmi Oct 19, 2014 07:05am

Beautiful article!

Although I believe a country whose majority of the population live below poverty should be focusing on its people than exploring space and building an arsenal of nuclear and non nuclear weapons. However, this article has brought forward a major issue which I believe needs an urgent attention for our survival in this era. We are living in 21st century and our curriculum belongs to 18th century. Where grades are assigned based on how well you can memorize and recall your books during exam. From the time we enter the education system till we come out we are only programmed to hate India and blatantly disregard how far we are left behind in science and technology. Sexism has become part of our DNA. Women are made doctors only so that they can get married. Our players are rewarded more than our teachers. We need to go back to the drawing board and redesign our curriculum from primary to all the way up to universities. We should focus on problem base learning. We should spark curiosity in our teen. We should initiate crowd base funding to equip our universities lab which are currently being used as a storage room. Our TV programming needs to change so that our kids are exposed to more science. We need to re-vision and broaden our horizon. And this is the only way how we can change, how others perceive us. Lets cross off our great countries name from terrorist list and put it back on the map as the most advance nation is science and technology.

ps: I don't believe a change in political regime can effect our development. It may uplift our suffering in short run but it will not change the root cause. Root cause of our suffering is lack of education and ignorance. And lets be honest our political leaders including Imran Khan benefit from this.

ashok Oct 19, 2014 07:18am

Very honest account of affairs in Pakistan. If Pakistan ha to compete with India then it will have to start investing in its youth. The present policies of Mullas handling nation building let the revamped modern education system based on latest science and mathematics should build a nation not motivated with hate but knowledge.

Shah Oct 19, 2014 07:18am

Sir, you know that according to our present standards, a scientist with supposedly 9 papers in SCIENCE is NOT eligible for the post of Associate Professor in our universities, but anyone with 10 papers (cargo publications) in some X,Y,Z journals is alright. What message does it give to the scientific community? Start academic prostitution?

kumar swami Oct 19, 2014 07:23am

@Ahmed USA Buddy, the idea is not Pakistanis colonizing Mars. The author laments death of proper education of sciences including math, physics, chemistry, and of course English, the international language of sciences in Pakistan. English is an Indo-European language, Since the mullahs want Arabic to be the "muslim" language, the education in Pakistan will always be in the morgue.

Peterson Oct 19, 2014 07:46am

The challenge is how to retain the talent in the country. A scientific minded person will escape the country at first opportunity available.

MMM Oct 19, 2014 07:47am

@Parry Most religions go against science! Religion should be for spiritual satisfaction, not used to govern people.

DavePh Oct 19, 2014 08:06am

It is always a great treat to listen or read Dr. Parvez Hoodbhoy, he is a true gentleman and an extremely learned man. Pakistan Govt. will do well to listen to his recommendations, who knows in 30 years Pakistan would send a man to Mars!!!

However, I do take his views on India's Nuclear explosions in 1998 with a bucket of salt. India has fitted Agni-I,II and III, besides Prithvi II & III with Nukes. India is in the process of miniaturizing and fitting Nukes on Nirbhay Cruise missiles. No country would do something like that and announce it, if it was not a success.

El Cid Oct 19, 2014 08:15am

This empty brass needs to pasture. Pakistan needs to build a solid economic base, a safe secure peaceful thriving society, food in every plate at least twice a day...a bed and shelter in which to dream of stars.

N. Oct 19, 2014 09:05am

It is denial by Pakistan leadership all along that has led to the current state. Denial of its tradition, history, culture and most of all its affiliation of thousands of years. Affiliation with the whole that was dismembered to create Pakistan. Pakistan's affiliation with Tansen, Ramanujan, Mira Bai, Ghalib, Robindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi and many others. Pakistan has lived in utter denial. Only when this spell will break, Pakistan will become aware of its greatness. Will the powers to be let that happen? Will they know what I am talking about it?

Si Oct 19, 2014 09:12am

@Middle Indian - LOL - Pakistani intellect are not capable to move forward - look what Pakistani system did Dr Qadir Khan? - like him or not, he did try to do good for the nation

Taimoor Khan Oct 19, 2014 09:13am

What a pointless exercise. Pakistan needs to invest in human development. Lets others indulge in stupidity while more then half of their people cant defecate with dignity. Talk about priorities.

Khan Oct 19, 2014 10:02am

Why do we need to spend millions to go into space? What practical use is it to use? Why not spend a few million building dams to make elctetricy surely that is practical means of progress and prosperity. Secondly as a physist perhaps you can come up with a way to mass produce solar panels to enhance the Suns power or make a few hydrogen cells?

Feroz Oct 19, 2014 10:19am

@Abdul Wahab You hit the nail on the head. Indians are very aware of their history and achievements over thousands of years which taught them if not anything else, they never lacked in ability. This confidence is very essential and prime motivator to reclaim lost glory. I have never seen such a positive and buoyant mood among the Indian people in my short lifespan. The thirst for knowledge and education is inspirational even to old cynical sceptics like me, the urge to challenge old traditions and norms, demolish superstition and challenge hierarchy, all of which I see as positive. If we cannot use the Brains given to us by the Almighty positively for the betterment of all mankind, we should blame ourselves. The only conspiracy is the one we hatch against our own intellect, ability and conscience, preventing or stalling the achievement of ones true potential. Indians must only compete against themselves not others if they want to get back on top.

mv Oct 19, 2014 10:22am

Pakistan going to mars , so we get a new neighbour ? Time to celebrate.

Syed Kamal Oct 19, 2014 10:49am

The writer's enthusiasm about science and inquiry aside we have colossal problem here on our little part of planet earth. We have even more basic problems that need work. In a country riddled with bad governance, lack of law and order, a pathetic educational system, grinding poverty, absence of health care, hereditary politics, decrepit transport infra-structure, unavailability of decent drinking water, shortage of power supply, crumbling institutions, is that enough or should I go on. Let's get these under control first.

Tasawar Iqbal Oct 19, 2014 11:15am

Very informative article. Brain drain is also badly affecting the quality of education. Moreover, Pakistani media is covering dirty politics instead of science, English and technical development.

Indian Oct 19, 2014 11:16am

Dear Pakisthan Brothers, Stop Imagining that Indians are thinking all the time about attacking and conquering pakisthan...The reality is we don't have any such intentions...If we have we have such intention we have developed some more nuclear or atomic bomb instead of our Mars mission (72 million dollars)..

Musclemaan Oct 19, 2014 11:22am

Why are we obsessed with going to Mars? we should go to Jupiter. Its 10 times bigger, 10 times farther and has more satellites.

AA Oct 19, 2014 12:22pm

There is no match of Dr. Abdus Salam with any scientific personality in subcontinent. Pakistan did not care about him, how we can expect that they will take care of any other talent. Mothers will take decades to raise such a man (six decades are already elapsed), if this nation really wants to pay some tribute to him and also save coming genereation, repeal this second amendment

N. Siddiqui Oct 19, 2014 03:29pm

The writer is farsighted enough to think of Mars and beyond the final frontier, He should be far sighted enough to think about the eternal life hereafter. Religion and belief does makes the difference between saint and the sinner. An eternal life is more important than this nomadic life of say 80-90 years. Mirage and Maya doesn't lasts long. Cant separate the dunya and deen.

Akram Oct 19, 2014 04:28pm

we are much more advanced, capable and knowledgeable than we were in 1983 when we built the bomb.

If we can build an atomic bomb despite all the sanctions and the westerners trying to stop us, Mars is nothing. We already have the solid fuel based rocket technology, what is needed is political will and funding. However we should not just run for Mars just because the indians thought it would make a good headline. we should do it properly in our time with our own development goals in mind.

Vijay Oct 19, 2014 05:50pm

@khan sure you jest sir. what exactly are the achievements of Imran Khan? He comes across as Arundhati Roy of Pakistan. Both have same qualities, always find faults with others, nobody is up to their standard, they are always right everybody else is wrong. Both will talk at you never with you and have super size ego.

sreenath Oct 19, 2014 07:31pm

Grate thought provoking words. Wish this article will guide and nourish the generations to come in Pakistan. I don't see any reason why Pakistan can't to wonders in space, I am optimist and eager to listen Pakistan's success stories in space too soon. In fact India and Pakistan shall go hand in hand in their scientific quest as both of them have common genes.

A Oct 19, 2014 07:42pm

Abdus Salam is not the only scientist in this world, there are hundreds of good scientists in the world. Why the "intellectuals" in Pakistan and India always sing the songs of their past scientists like Salam. I think science does not have any boundaries. All the genuine scientists work for the humanity and they belong to this world, not to a specific some specific country. Weinberg and Glashow should be owned as much as Salam by Pakistani "intellectuals" and "scientists". There is no need to make clash between religion/cultures Vs. Science. These are all different sectors. This urge makes no sense to compulsively strike science against religion and culture. This brings chaos, not peace. Measurements, taking to improve the education system and research environment any where in this world, not only in Pakistan, is fine.

Bhavani Oct 19, 2014 08:24pm

Excellent write up Prof.Hoodbhoy! Mentioning here of another very success project in India for attracting young talent towards a career in Pure science.I am an Aluminium Metallurgist and retired from active service in 2007. I do honorary work on a Govt project Inspire named 'inspire'. I work in one of the poorest areas in eastern India which is heavily affected by Maoist insurgency. Govt. brings together 250-300 young boys and girls who have score +85% and invites prominent working and retired pure science specialists from all over country to interact and make presentations to the children about their subject. I speak on Physics of material and Metal science. We spend lot of evening time with the children and discuss about their dreams and career plans. Most children come from poor agriculture families with illiterate or semi-literate parents and do not know of career options and scholarship plans and right institutions to go to etc. People like me work for free and derive immense pleasure and satisfaction in helping change the lives of children from these disturbed places and prevent them from drifting into wrong paths. Been on the project for last 5 years and I am seeing the good impact it is having on the society in the region. Senior citizen of the land can be a big asset to the nation in this regard.

Adam Oct 19, 2014 10:39pm

@Mish The fact that, like Indians, Pakistan is are very successful in the West means that it is not the biology but the environments of freedom, tolerance, inquiry and enlightenment that makes it possible. Duplicate that kind of environment at home and you will see remarkable changes! However it takes time and resources plus commitment to try to duplicate such an environment. Even as Japan has matched and even exceeded the development of Western countries, they are still lagging in the creativity and free thinking of their children and people. The remarkable progress of South Korea, Hong Kong, and Singapore came because of their experience of living in increasingly democratic [and secular] and free societies. (Hong Kong's demonstrations against the misguided tightening of Central control is because the people of Hong Kong love their freedoms.) China, despite its stunning economic development - made possible by adopting capitalist ways but not democracy - will have the same problem as Japan in encouraging creativity among its people. Both economic and political freedoms are important and are reasons for the rise of the West! They spend more time copying and stealing from the West than inventing.

Moiz Omar Oct 19, 2014 11:37pm

Well written article Mr. Hoodbhoy.

sekar Oct 20, 2014 05:14am


Who is this "maybe" genius trying to rank geniuses?

Abdus Salam is a tragic figure. He may have loved someone (Pakistan)who did not love him back. Even after death it appears he was insulted. Pakistan has its priorities. It is obviously Pakistan's loss though Pakistanis may not feel that way.

Sach Bhol Oct 20, 2014 08:58am

The author is a highly-respected physicist. This is a fine article that speaks volume about the all-pervasive decay that is eating up the body of Pakistan. Education is the best vehicle to transform a country that is embedded in violence and extremism, accompanied by ignorance and a false and pretentious sense of superiority, to a modern, vibrant economy that creates opportunities for its depraved masses. Being an Indian, I would like my beautiful country to coexist peacefully with your equally beautiful country, but you have to change your thinking. India is not your enemy as your politicians (the latest joker to join this parade of fools is Bilawal Bhutto whose hysterical screaming and anti-India ranting have only created problems for Pakistan which is losing its credibility even with the Kashmiris), mullahs and military try to project. We know that you raise the Kashmir issue to justify your own existence, particularly the army which needs to substantiate its bloated size and the depletion of its precious resources. But the people of Pakistan, sooner or later, will see through this ruse. Until then, let's hope that wise counsel will prevail. .

Adam Oct 20, 2014 09:42am

@N. Siddiqui Please show us the proof of what you aver.

indian Oct 20, 2014 10:18am

Very well written sir!! I agree India produces top notch technologists.. But still lacks in quality research in basic sciences.. Anyhow... Pak should build institutions in the likes of IITs and IISc... Lets compete in science and technology like America and USSR in cold war .. Normal gun flights are too cliche..

Akbaruddin Oct 20, 2014 12:35pm

Every child in India knows about Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.Our former president and one of the greatest scientist of India

sanjay Oct 20, 2014 03:02pm

@Ramiz 50 years is too long a time it can happen in 20 years.

sanjay Oct 20, 2014 03:10pm

@Masoud Its you ignorance.Bye the way India will very soon be having lab installed on Moon to do scientific research which can transform the lives of millions in India specially in the field of medicine, communication,rare earth etc. Its the vision which has taken India there and not competition.

CC Oct 20, 2014 03:12pm

Pakistani desperately needs a true & revolutionary statesmen who cares about their people & not about making money.

Jugnu Oct 20, 2014 05:22pm

I read about Ramanujan after reading comments in this article. He was a great mathematician. Since he was born in un-divided India and also died before partition so he is as much Pakistani as is Indian. Pakistanis should be equally proud of him as Indians are. Every Pakistani knows about Tipu Sultan of the same area (South India) but unfortunately don't know anything about Ramanujan.

Aman Oct 20, 2014 08:53pm

Pakistan is entangled with its basic needs of law and order, terrorism, unemployment, energy crisis, stagnant economy and much more. To achieve excellence in science Pakistan firstly should tackle its basic problems. Indeed Pakistan and Pakistanis doesn't have time to even think of space exploration they are deeply involved in pursuing their basic needs.

Malik Khan Oct 20, 2014 10:53pm

Thank you. A wonderful piece. Whole heartedly in agreement.

Kiran Mustafa Oct 21, 2014 02:16pm

I do agree with these facts. am a student and i want more empirical research in every field of science, only that is the way to progress rather than just theoretical and impractical research.

Umer Sohail Oct 21, 2014 02:19pm

The mentality of our nation can be interpreted from the fact that out of the plethora of TV channels broadcasting news, dramas, music etc. NOT A SINGLE CHANNEL is dedicated towards science and education. Let alone a separate channel, not there's not even a single show related to science. Is it too much to ask that our media dedicates a little air time to the things that actually matter rather then wasting time and money of completely futile and fruitless activities just for the sake of ratings? EDUCATION is the only way forward, and when I say that I don't mean the "cargo education".... real education incorporating reasoning, concepts and depth in understanding !

Magister Oct 22, 2014 12:05am

Scientists of Abdus Salam caliber are fairly common in Western universities.

Magister Oct 22, 2014 12:10am

If the logic presented holds true then this education system(if not far more superior) already exists in Japan, Iceland, Austria, Australia, New Zealand but what is keeping them from send missions to Neptune?

Ajay Verma Oct 22, 2014 01:25am

Pervez Hoodbhoy is much respected and followed by Indians. He is a sane commentator and an excellent scientist / educationalist. He is always welcome in India. I personally follow your programs. All power to you Sir. :-)

John Oct 22, 2014 01:43am

@K S Suresh Suresh there is something called stolen technology. Some may want to call it as acquired technology.

MUNIB Oct 22, 2014 11:30am

As always, very insightful and inspiring by Hoodbhoy

Talibjan Oct 22, 2014 11:38am

Wow! Sir you are asking not for Moon but for Mars. We have very deliberately opted for the past and as such foregone the future and like Schrodinger's cat we are in all possible states. Mars is too far away.We have yet to determine who we are.

Nazim Aziz Oct 22, 2014 12:53pm

In the outset, I'm thankful to people inclusively, who still have patriotic spirit to inspire a numb nation. Our academic system needs rectifications not modifications. Above all, If someone with research background comes in front, he/she is forced to leave Pakistan to meet both ends meet. Thanks a lot for an inspirational piece of dose !!!!!!!

Ali Oct 22, 2014 01:56pm

Only if our scientists focus on research and devote to scientific discovery rather than getting into the religio-scosio-political debates. It is sad.

Kabir Oct 22, 2014 10:41pm

Mr. Hoodbhoy - I enjoy reading your article but the following was a cheap shot - 'Although Indians had falsely celebrated their five nuclear tests of 1998 — which were based upon well-known physics of the 1940s' - The Indian scientist achieved on its own.. and the reason we are proud of our scientist is that they have achieved all on their own - when the western world imposed sanctions on us.. and they had banned technology transfer to India.

observer Oct 23, 2014 11:11am

what will happen to the current crop of "journalists/anchors" and the so called "intellectuals" if the Pakistani TV channel owners decide to help the country to become interested in Science rather than the abusive/primitive language of the so called "leaders" of Dharna politics?

Affaq Qamar Oct 23, 2014 03:10pm

Thanks God Prof, you didnt blame Mullahs for not permitting the scientists to go on MARS. I dont get it.........Rather than establishing some labs which a prof of your caliber (though, I dont think you are that capable) should be involve into, you are pointing out social discrepancies of our society. The simple fact is that Indians are not so different from us when it comes to what you pointing out. The reason which made them land onto the Mars is that, their scientists worked in the labs and published scientific results rather than writing columns in newspapers.......... :-)

Hussam Oct 23, 2014 03:29pm

Training teachers and selecting teachers should have a stricter criterion, especially in public universities. I had the worst biology teacher in Karachi University. She could not communicate properly and most of the times it seemed as though she was just murmuring to herself. As a result, most stopped attending her classes and studying only from the books for the course(attendance was never an issue there). she was also among the "cargo of PhDs" proudly wearing the prefix "Doctor". My experience with poor teachers isn't limited to this particular lady - a lot of the senior teachers were terrible, with younger teachers being marginally better. It made us wonder over merits on which KU appointed teachers.

Dr Asim Shahzad Oct 23, 2014 08:45pm

Very well written article, but Hoodbhoy should also have mentioned billions of rupees squandered by organisations like SUPARCO which does nothing but buy sattellites from China and present them as Pakistani satellites. It should come as no surprise that the current head of SUPARCO is a retired general!

weq Oct 25, 2014 02:37pm

@It A true leader will himself stay hungry as well