Co-authors: D Hanumanta Rao & MA Krishna

RK

Prof M. Radhakrishna, aged 80, passed away around 8.30 pm, January 21, 2022, at Hyderabad, in his residence. He had lung infections towards the end. The Eminent Computer Scientist-Teacher was fondly known as ‘RK Sir ’ by his students and colleagues. 

The above photo was taken when he was around 75. He was very active and agile until he was down with cancer late in 2017, radiation etc. His jaw bone was removed, had difficulty eating and talking.

But even after that, he remained active academically, and with great social concern: He guided, even hosted in his residence, students and scholars to finish their work. He remained a regular reader of countercurrents.org., commented on articles in it, despite poor health. He instructed renewal of its subscription for 2022; he was so particular with his social concerns, with his own firm and progressive political perspective, opposed to all kinds of chauvinism and jingoism.    

RK was born on 14th July 1941; Father Sri Maringanti  Narasimha Chari, Mother Smt M. Kamalamma; he was the eldest of their nine children that included three daughters. RK left behind his wife Smt. Radha and only daughter Renu. He had  school education in Bhadrachalam, his ancestors’ place, all in Telugu medium, in Govt. schools. Despite limited time, he loved Telugu literature: Gurazada, Sri Sri are among his favorites, apart from classical poets.

RK  has been a teacher with progressive views , with firm democratic and secular outlook, who did not believe in any religion or caste, or any associated rituals; his body is being donated on Jan 22,  to Osmania Medical college at Hyderabad.  The parents, Sri Vaishnavas,  groomed all their nine children  with a rational outlook, free from religious and caste chauvinism. Now the extended family  including grand children and their spouses has persons from several religions and castes.

RK, with a very ordinary, humble family background, made Telugus proud by achieving an international fame: He had working visits to about 70 countries; lectured in universities and institutions including MIT, USA, and rendered his invaluable services in more than 20 countries; he chose to assist work in many third world countries, but with India being the principal centre for his services.  “I don’t have any aversion for foreign Countries. I participated in or was associated with Universities and research Institutions belonging to dozens of countries. Finished projects in many  countries.

He played a prominent role at National level in formulation of Computer Science syllabus for B Tech and M Tech courses. In addition to rendering services as a Professor, he worked as Science & Technology consultant for Defence, Educational and Technical institutions of Indian Government.

He never bent to political pressures, even of the topmost category. He declined to receive or entertain even top Ministers; they were welcome to see him in his office if there was any work, or meet in any formal meetings.

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(Following narration is adapted from an old Illuminating and rare Interview interview, conducted by D. Hanumanta Rao, for Swetchalochana, Telugu monthly magazine, which published it in its 2018 February issue of. Its English version later appeared in countercurrents.org,05/09/2020):

RK’s early work abroad was in Holland. Back home from Holland, one incident influenced him:

“My primary place of work remained India,” RK explained why:

“ Once I saw an individual outside a station having food from his bowl. Cloths were torn, unkempt hair, face with ulcers and flies swarming on them. There were more flies than food in his bowl. This sight disturbed me. Can’t we develop our country like Holland? a thought ran across my mind. I thought, something should be done – thus stayed back in our country.”

He  worked primarily in Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, NIT – Srinagar, TTTI-Chandigarh, IIIT – Allahabad.  And worked for some time in Delft-Holland, Leeds, Edinburgh, Cambridge-UK, Germany, CPSC-Philippines. Worked in MIT- America: “we worked on some problems where we were 5 to 6 years ahead them.  I visited as Examiner, Faculty, visiting professor and as consultant outside India in 70 plus institutions including in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri lanka, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Sweden, UK, USA, Holland, Australia and Muscat. Only South America and Africa were exceptions. Nobody there invited me.”

He presented 70 research papers and conducted nearly 16 International conferences, but he said: ..however numbers are not that important. As a researcher we have to go on doing research…

After finishing his MSc in Nuclear Physics from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, in 1962-63, he brought his multifaceted talents to the core by working in varied and diverse fields. He is among the first generation Indian Computer scientists who entered Computer field during 1960s, while at BARC Bombay.

His long tenure in Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab with courage and conviction, in days of political turmoil and communal tensions, endeared him to those people. Simplicity and humanism were his forte and worth emulating. He loved, and was loved by, the local people even in those times: he was never narrow-minded.

RK engaged himself in such an effort for nearly half-a-century; neither being sold to Foreign Companies nor to Big Capital, nor submitted to authoritarianism – an intellectual who remained steadfast in and for India to serve as a S&T Teacher. RK stands in the front row, among people who worked sincerely at national level without seeking limelight and publicity. He was not the kind of patriot shouting Jai Hind, candles in hand.

RK’s  initiative and efforts were also reflected in Indian Government’s prestigious programme titled ‘Inspire’, in which he   played a key  role with his vision, initiative and guidance; as a result, around 25 Nobel Laureates were invited to participate in ‘Science Enclaves’ in India. This program was meant to inculcate genuine  interest in S&T. The media reports cinema stars and  cricket; it has little space for such work in education sector.

The Nobel Laureates were persuaded by his team to stay, not in hotels or outside, but in IIIT-Allahabad campus (where he taught last) almost for a week, available for lectures and interactions with about 1000 teachers and students interested in Sciences, invited from across India. His concern was that students are drawn away from basic work in science into commerce, including IT sector, and they must be weaned back to sciences. He was so simple that he never wore a suit even in such events. He had not even coffee or tea, let alone ‘other’ things.

His passion to teach was so great, even at age around 75, he was walking and talking with some students for 8 hours, on a hot  summer in a forest on a project. It was connected with the interface between wild life and farmers, to see both co-exist without harming each other. He greatly loved nature, environs, and people. He had excellent stamina, engaged in trekking and mountaineering: He worked in Srinagar REC, Kashmir.

In the last phase, he joined IIT Allahabad, which, as a leading team member, he helped to found, build, and design courses.   He has been an active man, despite being sick, and with his social concerns.., concern for the downtrodden,  is evident in this article of  June 18, 2020,in  countercurrents.org. This was one of his topics during Covid-19 times:

A Proposal For a Utopian Dharavi – It Need Not Remain A Dream

https://countercurrents.org/2020/06/a-proposal-for-a-utopian-dharavi-it-need-not-remain-a-dream/

***                       ***

His ‘brief CV’  gives his vast and latest range of learning and teaching:

His  areas of Teaching: Physics, Reactor Physics, Mathematics, Metallurgical Physics, Vibrations, Educational Computing, Computer Graphics, Compiler construction, Operating systems, Computer Networks, Computer Architecture and Organisation, AI, Human -Computer interaction, Wireless sensor Networks, Embedded systems, Agent Based Systems, Electronic Systems Design, Architecture of Intelligent Systems  at B. Tech and M. Tech levels.

His areas of research work:  Nuclear Physics, Solid State Physics, Amorphous Semiconductors, Educational Computing, Computer Architecture, Computer Networking, Embedded systems, Wireless Sensor Networks, Instrumentation.  Pervasive computing,  Real Time Systems, Automation, Human behavioral modeling,  Cognitive Sciences, and web based education.

***                        ***

RK on Science Policy and Practice

RK had clear views, drawn from his keen observation and diligent work. A sample of his views can be seen in a rare interview he gave in 2017 (excerpts given below) :

“ I don’t describe myself as a Scientist. I read Science and do research in Science. I teach S&T, research to my students. Rather I like to be called as a teacher-‘researcher’… I did MSc in Nuclear Physics from Andhra University. A unique atmosphere used to prevail there, in those days. Everybody used to dream of becoming a Scientist – same was considered as an ultimate accomplishment – such an impression was created in young minds.

“ In those days only one student from Science had gone for All India Services: Sri EAS Sarma got selected for all three, viz., IAS, IPS and IFS. Rest of us never considered them as great, rather used to look down upon them. We had a dream of becoming a scientist, say, in Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) Bombay, Institute of Physics- Bhuvaneshwar or Saha Institute – Calcutta. That had driven us to compete for the same. Worked hard to grow as Scientists. I am part of that stream,” said RK in an Illuminating interview.

( Now we see India tops the table in having many billionaires, but lags behind in basic sciences. Incidentally Sri Sarma is a regular contributor to CC, which renewed the contact, between the old co-students of 1960s.)   

Do Scientists need to have social awareness or not?

RK answered:

“This needs to be examined in a slightly different way. For a scientist, who want to find out what is there in Molecules, social awareness or lack of it does not make a difference. Atomic fission releases a catastrophic energy. Can we control it, what is the benefit of it? Scientists working with such missions also need not have social awareness.  However some authority orders to make an Atom Bomb with that technology. A Scientist working in that situation must have Social awareness. After the dropping of Atom Bomb over Japan, J Robert Oppenheimer (head of that Project) wrote a book titled “Brighter than 1000 suns”. Having been shaken by the impact of Atom Bomb he expressed his regret for what he had done. Everything was a top secret. It was alleged that he had passed on the technology involved to Russia and was thus barred from entering the very Lab which he developed.

“Science has two parts – pure science and applied science. Both are science and both are required. For scientists working in pure science, social awareness is not that much important. Applied Science and Technology are equally important (Ex MRI, PET scan and their results). For the people working in those fields social awareness is very much essential. Whatever they work will have direct impact on people. After dropping the Bomb on Japan, many of those working in MIT, Stanford in those days refused to work for Defence Projects.”

Why were you into Computer Science, having been qualified in Nuclear Physics?

“These dividing walls are only upto certain stage. Once you cross a limit, the whole gamut is only Science. No distinction of Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Biology and so on…”

Are you a Software Scientist or a Hardware Scientist?

“ Let me tell you a story. A Computer failed in a College, Software person said it is a Hardware problem, while Hardware person said it is a Software problem. On the whole that computer did not work. That is the reason we at IIITs initially for some days ask the Computer to be dis-assembled and re-assembled. We will start teaching only after that. I advised the same when I participated in preparation of Syllabus at National level. I told the same thing when I worked as Advisor for CMC, Computer Maintenance Corporation. We have to impart complete knowledge, not in bits and pieces. Thus there would be Computer Scientist with comprehensive knowledge; there won’t be Hardware Scientist and Software scientist separately.”

Can India become a Global leader in Hardware or Software fields?

“ This needs some explanation. We call India as a great Nation. Then we mention Aryabhatta and Brahmagupta of several hundred years back. After them it is a desert for several centuries. Otherwise, we talk of Ramanujan of last century. Is that all ! Several foreign Universities are producing half a dozen Ramanujans every decade. We simply brag !

“ In America, Indians are in large number in Computer field, more so Telugu people. 80% are Indians in that field and half of them are Telugus… What I mean to say is that majority of our people are sophisticated labourers. They do what is told, lacking independent thought. In computer field, Algorithms are important. Indians who are 80 to 90% in numbers  contributed  40% of Algorithms, balance 10 to 20 % people (most of them Europeans, who never returned)  contributed 60%. A worker can construct any number of buildings, however none of them can be called as his own. Same is our case. For constructing a building, a Maistry will take along 100 workers; these are no different – Hi-Tech coolies. Nothing to boast. Thus becoming a Global Leader is too ambitious. We are not developing creativity.

How did you get the idea of a Science Conclave, where Nobel Laureates were invited to inspire students ?

“It is not proper to say that the Programme came only because of me,” RK said modestly. “ Once we asked for a good Mathematician from Mathematics dept of IIT Kharagpur. We got a reply that they are carrying on with half strength, with none to spare. Science is almost dying in India. Shortage of good mathematicians. Proper Electronics people are lacking. Strong mechanical Engineers are not there. We are making only second grade programmers.  There is a rat race for CSE and IT. Once they finish B Tech they join some Company. Even those who finish M Tech are not inclined towards research. Then where from do we get Scientists? This pains us. In Germany, they bring Nobel laureates and encourage interaction with students. They try to infuse enthusiasm in youth towards research. We don’t have young scientists. Neither mathematicians.  Research is not on our agenda. If you join in so and so Company, the salary package is so many lakhs. That is all; that is the target. What should be done to draw youth into Science stream in this scenario? Efforts to attract students towards science should begin when they are in 10th standard itself. That should be our goal; for that lot of efforts are to be made. Thus came the idea of a science conclave…

If we simply ask students to grow as scientists, without any efforts from our side, it won’t work. So far nearly 8 Science conclaves have taken place. However it’s absolutely not sufficient. They should be held still at a larger scale and nationwide. At least 10% best students should be attracted towards science, only then results can be expected.

***                               ***

RK’s dream on S&T Development

I have an idea – a dream- on the issue. (He worked a little in a rural area of AP, along with Dr. M. Bapuji, former CSIR scientist, and RK’s younger brother. Bapuji also contributed to CC, along with Dr KS Sharma on fluorosis etc.  ) Still it’s in formulation stage. To amplify it: each district should have a Science Museum. Definitely not in cities, because the children there will finally settle in some foreign country. Hence they should be in rural areas, they should be simple, and not in huge buildings.  A small dormitory along with subsidised food facility should be there. For those Museums there should be no doors and no timings. Anybody should be able to visit any time. It should house a few scientific instruments, models. Facility should be there for viewing videos. There should be videos regarding formation of life on Earth etc. So that thoughts such as Gods and devils will be dispelled then and there. If possible they can be constructed near temples and religious places, so that along with children, adults too will come. That is the first stage.

In the second stage, there should be working models relating to Science and Technology fields. Their understanding will improve with these models. In the 3rd stage, small instruments/tools suitable for experiments should be made available, which allows them to conduct experiments. For instance, they can find ph level of water in the village pond. How many centimetres rainfall occurred? What is the ratio of different elements in the soil of a agricultural field and so on. Everyone knows their local problems better. Villagers know problems in a village. In the 4th stage, as a problem solving step – fabrication facilities should be provided enabling them to manufacture/fabricate tools and implements for overcoming their difficulties and problems. With those facilities, the villagers will fabricate tools and implements which are required for their villagers. New instruments will come to light.

(Brigadier Ganesham and his team are engaged in such work, reported in a monthly magazine in Telugu, Palle Srujana – village creation- RK and Bapuji have been in touch with the group. Visit pallesrujana.org)

In the 5th stage, going out and doing experiments and analysing the results for arriving at decisions. In this way the number of innovations along with that of researchers will go up. Nobody is solving the problems of villagers and those of tribal hamlets. Those who get educated there will leave that place. Hence projects for their local issues should be taken in the local schools. Local institutions should have implements, not just keeping them on display, but should teach how to use them. Helping and teaching them to find solutions to their problems.

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Inculcate Honesty : Library and Lab open for 24 hours. They will not have any locks

We were told your  evaluation of answer sheets  at M Tech level was  open, transparent, no scope for  favouritism etc.

Yes. I used to distribute answer sheets to students themselves. They would refer  books , evaluate each  other’s answer sheets, and also give marks. Teacher  will give his own scores. Students can discuss, question scores given,  know evaluation criteria, and in the process also learn how to evaluate objectively. This we have been practising at IIIT-A.

Wherever you have worked, it is said that Library and Lab will be open for 24 hours. They will not have any locks. You will also be available for 24 hours, even at midnight you were available for providing clarifications to the students.

That is true. I always used to live in campus and be available. Keeping them open is also a fact. It’s not my greatness. Every person will have honesty. During my tenure in various capacities, I used to give my subordinates – blank, signed and stamped papers. So that they can use them during my absence or when I am abroad. So far nobody misused.

Experiment with library books started in Srinagar for the first time in 1970’s.  In view of absence of late buses due to communal tensions prevailing there, the Librarian used to lock library and leave by 4 pm. Then I took special permission, and had drawn 300 books in my name. They were kept in a students Hostel room. Anyone can take books without any record, at anytime and keep them back after their work. Weekly once, a student used to check about absence of any particular book. Whenever a book is not found, that student will write on the board , for example, that the ‘book no.38 is not traceable. Prof Radhakrishna will pay the amount’. On the very next day the book used to be at its place.

Similarly, wherever I have worked, the Lab which is under my control used to be open for 24 hours. It will not be locked. A student can go any time to do an experiment. No permission is required. In these 50 years only a pipette missed, that’s all. There used to be instruments worth lakhs of rupees. I feel so long as we lock it will create mistrust among students. When there is no lock, same will help to develop self control and enable them to overcome temptations. Inculcates honesty. Self confidence and mutual trust will develop. You should be able to rush for an experiment, the moment you got an idea in the middle of a night.  Only then new discoveries will take place. ‘10 to 5 way of life’ will hamper development of Science.

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Our civil society:  From patriarchy to Boss devo bhava, and 10am to 5pm Scientists’

This is one side of the coin. Other side of the coin is the change that should occur in civil society. Parents are teaching about God and devotion to him.

Maatru devo bhava, Pitru devo bhava, Guru devo bhava and Boss devo bhava – we are conditioning their minds with these words from the moment they enter this world. Break a coconut before an exam. Same is being shown in Cinemas. We compromise everywhere. Similarly babas and swamijees. They once made my boss to tell me ‘I too was like you, not believing in babas. Later I changed’. I replied, ‘you seem to have failed from reaching your goals and you got this as an excuse’. In this scenario of Scientists following babas, swamijees  – great harm  is being done to the society.

Many of your disciples reached high positions. For instance, Ms Poonam became a Cambridge professor. Your comment.

True. Many reached many high positions. It’s because of their efforts and perseverance. Poonam was an intelligent girl. Initially, she was just an average student, academically. But there was a spark in her,I noticed, and we nurtured her. She came from a backward family in backward Rajastan. Her success is an inspiration to many. Rajasthan was culturally much backward state compared to ours. Discrimination against women was also more.  A girl from a poor family from that State supposed to discontinue her studies and get married at a young age. However she rose gradually and joining Cambridge University as a teacher is a very happy situation.

Science will neither develop by cramming knowledge, nor through ‘10am to 5pm Scientists’

Even if they become Scientists after growing up, they are ending up as ‘10am to 5pm Scientists’. Get up in the morning and pray god. During 10 to 5 he will be rational and logical. After 5pm again he reverts back.

Scientific research will not happen in this way. The problem should drive you 24 hours (round the clock) and lead you to a new discovery. Thoughts should only come during 10 to 5, only then I can contribute, is the current attitude. That is the reason we have few Scientists.

Scientist cannot work 10 to 5. That should be our approach. I have been to Holland in 1973 – I took up an issue which had remained an unsolved problem for 2 years over there for 2 seniors. I had sleepless nights with that problem. I used to play chess with myself, as I used to be alone. Problem remained in the subconscious mind and never allowed me to sleep. After 21 days I got the solution one night. Then immediately I went to the Lab and had done it. The issue will remain in the mind and subconsciously it will be working upon it for a solution!

We heard that your mother while being pregnant used to inspire people by coming out during Eclipses in those days of freedom struggle. How did she get so much courage and conviction?

Yes. She became mother at the age of 14 and she was not well read. However she never believed devils, evil effect of Eclipses etc… My father too was rational. Over the time, I believe superstitions have gone up compared to those days. Rituals like lighting up one Lakh oil lamps, one crore oil lamps, etc have gone up, now it has become a business at a larger scale.

***                       ***

Rationality, Religion And Science

Should one be a rationalist to become Scientist ? What is the relation between philosophy, religion and science?

Definetely.  What  Scientist will do ? Close and clear observation is very much required. He subjects the  assumptions and problems to an experiment. Then he records the results honestly, integrate them and analyse them impartially. Finally he makes public his findings. But, in case the results have come against his expectations, he won’t say that those results are wrong. Is this not what a rationalist thought process teaches us!

Here some explanation is needed on Religion, philosophy and science. Religion is a dogma born out of certain specific conditions. It just dictates. Do this. Do that. Do this way and do that way. It also give strictures for disobedience. Philosophy basically discusses why and what of an issue. It questions and explains why it should be done in a particular way. That is the reason, from philosophy – all things that have a basis, become science. During my childhood I used to read a magazine, it was a Philosophical magazine. There used to be lot of physics in it, absolutely. Physics and philosophy intertwine and were overlapping at times. While religion is a Dogma; Mankind do not require god, religion and caste. They are unnecessary postulates.

You say that marks should be awarded to failure also?

Yes, it is true. If we don’t evaluate like that, student/researcher will have a tendency to cook-up the experiment, data, and findings as well. Hence even if there is a failure, the same should be recorded and reported. Thereby one would know – where, when, how and who failed. It’s a learning process. Many experiments in Science will fail. For instance, out of 100 projects taken up by world renowned Bell Company hardly 10 to 15% are successful. Rest will fail. And out of those successful projects only 3-4% will achieve commercial success. Earnings from them are the only means by which total activity is being carried out. We reach the ‘unknown frontiers of science’ only through innumerable failures. Teachers should learn and reform themselves with those failures. Otherwise people tend to submit a project downloaded from web or bought from a technician.

My mentor in Andhra University gave me a problem to solve. I could not get the answer. After 2 to 3 years of efforts, I submitted to him in writing that we will not get the result in this method. That was the result of research. Then they sent it to a renowned professor at Oxford. He replied that it is true and advised not to waste further time on that. It required modern computers to find out, which were not available in those days. To find that it is not possible is also a ‘discovery’.

***                            ***

Science, society and politics

Science and Technology is for people and society? Or for Business? Conflict between them. Your comments.

Science and Technology development is for the welfare of people and society. It should be like that only. Human welfare is their goal and destination. Otherwise they have no meaning. There can’t be commercialisation in Science and Technology. How are we going to reach provide a service using them? In that an element of commercialization will enter. A doctor goes to a village and gives medical treatment. Then he charges for his services. Some other Doctor serves only rich and make good money. Corporate Hospitals have come — I don’t agree with their methods….however they claim that they are rendering best services with modern Technology. This is a social issue, not a Science and Technology issue. Ethical issues will crop up in Commerce. Certain controls are to be introduced by society from ethical point of view. Clear cut limits and demarcations have to be made, which can’t be crossed at any cost.

Please comment on Communalism. They are dictating what should we eat and what should we wear too.

They should be opposed. People are being incited with slogans like cow protection and beef ban. Everyone should resist what is happening around them. How many are resisting? Blaming Modi or someone else is not going to solve the issue. Are they not supposed to resist it when someone imposes something.

During your tenure at NIT Srinagar, you resisted, we are told, pressure from CM’s office

The then CM’s nephew was my student. Not only that, his father was DGP, Head of State Police. The boy failed in exams. There was pressure from higher ups to pass him. I called the student and told that I can’t pass him. But I will conduct exams again after few months time. Then you try your best. From my side I can help you any time during 24 hours by clearing your doubts. I am ready to teach any number of times. He listened, later he used to come to me regularly and learn. Out of 5 exams he could clear 4 exams and failed in one. Then I said, I can’t do more than this, you have to convince your uncle and father. Because I can’t put aside my values. He convinced them. When they know that we are not going to budge even an inch, they are likely to accept it. So long as we bend, they would like to dominate us. Mistake lies on both sides.

We were told: You have not gone to invite a Central Minister, as per protocol, during his visit to your University!

Yes. Murali Manohar Joshi came to our Institution while he was a HRD Minister. Allahabad IIIT was established because of his initiative. However I told while joining that Institute that I will not be standing in a queue to invite any political leader. Since he is a minister concerned for our field he is welcome to my chamber and I am obliged to speak. Since they know me, they have not forced me. Our VC respected my freedom. He should be appreciated for that. Society should realise that a research scholar is above political leaders.

Your opinion on Communism and secularism. Do they help to develop scientific temper?

I am not an expert on that. I have never studied them in depth. They remove disparities. To my knowledge – working to one’s capacity and getting remunerated to the requirements – is communism. According to Socialism – each one should contribute to their capability and be rewarded suitably… I believe that egalitarian society will be formed through communism. Similarly, ignoring religion is Secularism. Same will bring down friction in the society, enable people to live with more humanism and thus helps in progress of society. They might not have direct relation with Science and Technology or scientific temper. They are separate issues, I believe.

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Languages and Medium of Instruction

English is a world language. We are learning Science and Technology in English. What is the status of non English speaking places, especially what is the status of Telugu speaking people?

Social conditions, languages, Science & Technology – they grow together. That is the way to look at it. Language development can’t be independent.

For instance, Japanese language developed along with its Science & Technology. In the entire world, languages have developed along with social conditions and technical development. It’s natural. Unfortunately, such development didn’t take place in India. Our languages, including Telugu could not develop. Though, Language is the media for communication – content is more vital. Do we learn a language by reading a dictionary? No. We refer dictionary while reading and learning a language. For science communication, precision, clarity, specificity are essential. f=ma, it is to be told only in that way. It can’t conveyed by a long English sentence or by any other sentence. Every science will have its own language. Translating those words is a futile effort. In many countries, they learn Science & Technology in their own language. Some languages have not grown like that, could not absorb science. In such a case dependence on English is inevitable. Countries like China, Japan, Russia and Germany have scientific terminology in their own languages and acquired important position in the world. Now they are also learning English, in addition.

I like Telugu, teaching in mother tongue at school level is essential. However as you grow, trying to learn science by translating everything in to Telugu is absurd.  I too studied Telugu literature including Srinatha’s poetry and writings of others of the day. Admiration for a language is a different issue altogether.

It appears you signed in Telugu, when you were asked to sign in Hindi by authorities.

When I was working in north India, a circular was issued that we sign in Hindi, as a part of implementation of Hindi as official language. I know Hindi. However thrusting a particular language appears to me as autocratic. Hence I signed in Telugu, as a mark of my protest. Then they came down.

***          ***

Will you please explain the efforts you have made for wildlife protection ?

Science should solve the problems being faced us and our society. Wild animal attacks and wild animals cause damage to villages and fields. What can we do with the help of Technology? Thus began this. We are occupying the forests and wild animals having lost their habitat are on to us. We are killing them. On the whole the eco system got disturbed. For instance there were 4000 Tigers in our country nearly 8 years back. It came down to 1200 within 3 years. Thus 2800 Tigers were extinguished in 1000 days, on an average more than 2 Tigers have been killed every day.  Some of us thought something should be done. When the proposals were submitted, National Science Foundation rejected them. Along with Anish Arora (Ohio State University), a friend from America, and another American University, IISC of India, IIIT Allahabad together took up a joint project and finally we could convince. We have taken a forward step for protecting the forests, wildlife and eco system with the help of Technological knowledge. That is going on.

RK leaves behind a legacy that needs to be cherished and emulated by next generations, in particular those in academic and S&T fields.

***                     ***

Illuminating and rare Interview with RK : Full Text

Swetchalochana, Telugu Monthly Magazine for Free Thought, had published a rare Interview with RK in its Special  Issue of  February 2018 to mark National Science Day. The Interview was conducted in Telugu, RK’s mother tongue, by Associate Editor, D. Hanumanta Rao. He was assisted by renowned, grass-roots maths teacher Sri I.Chandraiah, Sri Govardhan, Representrative of Manav Vikas Vedika, and Sri Suresh from Humanist Youth in video-recording it.

(swetchalochana.blogspot.com)

Incidentally, Rk  was diagnosed with Cancer just one month before this interview and his jaw bone etc were removed by the time of the interview. And in two more days, the next phase of treatment i.e., Radiation was to commence. And this interview would not have been possible. Incidentally, earlier he had no risk factors at all: he does not touch even coffee and tea not to speak of tobacco, alcohol or any meat. He was in perfect health and had great stamina even in the summer of 2017. Following is a translation, published in English for the first time in countercurrents.org:

https://countercurrents.org/2020/09/face-to-face-with-eminent-computer-scientist-teacher-prof-m-radhakrishna-to-mark-teachers-day/


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One Comment

  1. S. N. Murthy Ch says:

    My deep condolences to the family members and friends of Radha Krishna. Great persons like he are unsung heros of the story of scientific endeavour in our country. Present generation need to learn from this kind of real patriots.