TO LEARN OF THE DEATH OF PROF. YASH PAL TODAY (July 29), five days late, is a tragedy of Indian journalism, for which an actress’ flirting or affairs is a greater news.
Thank you Dr.Lekshmi D. Ramesh for your LinkedIn post on “The Turning Point”
Yes, ‘Turning Point‘, Prof. Yash Pal’s TV programme on Door Darshan when it was a monopoly, must have created interest in science among many children who saw it. Media now think programmes which do not titillate are useless in getting TRPs, which alone matter to them today.
Some decades ago, I had interviewed the great scientist Dr. C.N.R. Rao at the Indian Institute of Science of which he was then Director. He told me the story of how, when he was a schoolboy, he went one early morning to the IISc campus to collect botanical specimens for a school project of his.(Many may not know IISc campus is a treasure house of biodiversity and a haven for bird-watchers).
There he was stopped by an elderly, dark, turbaned man who asked him what he was doing there, volunteered to take him around and help collect the specimens and talked of science as they went around the scenic campus.
That was the turning point in the life of Chintamani Naga Raja Rao.
“The conversation changed my life. It made me a scientist and opt for pure sciences instead of applied sciences that could have helped me earn much more money,” Dr. Rao told me.
The man in turban was Sir C.V.Raman, then Director of IISc. Dr. Rao was occupying the Nobel laureate’s chair.
Back to Prof. Yash Pal, resisting the temptation to talk (or brag) about my own meetings with Dr.Raman, accompanying a classmate, his relation, to the railway station as he was on way from Bangalore to Delhi (many may not know he hated flying when it could be avoided) to take to him some filter coffee and drinking water (no bottled mineral water in 1960s).
Prof. Yash Pal’s name .brings back many memories. He is too well-known for me to write about his life and work.
Taking a batch of Mass Communication students in 1990s on a study tour of Delhi, I came to know of a meeting where a friend was being presented an award as a lady journalist.
It was a meeting addressed by the founder-director of National Informatics Centre, Dr Seshagiri. He spoke of the Information Highway and how IT would change tomorrow’s world. Among the audience was Prof. Yash Pal.
After the brilliant speech many asked questions. Prof.Yash Pal asked, “When books came, much of India’s knowledge which came down by word-of-mouth due to India’s oral tradition, was lost. When all knowledge goes online, will be not lose what is in books but not in a database?”
Dr. Seshagiri admitted there was such a danger. Prof. Yash Pal brought science to the common man.
Will Prof. Yash Pal, though both in books and databases, remain in the memories of the old, like me, and be lost when they die?
A version of this was posted on July 30, along with a picture of Prof. Yash Pal. Readers received only the picture with birth and death dates and RIP under it. The long text vanished. It had disappeared three times when it was being written on the blog post. Then it was written on Word file, cut and pasted on the blog. And it vanished again, with only the picture remaining. So I wrote this again, a fifth time, hoping it will remain. Six people clicked on ‘like’ thinking I posted only the picture as a tribute to him.
It left me wondering whether it was hint that I should write three-liners or single para posts as many do. Or that with me becoming 78 in two months, it is ‘stoppable’. Who has time to read?
The UnstoppableAfterSeventy.Wordpress.com blog itself got deleted or became inaccessible to me. So Good Bye