Brain-drain refers to the migration of professional classes, especially engineers, doctors, and scientists etc., to the more advanced countries, where there are ample opportunities not only for the development of their talents, but also for better employment. This migration is a great loss to the countries where they are born and educated.
In our country a young scientist or an engineer with a good academic record remains frustrated. He does not get proper facilities for research. Nor does he get employment with a decent salary. These make hini go abroad for better prospects. Dr. Har Gobind Khurana’s attempt to get a suitable appointment in India proved futile. He, therefore, went to the US, became a citizen there and resumed his researches in genetics. He was the first to synthesis the wholly artificial gene. He shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for Medicine for interpreting the genetic code and its function in protein synthesis. Dr. Jayant Narlikar went to England and collaborated with Sir Fred Hoyle, a famous British astronomer and put forward the theory known as the Hoyle-Narlikar Theory. Dr. S. Chandrasekhar, nephew of Sir C.V. Raman went to the USA and became a naturalised citizen of that country. He continued his researches in astro-physics and shared the Nobel Prize for physics in 1983.
There are many other scientists and doctors etc., who migrated to countries like the USA and England etc., and have become famous by their discoveries and inventions. We are reminded of Lars Onsager, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry (1968) for his work on, the irreversible chemical and thermodynamic process. He was a Norwegian who accepted the US citizenship in 1945.
Talent alone does not matter. ‘There Anust be good facilities and opportunities for the blossoming of one’s talents. Benjamin Franklin asks, “What’s a sun-dial in the shade?” Srinivasa Ramanujan would have continued as a clerk, and died unknown had not G.H. Hardy, famous English mathematician, noticed his talent and taken him to Cambridge. We are reminded of Thomas Gray’s famous lines in the Elegy.
Full many a gem, of purest ray serene,
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear,
Full many a flower is born to blush unseen,
And waste its sweetness on the desert air.
In the decade between 1955 and 1965, the beginning of the scientific and technical education, 53,000 scientists, mostly yoUng and mainly West European, settled in the USA, including 14,000 physicists and 30,000 engineers. If we take it that the average university gives 500 degrees a year, it works out that a good ten of the world’s colleges and universities are training all their graduates for Uncle Sam. For ten years or more, a country spends time and money on education that is only recouped by long years of work for the good of society. But here it is recouped not at home but abroad.
According to a survey that was conducted a few years ago, fifteen per cent of the total engineer immigrants in the USA between 1977 and 1979 were from India. During this period a number of Indian scientists too migrated to this country and their percentage came to fourteen. A WHO study of 1979 revealed that India is the largest donor of doctors and nurses to the world.
To check the brain-drain from our country, it is absolutely necessary for the government, to act .with wisdom and foresight. India requires the services of talented young men and women, who can contribute their mite to the development of the country. They should be given good facilities for research and the appointments they deserve. Further, they have to be given attractive salaries. If this is done, Indian scientists and doctors etc., will not go abroad. Those who are working abroad may also desire to return home.
Dr. K. P. Sinha, who went on to become the Emeritus Professor at the Indian Institute of Science, Mngalore became very famous because of his theory relating the `Photo induced’ superconductivity. Neither the government of India nor any eminent Indian scientist took serious notice of this theory, which was published in 1968. Harvard. University physicist and Nobel Laureate Dr. N. Bloombergen in a letter (June 1994) of congratulations to Dr. Sinha said, “It should give you much satisfaction that your original ideas have come to fruition”. When will those at the helm of the administration do justice to our talented men and women and prevent brain-drain?