Indian Science and Technology during the Freedom Struggle: A ‘Science Diplomacy’ Perspective



Science Diplomacy (SD) has emerged as a key component of foreign policy in the first decade of the 21st century. It provides an outlookto explore science and technology and diplomatic efforts in three distinctive perspectives namely 'science for diplomacy', 'diplomacy for science' and 'science in diplomacy'. However, one must note that this is not a new phenomenon and has been in practice in different forms for centuries and Indian S&T is not an exception. However, literature dominates the European perspective and is not much available from the non-western contexts. Therefore, the paper aims to explore S&T in the Indian context from the SD perspective in the first half of the 20th century, which also marked the period of freedom struggle at its peak. The paper uses the historiography of science method and purposively selected three cases, two from the 'colonised' and one from the 'colonisers' perspective. The first is The Association for the Advancement of Scientific and Industrial Education of Indians (AASIEI) and the second set of cases reflects the efforts of four Indian scientists, namely Saha, Bhatnagar, Raman, and Bhabha. The third case is of a diplomatic effort to gather Indian support for the war by the British when they sent Hill to India. The events and anecdotes suggest that SD was very much part of the freedom struggle movement and after independence, they shaped the Indian S&T in a major way. In the end, the paper suggests a few learning for Indian S&T from the SD perspective.


Freedom struggle; India; Science diplomacy; S&T

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