Scientists in politics
THE national election is expected to be held very soon in Bangladesh. Names of possible candidates, with short profiles, are coming out in the newspapers. As a conscious citizen and voter, I believe I have every right to comment on, criticise and advise the politicians who are going to take the responsibility of serving the nation as members of parliament.
Some of them will take responsibilities as ministers of the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh as well. It is noticed that very few women are participating in election, though the male candidates are coming from different educational and professional backgrounds.
It has also come to my notice that very few scientists and technologists are taking part in election.
Governments in the North and the South, as well as international donors, have at last grasped the reality that science and technology are crucial to building a nation's institutions in areas such as transport, agriculture, health, law and industry.
An assessment of the state of science in a country can shed light on how successfully it is developing and will develop in the future, particularly a nation's ability to make use of advanced technologies.
China, for example, accounts for 3% of the world's trade in high-technology goods and services, which is the highest percentage among developing countries. India accounts for 1% of global trade in high-technology goods and services, which is the second highest percentage among developing countries. What is our position in respect of high technology?
Science can be the most important means to level out the immense social and economic difference which now exist in the country. We must have faith on scientists, who cannot be greedy.
Scientific achievements should be used for the benefit of humankind, for maintaining peace and for creating prosperity. Great scientists can also be great thinkers, who are able to create a relationship between sciece and society.
We must believe that the 21st century will be ruled by science-based technology. Without technological capability, sustainable economic growth remains a faint hope. It is high time for the political leaders to identify the patriotic scientists and to include them in their mission.
Barack Obama was supported by 76 scientist Nobel Laureates in the recent election in US. We are obliged to learn from the world political situations.
Prof. Lutfor Rahman is a former VC of Science and Technology University.
E-mail: [email protected].