I hold a view that more than the negative Governmental or systemic influence, the trait which undermines the quality of professionals in India is that we as a society are “social hierarchy climbers”. It has once again been proved in the claims made by IIT-Delhi researchers about an anti-venom developed by them. But first, lets talk about social hierarchy climbers.
Let I explain what I mean by “social hierarchy climbers”(I have not coined the term, read it somewhere).
It means that be it a doctor, engineer, police personnel, army personnel, lawyer, teacher, scientist, politician or any other professional; he/she in most cases seems more interested in taking some higher administrative job than perfecting his/her core professional skill. So that he doesn’t have to pursue the core professional skill and also move up in the general social hierarchy.
As I said earlier, it is not always the case; but it often is.
So when a politician becomes a CM or PM or a Minister, he sees it as a promotion from being a mere politician. In fact, the primary cause of bad report card as a CM, PM or Minister is that it sometimes takes years for the perceived higher social status to sink in.
The same applies to many of our professionals. The moment they start, they stop focusing on their core professional skill and; instead start looking for ways to climb the next step in the social ladder.
No one is saying, it may not take place in other countries, but it is always good to talk about ourselves.
That apart, there is one more aspect which we must not confuse here. We are not pointing fingers at those professionals who are quite skilled at their core expertise; and as a consequence climb their professional ladder. We are referring to those who see the elevation as a way to enjoy higher social status with least responsibility. For instance, if a great academic gets elevated to the role of a Vice-chancellor of a university; his/her elevation can be understood. If he cared about teaching and students; he will do so even after becoming a VC. But such an elevation becomes meaningless if the moment he dons the elevated role, he shelves his academic hat.
I found it worthwhile to share this today because of a particular news.
According to media reports, IIT-Delhi has developed an anti-venom (used in cases of snake bites) which costs just 15 percent of the anti-venom formulations present in market; and according to the said department, the newly developed anti-venom is believed to be effective for every snake bite in India (irrespective of the snake type).
But what is interesting here is that the said formulation made by IIT-Delhi has still to go to clinical tests (tests to know the safety and effectiveness).
Honestly speaking, no serious researcher will speak about his/her formulations before its safety and efficacy is clearly proved. Because he/she is not there to market it. In addition, it is very unscientific for a scientist/researcher to claim that his formulation will be a cure for all ailments. The moment a researcher starts talking about the formulation’s future commercial value or benevolence value or it being cure-for-all solution, then it seems that he/she is getting derailed from his core professional skill and wearing some other hat. This can be seen as an example of “social hierarchy climb”!