Will an Indian these days ever receive the Pritzker Prize (or any prize that recognised creativity and innovation, for that matter)? And when I mean ‘Indian’, I mean an Indian who lives and bases his or her work in India, not the countless Indian-origin American, British and Australian citizens whose achievements we are quick to borrow without permission and brand them ‘Indian’ success stories. The Indian diaspora might have affinity toward their motherland, but we Indians have no right to brag about their achievements. It was probably because of a lack of a motivational and nurturing environment, and a society that places one’s caste before one’s capability, that the Indian diaspora became a diaspora, in the first place.
So well, here’s my answer: I really do not think the Indian educational system is going to change much. A possible solution is to abolish all State Boards and put in place an autonomous Indian educational board that provides uniform, inspired education cutting across different regions. Minor changes could be made to accommodate State-specific preferences, for example, in languages. But as long as we follow a system that stifles creative thinking and individuality, the Pritzker Prize, and all other prizes for that matter, will be a distant dream for the desi Indian.
There is a paradox in the way we treat talent in India: on the one hand, parents rarely allow their children to pursue research careers in pure sciences, and the educational system is structured to hone memory, not talent. On the other hand, we are quick to ‘claim’ Indian talent that has shined outside the country as our own achievement.
There have also been a handful of other celebrated global-level achievers over the decades, but except in the case of an innate genius such as Srinivasa Ramanujam, how many of them were shaped and moulded by the educational system prevalent in India?