1st Edition

The Indian Science Community Historical and Sociological Studies

By Venni V. Krishna Copyright 2025
    350 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge India

    This book focuses on the historical and sociological dimensions of scientists working in laboratories in India, offering insights into the historical, sociological, and policy factors that shape scientific pursuits. It illuminates the challenges, accomplishments, and the evolving role of science in societal development.


    The author initiates a broader discourse on the interplay between scientific advancements, societal contexts, and policy frameworks. The book fosters a deeper understanding of science's role in shaping India’s social fabric and contributing to the global scientific dialogue. It also explores issues such as brain drain, science activism, and the conflict between university- and government-run models of science.


    Lucid and topical, the book will be of considerable interest to both social and natural scientists, as well as the general academic community, including research students in science, technology, history, social history of science, science and technology studies, and innovation policies.

    Chapter 1: Introduction: Science and Society in Historical and Social Contexts Chapter 2: The Emergence of Indian Science Community: 1876-1940s Chapter 3: The Early History of CSIR 1934 – 1947: shanti Swarup Bhatnagar and Organization of Science Chapter 4: Post-War Organization of Science: Role of National Planning Committee and A.V. Hill Report, 1938-47 Chapter 5: Science and Technology Policy Cultures: Four Phases of S&T for Development Chapter 6: Gandhi and Subaltern Science: Rise of Appropriate Technology and Inclusive Innovation in Contemporary India Chapter 7: Science Activism in India: Peoples and Alternative Science Movements Chapter 8: Mediating Role of Scientific Elite: Science, Politics and Society Chapter 9: Social Organization of Science: Contours of Indian Research Landscape Chapter 10: Universities in India’s Science and Innovation System Chapter 11: Changing Social Contract between Science and Society: Contemporary Challenges


    Venni V. Krishna, FRSN, Professor, School of Humanities and Languages, Faculty of Arts, Design & Architecture, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.

    “Given its rich history, India’s place in science and technology has too often been neglected or forgotten. Yet, in the advancement of science lies the key to India’s modernisation. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the writings of VV Krishna. To fully understand the historical relations of Indian science and society, this collection is essential reading.”


    Roy MacLeod, Professor Emeritus History, University of Sydney, Australia


    “The Indian Science Community” offers a sensitive perspective on how science, an apparent universal discipline guided by objective truth, is in fact embedded in a social and cultural context which shapes its dynamics and application. India has been a leading example of science deeply set within a very different social context since the 1870s when local knowledge perspectives started to interact with science within the invading force of British colonial domination. Revealed is the hidden power of wider social meaning to shape both scientific knowledge and how it is applied.


    Stephen Hill, Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, University of Wollongong, Australia


    We have been waiting for a book like this for at least the last two decades. There is no other book-length comprehensive survey of twentieth century science and technology in India, which is much required by students of modern history, policy studies, and education. This book will become a starting point for many further studies and become an essential anchor also for teaching.


    Jahnavi Phalkey, Director, Science Gallery, Bengaluri, India


    “History is important for the future. Dr. Krishna's book, "The Indian Science Community: Historical and Sociological Studies" builds on the existing literature, analyzes the recent past, and provides a crucial perspective for understanding the current and the future issues in the organization of Indian science and technology (S&T). Is science 'public good’ or ‘market good’? Isn't science for science's sake? Useful and profitable applications do come out, in its 'own' time, from the use of new tools and concepts emerging from fundamental research...


    Dr. Krishna's understanding of what is relevant in mapping social organization of science have come in handy. He offers a sociological unpacking of the problem why India has not been able to enlarge and expand excellence in research and exploit its intellectual capital. The book ends with a critical chapter on the challenging & changing social contract between science and society. A comprehensive and highly relevant book...”


    Rupamanjari Ghosh, Former Vice Chancellor, Shiv Nadar University, & Dean at the School of Physical Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India