Raman appeared for the Indian Civil Services Competitive exam for the Finance department and he was the top scorer. He joined this department as Assistant Accountant General in Calcutta in 1907. He also conducted research in Indian Association for Cultivation of Science. During this period, Raman published 30 papers in world renowned magazines like Nature, The Philosophical Magazine and the Physical Review. In 1917, he was offered the post of Palit Professor of Physics in Calcutta University. He resigned his far more paying Government post and with considerable financial sacrifice, he accepted the prestigious Palit Professorship. In his 16-year stint there, he continued his research on acoustics, optics and physiology of human vision.
In one of his experiments in end 1927 – early 1928, he allowed monochromatic light from a mercury arc to pass through transparent materials, which were arranged to fall on a spectrograph, to record its spectrum. He observed some new lines in the spectrum, which were later called as ‘Raman Lines’ and his discovery was termed as ‘Raman Effect’.
In 1947, the new Government of independent India appointed him as the first ‘National Professor’. He was conferred the ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 1954.
CV Raman was not only a great scientist; he was a wonderful speaker too. His convocation ceremony speech at Agra University in 1950 proves that he was an excellent orator:
I admit, success is not always to the intelligent or the strong and it is to some extent a bit of a gamble, but nonetheless those who have got their minds right, and those who know their job, will sooner or later, sooner perhaps than later, make their way in life. But they should not be disappointed if they do not, they have to face up life and take it as they find it. This is the kind of philosophy that I have learnt by experience, and I make a free gift of it to you all.
What I say is this, that the great things in life are not really great things in life. The Nobel Prize, the F. R. S and the like, many of them leave a bitter taste in the mouth. What I love is to enjoy the common things of life.
I am happy that I am still able to sleep at night provided I have three miles walk in the evening. I am still able to enjoy a good lunch or dinner. I am still able to look at the blue sky and like it. I still like to walk in the open fields and like the smell of the Ragi or the Jowar. I feel a younger man when I see the Babul flower and say; God has given us these wonderful things. This is the real philosophy of life to appreciate what we see around us.
We think that happiness consists in going to pictures and seeing thrilling films and techni-colour dramas. Not at all, the great things in life are the God given things, which cost nothing. What you need is the desire to appreciate them. If you have your minds and hearts open, you have around you things which give you joy.
I have another word to say. We all speak of patriotism. What is patriotism? I want you to think it over and in the last analysis bring down patriotism to a physical term. I have thought over the problem. Patriotism as well as a number of things boils down to the love of earth. We are of the earth. When we die, we return to earth. Seeta was of the earth and returned to earth. This good earth sustains us. I think ultimately the love for the land means the love for the earth, which has borne us and which sustains us.
The more you help a man, the less grateful he is to you. It is however, our duty to help fellow human beings and we should not expect them to show any gratitude in return.
I never believe in manuscript eloquence or in after-dinner speeches carefully prepared 24 hours before hand. I always believe in standing up in front of my audience, appreciate the situation and speak to them heart to heart. I want you to think over what I have told you and see if some little thing that I have said may prove the seed of some great achievement on your part, sustain you, encourage you, elevate your hearts above and so push you on in life that you may rise triumphant over all the difficulties and all the troubles that are the common lot of the common man in India today”.
Excerpts from ‘World Famous Indian Scientists’
Anup Y. Attavar
B.E. Mech. [COEP], P.G.D. – International Trade [IIFT, New Delhi]
Author – ‘World Famous Indian Scientists’
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