My beloved city of Kolkata has produced another Nobel Laureate. This city, much maligned and excluded by Western media, has been a city where world-renowned artists, filmmakers, scientists, authors and poets have lived and worked. The tradition is still on.
It is with great pleasure and pride I present to you the six Nobel Laureates we’ve so far had from my beloved city of Calcutta, which is now known as Kolkata.
When I announced to my labor union students in class today that another Dr. Banerjee from Kolkata got the Nobel in economics last week (my wife and I went to the same college that he did — the famous Presidency College), and showed them a short video, they all clapped. They obviously wanted to know if we were related.
Courtesy America media, most people here in USA do not know anything about the rich treasures of Kolkata, Bengal, or India: our science, arts, literature, movies, or history of our glorious pro-people struggles. In my thirty-four years in the U.S., I have never seen or heard anything positive about India or Bangladesh, or for that matter, any Third World country (except for two occasions — when media reported on the deaths of Mother Teresa and Ravi Shankar).
As if we do not exist. As if we have nothing good to report on.
And it has created enormous negative impact not only on Americans or Europeans, but on the new-generation Indians too, who never see anything good about Kolkata or Bengal. This is the neoliberal cultural imperialism, something that I discussed with Noam Chomsky a number of times.
I also call it Journalism of Exclusion, where corporate media selectively manufacture news, and carefully not include news they do not like.
On top of these six Nobels, we can easily include our filmmakers and artists such as Satyajit Ray, Mrinal Sen, Ravi Shankar, Alauddin Khan, Ali Akbar Khan, or Uday Shankar, and then some phenomenal scientists, poets and authors Western powers have carefully managed to exclude from the list of Nobel recipients. Drs. J. C. Bose and S. N. Bose are two such scientists. I have written on this blog about Dr. S. N. Bose before. I had the privilege to see him when I grew up in Kolkata.
I plan to offer talks and classes on this subject at some point. But for now, I present to you this short, happy history. If you have any questions, please ask.
I am enormously proud of my beloved city and its people.
Note: Professor Gayatri Chakraborty Spivak, another world-renowned intellectual originally from Calcutta and Bengal, read this blog and wrote me a message of support.
“He [Prof. S. N. Bose] came quite a few times to our house. He was our Satyen [uncle] because he was friends with Montu [uncle] (Dilip Kumar Roy, Mother’s 1st cousin). If I remember right (these are very old memories), he sat on the floor of the living room and sang with us. A very simple man, absolutely unassuming.”
I am writing about the Boson half of the now-famous Higgs-Boson — the God Particle.
I’m writing about kind of the half-life of the half-word: like, how it evaporates — in this case, quite rapidly, as if it never existed.
No, it’s not a scientific article; I do not have the necessary qualifications to write about physics, particle physics, mathematics or statistics.
I’m writing about Professor S. N. Bose — an unassuming physicist-mathematician from Bengal — who first conceptualized the Bosons, with help from Albert Einstein. I’m writing about my frustration about Western media’s near-zero coverage of Prof. Bose, even when they’re going gaga about Higgs, Boson and the so-called discovery of God Particle.
I’m writing about a historic, predictable pattern of Western media and establishment’s way of reporting, underreporting and no-reporting of news: how they selectively report and include their preferred facts and names behind the facts, and at the same time, exclude or downplay their non-preferred facts and names behind the facts.
Western media — especially British and American media — have always done it. I shall cite some examples out of a long list we have. I could talk about how New York Times repeatedly mentioned Rabindranath Tagore as Babindranath Tagore (Read Dutta and Robinson: Rabindranath Tagore the Myriad-Minded Man). But I shall concentrate for now on the media exclusion of Prof. S. N. Bose from Calcutta and Dhaka — from West Bengal, now India and East Bengal, now Bangladesh. (By the way, these are the two halves the British cut open and severely bled when they left India after two hundred years of occupation, brutality and pauperization — that’s a story I told a number of times already — on this blog and many other places.)
It is unbelievable that in this 24/7 hyped-up coverage of Higgs-Boson, the so-called global media do not find any serious obligation to tell their global audience what in the world this strange name Boson came from, even when they’re telling big stories about Professor Higgs and what kind of a major genius the British scientist is. (I have no dispute about Prof. Higgs’ genius.)
Briefly, it’s like this. Someone hears or reads a news item about Higgs-Boson — also known as the God Particle. A reader or viewer, or two, have this question in their mind, and they ask their Media God (actually, nobody asks: media decides what to say and what not to say, or how much to say it):
Question. — “Dear Media God, can you please tell us what or who Higgs-Boson is?”
The Media God replies: (actually, I borrowed the description below from Wikipedia):
“The Higgs boson or Higgs particle is a proposed elementary particle in the Standard Model of particle physics. The Higgs boson is named after Peter Higgs who, along with others, proposed the mechanism that predicted such a particle in 1964. The existence of the Higgs boson and the associated Higgs field explain why the other massive elementary particles in the standard model have their mass. […] The Higgs field interaction is the simplest mechanism which explains why some elementary particles have mass. The Higgs boson—the smallest possible excitation of the Higgs field—has been the target of a long search in particle physics. One of the primary design goals of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland—one of the most complicated scientific instruments ever built— was to test the existence of the Higgs boson and measure its properties.
Because of its role in a fundamental property of elementary particles, the Higgs boson has been referred to as the “God particle” in popular culture, although virtually all scientists regard this as a hyperbole. According to the Standard Model, the Higgs particle is a boson, a type of particle that allows multiple identical particles to exist in the same place in the same quantum state. Furthermore, the model posits that the particle has no intrinsic spin, no electric charge, and no colour charge. It is also very unstable, decaying almost immediately after its creation.
On 4 July 2012, the CMS and the ATLAS experimental collaborations at the Large Hadron Collider announced that they observed a new particle that is consistent with the Higgs boson, noting that further data and analysis were needed before the particle could be positively identified.”
At this point, most of the readers and viewers would be satisfied and resign to the dinner table. Just a handful of obstinate and stubborn people would not be satisfied, and ask:
Question. — “But Dear Media God, what then is Boson? Where did the name come from? I like that name — Boson. Could you please tell us, Oh Dear Media God, what the hell Boson is?”
But Media God would now be silent.
See, even in the detailed Wikipedia description, there is no mention of the fact that this no-name Esraj-playing scientist from some God-damn corner of God-damn India and God-damn Bangladesh actually conceptualized the Boson particle way back when — in 1924 or something — through a series of pers. comm.’s (personal communications) with Western scientific and political establishment’s poster child Einstein (no disrespect for the great genius here, believe me!). But science? Physics? Quantum physics? Statistics? In Calcutta? Dhaka? Like, when did they learn how to read and write, let alone do science?
See, nobody except for a handful of obstinate and stubborn people would even suspect that Boson had a lot to do with Bose — this guy from a dilapidated corner of British-partitioned, blood-soaked Bengal — if you only go by the Wikipedia or as of today, major Western media: print, TV, radio or the Internet.
God, His God Particle and all such major discoveries and prizes — such as the Nobel Prize — would be owned, re-owned and renewedly re-owned by God’s preferred men, women and children. Western establishments and media — along with their clone Indian establishments and media — will make sure it happens that way.
In the Standard Model of particle physics, the Higgs boson is a hypothetical elementary particle that “belongs to a class of particles known as bosons, characterized by an integer value of their spin quantum number.” The term “boson” is related to the forgotten Indian contribution to the discovery. It owes its name to Satyendra Nath Bose, an Indian physicist from Kolkata, whose pioneering work in the field in the early 1920s changed the way particle physics had been approached. (Quoted from: http://www.ibtimes.com — read the full article here on this link.)
The above article writes more about his fortuitous connection with Einstein:
“Born in 1894, Bose specialized in mathematical physics. He became a lecturer at the University of Calcutta in 1916 and joined the Dhaka University as Professor of Physics in 1921. While teaching the theory of radiation and ultraviolet catastrophe at the University of Dhaka, Bose attempted to show his students that the predicted results did not match the existing derivations of Planck’s radiation law. He made a simple mistake, which accidentally gave rise to a third prediction that produced accurate results! He derived Planck’s blackbody radiation law without the use of classical electrodynamics as Planck himself had done. He later developed a logically satisfactory derivation based entirely on Einstein’s photon concept and sent his paper on quantum statistics to a British journal, which refused to publish it, calling it erroneous.
Rejection of his paper might have frustrated Bose but he sent it it to Albert Einstein himself, with a request to arrange its publication in ‘Zeitschrift für Physik.”
Einstein immediately grasped the immense significance of Bose’s paper, translated it into German and published it in the August 1924 issue of Zeitschrift für Physik under the title, “Plancksgesetz Lichtquantenhypothese” (the English title was “Planck’s Law and Light Quantum Hypothesis”). He also added the following comment to Bose’s article:
“Bose’s derivative of Planck’s formula appears to me to be an important step forward. The method used here gives also the quantum theory of an ideal gas, as I shall show elsewhere.”
Einstein later applied Bose’s method to offer the theory of the ideal quantum gas, and predicted the phenomenon of Bose-Einstein condensation that became a basis of quantum mechanics.
As Amit Chaudhuri explains in The Guardian, “Einstein saw that it had profound implications for physics; that it had opened the way for this subatomic particle, which he named, after his Indian collaborator, ‘boson‘.”
Bose’s discovery, along with its subsequent development by the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, provided the basis of categorizing the fundamental particles into two groups – “bosons” after Bose and “fermions” after Fermi.” (End of article excerpt).
See, the entire set of facts was published in an Indian publication and written by an Indian author named Kukil Bora (and he quotes another Indian author who wrote in the Guardian, a “lefty” paper). I can’t thank him enough. But what do you think: at this important time when the entire, civilized and developed Western world and its media publish so many stories on Higgs-Boson, shouldn’t they also have reported on the Boson half of Higgs-Boson?
Like I said before, it’s a historic, predictable pattern of Western establishment’s coverage of facts — according to their preference. Very soon, after some initial “disrespectful” reporting, their clone Indian media and establishment would also sweep the Bose and Boson half of the Higgs-Boson particle, by God’s Grace, under the eternally oblivious rug.
Neither S. N. Bose nor J. C. Bose was awarded the Nobel Prize (in fact, there’s strong evidence that J. C. Bose was denied by the then-European rulers of India of his invention of the radio — in favor of Marconi — see the article I linked in the above paragraph). And, then, a whole host of Bengali and Indian writers and scientists were bypassed by the Nobel and other international awards committees for we often say and we all know, prejudice, bias and political reasons. Like, Gandhi was never awarded a Nobel Peace Prize (but Kissinger was)! That tradition is on.
There will be some no-name reporting in some no-name publications; but God’s no-name particles rising from this no-name, God-damn, pauperized corner of the globe would soon be erased from human memory by the global media and their puppet masters.
Boson’s connection with Bose, Bose’s connection with Bengal and India, and all these no-name God’s particles from those God-damn, uncivilized corners of the world will remain just like that — no-name — by God’s Grace.
Or, at least, by the grace of God’s “more civilized” children from the Western half of the world.