असाह्ययः समर्थोऽपि तेजस्वी किं करिष्यति l
निर्वाते ज्वलिते वह्निः स्वयमेवोपशाम्यति ll
What (किं) can even a capable (समर्थोऽपि) and brilliant (तेजस्वी) (person) do (करिष्यति) without assistance (असाह्ययः) ?
If a burning fire (ज्वलिते वह्निः) is placed in a vacuum (निर्वाते), it automatically dies out ( स्वयमेवोपशाम्यति).
However brilliant a person may be, he will not be able to reach his potential without a conducive atmosphere. This year India-born Venkatraman Ramakrishnan was one of the three scientists who won the nobel prize in Chemistry. He is a senior scientist at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology at Cambridge.
While we naturally feel pride that a person of Indian origin has received this honour, we should also reflect on the reality that there may be many researchers with potential for such research here in India. Perhaps they do not get encouragement or adequate funding, such as is available in western countries.
Many times seniors do not want the next generation to replace them. We see this in Indian politics, where elderly politicians stick to their posts even when there are younger ones who have the potential to replace them. If not given a chance while their enthusiasm is still intact, they may not be able to work capably when they later do get a chance.
If a seed falls on barren ground, of however superior quality it may be- it will not sprout. It needs fertile soil to grow.
It is the same with talent. Talent will not flourish in a vacuum, it needs a nourishing environment to realize its potential.
Whether in the field of scientific research or in politics, in the arts or in sports, we would do well to remember that talent needs nurturing. If an atmosphere where young talent has a chance to flourish is created, we will surely see more and more Indians excelling in their chosen fields.