It is an honour for me to deliver the Abdus Salam Memorial Lecture in this distinguished university. Before I come to the lecture itself I would like to say something about my organization, the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics. It was set up by the University Grants Commission in 1988 to promote the growth of Astronomy and Astrophysics in the university sector. Of course as an inter university centre we are in principle linked with all the universities in India. But in practice what happens is that we have closer interaction with a smaller subset of all universities, with those who are interested in doing astronomy and astrophysics. I am very happy to say that Jamia has good interaction with IUCAA and we hope that this will grow. We find already that there is interest in the Physics Department in activities relating to Astronomy and Astrophysics. We would certainly be very happy to lend our assistance to Jamia in every possible way we can. Therefore I am very happy that I am here.
Now coming to the lecture I would like to begin by paying my tribute to Abdus Salam whom I admire because he was a seeker of excellence as well as a supporter of excellence among the developing nations. If he had wished, he could have just remained a world class scientist doing his own basic research throughout his life. But he did much more than that: he was anxious to spread the culture of excellence in science to countries which needed it more. That is how he founded the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, now named after him, and also set up the Third World Academy of Sciences. So it is indeed a great personal pleasure for me to dedicate this lecture to his memory.