It was a chilling winter morning of October 2014, a month after I went to do research in the UK as a gold-medallist from a top government institute in Mumbai under the Department of Atomic Energy , that I was embarrassingly welcomed by my labmates with great laughter. I was clueless that as a scientist I have been ridiculed because The Guardian has published some “scientific facts” as quoted by India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to a gathering of doctors at Mumbai. Our respected and learned leader by justifying myths as science had labelled Indian science as “irrational” globally.
Hindu nationalists in India belonging to BJP, or their parent organisation RSS, have long propagated ancient mythological facts as scientific knowledge claiming India’s stakes on almost all major discoveries of modern science and technology. What saddens logical youth like me is that now even the Indian prime minister has been endorsing such “fake” claims promoting false propaganda and pseudo-science. In Modi’s own language, this should be seen as pre-emptive surgical strikes on “scientific temperament of our citizens” so that we stop thinking logically and rationally; fall prey to misinformation; and leave aside our spirit of enquiry or reasoning.
With Indian Science Congress sinking to a new low ever since Modi took charge as PM mirroring the mockery of science in India since 2014, with claims like Kauravas from the Mahabharata were bonafide test-tube babies etc., it is the collective responsibility of all scientists, researchers and academicians like me to speak up! The question is how to save Indian science from the gimmick of quoting Hindu epics or mythological books to postulates theory without any basis in science or history?
Who would have imagined that a global intellectual platform like Indian Science Congress would reduce to a forum for implementing Hindutva agenda in the field of science and technology in India since BJP came to power in centre? On this occasion of National Science Day which celebrates discovery of Raman Effect in 1928, a little search of history revealed that Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee who founded Bharatiya Jan Sangh, the parent party of BJP, was responsible for promoting antagonism against Dr C V Raman at IISC Bangalore and IACS Kolkata.
I am materialising my efforts of promoting scientific temperament, as envisioned by former PM Shri Jawaharlal Nehru, and rationalism in the youth in form of an online science journalism platform. The platform intends to use science communication as a tool to ‘’inspire, connect and motivate’’ next-generation, promote science ethics in Indian science community and, most importantly, spurn false propaganda of pseudo-science by highlighting the difference between ‘’good’’ and ‘’bad’’ science.
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