India will definitely march ahead with utmost scientific vigour and indomitable courage to spearhead the entire world with our own technology in the years to come. The legacy of science and scientific temper can never be undermined in India
Post independent India, starting from first Prime Minister Pt Jawaharlal Nehru to Shri Narendra Modi, all remained strong protagonists of Science and Technology and believed that the well being of common man is vested on the surge of scientific temperament in them. India’s second Prime Minister Lalbahadur Sastry coined the slogan ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ after the war with Pakistan in 1965 to emphasize agriculture production and research to enthuse farmers and inspire our soldiers for the great task ahead.
When India successfully conducted nuclear tests at Pokhran, the then Prime Minister Shri Atal Behari Vajpayee declared India a full-fledged nuclear state. He added ‘Jai Vigyan’ to the great call ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ enunciating his priorities for the nation. Keeping with the legacy the present Prime Minister Shri Modi has also given extraordinary support to science and technology. He added ‘Jai Anusandhan’ to the prestigious slogan ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan’.
At present India has secured 6th position, globally in scientific publications and has wide acceptance as one of the topmost countries in the Research and Development. India has already launched ten indigenous nuclear power reactors to produce sufficient energy as well as to demonstrate its commitment to clean energy. In space missions, India is counted as one among the top five countries in the world. Its future missions of Gaganyaan (India’s mission to put the man in space) and Chandrayaan 2 (Second lunar exploration mission) will put ISRO as well as India right on top of the global list.
Is India undermining scientific temper now? I am convinced that India can’t undermine 1.3 billion people’s dreams and aspirations which can only be realised through science. Science (Physical Science and Spiritual Science) in Indian terminology, “Para Vidya” and “Apara Vidya”, are inseparably embedded in the Indian psyche. Numerous great philosophers, Gurus, Acharyas, saints venerated across the globe were the proud products of age-old Indian universities like Takshashila (600 BC), Nalanda (1200 AD), Vikramsila (700 AD). Authentic history reveals that thousands of students across the world have come over to learn medicine, metallurgy, astronomy, mathematics, loha shastra (alloy), music, arts, various dance forms etc from these universities.
Then why such a question of undermining scientific temper has emerged now? Slowly vested political interests are permeating into the neutral fabric of science prevailing in this nation. There is no left or right in the Indian scientific thought process. Science has always been universal as well as neutral and moves along its destined path independently. Pseudo-intellectuals and people having unscientific beliefs pretending themselves as scientists are coming forward to undermine Indian science. My opinion is that we should never burden our Puranas and religious stories with scientific achievements of India. Both have their own destinies and realms to fulfill.
Indian seers and sanyasis are known for their great intuitions and thoughts. Aryabhatta invented his astronomical theorems without the help of any modern instruments 1500 years ago, which the modern scientists could unravel with advanced equipments only recently.
India’s greatest slogan ‘Vasudhaiva Kudumbakam’ (the world is one family) from time immemorial, which is engraved in the central hall of Parliament calls for acceptance and respectful co-existence for all. In keeping with our traditions, Indian scientific community should declare “Science is for Humanity” and should avoid looking science through the prism of religion and beliefs.
The most unfortunate thing happened in 106th Indian Science Congress and happening in such similar scientific conferences is that media always ‘miss the forest seeing the woods’. The three Nobel Prize winners Avram Henshko (2004, Chemistry), F Duncan M Haldane (2016, Physics), and Thomas Christian Sudhof (2013 medicine) who interacted with students and scientists have greeted them and were so excited to see the upcoming Indian scientific fraternity. They spoke about their research findings and its importance. They congratulated the youngsters and said they are the future of scientific India and one of the Nobel laureates asked them to learn mathematics irrespective of any jobs they prefer. But the space for reporting these promising and positive thoughts was consumed by Kauravas and their connection with stem cells and missile technology of Lord Vishnu.
I am sure India will march ahead with utmost scientific vigour and indomitable courage to spearhead the entire world with our technology in coming years. The legacy of science and scientific temper can never be undermined in India.
(The writer is former organising secretary of Vijnana Bharati)