Inculcate scientific temper in the time of pandemic
AIPSN has started observing scientific temper day from 20th August 2018, the day on which five years ago, a planned attack by the right wing communalist force killed Narendra Achchut Dabholkar, a devoted propagator of scientific temper. We have started observing this day along with MANS, an organization for eradicating superstitious beliefs and obscurantist ideas, founded by Dabholkar.
In the very first year we have declared that, we will continue to observe this day every year with an aim to unmask the blue print of ruling obscurantist and superstitious forces in propagating communalism, myths, blind faiths, religious belief and Vedic superiority over scientific findings, ignoring long standing and time tested scientific theories. These forces are citing mythical facts which are beyond verification and never stand on critical thinking. The ruling forces of our country are using their administrative positions to disseminate various dark and backward ideas. Even they are using Indian national science congress platform to propagate their agenda among people of science. Right to speak, to ask, to debate, to be dissent, etc is being considered as an offence. Pluralistic culture, a cultural heritage of our freedom struggle, is being brutally smashed by using state power. At the same time, this ruling anti-science power is hampering fundamental research in modern arenas of scientific interest by curtailment of funds and fellowships. At the same time they are shamelessly spending public money in the areas of research which will only serve their spiritual, communal and political interest. We strongly condemn all this efforts of the ruling power nullifying our constitutional right of inculcating scientific temper.
We are confident to declare that, promoting scientific temper, defending plurality, harmony and composite culture is a fundamental duty of all citizens, and especially of professional scientists and social scientists, as indicated in the directive Principles of our Constitution. The right and duty to question is basic, not only for science, but also for democracy.
At the time of this Covid 19 pandemic, when a wise walk on scientific path is more prudent and essential, we are disheartened to see that the state power is proceeding in the path of gimmick and caricature without showing any seriousness. Already the total Covid infected people of our country became third highest in number in global context and soon it may reach to the second position. The infection is sharply rising and there is almost no concern to resist it from the people in power. The authority had shown little interest to tackle the situation by imposing forced Quarantine to the newly arrived citizens of our country and closely monitoring them later. Proper measures were not also taken by providing advisory to restrict the spread of virus through maintaining distance etc till ‘Namaste Trump’ programme and grabbing power by the ruling force in the state of Madyapradesh was complete. After that an unplanned lockdown, not providing food, shelter and money to the poor and working mass at the time of lockdown, irrelevant and unscientific measures like banging of pot and pans to banish the deadly virus, allow advocating for cow urine as the covid inhibitor, worsen the situation more. Privatisation of health care and lack of public health infrastructure has worsened the situation. The pandemic is now beyond control and generating new thoughts towards the essentiality of an welfare state, with scientific understanding as the basis of life.
At the time of pandemic the central government is taking various measures curtailing human rights, democratic norms, and scientific understanding. Environmental regulations are largely diluted and they are in the process of diluting it more by quietly allowing environmental projects diluting EIA norms. Their inhuman face is unmasked as they still impose GST duty on sanitizer and mask, which are now essential to all. Recently in the name of load reduction they have drastically removed topics related to evolution, genetics, ecology, environment and forest, human welfare, democracy, diversity, secularism, citizenship, federal structure, food security, cast and religion etc, from the CBSE class 12 curriculum. The most relevant parts of biological science for future socio-economic understanding and major conceptual part to have ‘idea of India’ and its cultural heritage are thus going to be denied to future generation. We strongly oppose this.
All these blatant attacks on scientific temper are to be vigorously resisted and the culture of critical thinking and plurality are to be safeguarded. Science supporters and general citizens of our country have to play an important role today in defending scientific, democratic, secular and diverse fabric of Indian Constitution.
AIPSN appeals to all organizations, institutions and individuals committed to promoting scientific temper to come together for observing the National Scientific Temper Day, 2020 on 20th August and work together in the days to come to overcome the pandemic health crisis in addition to defeating the ideology of communal hate politics and privatisation. Let us build an India of reason and humanism with well informed, truly self reliant, scientific and empowered citizens.