Science is on the decline in
. I have collected some of the signals in the previous article. India
These are only few messages- but enough to suggest that Science is on the decline in
. The broader impact of such decline is far more serious than what is stated in these messages. Though we do have many technology institutes- where science is applied, the pursuit of science as a career or as temperament is on the decline. While the first (decline in pursuit of science as career) is clearly seen from different statistics, the decline in scientific temperament can only be sensed or perceived with no hard evidence (as yet). India
Decline of Scientific Temperament in
Our highpoint in scientific temperament and rational thought came about during early 1900s and continued till about 1970s after which there has been a steady decline. Before we could invest in creating solid institutions around that rational thought we are already facing rejection of such rational and scientific thoughts following similar trends elsewhere in the post-modern world. While the West’s reaction is to tone down the excesses of such rational and scientific thought which brought with it neo-liberal forces, India did not even cross the threshold of moving away from superstition to rational thinking and it has already gleefully embraced post-modern ideology and its outright rejection of modern values.
Herbal medicine, Yoga, nature cure, Vedic sciences, and all other hobbies are now touted at alternate sciences. And what more, this rejection of scientific thought is championed by technologists, academicians, doctors, and literate. Spearheaded by the very people who were supposed to deliver us from ritualistic and superstitious way of life, this post-modern rejection of scientific thought, dubbed as ‘negative western influence’, is now followed by embracement of ancient Indian ways by positioning them as alternative sciences.
Many technologists and academicians in
are abandoning the scientific temperament. This trend may not reflect in statistics, but can be perceived indirectly. Vaastu Shastra is in fashion- more and more engineers, doctors, professors, educated, well-to-do families, seem to take this up while they construct their house or an office. An entrepreneur from India on his blog suggests how Vaastu has helped him in his startup. According to a famous architect in Hyderabad , while less than 20% of the clients asked for Vaastu alignment in 1980s, more than 90% of the clients seek this alignment these days. Buildings are demolished because they are not Vaastu aligned. Many properties are unoccupied- including the mammoth Vikas Soudha in Hyderabad , all because of bad Vaastu. Bangalore
Numerology is on the increase too. Many people change their names (add an extra ‘r’ or extra ‘k’) coming up with such funny names as ‘Hrrithik’; people look for the ‘right number’ for their car or house- I was told that a number should add up to 9, and there are books written on why and how the number 9 is the most sacred entity.
Astrology is on the rise too- politicians consult astrologers to choose the right date and time to start an event. Many educated and literate people refer to horoscope to choose their partners, and seek an astrologer to plan the wedding, or for that matter any ‘auspicious’ event. We are not talking of illiterate or ignorant people here. All these people have been to top schools of
and graduated in technology, business, medicine, etc. Scientific temperament is out of the door, irrationality, superstition is the in-thing. Hobbies and crafts are now touted as legitimate science! India
Importance of Science in progress of mankind
Science is an essential ingredient for human civilization and and its progress. Medieval
could unshackle itself from age-old religious orthodoxy, which blanketed it in Dark Ages for centuries, only through embracement of Science. Age of Reason, Age of Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution, French Revolution, and many other great movements of the world that shaped the modern world are rooted in progress of science. These movements gave us the universal values- liberty and freedom to a citizen, equal opportunity, justice to all, etc. Every philosophical and people’s movements in the recent times is founded in an advent of science- be it Theory of Gravity, or Theory of Evolution. Europe
What we see now is that
is taking its own path- Indians want to completely skip all these steps to overtake everyone else on the planet by unearthing golden moments and accomplishments from our ancient past. Instead of resorting to hard work and toil, they just want to sit back, relax, and muse over the ancient works to miraculously equate them to the results of the modern Science. Indians are keen on portraying their ancient works as science- according to them, even the hobbies such as astrology, numerology and vaastu shastra are science. India
Bereft of any contemporary achievements, in an overzealous attempt to find our own identity and uniqueness in the modern world, we are doing great damage to ourselves. Instead of taking the hard path of actually inventing, discovering, researching and innovating, we would rather sit under a tree, meditate, and somehow come up with solutions to complex problems of quarks, quantum physics, mathematics, engineering, etc. According to some of us, 'our ancient texts have answers to everything', isn't it? From engineering, aeronautics, to nuclear and atomic physics, and even to the diseases like AIDS!
By shunning the pursuit of science, we are curbing the free thought, creativity, and the ability to question and reason. By treating our ancient texts as alternate science, we are bringing in sanctity, orthodoxy, to justify ignominious rituals and practices of this country. As a post-modern rejection of universal values, we will only pave the way for hijacking of our intelligentsia by those who have vested interests in showcasing Indian hegemony. It will lead to academic and sophisticated justification of caste based discrimination, ill-treatment of women, lack of dignity of work, persecution and ostracism of alien religions, child labor, etc, all under the glorious names of Indian Science, Indian Culture and Indian Philosophy.
Science and education are the only weapons Indian masses can possess to get themselves out of the stranglehold of casteism, poverty, religious persecution and discrimination. It is the only liberating force for women, underprivileged, and homosexuals. As much as religion is important to different people to carry their personal faith and belief system, science and its pursuit as career and temperament are necessary as the balancing forces. They need to be inculcated and nurtured to combat the forces that tend to bring in irrationality, orthodoxy, and sanctity through the backdoor all in the name of sanctity, tradition and culture.