Tag Archives: Ram Setu

A War For Scientists to Join

Scientists have barely offered resistance to pseudoscience. This must change—IIT students show how.

Ramesh Pokhriyal

Surely India’s scientific community must be waking up to the realisation that their silence is detrimental to scientific development and allows many varieties of mischief to breed. In a rare show of gumption, students of the elite engineering institute, IIT Bombay, have slammed the recent decision to invite the Human Resources Development (HRD) Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ to chair their graduation ceremony.

For too long India’s scientists have remained silent—even the credulous claims by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a speech at the Ambani hospital in November 2014 was not challenged by them for a long time. A key role has to be played by the scientific community in the ongoing battle of ideas. Perhaps students of IIT Bombay show the way.

They have said in their in-house publicationInsight IIT Bombay, that a guest who “recognised, embodied and endorsed the scientific and moral values” of their institute should have been invited instead of the minister. Their problem is with Pokhriyal’s speech, pervaded by unscientific claims and “twisted facts”. They are under no illusion the speech tried to stoke “patriotic feelings”. To the IIT students, the speech was a “mild form of scientific blasphemy”.

( Read the full article here : https://www.newsclick.in/war-scientists-join)

On Ram Setu: ‘Mahakaal ka ling kiya hain?’

The Government of India again seems to be in the mood of going ahead with the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project that would reduce travel time for ships around coastal Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, and bring economic advantages to both countries. The project involves breaking limestone shoals that some regard to be the remains of the mythological Ram Setu. The controversy is an old one. In 2007, I had interviewed Hindutva ideologue Bharatendu Prakash Singhal, who was particularly vocal against the ‘destruction’ of the limestone shoals. Singhal is a former Rajya Sabha MP and a retired Indian Police Service officer. The bits from the interview that were directly about the Ram Setu controversy had appeared in Tehelka, but Singhal was more interested in talking about “mind, body and soul” than about Ram Setu. Here are the unpublished bits – though I had put them on my blog back then. Every word was transcribed faithfully from the recorded audio. Continue reading On Ram Setu: ‘Mahakaal ka ling kiya hain?’