BENGALURU: At a time when there are reports about vedic mathematics being introduced in schools in Jharkhand and astrologers assisting patients to tide over their health problems in Madhya Pradesh, around 700 scientists and research and school students from across Bengaluru joined thousands others in different Indian cities in the India March for Science. The main aim of the march – appealing the government to dissuade any such pseudo-science and superstitions and increase attention and spending towards science. The march started from Town Hall and concluded with a discussion programme at Bangalore Central University. Not mincing words, Prof Balachandra Rao, a well known mathematician and honorary director of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Gandhi Centre of Science and Human Values, says, “I have been teaching maths for a long time now and I can tell you that there is ‘nothing vedic or mathematics’ about vedic maths.
Nor is there anything scientific about astrology. We should fight stupid decisions by the government and such pseudosciences,” he says. He also says that it was good to see scientists who usually are shy, coming out into the streets for the cause of science. Earlier in the day, Prof S Japhet, vice-chancellor, Bangalore Central University, while paying homage to prominent science luminaries such as U R Rao and Yash Pal Sharma, expressed his hope that the Anti- Superstition Bill which he helped draft, will be tabled very soon in the assembly. “The passing of this bill will be a homage to these great stalwarts who have spent their lives trying to promote scientific temper and investigations. Just like politicians, musicians, even scientists should be made big in the the consciousness of society,” he says. D P Sengupta, former professor emeritus at the Indian Institute of Science reiterated that he was pained by blatant attempts to distort history in recent times.
“I had a friend who considered the Pushpak Vimana as a scientific feat of ancient India. I told him we are taking over 30 years for the LCA, so why can’t we replicate the technology? He said we have fallen back on technology,” he says. According to Sengupta, while it is good to be proud of mythology, one needs to clearly distinguish between myth and science. The event was organised by the Breakthrough Science Society, an ngo. It was conducted in support of the March for Science event that took place April 22 across 600 cities around the world demanding greater support for science and demanding that framing of governmental policies according to evidence-based science.