MUMBAI: The theme is India. For the first time, the country and its destiny, both the past and present, dominated the 102nd five-day Indian Science Congress (ISC) being held here. Its agenda is different from the previous ISCs, which had given importance to Western streams of science and technology over ancient Indian knowledge systems.
The fine imprint of Narendra Modi-led NDA Government’s development schemes like Make in India, Swachh Bharat, Digital India and Smart Cities links Indian scientific heritage with technology were discussed.
This has the secular establishment frothing at the mouth. A session on India’s Vedic Sciences through Sanskrit is being ridiculed as the government’s attempt to relate Hindutva to science.
“For the first time in the ISC, serious government agendas like development and health are being given pre-eminent positions. It is very much in line with the Prime Minister’s basic thinking on Swacch Bharat to ensure good health and Smart Cities to improve India’s standard of living.
“He has emphasised on the role of the Vedic sciences in keeping people healthy,” said V M Katoch, Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research. He said Vedic sciences may not have been documented but at least there was a vision and we should appreciate it.
Eminent scientists, Nobel Laureates and academics mingled, ideated and spoke at sessions held in an atmosphere that bore saffron and green hues; the main mandal where the event is taking place, all posters, billboards, signages and event tents have saffron as the base pigment, which is also the colour of the BJP.
Over 12,000 scientists from across India, five Nobel Laureates and important technology experts from India and abroad are meeting to discuss and unfold the concept of ‘Science and Technology for Human Development’.
Modi’s development agenda is reflected in most presentations made at the ISC such as nanotechnology, nuclear science, space missions, mathematics and computing, nutrition, biodiversity, conservation, the Internet, GM crops, marine biology, climate change, cancer treatment, sustainable development and more that are on the NDA action programme.
The ISC’s focal theme at the session to be chaired on January 6 under convener and chairperson Vijay Bhatkar-the architect of supercomputing in India-is Innovation in Modern and Ancient India. It is also the most controversial. Its topic ‘Innovate and Make in India,’ is a theme close to Modi’s heart.
Hence, it cannot just be a coincidence that the presentation by ex-pilot Anand Bodas and Ameya Jadhav on ancient Indian aviators was chosen to paint the BJP Government as an antediluvian imposer of Hinduism on education and culture, which has so far been the domain of ‘secular’ educationists and Leftist academicians. The media played along, though at the ISC, there are 51 sessions and thousands of delegates.
According to the organisers, Vedic Sciences was a topic waiting to be touched upon and needs to be further discussed and talked about.