New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is one of the most remarkable examples of a person with a scientific temper, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh said Monday.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of a science promotion event organised by non-profit Vijnana Bharati, Singh said scientific temper is much more important than scientific qualification, adding in one of his comments that Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘ahimsa’ was a “silent biological warfare”.
“When I was talking about scientific temper, coming straight to contemporary times, according to me one of the most remarkable examples of a scientific temper around us today is none other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself (sic),” he said.
Singh cited an example where PM Modi displayed his scientific temper, paving the way for installation of a solar plant at the Katra railway station in Jammu and Kashmir.
“On 26 May 2014, he took oath as the PM, we submitted a proposal to him. A request that Katra Vaishno Devi’s railway station is ready but waiting for its inauguration. It was ready for a while but not inaugurated. The moment his helicopter landed the first thing he said was, ‘this place has such brilliant sunshine you should have a solar plant here’,” Singh said.
“And the scientists around immediately picked up the cue and that was the first railway station in the country to be totally fed with solar power,” he added.
‘Non-violence — a silent biological warfare’
The Union minister said that one doesn’t necessarily have to be a student or scholar of science to use the subject optimally. “It is more important for one to be a practitioner of science,” he said.
He cited the example of Mahatma Gandhi as a “remarkable practitioner of scientific strategies”.
“He was a student of law but, as I said, a remarkable practitioner of scientific strategies. And to put it in simple terms I will cite one example. When we talk about ahimsa… non-violence, it can be seen as a silent biological warfare,” Singh said.
“A silent warfare against colonial rulers who were trying to use the ammunition of violence to suppress the colony subjects. Mahatma Gandhi used ahimsa as a scientific tool for biological warfare which ultimately ended with a huge success leaving us with a story to tell the whole world. This scientific resistance proved to be an effective tool,” he said.
“When Lord Macaulay was given the task of making a New Education Policy for India, the famous or the infamous words that he spoke were that ‘we want to devise an education policy whereby an Englishman will live under the brown skin’,” said Singh.
“Through science and education, unfortunately we have not been able to remove that scientific chip from beneath our skin which was inserted very scientifically and cleverly by the British rulers through Macaulay’s policy,” he argued.
‘Scientific temper more important than qualification’
Pointing out that science’s aim is to bring ease of living for common citizens, Jitendra Singh said that the field needs inputs from non-scientific planners too, who have a scientific temper and understand subtleties and implications.
“I sometimes say that science is too serious a subject to be left to scientists alone. Mark Twain had said this with regard to the economy… ‘Economy is too serious to be left to economists’,” said Singh.
The event also saw the participation of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale, who noted that he was the odd one out at the gathering, being an English literature graduate. But, he said, he pursued a Physics honours course for a year and during his imprisonment under Emergency, he tried to continue his studies.
“…I did not appear for any exam because that was not my purpose,” said Hosabale, stressing that science should be used for nation-building.
“It is the scientific temper which is much more important than scientific qualification. And it is the scientific temper which carries much bigger stakes compared to the scientific qualification,” the minister said.
“And hence one of the challenges before India is that the study of science understanding of science gets limited to the conferment or award of a degree. And therefore in many a cases science is still a trophy for a job, for a livelihood and may not be for gaining the real scientific prowess or supremacy,” Singh added.
(Edited by Amit Upadhyaya)
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