The March for Science took place on August 9 in more than 30 cities and towns in the country, involving thousands of scientists, researchers, teachers and students. These protests took place in the context of slashing funds for scientific research and education, and the promotion, with State support, of unscientific, bogus and obscurantist ideas in public life. The demands of the march were for a greater share of the GDP for science, technological research and education, and to promote scientific temper in the country, a constitutional obligation under Article 51 A.
Today, India is barely able to provide the cost of salaries, and the maintenance of science and educational infrastructure, leave alone for the creation of new knowledge. Apart from the attack on scientific institutions, there is also the attack on scientific and rational thinking. All kinds of obscurantist thought is being propagated as “ancient science”, and any demand for evidence is treated as anti-national. The call for funding of research on benefits of cow urine and cow dung is not to validate any of these beliefs but only to prove their efficacy. What was a political instrument for Hindutva forces to create communal mobilisation – Hindus revere cows while Muslims eat them – is now being given a “scientific” basis.
All those who oppose this attack on science and our future need to come together; hence the demands of the science march:
• Allocate at least 3 per cent of GDP to scientific and technological research and 10 per cent towards education.
• Stop propagation of unscientific, obscurantist ideas and religious intolerance, and develop scientific temper, human values and spirit of inquiry in conformance with Article 51A of the Constitution.
• Ensure that the education system imparts only ideas that are supported by scientific evidence.
• Enact policies based on evidence-based science.
Courtesy: People’s Democracy, Vol.XII No.19