Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Science Movements

Somewhere during my engineering days, I lost my scientific temper. Why, I dont know, but I blame no one but myself for it. It might be difficult to regain it now, but certainly I can work toward it.

This week, I had the privilege of visiting Guwahati to attend "All India People's Science Congress" as a delegate who was supposed to understand and let others understand the business and working of "Free Software", a concept pioneered by Richard Stallman.

During the course of the conference, I also was privileged enough to see how, Science and Rationality was being percolated into the masses by a set of dedicated activists across the country. One interesting anecdote was narrated by T. Ramesh, a science volunteer belonging to Jan Vigyan Vedika (JVV), which is a People's Science forum that works in rural areas in South India.

Ramesh, along with his other friends, went on a motorcycle trip "blindfolded" to popularize rationality. They encountered a village, where a "babaji" had held sway and tried to open up a workshop in the village to showcase their knowledge. The "babaji" refused to let him and others enter the village and asked the villagemen to throw them out. Ramesh and his friends hired mikes and shouted in full volume their thoughts from outside the village, knowing fully well that the villagers could hear them. They then, invited the villagers to their camped site to show some of the fallacies that the Babas were heaping upon them.

The villagers asked them first to walk across a heap of burnt coal barefooted to prove that they were right and every volunteer, including Ramesh went about doing this! Ramesh later on explained to me that walking on burnt coal was not dangerous at all, because of some moisture that remains on the burning coal which could cushion the heat from within. Ramesh and his friends were then allowed to showcase their exhibits by the villagers.

I have to link this up with the furor created by the unruly elements of the Hindu Right over Brinda Karat calling foul over the Ayurveda medicine preparations done by Divya Yog Pharmacy owned by Baba Ramdev in Haridwar. Instead of extolling Ms Karat's compliants, the pliant bourgeois media went about caricaturing, and taking obnoxious positions on such a vital issue.

The fact that labour issues were involved were lost on these mediapersons, is telling as to how, empathy for labour has vanished from public discourse in urban media these days. I have to stop before I go on, on yet another harangue about the changing role of the media... Speaking of which, P.Sainath, the rural affairs editor of The Hindu is speaking on "Mass Media vs Mass Reality", the Changing Role of the Media, in a talk organized at Rajendra Bhavan, near Gandhi Peace Foundation at 5:30 PM, January 17th.

1 comment:

Surjeet said...

How are you maan???
I see red flame in your postings.
I am in Chennai, working for MasterCard. Let me know your email id. Mine is surjeetganesh@gmail.com