I have always admired how Indians seemed to have accepted and understood evolution better than most developed nations. I used to attribute it to Indian belief systems being more flexible and not as bound by scriptures.
But then the country’s education minister said this yesterday… “Nobody, including our ancestors, have said or written that they ever saw an ape turning into a human being.” and later called for removal of evolution theory from textbooks! #FacePalm
Just finished reading “The Sceptical Patriot”, a book that examines the veracity of popular “India Facts” like Invented the zero, Sanskrit is the best language for computers, India never invaded another country, India was once the most prosperous nation, Plastic surgery was developed in India … The author deals with several such “facts” that gets bandied over email, facebook, dinner conversations and more. He deals with them in a layman-friendly and mildly-funny text of 200 odd pages.
Indian newspapers recently carried stories of the police allegedly using mumbo-jumbo tantriks to talk to the dead to solve murder mysteries. Soon after came stories of a reputed media house publishing a book that claimed to unravel the journey of the soul and life after death. Later a well-known computer scientist supported the police’s attempts to talk to the dead. A few months prior to this was the Unnao gold dig where archeologists started digging for gold based on a seer’s dream. These are just a few of the countless cases of irrational behaviour that are so blatant and mainstream in India.
A few months back came the shocking news of the Palkar family suicide in Pune, where Arun Palkar(40), a well off electrical contractor consumed sleeping pills along with his wife (37) and children aged 11 & 6. He did so because he believed that Shani (Saturn) and Mangal (Mars) were so unfavourably placed in his horoscope that irrespective of what he did, he & his family would never be happy. It is likely that he even planned the suicide so as to rescue his family from present & future suffering. Continue reading “Astrology vs Science & Reason | Which side are you on?”→
By studying data over several years, Oak Labs has come out with the following predictions & timetable for Pune Water Cuts (Crisis). This timetable has been drawn up in 2012 but will apply just as well till the year 2019.
Predictions from 2020 onwards were found to be unsuitable for publication, fearing widespread unrest and law & order issues.
You can change the names & tweak the dates for these predictions to apply to any other city in India.
With reference to contact information at http://meaindia.nic.in, have sent the email below to ascpv.twitter AT gmail.com. CCed to jsxp AT mea.gov.in , usxps AT mea.gov.in . Link for information sent via twitter to @ForeignSecNRao , @VPrakashMea , @IndianDiplomacy @ASCPV.
I will update the article / the comments section if & when I get a reply from the ministry.
*Update 10th June : ASCPV has forwarded to Pune RPO & jsxp.mea has forwarded to M.Pardeshi. No comment or regret as yet.
*Update 22nd June: – No response from MEA as yet. Have sent a reminder tweet. Will send a reminder mail next week.
*Update 29th June: No reply yet. Sent a followup email to the concerned officials.
*Update 30Dec12: A blog about the new Pune Passport office.
I spoke about “Scientific Temper : The Forgotten Duty” at the Takshashila Shala held on 29th May 2011 in Pune, India.
Abstract: India’s constitution says that “It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform”. However the fact on the ground is that despite rising literacy rates, there are no signs of Indians adopting scientific temperament as a way of life. India actually seems to be heading the other way, with orthodoxy, superstitions & pseudo sciences becoming an integral part of an Indian’s life.
In this talk I look at what scientific temper entails, the evolution of the idea, what’s gone wrong & why there’s still hope that we can nurture analytical minds and pull India out of the quagmire of superstitions.
Our constitution says that “It shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform”. However the fact on the ground is that even with rising literacy rates, there are no signs of Indians adopting scientific temperament as a way of life. India actually seems to be heading the other way, with orthodoxy, superstitions & psuedo sciences becoming an integral part of an Indian’s life.
In this talk, I will look at what scientific temper entails, what’s gone wrong & why there’s still hope that we can nurture analytical minds and pull India out of the quagmire of superstitions.