File photo of Indian student holding placards during the ‘India March for Science’ rally held by students and scientists in Bangalore, Aug. 9, 2017. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)
Over 200 eminent scientists from across India endorsed, March 23, the call made by the All India Peoples Science Network (AIPSN) and other organizations to “March for Science” on April 14, in as many centers as possible.
The international “March for Science” call this year was issued to continue the movement started in 2017 in the wake of President Donald Trump’s frontal attack on science, terming climate change a hoax and slashing funds for various environmental programs and scientific agencies as well as cutting down funding for higher education and research in many other countries.
The AIPSN, in a statement, said in India, a similar pattern is visible too, but with several additional features specific to the country.
“Funding for science continues to remain abysmally low in India while all developed countries or those aspiring to reach that stage of development are, in keeping with requirements of the knowledge era, investing much higher proportions of GDP in science and technology research,” it said.
In addition, there is a systematic attack on science and scientific attitudes, including those by influential leaders of the ruling dispensation in the form of questioning the theory of evolution, and positing bogus theories, fake history, unscientific claims of knowledge in ancient India, and advancing myths as historical fact, the organization alleged.
“Combined with attacks on diversity in culture and beliefs, this has created an atmosphere of violence against science, reason and critical thinking as manifested in the assassination of Narendra Dabholkar, Govind Pansare, M.M. Kalburgi and Gauri Lankesh,” it said.
Voicing concern about funding of educational and scientific institutions, the AIPSN said that these establishments have also come “under attack not only in funding but also as regards academic freedom, autonomy and democratic functioning, even while school textbooks are being rewritten with false history, a communally jaundiced view and irrational ideas.”
Appealing to the scientific community, it said that since April 14, Ambedkar Jayanti, and all those who stand by science and reason, should also fight for social justice and against discrimination in educational institutions and work places.