The mark of last five years has been to make consistently inconsistent and unscientific statements. The difference between science and non-science has been reduced. Exploration of truth through investigation of natural, social and economic phenomenon, understanding the basic laws of science and social processes has been done away with. This is being replaced by an imaginative truth which does not believe in the processes of scientific investigation but believe all those laid in religious scriptures as matters of ultimate truth.
Hence Ganesh as an example of prevalence of advanced plastic surgery, existence of Internet during times of Mahabharata, existence of genetic science, presence of aeroplanes in the form of Pushpak Vimans in the past get accepted without any basis in historical reality and possible by natural phenomenon. The same with the phenomenon of accepting Gau Mutra as a health tonic, without any basis in medicinal properties. In the world of history, depiction of the past as religious wars; in the world of society depiction of society as a clash of religions in which all religions are attempting finishing off Hindu religion; ignoring aspects of social stratification and power dimensions within religion in the form of caste and class; in the world of economy basing economic decisions such as Demonetisation not on the basis of research and expert consultation but on the basis of individual whims, redefining the meaning of employment to mean engagement in any economic activity including pakoda making and paan ki dukaan even by educated is seen as a common sense.
The phenomenon of WhatsApp University, fake news and IT cell under the umbrella of RSS has made this phenomenon to acquire a mass scale. Under this processes, reality is what is propagated through use of social media on a large scale by believers of a certain ideology, though not necessarily investigated and fact checked. In the process of carrying out an ideological propaganda, basic intellectual processes of research, investigation, evidence and fact checking is routed out. Even the process of fact identification is put on hold as seen through the recent acts of stopping collection of unemployment data and data on farmer suicides.
Hence it is not surprising that any process of intellect is not welcome by the current regime. Universities which work as centres for knowledge generation become the points of attack. Rather than welcoming the intellectual diversity within educational institutions, they are seen as threat to nation which is unfounded. Intellectuals of all varieties – Academics, Writers, Journalists are attacked. Budgets for education get reduced. Centres which deal with aspects such as Social Exclusion, Human Rights get closed or underfunded. The number of seats available for higher studies get cut. Fellowships are reduced. The process of taking higher education is made fun of by depicting it as wastage of tax money. Intellectual activity is depicted as something which has ‘anti-national’ tendencies. An ideal citizen is considered as one who accepts whatever is propagated by the fake news and WhatsApp. And the need to become a part of a society where truth is only what is being propagated by ‘ideological propagators’ without any questioning.
An advancement of human society cannot ignore development of scientific temper. It was this realisation, that the constitution makers emphasized the need “To develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform” as one of the fundamental duties of the people in Republic of India. The developments of the last five years has shown that there has been a reverse journey. Instead of ‘scientific temper’ what is emerging is ‘anti science temper’. While benefits of science – technologies such as Internet, WhatsApp, and Social Media are used, these are aimed at creating an ‘anti-science temper’ in relation to natural and social phenomenon.
The electoral results will decide as to where we go.
T Navin is a Researcher and works with an NGO