New Delhi, Dec. 02: Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today recalled that Indian scientists in the pre-Independence era had also helped India gain Independence and urged the current generation of scientists to lay the ground for India to become a `Visva Guru’ in the next 25 years when it will celebrate 100 years of India’s Independence.

Addressing a national conference for science communicators and teachers organised on the theme of “Indian Independence Movement & the Role of Science”, Dr Jitendra Singh said, India has made a “giant leap” in the field of science and technology in the past seven years under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He reiterated that India is already on the ascent and science &technology will be the key determinants of the future.

The Minister described Mahatma Gandhi as one of the greatest scientific strategists who, through his weapon of non-violence, waged a scientific battle against British subjugation and aggression. He further narrated that Bapu and many of his contemporaries had also adopted psychological techniques to put the British adversaries on the defensive.

Paying rich tributes to Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose, an eminent biologist, physicist, botanist, and an early writer of science fiction on his birth anniversary, Dr Jitendra Singh said, patriotic fervour exhibited by scientists in imperial India added to the spirit of the nationalist movement. He said, in the freedom movement of our country, we remember the sacrifices and struggles of the political leaders, but on the other hand, our scientists also struggled and opposed the discriminatory policy of British rule.

Dr Singh said that Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav coinciding with the 75th year of the country’s Independence is an opportunity to remember the science heroes of yore. Saluting the indomitable spirit of Indian scientists, science communicators, and science teachers during the Indian independence movement, the Minister said, we must remember their unmatched contribution as individuals, institutions, and movements that laid the foundation of our present-day Science & Technology.

Dr Jitendra Singh said a vision of “self-reliance” during the colonial era encouraged Indian scientists and patriots to establish their own scientific institutions and industries. Dr. Mahendralal Sircar established the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science in 1876. Acharya P. C. Ray established The Bengal Chemical and Pharmaceutical Works in 1901 which was the foundation stone of indigenous industry in our country. He said Indian scientists during the freedom struggle emphasized on social harmony, equality, rationalism, secularism, and universalism.

The broad theme of “Indian Independence Movement & the Role of Science” was covered during the conference under six major topics: `Science as a Tool for Subjugation’, `Science as a Tool for Liberation: Role of Scientists’, `Science as a Tool for Liberation: Role of Institutions – Academic, Industrial and Research’, `Science as a Tool for Liberation: Role of Movements’, `Science as a Tool for Liberation: Role of Policy and Planning’, `Science as a Tool for Liberation: Vision of our Scientists’.

Around 3500 participants joined the conference conducted in hybrid mode (both in person and online), which comprised three plenary sessions by invited keynote speakers and six technical sessions on the theme. The two-day conference was jointly organised by CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Policy Research, Vigyan Prasar, and Vijnana Bharati. (India Science Wire)


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