It’s a battle for the survival of scientific research

Darwinian theory is as fundamental to biology as Newton's laws are to physics or the structure of benzene is to organic chemistry, says Ankit Sule

Aniket Sule, 39, is a scientist. He is also a science activist—in the footsteps of scientists such as Professor Yash Pal, Pushpa Mittra Bhargava or Jayant Narlikar, who spread the spirit of reason and science in a country where superstition based on emotion and tradition can still pass off as truth.

Sule is reader at the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education (HBCSE), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), and earlier this year, he spearheaded a protest by around 5,000 Indian scientists after minister of state for human resource development (HRD)-Higher Education Satya Pal Singh said Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was “scientifically wrong" and should be removed from school and college curricula. Following the scientists’ protest, HRD minister Prakash Javadekar said, “We are not going to fund any event or don’t have any plan for a national seminar to prove Darwin wrong. It is the domain of scientists and we should let them free to continue their efforts for progress of the country."

It was a milestone for rationalist thinking in India.

Five years after the assassination of rationalist, physician and author Narendra Dabholkar, a campaigner against superstition, scientists this year have been holding a series of lectures and events since 15 August—leading to the National Scientific Temper Day to be observed on 20 August at schools and colleges in Mumbai. Dabholkar was shot dead by unnamed assassins on 20 August 2013.....Read more


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