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Knowledge of science elevates a person to greater heights than that of any other discipline. Many would say what about religion! Let’s keep religion aside here, at least. There are enough talks of religion, especially in India. You lose all your arguments, and take recourse to religion. But, for a few, science is the religion. In fact, science also elevates stature of religion. The West today is known for its religious tolerance, a completely different picture than that of the medieval period. A country like India has never witnessed the kind of religious intolerance the West and Middle-east went through. But, time has taken such a turn that US President Barack Obama now has no hesitation in openly criticising ‘growing religious intolerance’ in India. The turnaround is because of the stupendous growth of science in the West over the past centuries.

The National Science Day on February 28 is a great opportunity for India to look at its history of religious tolerance, except for the periods of invasion by various races from east Asia. The ‘civilization’ in India had its roots in the knowledge of science, which the current BJP government brags about very often. The ruling party, which was expected by many to turn the country’s fortunes, should keep in mind that no country becomes great by just boasting about its past. Had it been so, fate of Greece and Iraq would have been different, let alone India. If China regained its strength lost centuries ago, it’s solely because of new vigour and not just pride for the past. Had ‘scientists’ in ancient India been so proud of their achievements, they would not have been able to make India proud today.

No doubt, India has made a lot of progress in information technology. But the IT knowledge is highly disproportionate with the country’s achievement in fundamental science. This weakness has given birth to Modi’s ‘Make in India’ slogan. India does not have technical knowhow to boost its manufacturing industry, a key element of any civilisation. It’s not Singapore where the nation survives only on its service industry. Let science have a chance, ahead of religion. Let children learn science, more than religion. Then, religion will also get purified, tolerant, something for everyone to be proud of.

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on February 28, 2016)

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