In 2002, Sagarika Ghosh wrote a piece titled ‘Science is Tough
‘ criticising the Hindutva forces and Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam. We have broken down the piece paragraph-wise and highlighted that in italics. Each para is followed by our own inputs.
Why’s the Great Indian Public thrilled about Bomb Daddy for president? Two answers. The first is obvious. We can’t help but feel a little relieved at the manner in which the Sangh has pulled off a cunning theft of secularism.
So the noble and ‘logically’ thinking Sagarika thinks Indian’s love bombs. Yes, most love patakhas
(crackers, I mean), but we have seen only terrorists from Pakistan in love with a real bomb!
After Gujarat we are terrified about the Sangh’s plans for the future of India. We had visions of the hairy Sant Paramhans flying up Raisina on an udan khatola.
Okay, you may say she is being sarcastic, but you are wrong. She is as serious as Ned Stark was when he said the iconic phrase “Winter is coming”. She still believes that Hindutvas have nothing better to do than conjure up such inane plans.
But in the midst of our fears… bang! Bomb Daddy explodes on the scene. He may be a token but at least he’s not ash-smeared with dreadlocks.
An “ash-smeared” face with dreadlocks is dangerous, warns Sagarika. Someone needs to tell this highly-knowledgeable lady that they are Naga sadhus. They are people who have renounced the world and are known for their pure asceticism. And Kalam is Bomb Daddy? Wonder who Bomb Mommy is?
But there’s a second answer: Indians love Science. Science is beloved of the Indian middle-class and particularly of the Hindu patriarchs of the Sangh parivar. In India, Real Men all study Science. Boys are programmed from an early age to make Science their chief obsession. The IITs are shrines to a certain high Hindu male technological libido.
Middle-class, yes. But if science is loved so much by the “Hindu patriarchs of the Sangh parivar”, does that not prove that the Sangh is actually a progressive group. It has been proved that science and religion do not go hand in hand. Yes, we do have that “programmed for science” problem, but that’s because it is what has generated the maximum jobs.
We really fail to grasp what she is trying to say with her remark on IITs. Anyone?
Atomic scientists, writes scientist Dhirendra Sharma, are a ‘super State’ within the State, comprising shadowy brahmanical scientists (mostly all Tam-Brahms and the occasional bawa like Bhabha) living antiseptic and secretive lives, loftily distant from the dirty masses.
We don’t know who she is quoting (as if we care), but the paragraph above clearly expresses her distaste for three things: Science, Brahmins and Tamils. The know-it-all-lady doesn’t even realise that most scientists are so engrossed with their work that they do not have time for even their families. They are not journalists of her kind who talk, talk and talk whether it or not it rhymes or reasons.
They are pampered by the government, ferried back and forth to spotless fortified labs where they carry out incomprehensible expensive experiments. Atomic scientists are the extremely powerful but invisible brahmins of India. Scientism is, in fact, nothing but a version of Hindu brahminism.
Ah, another gem! We didn’t know our atomic scientists were Mr. Indias.
Let’s carry out a survey. Murli Manohar Joshi is a physicist. So is NCERT Director J.S. Rajput. BP Singhal is an MSc. Mahajan is an MSc. Former RSS Sarsangchalak Rajju Bhaiyya taught physics at Allahabad University. Jaswant Singh is a BSc. KS Sudarshan is a telecommunications
Does that not tell you that Hindus are really, really well-educated? And by that logic, Allahabad University is:
Science, suggests Australian writer Dan Madigan, is particularly compatible with religious fundamentalism. The hard sciences, as opposed to the soft humanities, create an orthodox and extremist mentality. A technological education, Madigan writes, has a ‘can do’ approach. It believes that with the right design and the right materials you can build just about anything, including a technologically engineered history and a technologically controlled society.
That explains why Liberals and Seculars haranguing from ornate daises and writing long columns in the media in support of terrorists sound so illogical.
The technological mind-set is profoundly impatient with the tentativeness, the ‘softness’ and the endless ‘ may-be-may-not-be’ of the humanities. Guess what Osama bin Laden studied? Engineering, naturally. And Mohammad Atta? You got it. Also engineering.
Guess what Adolf Hitler was fascinated with? Arts. Need we say more.
For Indians the Humanities are considered the ‘soft’ option. The Humanities or Arts, the great subjects of Plato and Aristotle which as the name suggests keeps society ‘human’, are subjects like History, Literature and Politics. Yet, paradoxically, these are considered ‘soft’ subjects and are studied mostly by women. Women study Arts. But Men study Science. Science is ‘hard’, extremely macho but potentially insane.
If science is “insane”, according to Sagarika, then babies really are delivered by storks and Sun revolves around the Earth.
Not that dear old Bomb Daddy has anything in common with fundamentalism. But as he embarks on his high office perhaps he might heed Nehru’s words: “Scientists can’t live in an ivory tower. If Science gets divorced from morality and ethics then it may be used for evil purposes. The scientific spirit must be essentially one of tolerance and the realisation that nobody has a monopoly on the truth.”
We just found the best way to describe the condition of Sagarika Ghosh’s condition: