Saturday, 27 August 2011

....and one from the followers of Baba Ramdev!

On June 7, 2011, soon after Baba Ramdev's 'fast unto death' was disrupted by the Delhi Police, I received a similarly absurd mail as the one I mentioned in my last blog.


Govt. of India put a condition that 25 CRORES of people support is needed to implement 'LOKPAL-BILL'
4 this we just have to GIVE A MISSED call (free) to the number - +912261550789
After giving a missed call to this no. u'll receive a thanks msg. 
Forward this 2 as many to make India corruption free. We forward stupid messages
Let's forward something that actually matters.

A brief and appropriate response however immediately came from one of the recipients and I quote:

"Just to inform you that Government hasn't come up with any such conditions. We are not a country who implement policies based on public memorandum, and more over not through the means of missed calls. This is definitely a misguiding message that you would have got from someone......L

Irrationality of Anna's Camp Followers


One of the most distressing aspects of the ongoing anti-corruption movement in India is the absolute lack of skepticism among a significant section of the camp followers of Anna Hazare (and, is there any need to say,  among the followers of the contortionist Baba Ramdev). In their effort to get others in their bandwagon, some of them write nonsense email messages and others forward them without applying their mind.

These seemingly educated class of agitators who network through SMSes, emails, and online networking pages, seem to believe that with the implementation of Jan Lokpal Bill (mind you, no other version), our country will literally turn into a heaven on earth.

If you doubt my statement, read the following mail I received from a colleague on August 25, 2011. My email ID was part of a Group Mail consisting of not less than 175 members. It took me a few hours to reply to this group, by which time I am not sure how many would have forwarded this absurd mail to their contacts and the latter in turn to others. 

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Distinguished Service to Humanism Award - 2011

Prof Narendra Nayak and Mr VB Rawat from India were conferred with the Distinguished Service to Humanism Award by the World Humanist Congress held in Oslo this month. The other awardee this year is Mr David Pollock of UK.

The award was instituted by International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), a world umbrella organisation embracing Humanist, atheist, rationalist, secularist, skeptic, laique, ethical cultural,  freethought and similar organisations world-wide.

The Distinguished Service to Humanism Award recognizes, according to Wikipedia, the contributions of Humanist activists to International Humanism and to organised Humanism.

Prof Narendra Nayak is the President of Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations (FIRA). Mr VB Rawat is the Director of Social Development Foundation, New Delhi and is a National Executive Member of FIRA.

- RG Rao, National Secretary, FIRA

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Anna Upsurge and the Social Movements

Ram Puniyani
Anna Hazare’s second fast (August 2011) in Delhi, demanding the acceptance of his teams’ draft for Janlokpal bill has raised many different debates about the nature of this upsurge and how the social action groups, engaged in the process of struggle for Human rights of different sections of society, should relate to such movements.

Anna Hazare's hunger strike at Jantar Mantar in Delhi (Image courtesy: wikipedia)

Just to recall the first such fast was taken by Hazare was undertaken in April 2011, on the issue of Jan Lokpal Bill. Around that time there was a competing movement by Baba Ramdev for getting back illegitimate money stashed abroad. While Hazare withstood the pressures of state to resurface again, Baba Ramdev collapsed soon enough and tried to run away wearing women’s clothes.  Hazare’s, ‘Team Anna’ has diverse people, engaged with different social issues, including reforms in judiciary, bonded labor, communal amity etc.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Atheists and Agnostics of Pakistan

Atheists and Agnostics of Pakistan have recently started a website to, we quote from their website, "promote secular causes and the separation of religion and state. We advocate the rights of women and minorities, as well as secular humanist values and free speech.

PAA is about rational thought, compassion, science, freedom and education. Above all, we provide a forum for freethinkers in Pakistan to get together, share ideas and strive for common ambitions".

The website is still in its alpha mode. Yet, it has a number of interesting news feeds and articles such as this one that takes a feminist look at religion:

It has links to websites relevant to our cause like the link to The Skeptic’s Annotated Quran.

Here is the link:

They have indeed a stupendous task ahead. We wish them all the best!

(This was brought to our notice by Prof Innaiah Narisetti <>)

Monday, 22 August 2011

Science versus Miracles - Download

Premanand’s popular book, “Science versus Miracles”, has not been available for some time now. Since Premanand himself was the distributor of the books he published and since he did not make any specific arrangement to print and distribute the books he brought out under Indian Skeptic logo, after his death there was nobody to carry on the job. 

 “Science versus Miracles” was and continues to be a handy manual for those activists who want to debunk the so called “miracles” performed by Indian godmen. Since Premanand’s death we have received a number of queries about the availability of this book with us or in bookstores.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Materialism in India: A Synoptic View

Ramkrishna Bhattacharya  

0. Many, if not most, people nowadays go straight to the internet rather than look up a book to know something about anything under the sun. There are hundreds, if not thousands of files on the Cārvāka/Lokāyata system of philosophy there. Regrettably, many of them, though well-intentioned, are ill-informed and highly misleading. I am an old hand researching for decades on the history of materialism in India (see my Studies on the Cārvāka/Lokāyata, Firenze (Florence): Società Editrice Fiorentina, 2009; New Delhi: Manohar Books, 2010. A brief exposition will be found in my essay, “Lokayata Darśana and a Comparative Study with Greek materialism” in: Materialism and Immaterialism in India and the West: Varying Vistas, ed. Partha Ghose, New Delhi: Centre for the Studies on Civilizations, 2010, pp. 21-34). I, therefore, find it necessary to disabuse enquirers of several false notions.

1. Cārvāka or Lokāyata is not a “brand name” for all sorts of materialist ideas that flourished in India over the ages. There were several proto-materialist thinkers in India right from the time of the Buddha (sixth/fifth century BCE) or even earlier. The system that came to be known finally as the Cārvāka/Lokāyata did not flourish before the sixth century CE or a bit later. It is only from the eighth century CE that the name Cārvāka  is associated with a materialist school (some later writers such as Śāntarakṣita and Śaṅkara continued to call it Lokāyata). Both names, however, came to refer to the same school of thought after the eighth century CE. Neither of the two words occurs in Vedic literature. Lokāyata in Pali and Buddhist Sanskrit works means ‘the science of disputation’, or in a narrower sense, ‘point of dispute’, not materialism. The word is ambiguous. There are reasons to believe that the adherents of this materialist school themselves  called themselves Cārvāka, using it as a nickname. The word might have been chosen from the Mahābhārata but the demon in that work has nothing to do with materialism.

2. The Cārvāka/Lokāyata is the only systematized form of materialist philosophy in India that is known to date. There were other pre-Cārvāka  proto-materialist schools too that preached certain materialist views but their views were not systematically set down in the form of aphorisms as the Cārvāka-s did. Some of these pre-Cārvāka proto-materialist views are encountered in the Upaniṣad-s, Pali and Prakrit canonical works (of the Buddhists and the Jains respectively) and their commentaries as well as in the Jābāli episode in the Rāmāyaṇa, the Mokṣadharma-parvādhyāya in the Mahābhārata and some of the Purāṇa-s (particularly the Viṣṇupurāṇa and the Padmapuraṇa), and last but not least, in old Tamil poems such as the Manimekalai. All of these are not to be equated with the Cārvāka/Lokāyata. Some of the views recorded in them are authentic expositions of this or that proto-materialist view, but some are of dubious authenticity. There is a tendency in the Rāmāyaṇa and some Purāṇa-s to treat the Buddhists, the Jains and the Cārvāka-s as representing a single school of nāstika-s, that is, defilers of the Vedas, and to ascribe the views of one to the other quite inappropriately.

3.1. All the Cārvāka/Lokāyata works were lost before the fourteenth century CE, so much so that Sāyaṇa-Mādhava, aka Mādhavācārya and Vidyāraṇya, or whoever was the author of the first chapter of this digest of a compendium of philosophies (Sarva-darśana-saṃgraha), could not quote a single sentence from any Lokāyata text nor name a single authority other than the mythical Bṛhaspati. Yet this book, first edited and published by Iswarcandra Vidyāsāgara, better known as an educationist and social reformer, in 1853-58 from the Asiatic Society, Kolkata, has proved to be more influential than any other work. However, it is worth noticing that the reading of several lines of some verses attributed to the Cārvākas are willfully distorted in this compendium. The original reading of a line in a verse, for example, was as follows: “Live happily as long as you live; nothing is beyond the ken of death.” It is so found in all other works (no fewer than thirteen). The last part of the line was changed in this compendium to read: “eat ghee (clarified butter) even by running into debts.” To many educated Indians and maybe others abroad this distorted reading is granted to be the epitome of the Cārvāka/Lokāyata. It is amusing that the digest itself quotes the original reading at the beginning of the chapter but quotes the distorted reading at the end of the same chapter.

3.2. However, from the available fragments found quoted or paraphrased in the works of anti-materialist philosophers it is evident that the Cārvāka/Lokāyata system had developed along the same lines as Mīmāṃsā, Vedānta, Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika. This means:

(a) There was a base text, that is, a collection of sūtras or aphorisms, tersely phrased because they were meant to be memorized, and

(b) Several commentaries (and probably sub-commentaries) were written to explicate the aphorisms,

(c) Besides the above sources, a number of verses have traditionally been ascribed to the Cārvākas. Some of these epigrams make fun of the performance of religious rites, particularly sacrificial acts, and deny the existence of an extracorporeal soul which can survive the death of a person. Some other verses, however, might have originated in the Buddhist and Jain circles. The denunciation of ritual violence (killing of animals in a Vedic sacrifice) and condemnation of non-vegetarian diet accord better with the Buddhist and the Jain teachings than with any other school. There might have been some materialists who renounced both marriage and eating of animal flesh. In that case, the charge of promiscuity and indulgence in flesh and wine brought against the Cārvākas by Guṇaratna, a fifteenth-century Jain writer, loses its force.

3.3. The Tattvopaplavasiṃha by Jayarāśi Bhaṭṭa is not a Cārvāka/Lokāyata work: it represents the view of a totally different school that challenged the very concept of pramāṇa (means of knowledge). The Cārvākas  did believe in pramāṇa and whatever else it entails (knowledge, the knower, and the object to be known). Even those who, like Eli Franco, prefer to call it the only surviving Cārvāka text do not claim that it is a materialist text. So the work is quite irrelevant to the study of materialism in India.

4. The basic plank of the Cārvāka/Lokāyata may be summed up as: i) denial of rebirth and the other- world (heaven and hell), and of the immortal soul, ii) refusal to believe in the efficacy of performing religious acts, iii) acceptance of the natural origin of the universe, without any creator God or any other supernatural agency, iv) belief in the primacy of matter over consciousness, and hence of the human body over the spirit (soul), and finally, v) advocacy of the primacy of perception over all other means of knowledge; inference, etc. are secondary, and acceptable if and only if they are based on perception, not on scriptures.

The first three refer to the ontology, and the rest to the epistemology of the Cārvāka/Lokāyata. As to ethics all that can be said is that the Cārvākas did not believe in practising asceticism and advised seeking of pleasure in this world rather in the next, for there is no such world. This teaching has been misinterpreted as a recommendation for unrestrained sensual enjoyment. Regarding their social outlook it may be said that the Cārvākas  were opposed to gender discrimination and caste (varṇa) distinctions (see the Prabodha-candrodaya by Kṛṣṇamiśra, Act 2 verse 18 and the Naiṣadha-carita by Śrīharṣa, Canto 17 verses 40,42, 58). They relied on human endeavour (puruṣakāra), not on fate (daiva), and rejected the concept of adṛṣṭa or karman.

This is how materialism as a full-fledged philosophical doctrine made its debut in ancient India.  It is evident that the issues are peculiarly relevant to the Indian context (rebirth being the most noteworthy). The Cārvāka/Lokāyata then obviously had an indigenous origin.

5. There was no continuity in the Cārvāka/Lokāyata tradition after the twelfth century CE or thereabouts. Whatever is written on the Cārvāka/Lokāyata after the twelfth century is based on second-hand knowledge, learned from preceptors to disciples, who in their turn could only teach what they had heard from their preceptors, not what they had actually studied. Some of their knowledge correspond to what the Cārvāka/Lokāyata philosophers had or might have really said, but much of their accounts are biased against materialism and are mere fabrications.

6. The Yogācāra Buddhists, Jains, Advaita Vedantins and Nyāya philosophers considered the Cārvāka/Lokāyata as one of their chief opponents and tried hard to refute materialist views. Such refutations were made even after all the authentic Cārvāka/Lokāyata texts had been lost. So, the representation of the Cārvāka/Lokāyata in the works of these schools are not always firmly grounded on first-hand knowledge of the Cārvāka/Lokāyata texts.

7. Because of this lack of acquaintance with original sources, the opponents, and many modern scholars, often confuse pre-Cārvāka and Cārvāka views, considering them as one and the same. This gives an impression that there were several kinds of Cārvāka-s while the fact is that there were several kinds of materialists,  but all of them were not Cārvāka-s. Some of them were definitely pre-Cārvāka and held different views. For example, regarding the number of natural elements, the Cārvākas  admitted four, namely, earth, air, fire and water, while others spoke of five, adding ether or space to the list.

8. We have no evidence of any post-Cārvāka materialist school in India, existing or flourishing after the thirteenth century CE. What Abul Faḍl (Fazl) had gathered from the North Indian pundits about the Cārvāka system (most probably from a Jain scholar) and recorded it in Persian in his Ain-i Akbari, betrays the same lack of information as evinced in his contemporary and later Sanskrit digests of Indian philosophy. Only a few highlights of the materialist system were known to all of them. In addition to this a few verses attributed to the Cārvāka-s had been orally transmitted from one generation to another. Their accounts therefore are removed from the original sources and should be taken with the customary pinch of salt.

9. Some Sanskrit poems and plays (particularly Naiṣadha-carita, Prabodha-candrodaya, Āgama-dambara and Vidvanmoda-taraṅgiṇī) and one prose work (Kādambarī) contain representations of the Cārvākas. The evidence is dubious, for the authors of these works were thoroughly opposed to materialism and tried to portray the Cārvāka in unfavourable light. Hence whatever is written there should not be accepted uncritically.

10. The commonest charge levelled against the Cārvāka-s is that they did not believe in any other means of knowledge except perception. But there is enough evidence to suggest that some of the pre-Cārvāka schools as well as the Cārvāka-s considered inference based on perception to be a valid means of knowledge, although it is of secondary importance. It was well known from the eighth century CE.. Nevertheless, the opponents continued to level the same charge almost in the fashion of Goebbels (“Repeat a lie ten times and it will sound like the truth.” Whether Goebbels had actually said so or not is irrelevant, since such strategy was followed by him in practice).

11. Another baseless charge made by the opponents is the alleged heedless hedonism of the Cārvākas. Of course, there is enough evidence to show that the Cārvāka-s did not consider human life to be full of misery but there is absolutely no evidence to prove that they prescribed sensual enjoyment to be the end of life. The case is similar to that of Epicurus, the Greek philosopher. Although he used to lead a very austere life, his name has been maligned as a spokesperson of an ’eat, drink and be merry’ view of life.  Ajita Kesakambala, a senior contemporary of the Buddha and one of the earliest proto-materialists known to us, had in fact made a cult of austerity. The Sāṃkhya doctrine too has been satirized as one advocating sensual enjoyment. No serious student of Sāṃkhya has ever paid any heed to this absurd charge. However, in case of the Cārvāka such a groundless allegation is repeated ad nauseam by the present-day textbook writers of Indian philosophy.

12. Yet another misconception circulated by many authors past and present is that there were several Cārvāka schools, believing in the mind as the spirit, life breaths as the spirit, the sense organs as the spirit, etc. Such doctrines might have been prevalent before the Common Era, for some of them are mentioned in several Upaniṣads. Such views, however, are not only pre-Cārvāka but also pre-philosophical. The Cārvāka/Lokāyata was systematized much later and there is nothing to show that its exponents drew anything from such older sources. Only the doctrine of bhūtacaitanyavāda or dehātmavāda is the doctrine of the Cārvāka-s. It was a unitary school although the commentary tradition is not uniform and the commentators are not always unanimous in their interpretation of certain aphorisms.

13.  All the commentators of the Cārvākasūtra were not Cārvākas themselves. Some of them are known to be adherents of Nyāya who, besides their works on Nyāya,  had also written commentaries on the Cārvākasῡtra. Quite naturally they had introduced a number of sophisticated Nyāya terms, quite alien to the original Cārvāka tradition. Nevertheless what is common to all the commentators is their firm adherence to the basic doctrine of considering the spirit to be nothing but consciousness in a living body and the rejection of the view that inference independent of perception and/or based on scriptures should be accepted as a valid means of knowledge.

14.  In brief, then, the Cārvāka/Lokāyata system emerged as the culmination of all previous proto-materialist views which, however, had never been systematized into the  prevailing sūtra-bhāṣya (base text and commentary) style before the sixth century CE. These views are mainly known to us as floating ideas current among some freethinkers, who were opposed to futile religious practices sanctioned by the Vedas and refused to offer gifts to Brahmin priests. The early materialists  did not believe in the existence of heaven and hell, and, therefore, in the immortality of the spirit. That is all there is to it in the pre-Cārvāka/Lokāyata tradition. Ontological issues seem to have been their chief preoccupation and this was their contribution to the later Cārvāka/Lokāyata system which inherited and assimilated all this. The epistemological issues might have underlain in their teachings, but no such formulation is met with in available evidence.

15. Whether the Cārvāka-s had any affinity with the Kāpālika-s or some such obscure folk cults (such as the Sahajiyā-s, Bāul-s, etc. in Bengal), is a vexed question. It is probable that the these cults had adopted some ideas from the pre-Cārvāka and/or the Cārvāka teachings, such as,  accepting perception to be the only means of knowledge, opposition to Vedism, caste system, gender discrimination, etc. But it should be noted that these cults are all guru-oriented, the adherents compose songs in local dialects as the vehicle of expressing their ideas (not write philosophical discourses), and all of them consider themselves affiliated to one or the other Śaiva or Vaiṣṇava or Śakti-worshipping community. They constitute themselves as the ’other’, belonging to the Little Tradition – similar in some respects to the Great Tradition religious communities but differing from them by virtue of abjuring Brahminical priesthood, avoiding the conventional places of pilgrimage, and setting up their own meeting-spots in village fairs. The Cārvākas, on the other hand, belong to the Great Tradition:  they redacted a sῡtra work and composed elaborate commentaries on it in Sanskrit, not in any vernacular. In short, the two belong to two different traditions – the Great and the Little – and their ends are more often than not quite different. While the Cārvāka/Lokāyata was interested in true knowledge (tattva), the Little Tradition cults aspire for liberation (mukti) alone. The former studiedly rejected all rituals based solely on faith but the latter had developed elaborate systems of worship and religious practice (sādhana-paddhati) as taught by their gurus. Thus there is a fundamental incompatibility between the two that cannot be resolved by juxtaposing them as reflecting the same approach in two different ways. It should, however, be borne in mind that the Little Tradition cults were very much present in India even in the Upaniṣadic times, as testified by the Maitrī (or Maitrāyāṇī or Maitrāyaṇīya) Upaniṣad.  Most probably both the traditions had a common source, but they diverged into two separate streams, one thoroughly rational and atheistic; the other, irrational and theistic. The Cārvāka/Lokāyata  is a system of philosophy but the anti-Brahminical folk cults are nothing but religious coteries outside the Brahminical (Vedist) fold. In spite of some similarities in approach (such as, insistence on sense perception, denial of the Vedas as authoritative texts, and rejection of Brahminical priesthood) they belong to two different domains. Philosophy and religion are not to be treated on a par with each other.

Grateful acknowledgements are made to Amitava Bhattacharyya, Johannes Bronkhorst, Siddhartha Dutta, Pradeep Gokhale, Ashish Lahiri, and Krishna Del Toso for offering comments and suggestions on the draft.

Ramkrishna Bhattacharya taught English at the University of Calcutta, Kolkata and was an Emeritus Fellow of University Grants Commission. He is now a Fellow of PAVLOV Institute, Kolkata.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Dr. Swamy, Friends and Limits of Freedom of Expression

Ram Puniyani

It is not a very easy task to decide as to where the freedom of expression ends and Hate speech begins. A lot of perception about this depends on one’s convictions about the underlying ideologies which are being talked about. At another level how democratic space is subverted for anti democratic agenda is a serious issue. The challenge is to combat Hate ideologies and Hate Speech within the democratic system, to protect it from being subverted by sectarian ideologies in the name of democratic freedom. 

These questions came to one’s mind once again when Subramanian Swamy, the President of less known Janata Party, wrote an article, ‘How to wipe out Islamic terrorism’ on 16th July, in a national newspaper, in the aftermath of Mumbai blasts of 13th July 2011. In his article Swamy argued that the acts of terror are by Islamic terrorist, Muslims are directed against Hindus, to kill them in Halal fashion. This is the unfinished agenda of Islam to convert India into Darul Islam, a plot of global Islamic agenda. Swamy suggests that conversions to other religions (except Hinduism) should be banned, article 370 be abolished, temples be built at Ayodha and Varanasi and Muslims should be disenfranchised if they refuse their Hindu ancestry. This article of Swamy has raised lot of reactions. While a many have said that we don’t agree with you Dr. Swamy, the National Commission for Minorities has asked for criminal proceedings against Swamy for promoting hate amongst religious communities.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Why I Am a Secular Humanist

An Interview with Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka

[Akinwande Oluwole "Wole" Soyinka (born 13 July 1934) is a Nigerian writer, poet and playwright. He was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Literature, where he was recognised as a man "who in a wide cultural perspective and with poetic overtones fashions the drama of existence", and became the first African in Africa and in Diaspora to be so honoured. In 1994, he was designated UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) Goodwill Ambassador for the promotion of African culture, human rights, freedom of expression, media and communication.

This interview was published in Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 17, Number 4]

Wole Soyinka

FREE INQUIRY: Do you consider yourself a humanist, and if so, how do you believe that humanism differs from a more religious perspective?

WOLE SOYINKA: Humanism for me represents taking the human entity as the center of world perception, of social organization and indeed of ethics, deciding in other words what is primarily of the greatest value for humans as opposed to some remote extraterrestrial or ideological authority. And so from that point of view, I consider myself a humanist.

FI: There are several humanist groups in Nigeria. What do you think is the prospect for the future of humanism in Nigeria?

SOYINKA: I take most of my metaphors from the Yoruba worldview. What separates that religion from the so-called universal world religion is that the human characteristics of the deities that belong in the Yoruba pantheon actually make that religion one of the most humanist types of religion you'll encounter anywhere in the world. The Yoruba philosophy drastically reduces the absolute authority of deities over the lives of human beings and therefore reduces the dependency of human beings on the interpreters of the extraterrestrial authority. And so when you ask the question "What are the prospects of a humanist worldview in Nigeria?", I point to this as an example of some kind of qualified humanism that predates any kind of codification of humanistic principles in European terms.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Terror has political Goals: Religion should be for Humanism

Ram Puniyani

After being attacked by the bombs of the terrorists (13/7, 2011), we are facing the barrage from the ideologues of Hate and divisiveness. Many a ideologues of religious nationalism have come out with outpourings associating religion, Islam and so Muslims with terrorism and the need to confront this attack of terror by uniting as Hindus, voting a Hindu party, taking away the citizenship rights of Muslims, and declaring India as a Hindu nation (Subramanian Swamy 16/7, 2011). Swamy says the terrorism is an attack of Islam on Hinduism. Islam wants to take over India. So in response Hindu mind set has to be promoted, temples built at Ayodhya and Varanasi, article 370 should be abolished, conversion from Hinduism to other religions banned while conversions to Hinduism should not be stopped. India should be declared as Hindu Rashtra and Muslims should be disenfranchised. While being put forward in a brusque and blunt fashion, there is nothing new about his article, as this is precisely the agenda for which RSS combine has been working and spreading the ‘Hate politics’ in India. The political ideology making Hinduism as its political base, the Sangh Parivar, has been propagating this from close to a century by now. And to add to this the US propaganda, US media coining the term ‘Islamic terrorism’ has added further grist to the mil of hatred.

Terrorism though a centuries old phenomenon has come to global prominence especially after the creation of Al Qaeda, Taliban; in the especially set up Madrassas by US. The whole US design in the last three decades of last century was to dominate in West Asia, one of the richest oil reserves. While the US state manufactured one or the other pretext to attack these countries, it had already sown the seeds of formation of Israel at the end of Second World War and the idea was clear that this emerging global power needed a close ally to conquer the oil fields of the West Asia. This zone was predominantly inhabited by Muslims, some compliant Muslim Sheikhs and tyrants were easy enough to find in the region to collaborate with. The best allies, of the ‘Democratic US’ have been, the tyrannical rulers in West Asia and other parts of the World.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Science Communication & Science Popularisation


Prof. S.P. Verma, Chairman , Panel  on Science  communication( Indian Social Science Congress -Wardha-2011) has sent the following mails to us. Those who are interested in contributing to the topic mentioned in Prof Verma's mail may contact him for further details. Prof SP Verma's email ID is



Dear  Colleagues,

In continuation  of  my  earlier  mail, I am  sending  herewith the  anouncement poster  of XXXV   Indian  Social  Science  Congress(attached) being  organised  in wardha  in Dec. 2011.

On  behalf  of  the  org.  committee I  request  you  to  contribute  your  study/comments/opinions in  the  Panel  Discussion  on  " Science  Communication  &  Science  Popularisation" a thematic  session  which  is  to  be  conducted  at  wardha.

We  are  approaching different scientists/technologists/social  scientists/ science  popularisation activists  at  the  national  level to  come  and  contribute  in  the  sessions  so  that  a  national  status  report  may  be  generated and  a  future  course  of  action  may  be  formulated  by  the  contributors through  sharing  of  their  own  innovative  experiences  &  concerns.

We  have  tried  to  generate  a  mailing  list, but  you  are free  to  enrich it  by  sending  emails  of  friends  whom  you  feel  will  be  interested  to  contribute in  the  above process.

Thanking  you

Yours Truly

S.P. Verma
Panel  Chairperson


Dear  Friends/Colleagues,

Recently  I  was contacted  by Peoples Council  on Education, Allahabad  to  accept Chairmanship  of  a  Panel on " Science  Communication" of  the Indian  Social  Science  Congress  A National Conference being  held  at  Wardha in DEC. 2011.

Now  I  have  to  prepare  a  National  Panel of  Research  &  Development Personnel in the  above  mentioned  area and  NCSTC-Network/NCSTC-DST has  a  good  number  of  them working  in  diverse  areas so  that  they  can contribute in preparation of status report on sc. communication  in India and  formulate  the  major  tasks in the  coming years  for  the  PSM  groups/voluntary  sector  and  Govt. Departments/institutions working  in  this  area.

We  Know  that  you  alongwith your  friends/colleagues  have  contributed a  lot  in the  area  of  Science  communication but  we  need  a  critical  review/self  assessment of  the  activities linked towards  the  larger  developmentals  goals of  Independent  India (which has  grey  areas  with Socio-economic  empowerment  & attitudinal Change  of  the  people at  large especially  the marginalised work-force)

We  need  your  suggestions/sharing /raising  issues and  some  brief  write-up on  the  above  issue, so  that  the  tenor  of  Panel Interaction  in the  Congress can  be  set.

Expecting  to  hear  from  you  at  the  earliest

Thanking  You,

With   regards

Yours  Truly

(S.P. Verma)
Chairman , Panel  on Science  communication( ISSC-Wardha-2011)
Professor S.P.Verma
President,SCIENCE  FOR  SOCIETY, Bihar
C/O Chemistry  Dept., Science College,
Patna Univ.PATNA 800 005, BIHAR, India




DATES: DECEMBER 27-31, 2011



01 Plenary Themes (TENTATIVE)

  1. Evolving A Conceptual And Theoretical Framework For Peaceful Co-Existence And A Just World (New Science of Nature Humans And Society)
  2. Working For Creation of A New Ecological Society/Civilization
  3. Working Out New Economic Foundations of Peaceful Co-Existeance And A Just World
  4. Synergizing The Indian Society: In Search of New Codes of Peaceful  Co-Existence And Social Justice
  5. New Political Framework And  A Just Governance For Peaceful Co-Existence And A Just World
  6. Working Out A New Democratic And Scientific Education, Research And Training System For Peaceful Co-Existence And A Just Indian Society
  7. Constructive Agenda (India Specific)


01.   agriculture and home science: New Agricultural Policies And Practices, Shifting from bio-chemical farming to organic-farming, from capitalist farming to cooperative farming, working out strategy for conservation of fertility of soil, Healthy And Nutritious Food to all.
02.   ARCHAEOLOGY, ANTHROPOLOGY AND HISTORY: Historical And Anthropological Perspective of Peaceful Co-Existence And A Just World. Is History guide to the future?
03.   BIOLOGICAL OR LIFE SCIENCE (BIOTECHNOLOGY) Understanding Biological Foundation of Life; Determining sources of threat to life; Working out solutions for ensuring existence of life on Planet Earth; Freeing Biotechnology from market.
04.   COMPUTER AND COMMUNICATION SCIENCE (Journalism): Evolving A New Communication System For Ensuring Peaceful Co-Existence And A Just World; Bridging The Digital Divide; Connecting The virtual world to the real world.
05.   ECOLOGICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE: Working out Strategy For making the Environment clean and free from pollution, linking technological solutions with the new social system; Working out Ecological foundations of the New Society/Civilization/World; Formulating Programmes of Generating Awareness Among the People; Working out new Land-Forest-Humans Relationships; Evolving New Mechanisms of Stopping Desertification Through Deforestation, Mining and various other economic activities; New Approach to Conservation  of Biodiversity And Natural  Resources.
06.   ECONOMICS, COMMERCE AND MANAGEMENT SCIENCE: New Principles of New Economy; Restructuring the Economic System; New Industrial Policies And Practices, New Market-Free Trade And Commerce Practices, Shifting the economy from greed to need; and from maximization of profit to non-profit in accumulation free development; from private to public; from unemployment to full employment; Elimination of Poverty, Disparity and discrimination; Hunger-free World, Developing science of Cooperative management; Bridging the Rural-Urban Divide.
07.   EDUCATION: Evolving a new democratic, scientific and creative Education System capable of ensuring creation and sustenance of Peaceful Co-Existence And A Just World; Working out strategy for elimination of marketization  and privatization of education.
08.   ENGINEERING SCIENCE: Shifting  Paradigm of modern Engineering Science from market and non-humans to society and humans, Connecting Social Engineering with Engineering  Science.
09.   EARTH SCIENCE, PLANETARY SCIENCE AND GEOGRAPHY: Working out a strategy for conservation and utilization of finite resources of Planet Earth for longer duration; Conservation of Water;  Forest and mines; Working out science for reducing Global Warming and Climate Change; Learning to cope with climate change; Making Planet Earth Livable, Working out Strategy for facing the natural disasters.
10.   INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS STUDIES AND DEFENCE & STRATEGIC STUDIES: Working out new national and international policies of relationships; Newer conceptions of violence-free and War-free world; Carving out a strategy for Nuclear-Free and Weapons of mass destruction-free world, Newer Principles of diplomacy and global cooperation.
11.   JURIDICAL SCIENCE:  Working out a new juridical foundation for Peaceful Co-Existence And A Just World, correlating the social laws with natural laws.
12.   LINGUISTICS: Working out a new strategy for survival and growth of all languages.
13.   MATHEMATICAL AND STATISTICAL SCIENCE: Working out connections of Mathematic And Statiscis Science with the New Social Ssytem of Peaceful Co-Existence And A Just World.
14.   MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCE: Politics of Public Health Education And Research In India; Evolving A New Peoples Health Education And Health Care System; Strategy of elimination of market forces’ control over drug and medical education, research and training.
15.   PHILOSOPHY: Working out a New Philosophy of Peaceful Co-Existence And A Just World; New Ethical and moral foundations; Connecting Science and Technology with ethics and morality.
16.   PHYSICAL AND CHECMICAL SCIENCE: Evolving a new paradigm of Physical And Chemical Science Rooted in the New Social System of Peaceful Existence; Shifting From High Energy to Low Renewable Energy
17.   POLITICAL SCIENCE: From Politics of Privatge Good to the Politics of Public Good; Politics of True Democracy And Peoples Sovereignty  (Democratic Self/Collective Governance); Newer political conceptions of Stateless and Borderless Global democratic Social System.
18.   PSYCHOLOGY:  Evolving A New Psychology of Peoples For their Peaceful And A Just Co-Existence; Developing Psychology of cooperation, love, mutla respect, common sharing and non-violence; New Community Psychology.
       19. SOCIOLOGY AND SOCIAL WORK: Formulating Sociology of Knowledge and Social  Existence;      Sociology of Non-violence and Collective living; Working out programmes of
Social action designed to ensure peaceful and just existence of humans and non-

03. thematic panels

1.                   Conflicts, War, Peace and Social
2.                   Democracy And Human Rights
3.                   Ecological and Environmental Protection  Movements
4.                   Ethics of Science and Society
5.                   Global Warming and Climate Change
6.                   History and Philosophy of Science
7.                   Information Technology, Mass Media
and Culture
8.                   Labour in Organized and Unorganized  Sectors
9.                   Nation,  States and Emerging Challenges
10.               Natural Resources, Bio-diversity and Geographic  Information System
11.               Patent Laws and Intellectual Property Rights
12.               Peasants, Livelihood and Land-use
13.               Peoples (Dalits, Tribes, Women, Peasants, etc) Struggles And Movements For Equitable  Democratic Society
14.               Peoples Health and Quality of Life
15.               Political Economy of India
16.               Population, Poverty and  Migration
17.               Rural Technology, Social Organisation and Rural Development
18.               Science Communication and Science
19.               Science, Technology and Social Development
20.               Social Processes, Social Structures
and Social Alienation
21.               Unity of Science (Science of Nature-


I. INTERNATIONAL : - Toward A New Democratic, Just And Peaceful World Social System
                                    - Freeing The World From Hunger And Violence.
                                    - Toward A New World Science of Nature-Humans-Society

II. NATIONAL           - - Briding The Rural-Urban Divide
                                    - Use And Conservation of Water In India: Jal, Jiva, Jungle And Jamin
                                    - Peoples Sovereinity over Water, Forest, Mines And Water
                                    - From High Energy to Low Energy  

                                    - New Rays of Hope in Latin America: New Democratic And Scientific
                                      Socialist World
   - Freeing India from Hunger and Violence
   - New Democratic And Scientific System of Peoples’ Education
   - Communicating Science of Conservation of Resources of Planet Earth
                                       to the Peoples
                                     - Overcoming the cultural crisis

                                                      05 SPECIAL WORKSHOPS

- Vidarbha And Its Peoples: A viable Agri-indus framework to say good-bye to farmers’ suicides.

- Chhatisgarh And Its Peoples: Restoring Indigenous  Peoples Sovereignty over land forest, mines
                                                      and water


scientists, University and college teachers, research students, social activists, field groups, policy makers and development activists, philosophers and creative thinkers are most cordially invited to submit their papers in triplicate on any aspect of the focal theme on themes being researched by them.


Abstracts of Papers can be submitted till September 30, 2011 and full papers in triplicate ought to be submitted before November 01, 2011. .


            Papers, membership, registration ought to be sent to the following under registered cover:

Dr. N.P. Chaubey
General Secretary

XXXIV Indian Social Science Congress

                        Iswar Saran Ashram Campus,
Allahabad 211004, INDIA
Telefax: 0532-2544170 (R), 0532-2544245(O)

            Request for accommodation and transport should be addressed to the following:

                                    Prof. Manoj Kumar
                                       Local Secretary
                                       XXXV Indian Social Science Congress
                                    Nahatna Gandhi Fuizi Guruji Centre For Preace Studies
                                    MGAHV Campus, Gandhi Hills
                                    Wardha 442 001
                                    Tel: 91-7152-251878 (O)
                                        M: 09975323109

            Further details can be had from the websites: or or through e-mails/telephones as given above.


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