Vice-President Hamid Ansari Sunday said that in India there is “intolerance of criticism and questioning”, and that the education system is insufficiently equipped to inculcate scientific temper in young minds.
Speaking at a lecture on scientific temper at a Rajya Sabha TV event, he said, “Attempts to separate myth from fact, history from mythology, belief from scientifically-verified facts are often frowned upon. Pursuant to it, occult is dubbed scientific and superstition as ‘culture’.”
He said such approaches have “often taken unpleasant and violent turn: books have been banned or withdrawn from circulation, libraries have been burnt, individual dissenters ostracised or killed, social peace disturbed and violence inflicted on citizens. In each of these cases, the working assumption is that questioning will hurt sentiments, damage or destroy existing order or structures, undermine faith, disrupt social order”.
“Over the years, the quantum of scientific information in the country has increased but that has not brought about science-mindedness… It is strange that in an India committed to modernity, we have a large number of faith- or tradition-based television channels but none exclusively devoted to science,” he said.