Why ISRO Chairman’s Blend of Science and Tradition Should Spark a Debate

In the spotlight stands ISRO Chairman Shri S. Somanath, a figure seen by some as a role model and by others as a curious blend of scientific knowledge and traditional beliefs. This intriguing mix has ignited discussions around the intersection of science and culture.

Somanath’s assertion that the principles of science find their roots in the Vedas has raised eyebrows. It’s worth noting that some ancient Vedic beliefs, including the idea that the sun orbits the Earth, have long been debunked by modern science. This statement, therefore, exemplifies the contrast between scientific expertise and scientific awareness.

The act of hanging a lemon as a form of worship before the Chandrayaan launch, the practice of breaking coconuts, performing homam (a ritualistic fire ceremony), visiting temples, and offering prayers are traditions that may be seen as unscientific by some. The offering of Unniyappam (a sweet dish) to an idol further highlights this contrast between tradition and scientific rigor.

While we celebrate the scientific achievements of our country, such as the successful Chandrayaan missions, it’s crucial to recognize that these accomplishments are not solely a testament to our capabilities. They are the culmination of global scientific knowledge and experiences gained through numerous experiments and explorations conducted by countries of all sizes, including India. This collective effort continues to evolve, pushing the boundaries of science’s understanding, communication, historical context, and practicality.

ISRO, under Somanath’s leadership, seems to underestimate this collaborative nature of scientific progress. The chairman’s actions have sparked conversations about the delicate balance between scientific excellence and traditional practices.

In conclusion, ISRO Chairman Shri S. Somanath’s unique blend of scientific prowess and traditional beliefs has given rise to intriguing debates. While we celebrate our scientific achievements, it’s essential to acknowledge that these successes are the result of a global scientific endeavor that transcends cultural boundaries. Somanath’s actions serve as a reminder of the ongoing dialogue between tradition and modernity in the realm of science.


Adv KK Radhakrishnan

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