Evaluating Narendra Modi’s imprint on India’s social fabric, or the stains left behind by five years of relentless, unapologetic majoritarianism on the communal tapestry, is an easy task to undertake.
Less so, the anti-intellectualism borne out of an inferiority complex that manifests itself as an “anti-Nehru” sentiment.
In today’s Deccan Herald, Prasenjit Chowdhury attempts to gauge whether India’s 14th prime minister has been “a blessing or an unmitigated disaster”, compared to the first, when it comes to science.
“Modi, in his attempt to negate Pandit Nehru who was noted for his vision to inspire a scientific temper, has chosen instead to mainstream pseudo-scientific orthodoxies.
“Modi, no matter whether he survives the Lok Sabha elections this year or not, will go down as one who caused irreparable damage to the cause of science in the country.”
Chowdhury lists the cringing claims of Hindutva Luddites that have gained traction during Modi’s time….
# Lord Ganesh’s elephant-head as proof of advanced transplant surgery
# Kunti‘s conceiving as evidence of the practice of in-vitro fertilisation
# Lord Shiva as “the greatest environmentalist in the world”
# Sophisticated flying vehicles in Vedic times with radar and advanced guidance and tracking systems, while their ‘pilots’ wore magic suits, capable of interplanetary travel.
# The 100 legendary sons of Dhritarashtra and his wife Gandhari as ‘evidence’ that stem cell research was practised thousands of years ago
# Newton had failed to “understand gravitational repulsive forces” and said gravitational waves should be renamed “Narendra Modi Waves”
And points out the irony that has not been sufficiently underlined.
“Many of the finest minds in Silicon Valley, who might be admirers of Modi, are the products of an infrastructure for excellence in science and technology, which Nehru created”.