The State-level golden jubilee celebrations of the Kerala Sasthra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP) got off to an impressive start on Friday in the city where it all began 50 years ago as an informal collective of a group of science writers.
Three prominent scientists of the country, M. Vijayan of the Indian Institute of Science (Bangalore); Mahtab S. Bamji of National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad; and Satyajith Rath of National Institute of Immunology, New Delhi, handed over the science movement flags to three children on the stage, inaugurating the jubilee event.
Dr. Vijayan, a renowned structural biologist, said that Kerala once had simplicity as its quintessential quality. Now the trait was completely lost to aggressive consumerism, a by-product of capitalism, bringing serious damage to the State’s environment.
“The increasing obsession with gold and the ever growing consumption of liquor in the State are symptoms of this degeneration,” he said.
Dr. Vijayan said that blindly opposing genetic engineering and biotechnology — as it happened from some quarters in the case of genetically modified crops — would do more harm than good to society in the long run.
Though the Green Revolution had many defects, it saved the country from abject poverty and put India back on track after Independence. “Its gains outweighed its shortcomings at the end,” he said. India needed to develop its own agricultural technology to beat “multinational predators” such as Monsanto in their own field, the scientist said. Running away was no solution.
Dr. Vijayan also said that India was fast losing its dominance in production of generic medicines as many Indian companies were being taken over by foreign giants. He said a policy-level intervention by the government was needed to develop our own drugs.
Dr. Bamji, who spoke on “Science and Women” on the occasion, highlighted the poor status of Indian women in terms of nutrition. “Ours is a country which worships goddesses and considers our women as dirt,” she said stating that the maternal malnutrition was disturbingly high in India. She said that lack of awareness was the main challenge, which could be addressed by science movements such as KSSP to a great extent.
Dr. Satyajith Rath spoke on ‘science, technology and intellectual property rights,’ on the occasion. KSSP president K.T. Radhakrishnan presided over the function. A. Pradeepkumar MLA, and former ministers Benoy Viswom and M.T. Padma spoke on the occasion.