‘Dispelling superstition is an important mandate for us'
It has been a quarter century since I joined the ‘Karnataka Rajya Vijnana Parishath'(KRVP), part of the national People's Science Movement that seeks to take science to people and make science teaching interesting.
As a student in Tumkur, I remember when ‘Bharath Jana Vigyan Jatha' did a performance as part of the KRVP's programmes. It was during the wave of such interventions that a new organisation called ‘Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti' (BGVS) came to be in the 1990s.
Dispelling superstition has always been an important mandate for us — from child sacrifice to fears over solar eclipses. Our campaign against solar eclipses has mobilised lacks of people. To debunk the belief that food is poisoned during an eclipse, we cook food under the eclipsed sky and serve it up to prove that it has no impact on health. The response is so high that the food is always polished up!
We conduct discussions and lectures on the solar system, eclipses and blind belief around this cosmic phenomenon. We sell safe filters at a nominal cost and arrange for safe viewing. The response has been increasing from event to event between 1994 and 2011.
When three children were butchered in Karnataka as ‘sacrifice for fortune', I was disturbed. That propelled me to start a jatha against blind belief. Four teams worked in Bidar, Belgaum, Chamarajanagar and Chickballapur and covered 180 centres.
A host of programmes target different people. For instance, ‘Joy of Learning' is aimed at orienting teachers for activity-based teaching through science experiments, making mathematics fun and nature walks. But resources are key to our programmes, and the public is generally more generous than the government.
E. Basavaraju works with Bharath Gyan Vigyan Samiti (BGVS)
Keywords: Bharath Gyan Vigyan Samiti