“In North Karnataka people bury physically challenged people up to their neck with cow dung during eclipses with the belief that it would cure them,” said M.V.S. Swamy, teacher, SBMMR High School, Hiriyuru, Shimoga, while sharing his tryst with superstitious people as an advocate of science himself.

Mr. Swamy, 47, teaches science and mathematics in his village school, but also works towards dispelling superstition in villages through basic science education.

This teacher on Tuesday was recognised for his contribution to not just his students but also rural folk. He was awarded the ‘Outstanding Science Teachers’ award donated by the C.N.R Rao Education Foundation, at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), Jakkur Post, Bangalore. “The enemies of society are those who are educated and are yet superstitious,” said Mr. Swamy. He has been giving scientific demonstrations that falsify superstition for the past 15 years. Mr. Swamy, one of the founders of the Amateur Astronomy Club in Shimoga, demonstrates astronomical events for the local people using a telescope that he built himself. In 2012, Mr. Swamy received the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Best Science Teacher of State’ award on Teacher’s Day for his distinguished work in the field of science. Mr. Swamy wants to fight unscientific programmes (astrology, for example), which the media publishes and telecasts widely, that hamper the growth of society.

“This award is a great recognition for my work and it is inspiring for other teachers to also work towards providing valuable knowledge to their students,” Mr. Swamy said. “People should know the truth behind scientific events and they should not just relate it with religion,” he added.

Navneet Gupta, Thandapani Government High School teacher from Rajouri, was felicitated for his outstanding contribution. M.R.S Rao, president, JNCASR, presented the awards.