HYDERABAD: The inaugural session of the Indian Science Congress was abruptly adjourned even before Nobel laureate Amartya Sen could deliver his special address scheduled for the occasion.
Prof. Sen was to address a large gathering of distinguished scientists and scholars on the theme "science and practical reason" immediately after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's opening address. However, the meeting was adjourned rather suddenly after Dr. Singh completed his address and a majority of the delegates trooped out of the venue.
An embarrassed Prof. Sen handed over copies of his address to an official and asked for a car to leave. Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, eminent agriculture scientist, and Indian Science Congress president I.V. Subba Rao persuaded Prof. Sen to bear with the embarrassment and requested him to deliver his address.
Later, Prof. Sen addressed the gathering, but read out only a part of the speech. The full text was then circulated to the press.
Mr. Subba Rao told The Hindu that there was delay in announcing that Prof. Sen's address would follow the inaugural address. Hence, the delegates left. "It took some time for them to reassemble. But, he [Prof. Sen] finally delivered his address," he added.
UNI reports: Many, however, criticised the shabby treatment. "We can always be wise after doing something wrong," said renowned scientist Prof. P.K. Iyengar.
"I am very upset, it should not have happened," said Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal.
Prof. Sen, who returned to speak after an hour, said it was a "pleasant confusion."