By Manoj K. Srivastwa
Memory has still not faded. The Central Government promises to deliver a $5 trillion economy by 2024. US President Obama himself served hot tea to the Prime Minister of India. The next US President Trump shook hands with PM as if India was a superpower. China withdrew its forces from the border as India refused to budge even an inch. India exported home-made vaccines to more than 100 countries stunning even China. Nonetheless, India even claims a permanent seat in the UN Security Council. But who has yanked India now!
The second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has besmirched the fantasy. Hospital and hospitality, both have collapsed in the pandemic. In cities such as the capital of India, people are dying at the gates of hospitals gasping for beds, oxygen and minimum support to survive, such as life saving drugs. Black marketeers vacuum the supply chain. Relatives of patients are doing tug of wars with oxygen cylinders. Hospitals managers are absconding, leaving patients & hospitals in the lurch for want of oxygen and medicines. The Delhi High Court threatens even black marketeers for contempt. The Supreme Court threatens of coercive action. The Allahabad High Court comments “Ram Bharose”. People rush the dead body of their close relatives directly into the Ganga without performing cremation and last rites for want of wood and money and corpses are floating down the Ganges at the UP-Bihar border, threatening marine life inviting more coronavirus infections. We are exposed to the world that we have never been a developing country, rather still a poor country. Even the hearts of China, Pakistan and Bangladesh were melted to offer or supply medical essentials to India as a kind gesture by good neighbours. This is the living status of metropolis. Imagine the harrowing health infrastructure and logistics in rural, peri-urban and tribal life. Government treats only 33% patients in rural areas and majority of 67% patients are still dependent on the private sector. In urban areas, 74% patients are catered by private hospitals and clinics. Even prior to this COVID pandemic, the highest cause of hospitalization was still the infection other than COVID-19 which is 31% of all deceases. Just 28% of the households in India are covered by Health Schemes or Insurance. The opposition vituperates the ruling Government for this mess and so is vice versa.
After Corona Mata was being worshipped in Gopalganj of Bihar, now a new Corona Devi, the one-and-a-half feet-tall stone idol temple is consecrated at Irugur, Coimbatore. Before that Coimbatore has already a plague Mariamman Temple. Small pox is worshipped as Sheetla Devi contrary to what was discovered by Dr Edward Jenner. People celebrate Saturn (Shani) birthday on every Saturday whereas even scientists have not calculated the birth of the Universe but only estimated it at about 14 billion years ago. The present Prime Minister of India, per se, renders a statement in Parliament, the supreme legislative organ, that Plastic Surgery was done to Lord Ganesha sans any scientific evidence. State organises and drains out state fund on Kumbh and other religious festivities. Even the PMs of India and political leaders visit religious places to convey message indirectly to their respective electorates to derive political mileage which further buttresses religious belief whereas per contra the liberty to belief, faith and worship are personal rights and virtues. Nonetheless, majority of Indian people, per se, prefer orthodox unscientific religious practices to COVID protocols. Criticising the Supreme Court majority judgment allowing entry of women in Sabrimala Temple, RBI board member S. Gurumurthy tweeted, “Even if there is one in a million chance of a link (flood on the day of the judgment) people would not like the case decided against Ayyappan.” Lemon juice and cow dung are claimed to treat cancer. People erect places of religious worship with amassed wealth where even sometimes court has to intervene to settle the disputes. Even stone idol agitates its rights and drags its opponents to courts. People offer Namaz in thousands encroaching public street. Eid offerers throng market defying COVID protocols.
Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi per se is a project of Rs 1,100 Crore and erstwhile Babri mosque is to be rebuilt at the cost of Rs 100 Crore. There are more sacred places at almost every crossroad or busy street than Hospitals in the Country. The State hardly takes an objection despite 2009 judgments of the Supreme Court in the matter UOI Vs State of Gujarat. There are around 3.01 millions places of worship more than the temples of education, schools and colleges which is just 2.1 million. Believers in God are in a majority and their statistics influence not only the public election openly to get elected the Prime Minister or Chief Minister of their choice but also write up the destiny of the Country irrespective of the Constitution which resolves to establish a Secular state and the Scientific Temperament in society inter se. It seems the State per se grants passive approval to the popular public opinion rather than try to improve their thinking by including a more scientific approach to the various societal problems.
Religion in Space Technology
Nonetheless, this is an irony on the destiny of India that even the scientists first take a prototype of spacecraft to Balaji temple first before its launch. Our Defence Minister qua State emblazons a Rafale fighter jet with an “om” and decks it up with flowers, coconut and lemons before importing its first fleet. Is this not a paradox in the Indian Constitution?
Supreme Court too goes the way of religious practices
In case of the Indian Young Lawyers Association Vs State of Kerala (Sabarimala Temple), (2019) 15 SCC 580 the Supreme Court speaking through Justice Indu Malhotra (minority opinion) too ultimately sided with age-old practices of not to allow women of menstruating age and held that ‘ to practice their faith and belief in accordance with the tenets of their religion, irrespective of whether the practice is rational or logical’ and ipso facto and de jure the Supreme Court too buttressed the right to belief and practice those religious practices which defies science. The Supreme Court did not even refer to an iota of Scientific Temperament which is equally conferred to the citizen under Article 51A(h) of the Constitution. Beware! All these events shape India’s destiny brick by brick that whither India to spearhead.
Whether religious belief is the destiny of India
But this is not a surprise to a rational Indian because a majority of Indians have different preferences than its constitutional values of Scientific Temperament as enshrined under Article 51A(h) of the Constitution of India. The Scientific Temperament in India is still in the thraldom of the liberty of belief. Why don’t we have class apart proportionate hospitals or other infrastructural facilities at every nook and corner of India like religious shrines? Have we ever preferred Science and Scientific Temperament to right to belief ? Did we ever demand hospitals, schools, or universities like Harvard, Oxford or Cambridge? Have we ever questioned our government as to why India has not ensured even a single Nobel prize in science for any Indian citizen since 1930 for 91 years after Sir C.V. Raman! No. Never. None of the manifesto of political parties claims so. This is how “we the people” shape our destiny. As you sow, so shall you reap. Doctor prescribes what the patient likes. People deserve their Government. Bernard Baruch rightly said, “Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.”
Who is the leader ?
The million-dollar question is then who is a leader, a person who follows people or people who follow their leader? L.K. Advani used to say that the Ram Janmabhoomi issue was a matter of belief and it could not be decided by court and ipso facto he followed people and people did not follow him. Had he found courage to tell the people that there were many more matters far more important than that issue, he would have evolved a leader in himself. Can our leader propel India to the status of superpower?
How religion is defined
When Swami Vivekananda enquired his guru Ramakrishna Paramhansa as to whether he could let him to see the God, Kali Ma, Ramakrishna replied, “Yes, the same way as I do see you.” Years later, when Swami Vivekananda was bombarded with same question, Vivekananda replied, “Serve humanity, you would find the God,” and ipso facto the God does not lie beyond humans. A religion may be hardly a manifestation of cultural and philosophical life. The Supreme Court interpreted Hindu Religion as ‘the way of life’ but what about right to belief of those religious practices which defy science. We have witnessed that some of religious places were raided by security forces across the globe to unravel the amassed wealth, centre of dreaded terrorists, explosives and many illegal and anti-social activities. Several sadhus taking a dip in Kumbh died by COVID infection. But the religious dons make people to believe the way, Wordsworth wrote ‘who has seen the wind, neither I nor you’ and thousands of lakhs have been believing their religious dons without asking why, what, when, where. People believe the God and have been worshiping with idols or without idols for centuries and the till now, none can let us know the address of God where one can find him like God particle Boson.
Heliocentric Vs Geocentric
Aristotle was the propounder of Geocentric theory of the Universe by the method of logical Deduction sans collection of any evidence and by assumption that God created the universe keeping man on earth at the centre and so the Sun revolves around the earth, whereas per contra Galileo was the exhibitor of heliocentric theory by the method of Induction of reasoning and practical experiments and affirmed Copernicus revolutions of the Sun for which Galileo was sentenced for 3 years and thereafter house arrest in blindness till his death and nonetheless he was forced to confess that “With a sincere heart and unfeigned faith, I abjure, curse, and detest the errors and heresies and generally every other error and heresy contrary to … … Holy Church and I swear that I will never more in future say or assert anything which may give rise to similar suspicion of me”. However, after about 193 years demise of Galileo, the prosecutor Church realised the Galileo was correct and wrongly prosecuted. The Scientific Temperament is antigen to theological and metaphysical beliefs whereas science is universal exact and proved by cause and effect.
Only science can be the eternal and destiny of India
Even when a pen slips out of hand it is because of Newton’s laws of motion. Every act or life time of both living and non-living objects are defined and determined by the laws of the nature. No law or force acts or exists on this earth and in the universe save the Newton’s laws of motion and Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. Nature’s law is so absolute truth in the entire universe that even a simple formula of mathematics E=mc2 can predict the physical behaviour of any body or particle without even doing practical experiments and the law is equally and evenly applicable everywhere such as Earth, Moon, Mars, Sun or even billions light years upwards in the Universe. The world’s most modern science of Boson Quantum Theory is named after an Indian Scientist Satyendra Nath Bose which propounded 26 dimensions in the Universe and discovered ‘Higgs Boson’ popularly known as God particle which was experimented by world leading scientists in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) beneath the France-Switzerland border where Higgs-Boson particles were found but India never aggressively pursued a Nobel Prize for him. Boson’s existence was proven by an experiment in 1995.
All religious places were closed in lockdown periods and it entailed no satanic effect on the life of the people or this universe and fact of the matter is that without religion, the universe can still survive but without science the universe is non est. Even Pope Francis did not rely on God for safety and was vaccinated in Italy against COVID-19 threats. People are deliberately conditioned to live the unscientific way. Lord Ganesh was found to drink milk but scientists proved it was surface tension. COVID-19 vaccine, life saving drugs, hospital treatments, aeroplane and landing on Moon and Mars, social media communications, drone cameras and mobile phones, weather forecast of recent Tauktae cyclone are all possible only by Science. Even now, DRDO has developed a medicine named 2-deoxy-D-glucose or ‘2-DG’ to cheat the coronavirus and check their mutation immediately. Nonetheless, government directives to observe social distancing and wearing masks along with constant analysis of the disease and research regarding its vaccine is in line with the Scientific Temperament as enshrined under Article 51A(h).
Right to belief Vs Scientific Temperament
A faith is a belief of a fact without any evidence to adduce to prove and ipso facto the constitutional guarantees of liberty to belief buttresses shackles of blind faith and quagmires of superstition and obscurantist practices. Whereas per contra A scientist propounds a hypothesis and proceeds to collect evidence to see whether that hypothesis is correct or not. A scientist employs Induction of reasoning as method by which he derives final results and tests his hypothesis on the basis of evidence and an experiment and cannot claim a proposition merely because of his personal likeness or convenience. India is still ruled by belief and not by science or scientific Temperament. Liberty of belief and Scientific Temperament, though both are constitutional goals under the Constitution but they are contrary inter se. Justice RA Jahagirdar observes “Only on the basis of the mass of scientific knowledge an age does not deserve to be called a scientific age. Probably when it is said that we live in a scientific age, it is meant that in our age there has been an intensification of inquiry and an acceleration of discoveries and inventions.”
Why to confer right to belief
Now the substantial question of law of public importance is as to why to confer a citizen or person a right to belief a thing which is non est at all or defies science particularly when innocent people are defrauded by unscrupulous religious dons. But despite 61 years of the adoption of the Constitution, India failed to invoke and enforce the constitutional duty of citizen to perform Scientific Temperament in their day-to-day life and modulate its citizen to ask why, what, when and how. Why is the colour of the sky or water blue? A right to belief dictates many beliefs and in some religion it is a symbol of heaven. But Sir C.V. Raman won the Nobel prize for discovering that it was the scattering of lights reflected from the deep ocean.
Health is a pure science. But per contra, in India neither Science nor Scientific Temperament as enshrined under Article 51A(h) of the Constitution is crosshairs, neither for “We the people” nor for its Government. India qua State has slipped from the constitutional values of Scientific Temperament as enshrined under Article 51A(h) of the Constitution. A number of scientists wrote to the President of India that, “The progress of science also requires an environment of scientific temperament. Science cannot be conducted successfully in a society that does not respect science or the scientific community.”
The author is an Advocate on Record at the Supreme Court of India.