ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Traditional Science and Technology-Learning from Legacy

Traditional Science and Technology Learning from Legacy L Kannan N VENUGOPAL RAO's critique of the Traditional Sciences Congress ('Learning from a Legacy; How and What?', February 5) is disappointing, not so much because the event is beyond criticism, but because he does such an inadequate job of it. It is typical of the effete intellectual reflex to look at everything through archaic doctrinaire goggles, that it precludes any meaningful debate. Nevertheless, it must be clarified at the outset that the choice of the term 'traditional', rather than 'people' s', is deliberate. It is meant to assert the validity of the epistemology that evolved independent of the modern western metaphysical paradigm. On the other hand, what passes for 'people's science' is often a condescending exercise to make modern science intelligible to ignorant masses who are otherwise thought to be wallowing in millennia-old superstitions. The only outcome of such a people's science is to replace one priesthood with another. Contrary to what Rao contends, it is only by a re-assertion of tradition that one can break the hegemony of value-loaded modern S and T. Talk of S and T in modern India has remained nothing but an attempt at cultural terrorism aimed at bamboozling the public with feigned omniscience It declares as inadmissible the opinion of anybody other than 'experts', while the ruling elite goes about perpetrating holocausts like the green revolution, nuclear projects and mega-dams. It usurps the right to re-fashion society for 'public good', cowing down dissent with dire warnings about 'scientific temper'. An example of such epistemic hooliganism (that is so rampant in intellectual slums) is found in another article in the same issue of EPW on the banning of animal-slaughter. While welcoming the ban, the author bemoans that it was done on the initiative of 'rabid Ahimsa

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