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Four People's Principles for development

Jan 11, 2012

While addressing an international science conference, Justice Markandey Katju emphasised on how scientific knowledge can reinforce and promote democracy for India's holistic development. Here are excerpts from his speech.

The purpose of science is to make our lives better and happier. Science is that knowledge by which we understand nature and harness it for our benefit. Speaking as the Chief Guest at the International Conference on Science Communication for Scientific Temper here today, Justice Markandey Katju said, “It is true that scientific knowledge can be misused like atom bomb, but it can also be used to benefit mankind, whereas without science we will be living precarious, wretched lives. Not only the applied sciences like technology benefits people, but the fundamental sciences benefit mankind in the long run, even though not immediately.”

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Referring poverty in India, Justice Katju said, “80% of our people are living in horrible poverty, with massive unemployment, skyrocketing prices, massive problems of healthcare, education, housing etc. 48 farmers have been committing suicide on an average every day, and 47% of our children are malnourished, which is over 10% higher than in countries of sub-Saharan Africa e.g. Ethiopia and Somalia. Our national aim must be to abolish these evils and make our country highly prosperous for all our citizens.”

Dr Katju suggested Four People’s Principles (following Sun Yat Sen’s Three People’s Principles) to address the nation’s problems which should be our guiding principles for solving India’s problems. These are science, democracy, livelihood and unity of the people.

When our country was on the scientific path, it prospered. With the aid of science we had built mighty civilisations thousands of years ago. The way out for our nation is to go back again to the scientific path shown by our great ancestors – the path of Aryabhatta and Brahmagupta, Sushrut and Charak, Ramanujan and Raman.

Katju expressed his disagreement on some people’s view that democracy is not good for India.  “The problem in India is not that there is too much democracy but too little,” he said. "We need more democracy, not less and that means educating those masses, raising their cultural level, and involving them actively in the task on national reconstruction," Katju added.

“The problem in India is not that there is too much democracy but too little”

He emphasised on fact that democracy and science go hand in hand. Scientific growth requires certain supportive values vis. Freedom to think, to criticise, and to dissent, tolerance, plurality, and free flow of information. These precisely are the values of a democratic society.

Katju noted that the economic growth in India has benefited only a handful of people. “Unless this trend is stopped it will be disastrous for the country,” he warned.

The three-day International Conference on “Science Communication for Scientific Temper” has five Plenary Sessions and fifteen Parallel Sessions with about 88 lectures spread over three days from 10 January 2012. All the sessions are chaired by eminent scholars and science communicators. Altogether, there are thirteen invited lectures by resource persons from different walks of life. The Conference has been organised jointly by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCAIR), Vigyan Prasar (VP), and National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) and DST.

Justice Markandey Katju, (former Judge, Supreme Court of India) is the Chairman of the Press Council of India.

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