India: national pride instead of science – knowledge

When tomorrow’s anthropologists examine the now almost forgotten corona pandemic, they may perceive this time as an era in which science was once again overtaken by faith in many parts of the world. Maybe the world is flat after all, who knows for sure? Well, scientists at least have an idea.

In the British science magazine Nature was complained on Thursday that some topics are currently disappearing from Indian textbooks. The periodic table of the elements, for example, or the history of evolution. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) wants “rootedness and pride in India and its rich, diverse, ancient and modern culture and knowledge systems and traditions”.

The Indian government prefers pride of religion and nation to science

A throwback to a pre-colonial era when the people of India were more developed than the barbarians who later invaded the country. The NCERT is funded by the Indian government. And unfortunately it is moving away from complex facts towards emotional narratives that are easier to convey.

The educated in India are enormously educated. But the poor are also particularly numerous and poor. And when people are given the choice between a full stomach and pride in religion or nation, they surprisingly choose the latter.

Among the more absurd narratives of this recollection is that there are millennia-old Hindu surgical techniques for transplanting animal heads onto human bodies. God Ganesha has to serve as proof. Subtext: We were someone long before the British plundered and humiliated us. This is well received today, when the problems have become so complex that even scientists despair. Only when you rewrite the curriculum in favor of such narratives do you educate the mythomaniacs of tomorrow. They may choose pride, but there is no way they will be able to solve the problems of the future, from climate change to water shortages. Neither in India nor anywhere else.

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