People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) |
Vol.
XXV No. 33 August 19, 2001 |
"Stop this Fraud on our Children!"
OVER a hundred leading scientists, academicians, teachers and educationists, in a statement have protested against the attempts by the Vajpayee government to introduce Vedic Mathematics and Vedic Astrology courses in the education system. They have in one voice demanded "Stop this Fraud on our Children!"
The scientists and mathermaticians are deeply concerned that the essential thrust behind the campaign to introduce the so-called ‘Vedic Mathematics’ in the school curriculum by the NCERT, and ‘Vedic Astrology’ at the university level by the University Grants Commission, has more to do with promoting a particular brand of religious majoritarianism and associated obscurantist ideas than with any serious development of mathematical or scientific teaching in India. In rejecting these attempts, they re-iterate their firm conviction that all teaching and pedagogy must be founded on rational, scientific and secular principles.
Pointing out that the so-called "Vedic Mathematics" is neither vedic nor mathematics, they say that the imposition of ‘Vedic maths’ will condemn particularly those dependent on public education to a sub-standard mathematical education and will be calamitous for them.
"The teaching of mathematics involves both imparting the basic concepts of the subject as well as methods of mathematical computations. The so-called ‘Vedic maths’ is entirely inadequate to this task since it is largely made up of tricks to do some elementary arithmetic computations. Its value is at best recreational and its pedagogical use limited", the statement noted. The signatories demanded that the NCERT submit the proposal for the introduction of ‘Vedic maths’ in the school curriculum for a thorough and critical examination to any of the recognised bodies of mathematical experts in India.
Similarly, they assert that while many people may believe in astrology, this is in the realm of belief and is best left as part of personal faith. Acts of faith cannot be confused with the study and practice of science in the public sphere.
Signatories to the statement include award -winning scientists, Fellows of the Indian National Science Academy, the Indian Academy of Sciences, Senior Professors and eminent mathematicians. Prominent among the over 100 scientists who have signed the statement are:
Yashpal (Professor, Eminent Space Scientist, Former Chairman UGC), J V Narlikar (Director, Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune)M S Raghunathan ( Professor of Eminence, School of Maths, TIFR and Chairman National Board for Higher Maths). S G Dani, (Senior Professor, School of Mathematics, TIFR) R Parthasarathy (Senior Professor, School of Mathematics, TIFR) ,Alladi Sitaram (Professor, Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Bangalore), Vishwambar Pati (Professor, Indian Statistical Institute , Bangalore), Kapil Paranjape (Professor, Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc), Chennai), S Balachandra Rao, (Principal and Professor of Maths, National College, Bangalore) A P Balachandran, (Professor, Dept. of Physics, Syracuse University USA), Indranil Biswas (Professor, School of Maths, TIFR) C Musili (Professor, Dept. of Maths and Statistics, Univ. of Hyderabad), V.S. Borkar ( Professor, School of Tech. and Computer Science, TIFR), Madhav Deshpande (Prof. of Sanskrit and Linguistics, Dept. of Asian Languages and Culture, Univ. of Michigan, USA), N. D. Haridass (Senior Professor, Institute of Mathematical Science, Chennai), V.S. Sunder (Professor, Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai), Nitin Nitsure (Professor, School of Maths, TIFR) ,T Jayaraman (Professor, Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai) ,Vikram Mehta (Professor, School of Maths, TIFR), R. Parimala (Senior Professor, School of Maths, TIFR), Rajat Tandon (Professor and Head, Dept. of Maths and Statistics, Univ. of Hyderabad), Jayashree Ramdas (Senior Reseacrh Scientist, Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, TIFR) , Ramakrishna Ramaswamy (Professor, School of Physical Sciences, JNU), D P Sengupta (Retd. Prof. IISc., Bangalore), V Vasanthi Devi (Former VC, Manonmaniam Sundaranar Univ. Tirunelveli), J K Verma (Professor, Dept. of Maths, IIT Bombay), Bhanu Pratap Das (Professor, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore) Pravin Fatnani (Head, Accelerator Controls Centre, Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore), S.L. Yadava (Professor, TIFR Centre, IISc, Bangalore) , Kumaresan, S (Professor, Dept. of Mathematics, Univ. of Mumbai), Rahul Roy ( Professor, ISI ,Delhi)