Monday, November 3, 2014

Response to Hindu article of Karan Thapar critical of PM Modi's beliefs about Ganesha and Mahabharata

Last updated on 14th Nov. 2014

On November 1st, the Hindu carried this article by Karan Thapar, The two faces of Mr. Modi, http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/comment-the-two-faces-of-mr-modi/article6553304.ece.

I submitted the following comment (in two parts) to the above webpage (version below has small corrections):

I think Mr. Thapar is reading too much into honourable PM Narendra Modi's statements about genetic science and plastic surgery in the context of Mahabharata and Lord Ganesha. It is not as if Mr. Modi is directing scientists to agree with his view. It is Mr. Modi's belief and, IMHO, he is entitled to it. Mr. Thapar views such matters as false - fine, he is entitled to his view. My personal view is that some paranormal capabilities and events of Hindu epics & scripture may be true like some of the miracles attributed to Jesus in the New Testament may be true. But I think that some Hindu epics/scripture like some parts of some of the Puranas should not be read literally but allegorically.

In response to Mr. Thapar drawing attention to article 51A (h) of the Indian constitution about duty of Indians to have a scientific temper, I would like to draw readers' attention to article 25 of the Indian constitution which gives every Indian the right to profess, practise and propagate religion subject to some some matters like public order and morality.

So article 51A (h) should be read along with article 25 to get the right sense of the Indian constitution. My personal view is that scientific temper is fine for areas where science & technology is dominant like computers and space missions but there are areas of life where science is silent or not very knowledgeable like how to lead a happy, peaceful and harmonious life, and whether a person carries something like samskara and karma before he/she is born and after he/she dies. Rational thinking is not everything in life; religious belief and intuition also play a vital role in the lives of many Indians including, it seems, the Hon'ble PM.

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As the above comment did not seem to go past the moderator, I tried a truncated version of the above comment removing sentences related to my personal views. But that too did not go past the moderator!

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There was a follow up article to Karan Thapar's article in The Hindu dated 13th Nov. 2014, Why do our scientists not speak out?, by one of the regular Hindu Science & Technology columnists, D. Balasubramaniam, http://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/why-do-our-scientists-not-speak-out/article6591259.ece.

I submitted the following comment on the above web page (slightly re-formatted):

The article is quite interesting but I felt it did not cover the view that some part of Hindu scripture and scripture of other religions like Christianity could be true. The absence of evidence related to some extraordinary events written in these scripture does not mean that they have been proven to be false accounts or imaginative accounts. As science or history using science cannot unambiguously prove that such scripture is false, these matters move into an area of belief.

With reference to Karan Thapar's article critical of PM Modi's belief in some aspects of Hindu scripture, my view is that it is Mr. Modi's belief and he is certainly entitled to it. Mr. Modi is certainly not asking/directing all Indian scientists to accept his point of view in this regard. Karan Thapar has a different view and Karan Thapar too is entitled to it.

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