At a recent convention held in the Capital, the Bhartiya Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha took stock of the ways to popularise science among the common people
Fanning the flame of science
IT IS through very unscientific songs and plays on subjects close to the quotidian concerns of the villagers that the mission that the Bhartiya Jan Gyan Vigyan Jatha (BJGVJ) started met with success. The thespians took into account matters that were close to the hearts of villagers -- agriculture, forests, water management, health and environment. The movement BJGVJ that was launched in 1992 by the National Council of Science and Technology Communication, a division of the Department of Science and Technology, has come a long way. It was time to take stock at the national convention held in New Delhi from 22 to 26 May.
"The mission of BJGVJ is a dream," says Yashpal, chairperson of the Jatha and former chairperson of the University Grants Commission, "It was born out of a desire to share with the people what we have learnt from our scientific institutions." The way to this knowledge, he feels, is through mass participation: "The change must come from below."
But mood of the convention was not so enthusiastic. Delegates from the 350 district organising committees of the Jatha conveyed a feeling of cautious enthusiasm. Says K Papparao, a 45-year-old village schoolmaster from Andhra Pradesh, "We are tired of the developmental projects launched by the state. It is the people who know what is best for them." Papparao says that the Jatha has adopted over 100 villages in the Khamman district, where volunteers have tried tackling problems of pollution and hygiene. "Although the programmes are appreciated by the people, for most it's just entertainment. But every little counts."
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