Reports & Notes
Science Sustainability and indian national resurgence

Indian Express, Thu, May 8 02:42 AM

At his book release, Joshi enforces his image of a 'swayamsevak-scholar'

Top BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi on Wednesday used his book release function to project himself as a thoroughbred "swayamsevak-scholar steeped in India's value system". A fortnight after RSS chief K S Sudarshan said in the presence of the party's prime ministerial candidate L K Advani that Deendayal Upadhyay's integral humanism should be made "a compulsory reading for the partymen", Joshi reminded his audience that his book "Science Sustainability and Indian National Resurgence" was essentially compilation of 24 lectures. He started delivering these when "he was an ordinary Bharatiya Jana Sangh worker and was initiated into Upadhyay's integral humanism".

The setting and symbolism of the function were meant to reinforce his brand equity as a leader distinct from Advani. Apart from the academics and scientists who shared the dais with him, Joshi mentioned the names of VHP leader Ashok Singhal and RSS pointman for BJP, Suresh Soni, sitting in the front row - "with whom he had conversations on varied themes, dealt with in the book, on many occasions".

Joshi devoted much of his speech to the synergy between science and philosophy "that the West is beginning to acknowledge only now".

Apart from his speech on science, sustainable development, and India's national resurgence, it was the imagery that stood out. Vedic chants and a coconut each greeted the scientists and scholars on the dais while a message from Kanchi Shankaracharya was read out at the very beginning.

While he dwelt on themes like "Einstein enjoying an undue advantage over Bose", or the "Western science system only a little over 300 years old", he also hit out at the prevalent economic system in the country. "Why didn't we adopt a system suitable to our country?" he asked, in an apparent reference to many governments, including the BJP-led NDA, in the last decade. While Prof MGK Menon unveiled the book, Prof K Kastrurirangan and Vandana Siva were on the panel of speakers.