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103rd Indian Science Congress: curtains came down on high note

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103rd Indian Science Congress
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Mysuru: Around 12,500 delegates participated in various events of the 103rd Indian Science Congress. The events included plenary sessions, public lectures and a mega-expo on a fascinating subject from school to university level. However, after a five-day session, the event concluded on a high note on Thursday.

Held in the sprawling 700-acre University of Mysore campus in this heritage city, about 140km from Bengaluru, the annual jamboree attracted a galaxy of scientists, Nobel Laureates, researchers and students from across the country and abroad.

“It was historic for us to host such a major science event during our centenary year and 33 years after holding first time in 1982 when (then prime minister) Indira Gandhi opened it”, Vice-Chancellor K S Rangappa told media at the valedictory session.

Addressing the gathering at the valedictory function, Governor Vajubhai R Vala urged each scientist to adopt at least five students and mentor them in their pursuit.

“Scientists should not keep knowledge to themselves but pass on to their students and next generation. Present-day students are very intelligent, as they score 96 percent in every exam unlike us when we could score high only in term exams”, he said, drawing huge applause from the packed audience in Crawford Hall.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the event on January 3 with a new mantra of ‘five 5s’ for enquiry and engineering by the scientific community, brain-storming sessions followed in diverse subjects spanning space, technology and developments in their various disciplines.

Unlike the previous congress in Mumbai, when a session on Vedic science triggered controversy, the Science Congress association managed to keep the event free from mythology and non-science.

An IAS officer from Uttar Pradesh, however, presented a paper on health benefits of conch (shank) in session on Tuesday, while a botany professor (Akhilesh Pandey) from Madhya Pradesh failed to present a paper on Hindu god Shiva being the “greatest environmentalist” as he failed to turn up on Wednesday following an injury.

The event in Mansagangotri campus also had a children’s congress, women’s congress and a fair under all of Pride’ dedicated to former president A P J Abdul Kalam, who expressed a wish to participate before he passed away at Shillong on July 27 last year.

“We had a record turnout of people to the exhibition, especially hundreds of school and college students from the city, demonstrating keen interest and enthusiasm among them for basic and applied science,” Rangappa said.

Veteran scientist C N R Rao delivered a lecture on “Doing Science in India’ on Sunday after the inaugural session, which was webcast for live streaming, about 400 scientists from overseas and across the country and about 100 noted speakers presented papers in various disciplines.

Five Nobel Laureates — John B Gurdon (medicine, 2012) from Britain, Dass Shechtman (chemistry, 2011) from Israel, David J Gross (physics, 2004) and Arthur B. McDonald (physics, 2015) from the US and Serge Haroche (physics, 2012) from France — spoke at the panel discussion on “Science & Technology: Present & Future”.

Indian-born Fields medallist Manjul Bhargava from Princeton University, New Jersey also gave a public talk on inaugural day.

Besides Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, union Science & Technology Minister Harsha Vardhan, union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani and union Health Minister J P Nadda participated in various functions during the event.(IANS) (Picture Courtesy:thebengalurutimes.blogspot.com)

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An insight into the biggest political parties of India

The next state polls of 2018 will be an acid test for Rahul Gandhi to prove his mettle as a leader

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The recent clash of BJP and Congress have re-balanced the political scenario of India. Wikimedia Commons
The recent clash of BJP and Congress have re-balanced the political scenario of India. Wikimedia Commons

NEW DELHI: Indian being a political democratic country, houses a lot of political parties. Since independence, many new parties have emerged to take up the fight for various sections of the society. One of the examples of such a party is AAP (Aam Admi Party). AAP came up with strong political ethics to root out issues faced by a commons man but now the very existence of this party is in question due to poor performance and incompetence of some of its top leaders. But the most prominent of all of the political parties in India are BJP (Bharatiya Janta Party) and the Indian National Congress.

BJP encouraged the construction of the temple of God Rama at the site of the Babri Masjid. Wikimedia Commons
BJP encouraged the construction of the temple of God Rama at the site of the Babri Masjid. Wikimedia Commons

In 1980, BJP surfaced from a former party known as Bharatiya Jana Sangh which was founded by Syama Prasad Mookerjee. BJP’s agenda during the 1980s focused on the ‘Ram Janambhoomi movement’. The party encouraged the construction of the temple of God Rama at the site of the Babri Masjid. This issue gave the Hindu colour denomination to BJP and in 1996; it emerged as the largest party in the parliament. After being kept away from the power for long, Narendra Modi led the BJP to unprecedented heights in the last elections and the competition was put up by him was unmatchable.

On the other hand, Congress is a more matured political party of India. It got established in the year 1885. After the independence, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became the leader of free India. Nehru was the front face of the political governance in India but after his assassination, his daughter Indira Gandhi took the charge and became the prime minister in 1966. Unfortunately, Indira Gandhi also got assassinated and her son, Rajiv Gandhi took up the reigns of the party. In the sequence of assassination, Rajiv Gandhi was the next target. Sonia Gandhi came to power in 1998 and she led the party from the front in 2004 elections. This resulted in the political rule of Congress under Manmohan Singh.

After the independence, Congress head Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became the leader of free India. Wikimedia Commons
After the independence, Congress head Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru became the leader of free India. Wikimedia Commons

The recent Assembly election of Gujarat was a real eye-opener for many, as the people’s right to vote was seen quite considerably y exercised. The Congress resistance in the very own fortress of Narendra Modi was a heavy blow to the Modi wave that swept the country. Although, BJP had the last laugh in the election results but the close fight Syama Prasad Mookerjee from the Congress side was appreciable. The new trend seems to be rebalancing the political scenario in India. The tussle between the BJP and Congress will definitely go down in the history of Indian politics.

Nowadays, Twitter is another playground for political parties. The rule of social media platforms has pushed Indian leaders to communicate in the same manner. It’s vividly seen that people take up to twitter to express their views and differences. Rahul Gandhi vetted his displeasure over the performance of BJP in the latest series of attacks by Rahul against Prime Minister Modi.

Last month only, Rahul Gandhi was crowned as the party head. Therefore, the state polls of 2018 will be an acid test for Rahul to prove his mettle as a leader. It will be interesting to see the new strategies that will be deployed by Congress to take an edge over their arch rivals, BJP.