Popularising Science: The Efforts of the BGVS
It took 40 years for the hopes of independence to come true, or at least, to begin to be realized, when the Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha took place in 1987. Education as an instrument of empowerment and agency was set to be realized, eventually. Within the next couple of years, the Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti (BGVS) or ‘Indian Organization for Learning and Science’ was formalized, with M. P. Parameswaran and E. K. Narayanan at its helm. Numerous jathas and campaigns later, the initiative has its outreach in over 300 districts in 22 states, and is continuously expanding. The various programmes of the BGVS work toward social transformation, and against communalism, inequality, poverty and ignorance.
BGVS has long realized the need for a scientific temperament, and its People’s Science Movement has worked at scientific awareness programmes at different levels. Capitalising on the mobilisation achieved through the other programmes, activities fostering an interest in science in the wake of the Transit of Venus were conducted in 2004, and in 1995 and 1999, activities related to the solar eclipse. In addition, there have been science communication jathas. In 2009, the programme marked the International Year of Astronomy. Each of these activities spans months of preparation, training, and communication using audio-visual aids. The events are made as real and meaningful as possible. A national conference on Women and Science was organised in 2010 at Hyderabad. Science carnivals in rural areas, targeted especially at the minorities and the girl child, are regularly organised to bring the wonders of science in a rational way to the masses.
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