Written by Deepak Girme
Vidnyan Bodh Vahini
MANS believes that people behave irrationally and are superstitious, because of their ignorance. The reason for this is simple; they do not have proper education. It was believed that with the teaching of science in schools and colleges, people will be enlightened and will have a scientific temper or a scientific, rational and logical view of leading their lives. However this has not happened because the education policy makers in our country have sabotaged our educational system and the vested interests amongst these so called education experts, have seen to it, that our people remain mired in the bog of obscurantism and backward thinking. The so-called tall Pundits in our country are in fact tall only because they are amongst the dwarf masses.
Denial of the right to education based on the cast system has handicapped the majority of the population. They were preached into believing that it was a sin to learn to read or write. For ages the majority of Indians have suffered at the hands of these people. It is not wrong to say that such people and their narrow self-seeking interests are the main cause of the miserable condition that the majority of we Indians are in today. In the past 400 years, the Renaissance transformed the way of thinking in Europe contributing new inventions in science and technology, and changed the world. We Indians have contributed nearly nothing substantial to this modern way of life. If this scenario continues we will be amongst the most backward countries in the world. A Country is known by the majority of people, staying in this part of the world and not a few affluent people monopolizing religion, education, land holdings, trade and even the authority of the state. The ignorant masses should not be and cannot be just wished away or be ignored any longer, for they are the country.
According to the Constitution of India,-- it is the duty of every citizen of India to promote scientific temper, a spirit of inquiry and humanism.
MANS believes that it should do its duty as laid out in the Constitution of India. MANS is already doing a lot of work to promote scientific temper and scientific attitude amongst the people of Maharashtra. But ANS feels that it will be able to do much more in this direction if they had better facilities and tools to help them in this endeavour.
After a study of this problem of mass ignorance, it was decided that instead of constructing a permanent educational center, it would be better to start with a mobile unit, that could reach the remote areas where the most uneducated and economically deprived people live. Thus was born the idea of a mobile science van or Vidnyan Bodh Vahini. The expenditure on the special purpose vehicle was borne by Rotary Club in US and its counterpart in Jalgaon.
This mobile van, ‘a science classroom on wheels’, reaches young students and old people living in slums, villages and hamlets located in remote areas.
The Van is equipped with the following:
* Library containing books and posters on superstition eradication, elementary science, environment, health etc.
* Audio and video CDs DVDs on science, anti-superstition views, etc.
* Audio equipment like CD player, amplifier, loudspeaker, microphone
* Video equipment like,video CD/DVD player, video projector, screen etc.
A tour program of ´Vidnyan Bodh Vahini´ is planned well in advance by contacting the interested schools, villages. MANS activists visit the places as per plan. Live demos, and poster exhibitions and hands on experience of telescope, film shows, lecture-cum -miracle demo etc are the main programs through which MANS spreads its message about anti-superstition and tries to inculcate Scientfic Temper or Attitude amongst the people.