Science on Wheels

Vidnyan Bodh Vahini

MANS believes that people behave irrationally and are superstitious, because of wrong outdated beliefs held by them; because they are inculcated in their minds from childhood. And also because they do not have  proper education to rid them of theses beliefs.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 created by them.
Historically education was denied to the majority of Indians because the so ordained lower casts were barred by the Vedic religion to be educated. This has handicapped the majority of the population. Till the arrival of the English and their education system they were preached into believing that it was a sin to learn to read or write.  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 progresses by good quality education of the majority of its people, and not of a few affluent people who manage to monopolize  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.
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 endeavor.

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 was  equipped with the following:

* Library containing books and posters on superstition eradication, elementary science, environment, health etc.
* Telescope.
* 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.

Program Implementation

A tour program of ´Vidnyan Bodh Vahini´ was 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 Scientific Temper or Outlook amongst the people.

The Vidnyan Bodh Vahini program reached hundreds of schools and enlightened the lives of thousands of students and teachers in rural and urban Maharashtra it was discontinued because of running cost due to high cost of fuel, and constant repairs to the vehicle due to bad roads in rural Maharashtra.

A new program is planned and a smaller Jeep type or SUV type vehicle with a modified body will be used to restart this program.