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Monday, September 28, 2015

Knowledge and Superstitions

One trait common among all individuals is curiosity. As man evolved into more and more intelligent species his curiosity levels kept going up. While others animals were content with eating, drinking, sleeping and having sex, man went a step further. Humans wanted to know, who they are and how did their existence, the existence of everything came into being.

Why did the sun exist, why after sunset there were stars and what did the stars really show. What is the moon and why did the moon exist. Then came the theory of God, someone must have created us and that's God. So humans started praying, sacrificing, worshipping etc to please god. Humans started regarding the Sun, Water and other stars and planets as gods.

Thousands of stories and blind beliefs came into existence that some demon was responsible for the solar and lunar eclipse. The demon gulped up the sun or the moon for some time and then released it. When people got frightened they started remembering their creator, about which they had heard stories from others and about whom, a lot was written by their ancestors.

Conditions got so worse that anyone questioning the things written in ancient texts was persecuted. Copernicus, when he proposed that the Sun was at the centre of the solar system and other planets including the earth revolved around it was burned to death by the Catholic Church. Galileo was jailed and not released until he apologised.

But ultimately with development in science and technology we knew that most of things that were written in old books had no basis in terms of reality. The sun was no god but a massive sphere of hydrogen nuclei in plasma state of matter, this hydrogen nuclei are constantly undergoing nuclear fusion reaction.

So this is how various superstitions regarding the universe finally disappeared. Superstitions exists in every culture , everywhere around the world. However all the superstitions are dispelled by scientific discoveries.

Superstition hold people back and instill unnecessary fears. Till today there are people who believe in astrology, now astrology was based on the relative positions of the stars that could be seen by the naked eye. Trillions of other stars exist that cannot be seen through the naked eye. Again isn't it hilarious that the universe can actually tell what is gonna happen to us in the future. But being fearful about the feature makes them belive in all the junk that astrologers tell people. 

The priests, astrologers, babas all tap into people's fears and run their business, where there is ignorance there is superstition. Such superstitions were responsible for degradation of India, from a strong and rich nation to a weak and poor nation. Till today the nation suffers because of ignorance and blind beliefs. 

The biggest detriment to India's progress has been population explosion since Independence. A simple operation could have stopped many people from having large families, but false beliefs like it may lead to loss of manhood and muscle power prevented millions from undergoing the operation and thus they kept adding kids to their family. The resources of the family was divided, the kids could not be taken care of well because of economic constraints. The result - millions of unhappy, uneducated families and poor families and they live a really pitiable life. 

Knowledge is power, the cause of all unhappiness is ignorance and the cause of contentment and joy is knowledge. Learning is not a one day phenomenon, neither it is done only during formal education. Learning and knowledge acquisition is a life long process.  

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

India - Future development

In India most of the people are dependent on agriculture as a means of their livelihood. However looking into the future one can clearly see that agriculture would be even more mechanised in the future.Futuristically speaking one can see robots doing the routine tasks with humans guiding them. So one man is enough for hundreds of hectares of land, the challenge of pests can be met through artificial intelligence controlled pest control systems. Biotechnology and genetic engineering will give us higher yielding variety of seeds.

Already there is huge scope of increase of farm productivity in India, advancements in technology will make the farms more productive. Since a huge tract of land can be taken care of by one man, manual labour of hundreds of millions of farmers will not be needed. So how are they going to feed themselves. Well, since the farms productivity will be many times more than what it is today. The government has to make sure that ample resources reach this people. They must have access to food, clothing, medication,education and all the other basic necessities of life. 

It would be interesting to see how this people are deployed in other sectors of the economy. As farmers they are entrepreneurs, the best employment that anyone can have. They have their own land where they can grow the crop of their choice, sell their product in the market. However since a huge section of Indians are involved in farming and area of land per farmer is low, most of the farmers in India are poor. 

Also Indian farming lack lots of basic facilities like availability of 24 hour steady electricity, access to irrigation facilities, pest control. Also remote villages in India lack medical facilities, good roads and lack in terms of quality educational facilities. The answer to all these problems is technology. Education levels must go up among Indians. If that happens they will be able to solve lot of their problems themselves.

Good Education would lead to :-

  • Choosing the correct leaders who will work for them, rather than robbing them.
  • They will understand the value of family planning and keeping their families small by bearing less children.
  • Accessing the Internet and other modes of information and knowledge to maximise their farm productivity and exploring other areas of opportunity. 
In the above point the first point is very important since choosing right leaders is vital for economic prosperity and good law and order in the region. Its because of ignorance that people get fooled by selfish politicians and they in turn loot the masses. 

Consider this fact in the last 10 years along India has added an extra Brazil to its population. Providing good education, medical and other facilities to this rapidly growing population is a big challenge. Had India been able to contain this population growth we would have been a developed nation long ago. This again takes us back to our first point, the importance of good leaders. 

While they are brilliant at campaigning during the elections .Immediately after they get their seats, they forget about the people and are busy filling up their pockets at the cost of ordinary people. They never focused hard on controlling the growth of population and that's why we have come to such a situation today. 

One thing is for sure the cure of almost all of India's problems lies in political will, good education and scientific and technological advancements. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Studying the Universe.

Before we knew that the sun was a gigantic mass of hydrogen atoms in plasma state in which thermonuclear fusion is going on, that is generating lot of energy. The sun was thought to be a God, there were people across the world who thought that they were the descendants of sun. 

In India millions of people practice a set of postures saluting the sun, the practice is known as suryanamaskar. You will find people offering water to sun every morning in India. Many festivals are timed depending on the position of the sun in the sky. Again when solar eclipse used to happen, people were frightened, many thought that some demon was trying to eat the sun. 

The sun, the wind, water , earth were all considered to be gods. So many myths and stories used to exist about the sun god. In Hindu mythology he is considered to be an important god, the ancient sages used to practice yagyas to appease the sun. A yagya is a ritual in which a bunch on sages would sit around a fire, then chant some mantras in Sanskrit while keeping the fire lit up by pouring ghee in it at the end or even in the middle they would sacrifice an animal and thought that it pleased the God. Similar practices existed to appease the rain god(Indra) and other gods. 

So look what ignorance can do, people end up doing all kinds of stupid things. 

Ultimately it was discovered that the sun was but a gigantic mass of hydrogen atoms in plasma state of matter , that is continuously undergoing nuclear fusion reaction, which is generating tremendous amount of energy. A microcosmic fraction of the energy reaches the earth in form of electromagnetic radiation. However this energy is enough for the all the living being on earth. The radiation from the sun has played a vital role in generation, sustenance and continuation of life on earth. 

The sun has no consciousness of its own, so its no god. The sun is just one of the quadrillions of stars that exists in the universe. The study of astronomy has been exciting and it has revealed this truths about the universe. There may huge amount of things about which we are yet not aware of. 

The study of universe is absolutely essential, for the study of  the cosmos is closely linked to our consciousness.  What are we? Aren't we made of the same stuff that blurted out during the big bang. Our bodies comprise of the same matter that constitutes the rest of the universe. We are not different from the universe but we are a part of it and in studying the universe, we are actually on a path of self discovery, about ourselves and our creation.