There is a theory behind relativity, but deference follows its own course. In the distant village of Mandleshwar in the Khargone district, people have charted along the second path to reach the first.
Every year on April 18, villagers gather at the Dutt temple to perform an ‘abhishek’ (holy bath) of the giver of the theory of relativity, Albert Einstein.
"The ceremony to commemorate the death anniversary of the great scientist began almost 25 years back to promote a scientific temper in the village. The unique practice was started by Madhya Pradesh high court justice (retired) late MW Dev, who delivered the historic judgement in the Bhopal Gas Tragedy case," advocate Sanjiv Moyade told Hindustan Times.
"Justice Dev, who belonged to Khandwa, was deeply influenced by Einstein. He believed that Indian spirituality had greatly influenced the scientist that helped him to come up with groundbreaking theories."
Social worker Prakash Mehta said that observing Einstein’s anniversary has helped generate awareness among villagers too.
"Village children show more interest in science and technology," he said. Mehta, who is an employee at MP West Zone Electricity Distribution Co Ltd, said that a young girl, Gunjan Kulkarni, has qualified the Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) recently.
"The impact of the ceremony has had far-reaching effect. Even people from surrounding villages have shown interest to conduct such programmes so that their children develop an interest in science."
Talking to Hindustan Times, Kulkarni said: "Though many engineering colleges have come up in this part of the state, but rural children are still far behind than their urban counterparts in terms of awareness in science and innovation. Such programmes, like ‘abhishek’ of Einstein, make rural kids more aware and also mould their minds towards science and technology."