Amid a raging countrywide debate over intolerance, Jawaharlal Nehru University chancellor and former ISRO director Dr K Kasturirangan said in Indore on Wednesday that he never witnessed any acts of intolerance “in 75 years of my life”.
He also said the thought of returning his awards over the issue never occurred to him.
“India is a tolerant nation. I haven’t witnessed any intolerance in 75 years of my life,” the renowned scientist said, while talking to media persons on the sidelines of an event in the city.
When asked to comment on the people from scientific community surrendering their awards to register their protest over “growing intolerance”,
Kasturirangan, the recipient of Padma Vibhushan and many other awards, said, “Scientists returning their awards is their own choice; the thought has never occurred to me.”
“I have been successfully carrying out my research works all across the nation, but never faced any outside force affecting my work,” he added.
A large number of prominent personalities from various fields have returned their awards to the government to protest against acts of intolerance in the country in recent months.
Kasturirangan was in the city as a chief guest at the four-day National Laser Symposium being held at Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT).
He expressed optimism about India’s growth as a scientific powerhouse. “India has been doing great in the field of science and has risen up to become a pioneer in space technology. There is no looking back now.”
He applauded the recently launched Astrosat – the multi-wavelength space observatory – and termed it as “best in class” satellite for astronomical researches.
The four-day symposium on laser started on Wednesday and was attended by scientists, research fellows and students from across the world. Significance of lasers, their advanced applications in industry and medicine are among the topics that will be discussed during the event.