Expressing concern over the public’s growing intolerance towards those holding differing points of view, PM Manmohan Singh spoke in favour of rational discourse. Narrow-mindedness can affect creative instincts, he added.
Singh noted that people are losing the ability to engage in rational discourse, where different points of view are expressed. “Public debate is often held hostage to sensationalism. Sometimes I fear that a growing culture of narrow mindedness may affect the creative, innovative and imaginative instincts of the country’s youth,” he said.
“I have been observing a growing intolerance among our people to dissent and opinions that contradict the prevailing orthodoxy,” Singh added.
Stating that Indian civilisation has a rich tradition of preserving social harmony and promoting conciliation by accommodating different viewpoints, identities and cultural differences, he said, “We should strengthen these impulses through the propagation of a scientific temper, and an enlightened understanding of the meaning of freedom of expression.”
Speaking at the inception ceremony as general president of the Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) on the occasion of its centenary, he said the Congress’s theme for the city in the next year would be ‘Science for Shaping Future of India’.
Singh also said that the government was likely to formulate a new science and technology policy within a year to enable capacity building for meaningful development in a decentralised manner. Stating that the UPA government has made great investments in the field of science, he said, “We built world-class institutions that created islands of excellence that, in turn, created new knowledge.”