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‘I want to take science to common people through literature’

Jayant Narlikar, an eminent astrophysicist and a writer, has been elected as the president of 94th Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, a prestigious annual Marathi literary meet, which will take place in Nahsik this year
By Manasi Deshpande, Pune
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 10:44 PM IST

Jayant Narlikar, an eminent astrophysicist and a writer, has been elected as the president of 94th Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, a prestigious annual Marathi literary meet, which will take place in Nahsik this year. Jayant Narlikar shared his thoughts with selected media representatives. Here are excerpts...

Had you ever expected to be the president of the Marathi Sahitya Sammelan? What was your reaction?

Honestly, I had never thought I would receive this honour. Mukund Kirloskar, editor of Kirloskar magazine, used to tell me that I could be the president of this literary meet, but I had never thought that it would be true. I feel it is a great responsibility. I want to spread different forms of science through various tools. Literature is an important one.

As president of the Sahitya Sammelan, how will you encourage the youth to write more?

Even when I didn’t have this honour, I used to take part in various activities which encourage the youth to write. I have always participated in workshops, meetings and various activities. For me, it is another year full of opportunities to do this. I want to take science to the common people. There should be more scientific writing for common people. Some organisations have been working on this. But there is a lot to do.

What made you keep writing in Marathi?

Literature is a great medium to cultivate scientific temper. One can understand and express better in their mother tongue. Take the example of Albert Einstein, he would start talking in German when he got really excited. That’s why I emphasise on education through the mother tongue. At least primary education must be taught in their mother tongue. It helps develop an interest in Science and Mathematics.

Technology has spread but do you think scientific temper in the society has been developed?

I am disappointed to say that, I do not see scientific temper. People use modern technology for superstitions. For example, some people use a high tech phone to check Shubha Divas (good day). Technologically advanced tools are not being used to develop a scientific attitude. I still see superstitious thoughts even among well-educated people. It is really disappointing.

Do you think this chair will attract more people towards science writing?

I really hope that science writing will prevail now. Sahitya Sammelan is a great opportunity to do that. People from various backgrounds and various parts come to attend this event. Interactions take place and I am wishful for using this opportunity to spread scientific temper.

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