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Anti-NaMo Elevator, straight to the TOP!

“Journalism should be practiced like a honey bee & not a housefly, 
as houseflies sit on filth and spread it around.
And, journalists should be like bees, productive, but capable of retorting with a sting, when needed."
"Journalism should not spare people, who don’t think in the nation’s interest."

~ Narendra Modi

India's Government Is Becoming Increasingly Antiscience

Scientists join writers, artists and historians in protesting the Modi government’s growing interference in academic affairs

By Apoorva Mandavilli on February 3, 2016




First up, and as always, little bit about the author, only to get a 360 degree perspective. The bio on the website of Ms. APOORVA MANDAVILLI says, and I quote:
“I’m a science journalist. I write and edit articles on a wide range of topics, but I’m particularly drawn to infectious diseases, the brain, public health and policy.”
Going by her earlier writings across various on-line platforms and her own blog, I did not find ONE single “Political Commentary”. Yes, I actually scanned all the way until 2007, and NONE! 

Therefore, going by the credentials of the author, drawn from her own Bio and Interests that revolve around infectious diseases, the brain, public health and policy, the author actually has nothing to do with Indian Politics. 

In short, a Science Journalist makes a highly toxic Political Comment that ironically appears on a totally unrelated & irrelevant platform : SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, A DIVISION OF NATURE AMERICA, INC

So, a ‘debut’ attempt at ‘political commentary’ and the easiest way of getting eyeballs and hits is to write some really nasty stuff on THE most popular world leader - Mr. Narendra Modi. 

For the emigrant & highly aspirational Indian-origin Americans & Green Card holder, who are constantly knocking at the gates of elite American Academia, Mr. Narendra Modi as a 'Hindu' Prime Minister of India is easy fodder. Hence, with a scintillating performance in this piece under her belt, the author would now surely ‘arrive'. Bravo!

***

Coming to the article, the very first thing one would notice is the picture. Clearly the author must have done phenomenal research over the selection of 'most suitable' picture that must go into this article, as can be seen from the picture credits: 

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

It is not that easy to select the most ‘toxic’ picture of India’s Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi from a huge huge archive of western press/media. Al Jazeera was obviously one of the best source.

Great job there indeed!

***

Now about the contents of the article, they are just ‘here-say’, or at best some loose inputs from ‘prime time’ English News - they have nothing to do with facts & data. However, the author in one of her responses, tweets as follows:

apoorva_nyc: actually the reporting for this was done in Hyderabad, India, 
"ground reality" as it were. not in a posh office

Few quotes from the wonderfully researched article with 'ground reality' will be self-explanatory (emphasis mine):
The BJP and Modi, in particular, are aligned with the extremist right-wing group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, or RSS. (This unholy alliance is comparable to the relationship between the Republican Party and the Tea Party, but the RSS is a paramilitary group with more violent overtones than the Tea Party has shown so far.) Together, the BJP and RSS promote the agenda of Hindutva, the notion that India is the homeland of Hindus and all others — the hundreds of millions of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and others in this sprawling, secular democracy — are interlopers.
Despite his blatantly anti-secular stance, Modi’s stated goals for economic development are wildly popular, particularly among the country’s majority Hindus.
Vemula was a Dalit, a member of an oppressed caste in India.
I would not even attempt a rebuttal to these highly toxic "Hindu-phobic" remarks, which anyways are tossed around every single day as unguided missiles. It is just to bring out the fact that we have spotted yet another Indian-American as a 'rising star' in the crowded galaxy of ‘eminent intellectuals’.

***

Here is an account of ‘personal experience’ by an Indian Scientist, Kaneenika Sinha; an assistant professor in Mathematics at IISER Pune, who happened to personally meet the PM, Mr. Narendra Modi at one of the interactions, as part of a delegation comprising of 30 scientists across India. 

I am only quoting some of the highlights here from this candid blog-post “A meeting with the Prime Minister”: (emphasis mine)
The PM wanted a discussion on the current state of Indian science and from what I understood in a smaller preparation meeting before we headed out to RCR, he had conveyed his eagerness to hear diverse viewpoints. The secretaries of the science ministries (mostly scientists themselves), therefore, were to play a moderating role and let the other invitees from the science community do most of the talking.
He also made some remarks about a disconnect between writing research papers and translating the research into technology. One of the examples he mentioned was why agricultural research has not addressed the problem of poor yield of pulses in India. 
It was heartening to note his awareness of science challenges in the country and that his thoughts on science are not restricted to Ganesha and plastic surgery, as many journalists would have us believe. 
Speaking personally, I came back with a strong feeling that this government perceives the science community as underperforming and wants it to produce more. 
***

And then we get this junk of an article being pushed around in the name of 'ground reality': 
India's Government Is Becoming Increasingly Antiscience - How ‘Unscientific’ research was that, Ms. Apoorva Mandavilli? 

Conclusion: For an Indian-American, to get an entry into the ‘gated community’ of highly evangelic & anti-Indian ecosystem of American Academia, Mr. Narendra Modi has become the fastest and safest Elevator to the TOP!

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