Describing the India’s Human Space Flight Program “Gaganyan” is an extraordinary challenge from the standpoints of science, technology, life sciences, long-term presence of humans in space, international linkage as well as managing a resource intense program, renowned scientist and former Chairman of the ISRO, Dr Kasturirangan opined here on Wednesday.
Delivering his convocation address at the Rani Channamma University (RCU) here on Wednesday, Dr Kasturirangan said that the decision of the Union Government certainly reflects the confidence of the country and its people to udnertake chalolenges that take us to the frontiers of complexity in human endeavor.
“The premise for this kind of decision is to be seen in context of India’s economic progress; the success of India’s Space program as a reflection of its endorsement of high degree of professionalism and the country’s determination to be on par with the most advanced, intricate and challenging human accomplishments achieved anywhere and with the ambition of even charging ahead further”, he said.
Stating that a wide-spectrum institutions like Rani Channamma Unviersity have a unique role to play for the present as well as future society, he said that “The uniqueness springs from the expertise in a wide range of disciplines spanning diverse branches of learning including sciences, management, arts, culture and humanities. Such an environment is suitable for cross fertilization of ideas among diverse disciplines; all modern endeavours and new progress are critically dependent on such processes.”.
As modern branches of knowledge are rapidly expanding, there is growing realisation of the need for such interactive studies to achieve rapid progress.
In this context, I would like to bring the case for a strong emphasis on Liberal Education. Needless to go into the details to this erudite audience about the role of liberal education to develop the freedom to think critically and independently, to cultivate one’s mind to its full potential and to liberate oneself from prejudice, superstition, and dogma., He said.
Maintaining that to foster these qualities, appropriate choice of curriculum is critical, he said that “ It is important to note that Science and Mathematics are essential components of any such project, because they provide the students the ability to develop methods of inquiry that are indispensable for the full development of the human mind and its powers to reason independently”.
More explicitly, in pure mathematics and theoretical physics, one learns how to reason from clearly defined premises. In experimental sciences, one learns the method of induction i.e. how to make proper inferences from evidence.
The great works of Indian philosophy and scriptures provide interesting examples of how the mind liberates itself from prejudice by the rigorous application to questions as to how we know and how we should act. “In short, a liberal education will prepare you to be a thinking citizen for a lifetime”, He said.
Maintaining that the Universities are playing a key role in the progress of any nation, he said that “Universities are the foundations on which nation building rests, they symbolise academic freedom and fountainhead of inspiration, acting as perennial sources to generate and disseminate new ideas and knowledge” Dr kasturirangan said.
Higher Education minister G T Devegouda, RCU Vice chancellor Shivanand Hosmani and others were present on the stage.