1.4 lakh students in 2,000 schools to take RSS science exam

The syllabus for the exam has been designed by Vijnana Bharti, which has distributed two booklets on the subject as study material to students.

Written by Ashutosh Bhardwaj | New Delhi | Updated: November 13, 2016 5:52 am
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*“Astronomy and metaphysics are described in the Rig Veda”

*“The concept of the atom can be traced to Vedic times”

*“Paramanu (beyond atom) was considered to be the smallest particle, which cannot be divided further. Nuclear energy is produced by splitting the same”

*Sushruta is the “father of surgery”. He described over 300 surgical procedures… including a method of stitching intestines by using “ant-heads as stitching material”.

These are pointers from a ‘study material’ issued by Vijnana Bharti, the science and technology wing of the RSS, for an exam the outfit is conducting in over 2,000 government and private schools across the country on November 20. Around 1.4 lakh students from Classes 6 to11 will take the three-hour exam on ‘Indian contribution to science’ and the ‘Life of former President APJ Abdul Kalam’.

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The syllabus for the exam has been designed by Vijnana Bharti, which has distributed two booklets on the subject as study material to students. Prominent schools such as DPS, Kendriya Vidyalayas, Navodaya Vidyalayas and Amity International Schools have told their teachers to hold special classes for the students.

While schools admit that never before has any private institution been able to bring together so many top schools for an exam, they do not mind the fact that an outside authority has determined the syllabus and will also evaluate the answer-sheets. In fact, many of them said the study material was “extremely good”.

A Jayakumar, Vijnana Bharti Secretary General and a veteran pracharak, said the twin objectives of this exam were to make students aware about “India’s achievements in the world of science” and draw them “towards science”. “We have got massive attention and appreciation across the country for this exam. We are not merely a country that invented zero, but much more than that,” he said, emphasising that there was “no financial support from the government” for the exam. He said they opted for Kalam because he is an “inspirational figure”.

Vijnana Bharti, which calls itself a “science movement with Swadeshi spirit”, has some prominent names in its Governing Council, including top scientists such as Anil Kakodkar and G Madhavan Nair.

Ghaziabad’s Amity International School’s Academic coordinator Ekta Soni said they “have received the study material prepared by them (Vijnan Bharti).” “I have held a meeting with students on how to go about this exam. Science teachers are setting aside one period a week for the preparation of this exam. The study material is of very good quality,” she said. Sixty-nine students of her school are taking the exam.

Kalpna Shukla, school coordinator of Ghaziabad’s Navjeevan Model School, where 200 students are taking the exam, said, “We are taking extra classes for the morning” and believe that “this exam will help our students.”

The schools said they were in constant touch with Vijnana Bharti and have been coordinated with them for the exam. It took three months of planning, Jayakumar said, to bring everyone together.

After Vijnana Bharti evaluates the answersheets, successful candidates will appear for the state-level and then for the national-level exam. The final winners will receive awards from the President of India.

The booklets have chapters on ancient Indian scientists such as Aryabhatta, Varahamihira, Brahmagupta, Lalla and Sripati. Brahmgupta, the booklet notes, “calculated the instantaneous motion of a planet, gave correct equations for parallax and computation of eclipses”, and also “introduced the Indian concept of mathematics-based astronomy into the Arab world”.

A chapter on Ayurvedic treatment lists various kinds of oil massages, including Abhyangam, which is “very useful in treating obesity and diabetic gangrene”. While a chapter lists the achievements of the Indian Space Research Organisation, another on modern scientists has profiles of Vikram Sarabhai, Verghese Kurien, MS Swaminathan, Anil Kakodkar, Sam Pitroda and Sabeer Bhatia.