Scientist Bhargava to return his Padma award

Bhargava's decision came after 107 senior scientists signed an online statement on Wednesday to join the chorus of protests by other scientists, artists and writers.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: December 25, 2015 10:36 pm
P m Bhargava, bhargava padma bhushan, padma bhushan bhargava, writer's protest, india writers protest, scientist bhargava, india news, bharava returns padma award, padma awards FILE photo of P M Bhargava. (Source: YouTube screen grab)

Joining the bandwagon of writers and artists, veteran scientist P M Bhargava will return the awards he received from the government of India to protest against “the government’s attack on rationalism, reasoning and science.”

Bhargava, who was the founder-director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), said he would return his Padma Bhushan at a time when “Modi government is giving room for communalists and fringe groups to divide the country based on religion.”

Talking to The Indian Express, he said: “An artist can express his dissent by doing an art work. But I am a scientist. How will I protest through my work? So I had to take the decision to return the award as it is the only way to register my protest.”

VIDEO: Discussing The Widening Of The Protest Against ‘Intolerance’

Bhargava, 87, added that he will meet the home secretary and return the award soon.

In India, he said, scientists’ fraternity is socially insensitive. “I hope the decision taken by me would at least sensitise them towards the alarming situation in the country. Scientists cannot be silent or ignore things happening around,” he said.

Bhargava said it was the series of murders of three rationalist writers made him upset. “Moreover, there are statements from the fringe groups almost everyday. All these sectarian forces were there in the country for several decades. But now they get more courage to do things under the Narendra Modi government. They could kill people and make statements of hatred. Even yesterday, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said a husband and a wife are bound by a social contract and Women should be housewives. Such statements started arising in the last one and half years because Modi himself is a man of RSS. And BJP is the political front of RSS. Its very very disturbing,” he said.

Bhargava said the Padma Bhushan or any such award will have no value if the government that gives the award stands to institutionalise a religion and hatred against others.

Bhargava’s decision came after 107 senior scientists signed an online statement on Wednesday to join the chorus of protests by other scientists, artists and writers. About 135 scientists had signed an online petition addressed to the President on Tuesday protesting intolerance. It said the Indian Constitution in Article 51 A (h) demands … that we develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform. Unfortunately, what we are witnessing instead is the active promotion of irrational and sectarian thought by important functionaries of the government.

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    Rao Uppu
    Feb 18, 2016 at 8:45 pm
    Bhargava should not have received the Padma Bhushan award in the first place. From I all know, he was for the cause of science and not a scientist of any great caliber. There are those who believe Bhargava has 500 publications. In reality, he has hardly 91 publications including some news items and some controversial articles (see pm). Based on Science Citation Index, the impact of Bhargava's science is little more than mediocre (see below). We Indians can be fooled easily and Bhargava managed to do this for a long time.I am happy Bhargava realized all this 3 years after receiving the award with the pretext that the Govt in interfering with science!!! My advise is to take the award back even he changes his mind. This could be a beginning of good science in India. The latest 20 years are displa. View a graph with all years. Results found: 36 Sum of the Times Cited [?] : 217 Sum of Times Cited without self-citations [?] : 190 Citing Articles [?] : 154 Citing Articles without self-citations [?] : 139 Average Citations per Item [?] : 6.03 h-index [?] : 8
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      Rao Uppu
      Feb 18, 2016 at 8:58 pm
      I mean "30 years after receiving the award and returning with the pretext that the Govt is inferring with Science!!!"
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        Haren
        Oct 29, 2015 at 11:32 am
        Did BJP p any law that Muslim are second hand citizen, or declare that it is Hindu nation or ped any law that banned beef in hotel or restaurant? For some incident by right wing or left wing if they give up their award than may be they did not deserve award in first place.
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          Ram Yadav
          Oct 29, 2015 at 6:49 pm
          Shame on this joker where were you when Innocent people died in BOMB BLASTS and terrorist attack why NOT you respond that time and when SCAMS run by ITALIAN MAFIA where were you literate we know pretty well all this is MANUFACTURED BY ITALIAN MAFIA and COMMUNIST GOONS if do not like get lost from our country MF ,we support TEAM MODI and we VOTE ONLY TEAM BJP Jai sree ram
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            Ram Yadav
            Oct 29, 2015 at 6:55 pm
            look this moron barking like PAID STREET DOGS we love our TEAM MODI and we will teach lesson if any PIGS and STREET DOGS bark Jai sree ram
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