The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ramanna, IIT head spar over astrology

Calcutta, March 7: Former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission Raja Ramanna today had a spat with IIT Kharagpur director S.K. Dube over whether astrology is a science.

At a seminar in the city on marine bio-diversity in South and Southeast Asia, Ramanna said if youths placed more faith in astrology than in their own abilities, development would come to a halt. “I do not consider astrology as a science, only people who are dying rely on it. Putting faith on astrology is adversely affecting the present generation and youth are losing their motivation. These things should stop,” he said.

On hearing this, Dube stood up. “I beg to differ from your views,” he said. The IIT director underlined that he firmly believed astrology is a form of science. “I will not participate in the seminar if such comments are made on astrology,” he warned.

The nuclear scientist replied that he was helpless if Dube’s feelings were hurt but repeated that astrology was not a science. At this, Dube left the seminar.

The row started when Ramanna was replying to questions from the media on how science could co-exist with astrology, a subject that has been recommended by Union human resources development minister Murli Manohar Joshi for inclusion in undergraduate courses.

Stressing the need to develop science, Ramanna said no government could progress and develop without it. “But I do not consider astrology as science.”

Vice-chancellors of universities across the state have already registered their protest against the University Grants Commission’s recent directive asking them to introduce astrology at the undergraduate level.

A college girl committed suicide in Burdwan last month after an astrologer made dark predictions about her health and future, strengthening the argument that astrology plays havoc with the psyche of students and youths.

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