Page 5 - ScienceIndia Magazine March 2021
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Dear Readers,
Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year – Saka 1943! What? Why these New Year greetings now? Such questions arise because many or most of us know nothing or very little about the country’s national calendar. The first day of the year according to this calendar is in the month of March — March 22 — and in the leap year, it is March 21. It was very natural for ‘Swatantra Bharat’ to manifest the national identity in every aspect of life. The decision was taken to adopt a new national calendar replacing a colonial west- ern calendar. The ‘Calendar Reform Committee’ under the aegis of CSIR was constituted to propose the national calendar. An eminent astrophysicist, Dr Meghnad Saha was the chairman of the committee. In the light of modern astronomical knowledge, the committee undertook the scientif-
ic study of almost 30 traditional calendars existing in various parts of the coun-
try. Along with this, scientific survey of calendar traditions across the world
was also done. Based on this study, a unified national calendar was prepared by
interlinking traditional and modern scientific knowledge and was presented to
the Parliament. The government accepted and adopted it on March 22, 1957.
This corresponds to Chaitra 1, Saka 1879. The initiation of the year exactly
coincides with the vernal equinox which is one of the cardinal days of the year.
This is consistent with our tradition being a tropical country. Now, there can be
a logical question in reader’s mind, ‘Why people are unaware or ignorant about
this national calendar prepared on the basis of science?’ To change this situation
inculcation of scientific attitude with swadeshi spirit is required.
It has become difficult to forget the month of March, 2020. Exactly a year
ago we were hit seriously by the COVID-19 crisis. The government and the
people, both were baffled as there was no specific knowledge available regarding
the nature of the virus and how it will affect us. Therefore, there was no im-
mediate cure available with the modern healthcare systems. The only way to get
some protection from this rapidly spreading infectious disease was to maintain
a safe distance from every human being and every object as far as possible. In
other words, to confine oneself at one place. With this only solution in hand, a strict lockdown was imposed as a safety measure across the nation and that stopped the running life disturbing all its aspects. Now,
after a year, we can say that the situation is gradually improving. But, people across the globe are anxious about any future threat of a similar nature. A moment has come to redefine the science of healthcare. Lot of churning is going on in the domain of science. And, an emergent thought is — a nature-friendly healthcare science is essential to overcome any future threat. This is an encouraging outcome of this entire year-long episode.
In this edition, an important issue of the status of women in S&T in our country has been discussed, because, March 8 is celebrated as the International Women’s Day. ‘Drishti Stree Adhyayan Prabodhan Kendra’, Pune, in association with ‘SHAKTI’, a national movement for women awakening through S&T, conducted a survey on ‘Work life balance of women scientists in India with special reference to research institutes’. For the first time, this type of study was conducted in the country. Findings of this study are important and the glimpses of these findings are available for readers in this edition. Then there is a cover story where it has been explained how Indian women in science are reclaiming their place. Further, there is an interview of Dr Rohini Godbole with an impressive and apt title — ‘I am a scientist, not a woman scien- tist’. All this speaks volumes of the spirit of modern ‘Lilavatis’.
Women in our country have inherited the great values as Sister Nivedita rightfully described, ‘the digni- ty, the gentleness, the cleanliness, the thrift, the religious training, the culture of mind and heart’ and have contributed immensely to every aspect of life equally with men for ages together. So, the Western idea of empowerment doesn’t fit here. Instead, in the modern era, strength of S&T should be utilised to AWAKEN the latent potential already existing within Indian women. This is a way forward.
This edition covers many interesting topics as usual. Eagerly looking forward to your responses.
Jayant Sahasrabudhe
   A unified national calendar was prepared by interlinking traditional and modern scientific knowledge, and adopted on March 22, 1957

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