Tu Hindu bangega na Musalman banega,
Insaan ki aulaad hai, Insaan banega
(You will neither become a Hindu or a Muslim, You’re an offspring of a human being, you will become a Human being).
This song came to mind the moment I read the recent claim made by Union minister of state for human resource development, Govt. of India, Satyapal Singh. Mr. Singh has claimed that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution of man was “scientifically wrong” and it needs to be changed in school and college curriculum. While speaking to reporters at All India Vaidik Sammelan on Friday in Aurangabad, IPS officer-turned-politician said, and we quote,
“Darwin’s theory (of evolution of humans) is scientifically wrong. It needs to change in school and college curriculum. Since the man is seen on Earth he has always been a man,”
“Nobody, including our ancestors, in written or oral, have said they saw an ape turning into a man,”
“No books we have read or the tales told to us by our grandparents had such a mention,”
It’s difficult to say anything about the claim. But Darwin’s theory of evolution is not something which is derived from religious texts or some fancy piece of fiction (For instance, this one nearly convinces you that Humans are aliens). Darwin proposed some sound reasoning, backed by some observations; his observations when further scientifically probed by hundreds of researchers over a century and a half, they found Darwin’s theory of biological evolution worth supporting and they approved of it. If Mr. Singh or the Government wants to tell school children and people at large some other theory of biological evolution, then they must first make an alternate evolution model, followed by inviting researchers the World over to test the proposed model on scientific touchstone ( in Hind “Parakhi or Parakhi patthar”). In short, it’s not good for a public figure, that too a Union Minister to make such superficial (in Hindi “Satahi”) claims.
To conclude, everything we study in schools is not taught by our grandparents. So that can rarely be a test for the validity of a theory. Governments have a more constructive work to do. The work, they are entrusted to do is — Better the lives of People. So let they not mess too much with school textbooks. Else, parents have to start archiving the old versions of their kids’ textbooks.