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Weaponising science to undermine govt: UK-based ‘Royal Society of Chemistry’ targets PM Modi with propaganda article after his reelection

Similar to much of the Global Left's critique of PM Modi, the Royal Society of Chemistry's article about him is filled with propaganda clichés, revealing their deep-seated anti-Modi sentiment disguised as weak academic arguments.

PM Modi earlier this month defied a vicious political campaign by the opposition INDI alliance that entailed battling a barrage of fake news and disinformation and returned to power with BJP winning 240 seats on its own, a notable achievement for a party and a leader after being in office for 10 years. 

However, his reelection to the highest office of the land ruffled quite a few feathers, both domestically and internationally, especially for dubious foreign groups who perhaps believed an amenable and docile INDI alliance leader would have been easier to manipulate and control than a leader known for placing national interests above everything else.

Therefore, when the UK-based Royal Society of Chemistry’s ‘Chemistry World’, a monthly chemistry news magazine, published an article targeting PM Modi after his reelection to office, it wasn’t entirely surprising that a foreign-based Chemistry society has attacked the Prime Minister of India by publishing a prejudiced piece based on a shoddy premise and ludicrous comparisons. 

And even more unsurprising was the commissioning of an Indian brown sahib to trash on PM Modi. Titled ‘Modi’s return as India’s leader has scientists worried about persistent problems’, the article was authored by one Sanjay Kumar, who according to the official website claims to be a “science journalist who has reported extensively on science, technology, health and environment for over two decades from the Indian subcontinent for leading international publications.”

Source: Chemistryworld.com

“The election result has many scientists worried that creeping authoritarianism under Modi will mean long-standing problems in research, such as meagre and delayed funding, political interference in appointments and corruption, will not be addressed,” Kumar contends in the article, of course, without providing any evidence or quoting ‘scientists’ claiming there is an environment that discourages scientific scholarship.

It conveniently compares India with countries like China, South Korea, and the United States, all of which have allocated a substantially higher chunk of their GDP for scientific research than India. The R&D investment in India as a percentage of the GDP stands at 0.64 per cent, abysmally low, but comparing it with nations like China is dishonesty, given that China has an autocratic form of government, unlike the democratic form in India and China’s economy is much larger than that of India, which offers Beijing enough legroom to allocate funds for a plethora of areas, including in scientific research.

Similarly, the United States spends 3.46 per cent of its GDP on scientific research, but its economy is roughly nine times bigger than India. In addition to this crucial fact, the per capita GDP of the US is several times higher than that of India, which provides the American government with enough cushion to invest in areas such as scientific research against the Indian government, which is often hard-pressed in dealing with issues such as chronic poverty, availability of potable water, uninterrupted power supply, and toilets. In fact, it was only after Modi came to power in 2014 that emphasis was placed on building toilets and connecting the remotest part of the country to electrical grids.

Despite what Kumar would have us believe, India had a stellar achievement in the field of science since 2019. In August 2023, India became the first country to touch down near the lunar south pole, an unparalleled feat for the Indian Space Research Organisation. Before that, during the height of the coronavirus crisis, Indian companies Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech were at the vanguard of manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines to head off a pandemic that caused unprecedented fatalities around the globe.

While India certainly has to do much more than what it is doing in terms of investing in scientific research, it is worth noting that the Modi government has not cut back on the investment in the field as the numbers suggest India’s investment in R&D had remained around 0.6 to 0.7 per cent in the 10 years of Manmohan Singh government as well.

However, rationality was never the concern for foreign publications bent on attacking the Modi government. As is their wont, shady indices are relied upon to accuse the Modi government of the ‘creeping authoritarianism’ that is given to us to believe the cause for low investment in R&D.

“Modi’s domineering style of governance over the past decade has also affected almost all aspects of life in India, including higher education and research. Consequently, the Sweden-based V-Dem Institute dubbed India an ‘electoral autocracy since 2018’,” the article reads.

If a country’s democratic ratings had a bearing on its investment in scientific research, why does the author then cite China, an authoritarian country by all accounts, as an example for India to emulate in terms of spending in R&D? These jarring inconsistencies further demonstrate that the pursuit of the piece is not to express caution over India’s reduced spending on R&D but an attempt to weaponise science to attack the Modi government.

And as it turns out, this is not the first time that Kumar has used science to indulge in peddling alarmist tropes against the Modi government. Funnily, in May 2019, after Modi stormed back to power with a thumping majority, Kumar had penned a similar sounding article, using ‘anxiety’ of scientists to camouflage his anti-Modi bias. The article published then was titled ‘Another five years of a Modi government leaves Indian scientists worried’ even though India saw a remarkable scientific growth during 2014 to 2019 period, witnessing nation’s first mission to Mars, the launch of 104 satellites in a single mission and becoming the fifth most prolific publisher of scientific research.

Weaponising science to undermine current regime

Notably, weaponising science to undermine the current regime has long been a pet project of the restive Indian leftwing ecosystem, a part of multi-pronged strategy to show the Modi government as opposed to scientific growth, and thereby rallying progressives against it. In the midst of this year’s Lok Sabha elections, a website called ‘nature.com‘ published an article titled ‘Why doing science is difficult in India.’ The article was authored by none other than the daughter of controversial Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar.

The article relied on rankings published by the Sweden-based institute, Varieties of Democracy (V- Dem), which put India in the bottom 20% of the list in academic freedom among 179 countries.

For the unversed, V-Dem is funded by the likes of George Soros’ Open Society Foundations (OSF) and has been involved in anti-India propaganda for several years. OpIndia has previously reported that Soros has been eyeing a colour revolution in India.

“India’s academic freedom has been in steady decline for a decade. This is well documented…Historically, academic freedoms were certainly not perfect in India. Yet even a cursory glance at the evidence reveals that the scale of restrictions and the misuse of laws to curb academic freedom has increased,” Yamini Aiyar claimed in her article.

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Jinit Jain
Jinit Jain
Writer. Learner. Cricket Enthusiast.

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