A Perspective on Scientific Temper in India

Mahanti, Subodh


The term “scientific temper” was first used in India by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1946. After he became the first Prime Minister of Independent India in 1947, Nehru relentlessly expanded the notion of scientific temper and strived hard to convince the political and scientific leadership to inculcate scientific temper among its citizens. However, this discourse is rooted in the pre-Nehruvian era. Though the term scientific temper was not in use, a number of social reformers, scholars and scientists advocated the need to instil a sprit of scientific enquiry in the society. The Post Nehruvian period witnessed the Government’s commitment in its science and technology policy statements and constitutional amendments to develop scientific temper. In 1981, a statement on scientific temper was issued by a group of individuals, which evoked support as well as criticism from different quarters. In 2011, an attempt was made to revisit the 1981 scientific temper statement and the outcome was a revised statement, now known as the Palampur Declaration. This was followed by two international conferences and workshops, which built upon the conceptualization of Scientific Temper as well as a plan of action to promote it. The present paper attempts to situate the notion of ''Scientific Temper'' in the Indian context, and expose the nuances of how this concept has been developed.


Scientific temper, Statement, Policy, Palampur Declaration

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