Reaching Science to the Last Person Standing

Hasan Jawaid Khan

IMG

In a country as huge and diverse as India, where cultures and languages change every few hundred kilometres, communication of scientific information in English alone cannot be expected to serve the intended purpose – that of making every Indian citizen scientifically aware. In India, just about 14% of the nation’s 1.3 billion citizens can speak and write in English. It stands to reason, therefore, that science communication activities need to be supported and promoted in regional languages, and possibly even local dialects, to expand the reach of scientific content and make science more inclusive. 

While several efforts are being attempted worldwide, and in India too, to communicate science in regional languages, challenges still remain. For one, a lack of scientific resources for communication in regional languages. Often, translations of English published resources are attempted but these fail to have the desired effect since the context may not be culturally situated. Original content in regional languages imbued with its cultural flavour and set amidst the local contexts has much more appeal and impact and elicits much more understanding from the target audience.

These were some of the issues that were deliberated and discussed during the recently concluded two-day National Urdu Science Congress held in Srinagar during 22-23 September 2021. Organised by Vigyan Prasar, Department of Science & Technology, Govt of India and the Central University of Kashmir, the conference was attended by scientists, students, teachers, science administrators and practitioners of science communication…read more