It seems a segment of Indian scientists do not agree with the Narendra Modi-led government's scientific beliefs and initiatives. Well, they can't be blamed since the government's Department of Science and Technology (DST), recently invited research proposals from scientists to ascertain the unique qualities and characteristics of cows in the country.
The Federal Ministry for Science and Technology had invited research proposals under its programme "Scientific Utilization through Research Augmentation of Prime Products from Indigenous Cows".
A week after the call for proposals, more than 100 Indian scientists had appealed to the government asking officials to stop fishing for research proposals, imploring them not to waste money investigating "imaginary qualities derived from religious scriptures".
India's "obsession" with cows and the benefits of their waste is not new, as there often have been reports of cow dung and urine being used to fight religious conversions, to beat the heat and even suggestions to wash floors with a mixture of water and fresh cow dung. All of it comes from sacred status given to cows in Hinduism.
Stressing that the current financial year has been challenging due to lack of funds, the appeal states: "Several important research projects are getting derailed… Several young researchers, including research scholars… are getting their monthly fellowships inordinately delayed. In such a dismal funding situation, that the DST (Department of Science and Technology) is actively canvassing proposals under such dubious schemes is even more infuriating."
The appeal suggests that the "call for proposals was drafted unscientifically and is full of statements prefaced by religious beliefs.
"To begin a project with such presumptions is prima-facie unscientific. We regret to note that such a flawed document issued by the DST along with several other bodies of the Government of India will severely undermine the credibility of the Indian scientific establishment," the scientists wrote.
The call for proposals had stated that investigations had shown the effective development of an anti-dandruff poly-herbal hair conditioner based on cow urine.