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Science is the Cognition of necessity

Damodar Dharmanand Kosambi, eminent mathematician and Marxist historian, wrote extensively on the development of science and its use. He focused on the Marxist understanding of science as having an all-encompassing and universal role in engaging with reality. Marxism provided Kosambi with the tools to write on a variety of subjects such as the use of atomic energy, "science and religion" and the need for alternative technology for energy (solar power).

D D KOSAMBI: THE MAN AND HIS WORKEconomic & Political Weekly EPW july 26, 2008103Science Is the Cognition of NecessityVivek MonteiroDamodar Dharmanand Kosambi, eminent mathematician and Marxist historian, wrote extensively on the development of science and its use. He focused on the Marxist understanding of science as having an all-encompassing and universal role in engaging with reality. Marxism provided Kosambi with the tools to write on a variety of subjects such as the use of atomic energy, “science and religion” and the need for alternative technology for energy (solar power).Vivek Monteiro ( a trade unionist who was trained as a theoretical physicist. He is currently a secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, Maharashtra. DD Kosambi’s classic definition of “science” is by itself sufficient to secure him a place in the history of thought. It is as profound as it is brief:“Science is the cognition of necessity”.D DKosambi certainly realised the significance and power of his definition. In his essays on science and society, which are reviewed in this article, he repeatedly refers to and develops this theme. A critical assessment of these writings requires a prior consideration of the question of the relation of Marxism toscience which we discuss briefly in the following.The concept of “necessity” as a category for understanding reality isnot new. In the fifth century BC, the Greek materialist philosopher Democritus, with incredible foresight, writes: “Every-thing existing in the universe is the fruit of chance and necessity”. But, a 100 years later, Aristotle found this assertion unaccept-able, and wrote disapprovingly: “Democritus, however, neglect-ing the final cause, reduces to necessity all the operations of nature” [Generation of Animals V 8]. For more than two millennia thereafter, Aristotelian conceptions continued as the dominant ideas in western science and philosophy. The Democritan insight, though dormant, was far from dead. In fact with the progress of science, it was slowly awakening.Marxism was a major breakthrough in the history of science. Neither Marx nor Engels were born as Marxists. They arrived at what we today term Marxism, through a process of activism, study and criticism, culminating in Marx’s pathbreakingTheses on Feuerbach of 1845. Here Marx asserts that social change is also a subject within the purview of science and outlines in brief com-pass what it means to take up scientifically the problem of human action to change society. The year 1845 is thus a milestone in the history of science. It was in this year too that Marx and Engels enunciated the “materialist conception of history” in their seminal The German Ideology:We know only a single science, the science of history. One can look at history from two sides and divide it into the history of nature and the history of men. The two sides are, however, inseparable; the history of nature and the history of men are dependent on each other so long as men exist. The history of nature, called natural science, does not con-cern us here; but we will have to examine the history of men, since almost the whole ideology amounts either to a distorted conception of this history or to a complete abstraction from it. Understanding “necessity” as manifested in a historical context – “historical science”, or a “materialist conception of history” (the science of history referred to in the previous paragraph), does not begin with social science, or with Marx. It has its origins in the philosophical and scientific debates of the late 18th and early 19th centuries in which developments in the natural sciences were most important. The reconstruction of biology as a historical science had begun well before Charles Darwin (whoseOrigin of Species
D D KOSAMBI: THE MAN AND HIS WORKjuly 26, 2008 EPW Economic & Political Weekly104was published only in 1859). In the preceding century it was becoming increasingly clear that two sciences – geology, and biology, could only be rationally understood as historical sciences. The fossil record, where geology and biology met, made up the pages of a history book, with a strong thread of causation linking the later pages of this book to the earlier ones. This chain of causation strengthened the claims of the materi-alists. Developments in astronomy had already shown the irrele-vance of divine intervention to explain the motions of the planets around the sun. In the battle between the religious establishment and the new scientific understandings in various areas of natural science, the religious establishments had to repeatedly retreat from the areas under debate. By the early 19th century, through the works of geologists like James Hutton and Charles Lyell, and biologists like Leclerc (Buffon) and Lamarck, it was being asserted that all of nature had a history, that this history could be under-stood, and that moreover, human beings, as a biological species were a product of this natural history. The threads of necessity running through natural science in the form of natural history were becoming increasingly evident. Natural science was taking shape as a programme of cognising this necessity. But what about human activity and social history?What Engels writes many years later in his preface to Anti- Duhring, serves as a succinct description of the state of intellec-tual affairs at the turning point when Marx and Engels made their breakthrough to bring social change into the agenda of modern science.Marx and I were pretty well the only people to rescue conscious dia-lectics from German idealist philosophy and apply it in the materialist conception of nature and history…...Feuerbach is quite correct in asserting that exclusively natural- scientific materialism is indeed “the foundation of the edifice of human knowledge, but not the edifice itself”. For we live not only in nature but also in human society, and this also no less than nature has its his-tory of development and its science. It was therefore a question of bringing the science of society, that is, the sum total of the so-called historical and philosophical sciences, into harmony with the materialist foundation, and of reconstructing it thereupon. But it did not fall to Feuerbach’s lot to do this.Their contribution was to show how human social history could be incorporated into the agenda of rigorous science. Human social history presents a new problem – understanding human activity. Human societies too show regularities, have laws, but these laws are fundamentally different from the laws of nature which cannot be changed, and are only to be discovered. The laws governing human action are not only biological but also social. Social laws are made and can be changed by conscious human action. In natural science the theory does not and cannot change the phenomenon. But social theory “can grip the masses” and change the very reality being studied. Human beings can act consciously, have freedom to choose. How can this freedom of choice be reconciled with the aspect of necessity that is central to all scientific analysis? Engels expresses how inAnti-Duhring, ...“freedom does not consist of any dreamt-of independence from natural laws, but in knowledge of these laws, and in the possibility this gives of systematically making them work towards definite ends”. He quotes Hegel: “Freedom is the insight into necessity – ne-cessity is blind only in so far as it is not understood”and then adds: “Freedom of the will therefore means nothing but the ca-pacity to make decisions with knowledge of the subject. There-fore the freer a man’s judgment is in relation to a definite ques-tion, the greater is the necessity with which the content of this judgment will be determined”.But comprehending “necessity” in the context of society is more complex than in nature. There is the realm of the objective, the inevitable, what necessarily must happen, what is compelled by underlying conditions – and there is also the realm of the sub-jective, the desirable, the possible, the needs of human beings. Marx’s brilliant “Theses on Feuerbach” shows how this is to be done, taking both the objective and the subjective into account.Marx thus completes what Democritus had only asserted, with astonishing insight, 2,300 years earlier. After Marx’s 1845 break-through, for the first time in human history, all of reality, both natu-ral and social, becomes a subject of rigorous scientific inquiry. With all of reality becoming the subject of science, science itself ceases to be a subject, and instead becomes a method for under-standing and engaging with reality. Kosambi’s great achievement is to give a definition of science which can properly encompass this new comprehensive, universal role.Science and FreedomKosambi examines the implications of his definition for the deve-lopment of science itself in his article ‘Science and Freedom’, written for Monthly Review in 1952, and which is the most important of his essays on science. As Marx and Engels had done a century earlier in their 1845 writings, Kosambi begins by critiquing an abstract concept of “freedom”, now as professed by the bourgeois western scientists. He begins by taking on the intellectual dishonesty of a section of the American scientists who while themselves actively participating in the research activities of theUS war machine, developing more and more le-thal thermonuclear weapons, also would write profusely about intellectual freedom and its absence in “totalitarian” societies. In 1949, I saw that American scientists and intellectuals were greatly worried about the question of scientific freedom, meaning thereby freedom for the scientist to do what he liked while being paid by big business, war departments, or universities whose funds tended to come more and more from one or the other source. These gentlemen, living in a society where he who pays the piper insists upon calling the tune, did not seem to realise that science was no longer “independent” … The scientist now is part of a far more closely integrated, tightly exploited, social system; he lives much more comfortably than Faraday, but at the same time under the necessity of producing regular output of patentable or advertising value, while avoiding all dangerous socialor philosophical ideas. As a result, the worthies I mention were quite worried about the lack of scientific freedom in a planned society, but only indirectly and perhaps subconsciously as to what was actually happening to their own freedom in an age and time of extensive witch-hunting, where being called a communist was far more dangerous than being caught red-handed in a fraud or robbery.There is an intimate connection between science and freedom, the individual freedom of the scientist being only a small corollary.Freedom is the recognition of necessity; science is the cognition of necessity.The first is the classical Marxist definition of freedom, to which I have added my own definition of science. Let us look closer into the implications.(emphasis in original)
D D KOSAMBI: THE MAN AND HIS WORKEconomic & Political Weekly EPW july 26, 2008105A scientist while performing his professional tasks of under-standing the necessities of nature – nature’s laws – is also governed by other aspects of necessity:…in addition, there is a technical level, which cannot be divorced from the experimental. Finally, there is a social structure that is not only intimately connected with the technical level, but also conditions the freedom of the individual by introducing a social necessity that in the abstract seems unnecessary but exists nevertheless…What most of us do not realise is that science is also a social develop-ment; that the scientific method is not eternal and that science came into being only when the new class structure of society made it necessary. Of course, science really comes into its own with the machine age, which cannot develop without science and which in turn contributes highly useful technical aid to scientific discovery… Modern science is the creation of the bourgeoisie.(emphasis in original)Kosambi then argues that not only technical necessity, but social necessity also is a powerful impetus to new science, it is not at all accidental that Newton, Lagrange, Laplace, Ampere, Berthelot and Gauss appear on the scene at the same time that the English, French and German bourgeoisie come into their own. The point of this essay is that, There is no reason for science to remain bound any longer to the decaying class that brought it into existence four centuries ago. The scientist needs this freedom most of all, namely freedom from servitude to a particular class. Only in science planned for the benefit of all mankind, not for bacteriological, atomic, psychological or other mass warfare can the scientist really be free… But if he serves the class that grows food scientifically and then dumps it in the ocean while millions starve all over the world, if he believes that the world is overpopulated and the atom bomb is a blessing that will perpetuate his own comfort, he is moving in a retrograde orbit, on a level no beast could achieve, a level below that of a witch doctorKosambi concludes this essay with the question: “After all, how does science analyse necessity?” to which he answers: In the final analysis, science acts by changing its scene of activity… There is no science without change...The real task is to change society, to turn the light of scientific inquiry upon the foundations of social structure. Are classes necessary, and in particular, what is the necessity of the bourgeoisie now? But it is precisely from cognition of this great problem of the day that the scientist is barred if a small class should happen to rule his country.The last sentence is incongruous as coming from a Marxist scientist. We discuss this point at the end of this article.The theme that the growth of the sciences in any society is conditioned by the kind of society in which this growth takes place is examined in other contexts like socialism and fascism by Kosambi in his essays: ‘Revolution and the Progress of Science’, written for New Age, ‘Soviet Science: What It Can Teach Us’ (Indo-Soviet Journal 1944) and in his review of Bernal’sThe Social Function of Science (1940). Space does not permit a detailed discussion of these essays. However, comments about science in India made in the Bernal book review deserve mention.Kosambi quotes with approval the following excerpt from Bernal’s book:…there is hardly any country in the world that needs the application of science more than India.In order to release the enormous potentiali-ties for scientific development in the Indian people, it would be necessary to transform them into a free and self-reliant community. Probably the best workers for Indian science today are not the scientists but the political agitators who are struggling towards this end.(emphasis in original) Kosambi follows this with scathing comments on the syco-phant science as it then existed in British India: After this fair appraisal it would be our duty to say a few of the things that the author has left out for lack of space, or of malice. The research work today in this country is confined to the universities and to a few special institutions, controlled by and often actually worked by people who know nothing of science. Though it is no longer the custom to shove all the fat jobs of the educational system to one side for third rate Englishmen who cannot be accommodated in their own country, the mark of the beast has by no means been eradicated. The men who occupy the key posts have obtained them by other means than re-search ability, usually by pure charlatanism, bootlicking, and politics of the most decadent sort within academic circles…Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that the Indian “professor” was a parasite on the already parasitic official services, assiduous only in licking the boots that seemed capable of kicking him the hardest, reac-tionary in politics, and proud at best of having helped some of his stu-dents to the supreme bliss of admission into the Indian Civil Service. Research was a difficult proposition for such people. (...)Writing two decades later, in an autobiographical essay ‘Steps in Science’, Kosambi’s views on the Indian science establishment had not changed much.The greatest obstacles to research in any backward, underdeveloped country are often those needlessly created by the scientist’s or scholar’s fellow citizens. Grit may be essential in some difficult investigation, but the paying commodity is soft soap. The meretricious ability to please the right people, a convincing pose, masterly charlatanism and a clever press agent are indispensable for success. The Byzantine emperor Nikephoros Phokas assured himself of ample notice from superficial observers, at someone else’s expense, by setting up in his own name at a strategic site in the Roman Forum, a column stolen from some grandiose temple. Many of our eminent intellectuals have mastered this technique.There is little point in discussing personal experience of the scum that naturally floats to the top in a stagnant class. Science for Developing Countries The paragraph just quoted is typical of Kosambi’s style. His language is direct. His purpose in writing is to call a spade a spade unmindful of the consequences. At a time when being a communist was surely a career liability, he did not hesitate to write for New Age and other left wing journals. Even in inter-national conferences he was never averse to making a political statement when he thought it was necessary. In an address before an international conference of scientists on “Problems of Science and Technology in the Developing Countries” in 1964, he has this to say:The political situation is all-important. Most underdeveloped coun-tries have been under foreign domination for a long time. That is, in fact, the primary reason for their being underdeveloped. So, freedom must come first. We cannot speak of science and technology for Angola and Mozambique, for example. The South African situa-tion is even more complex. The land has a few outstanding techno-logicaldevelopments;their laboratories and engineering works are by nomeanstobedespised.But the real Africans are not even citizens in South Africa, which remains for them underdeveloped, while being in a quite satisfactory stage of development for property-owing whites and for the investors in London who stand back of them… In such cases,
D D KOSAMBI: THE MAN AND HIS WORKjuly 26, 2008 EPW Economic & Political Weekly106wehavenosolution to offer, for our conference restricts itself to science and technology.The lack of resources is fortunately not present in all countries. Several Arab lands have discovered in oil and natural gas a commodity, which can be exploited sufficiently well to solve their economic problems. However, whether the oil and other resources are properly used or not depends once again on the context. First, the foreigner must not take away the lion’s share, as happened in Iran for so many years. Secondly, those in power must feel the need for developing the country rather than for building palaces for their own families and living a life of Arabian Nights style. This remains, therefore, again an internal political matter, namely who plans and for whose advantage. It is not sufficient to announce grandiose plans; one has to convince the people that they stand to gain and to secure popular support. Developments in Ghana and Indonesia show what happens otherwise. Going deeper into this question but that (sic) would cause unpleasantness.However, we reach one important principle here: underdeveloped countries need a planned course of development, which necessarily im-plies a planned economy (emphasis in original). Merely admitting this principle is not enough. The context once again thrusts itself upon your attention: who does the planning, and for whose real advantage? The solution generally offered is to invite foreign experts to offer advice and draw up schemes. With the best will in the world, this will not succeed. The foreign expert has been used to planning for an entirely different purpose, in totally different surroundings. He pays little attention to local needs during the course of development. Oftener than not, the foreign expert is interested in selling the products of some companies with which he might be connected.Here, we could learn a good deal from Chinese experience, were it not for the political problem, once again, which makes it impossible to secure cooperation from that great country at such a meeting.Hitherto, I have only pointed out the difficulties without suggesting a solution. As a matter of fact, I hold very strong views on the proper political structure and the correct foreign policy for underdeveloped countries; but this is not the time not the place to a develop those views... The scientific approach, on the other hand, tends to be rather vacuous and devoid of application unless these primary difficulties are solved. Atomic EnergyThe issue of atomic energy is a recurrent theme in Kosambi’s writings, in the context of peace and disarmament, as well as in discussions on energy policy for India and other developing countries. Typically, Kosambi is both critical and outspoken on the issue of atomic energy. In his articles and talks he repeatedly points out that in discussions on the relative cost of atomic energy, the real cost is usually ignored, suppressed or hidden. Giving a popular lecture to the Rotary Club in Pune, in 1960, Kosambi says:The main question that most of you will ask is: What is the investment value of atomic energy? If the preliminary research and refining is to be done, there is virtually no investment value, for the private sector. The whole affair is fantastically costly. Those who say that atomic en-ergy can compete with thermal or hydro-power, carefully omit to mention the fact that the preliminary costs have always been written off to someone else’s account, usually that of some government. Only in some socialist countries, where uranium is relatively plentiful, and new lands have to be opened up, is it possible to utilise atomic energy properly. Even there, military considerations play a considerable part, because of the cold war.At the international conference on science in the underdeve-loped countries referred to earlier, he does some blunt speaking:For example, many of you here are bound to be impressed by India’s ad-vance in science and may even persuade your own governments to copy us. But in what particulars? We have top class physicists, for example, our department of atomic energy is spending several hundred millions a year on an imposing establishment. But how much atomic energy is this country actually producing? The plant that should have been in commis-sion in 1964 will not be operating till 1968 at the earliest. The delay has passed without criticism, while some politicians demand that we should produce the A-bomb to put us on at par with the big powers. In effect, the establishment we have was built by foreign “experts”, is outdated already, and will produce atomic power if run as designed which is costlier than such power elsewhere and costlier than conventional power in India. Even then, all the basic cost will have been off under the heading of “research” (Science, or some such beautiful title).Energy cost is something that can be rationally calculated. Thecost of private sector nuclear power plants proposed to be imported in consequence of the Indo-US 123 nuclear deal has been estimated by technical experts from the left as approximately Rs 12 crore per MW installed, which is three times the present cost of conventional power plants. The proponents of imported nuclear power from the establishment have neither refuted this calculation, nor have they argued why such expensive power is necessary and how it is affordable. This straightforward but critical question which should be central to any debate on the 123 agree-ment has been effectively censored from mainstream media dis-course. On this and many other straightforward technical/scientific issues pertinent to the Indo-US nuclear deal the Indian science establishment also has been typically silent and characteristically timid (as it was on the Enron issue), with some notable exemp-tions including a few retired senior scientists. A logical discussion about India’s needs for affordable energy leads inexorably to the conclusion the Indo-US nuclear deal is less about electric power and more about politics. Kosambi’s writings on issues of science and technology in an age of US Imperialism are still topical, though nearly 50 years have elapsed since they were written. In an article forMonthly Review written in 1951, he gives a masterly analysis of what he terms the “crooked roots” and “crazy logic” of imperialism. The crooked roots of imperialism lie deep in the need for profits and ever more profits for the benefit of a few monopolists. The “American way of life” did not solve the world problem of the great depression of 1929-33. In theUS this was solved by second world war. But only for a short time. Korea shows that the next step is to start a new war to stave off another depression. The one lesson of the last depression, which stuck, is that profits can be kept up by creating shortages where they do not and need not exist. War materials are produced for destruction. Producing them restricts consumer goods, which increases profits in double ratio. Any logic that proves the necessity of war is the correct logic for imperialism and for big business, which now go hand in hand. Mere contradictions do not matter for this sort of lunatic thinking where production of food is no longer the method of raising man above the animals, but merely a way of making profit while millions starve.Destroying stockpiles of food is the same kind of action as building up stockpiles of atom bomb. But the war waged by means of food is differ-ent in one very important respect from national and colonial aggres-sion. It is war against the whole of humanity except that tiny portion to whom food is a negligibly small item of expenditure, war also against millions of American workers. In a word, it is class war, and all other wars of today stem from attempts to turn it outward. Even the Romans knew that the safest way to avoid inner conflict, to quiet the demands of their own citizens, was to attempt new conquests.Quite apart from the destructiveness of total war, the crooked logic of big business and warmongers is fatal to the clear thinking needed
D D KOSAMBI: THE MAN AND HIS WORKEconomic & Political Weekly EPW july 26, 2008107forscience. The arguments that modem science originates with the bourgeoisie, that the enormous funds devoted to war research are a great stimulus to science are vicious. The scientific outlook came into being when the bourgeoisie was a new progressive class, struggling for power against feudal and clerical reaction.But for modern capitalists, a class in decay, the findings of science (apart from profit-making techniques) have become dangerous; and so it becomes necessary for them to coerce the scientist to restrict his activity. That is one reason for vast expenditure on secret atomic research, for putting third-raters in control to bring big business monopoly to the laboratory. The broad cooperation and pooling of knowledge, which made scientific progress so rapid, is destroyed… Science cannot flourish behind barbed wire; no matter how much money the war offices may pay to “loyal” mediocrity. Freedom is the recognition of necessity; science is the investigation, the analy-sis, and the cognition of necessity. Science and freedom always march together. The war mentality, which destroys freedom, must necessarily destroy science.Solar Energy and Alternative TechnologyThe better half of Kosambi’s address to the Pune Rotary Club on Atomic Energy for India was not about nuclear power plants on earth, but about the nuclear power plant in the heavens, i e, about solar energy. There is an impressive conviction and consistency in Kosambi’s essays on this subject. In his characteristic style, issues of basic science, technology, science policy, politics, economics and ideology are seamlessly interwoven in these pop-ular essays, which, if anything are even more relevant today than when they were written. Kosambi repeatedly makes the impor-tant point that whether or not an alternate technology is viableis not only a technical question, but also a political and organisa-tional question. Where does that leave us in India? We do need every available source of power quickly. Can we utilise atomic power for national progress? This question has already been answered in the affirmative by the high command. The question is whether this cost is worthwhile. I do not propose to answer this question, because all of you here are intelligent to work out the answer for yourselves. But I do wish to point out that the main work in producing atomic energy has already been done without cost to India by a permanent source, which has only to be utilised properly. This generous source is the sun, which goes on pouring its blasting rays into every tropical country, at an uncomfortable rate.The most important advantage of solar energy would be decentralisa-tion. … Solar power would be the best available source of energy for dispersed small industry and local use in India. If you really mean to have socialism in any form, without the stifling effects of bureaucracy and heavy initial investment, there is no other source so efficient. …What India could use best in this way still remains to be determined. The principle involved in the use of atomic energy produced by the sun as against that from atomic piles is parallel to that between small and large dams for irrigation. The large dam is very impressive to look at, but its construction and use mean heavy expenditure in one locality, and bureaucratic administration. The small bunding operation can be done with local labour, stops erosion of the soil, and can be fitted into any corner of the country where there is some rainfall. It solves two fundamental problems: how to keep the rain-water from flowing off rapidly into the sea, unused; and how to encourage local initiative while giving direct economic gain to the small producer. The great dams certainly have their uses, but no planners should neglect proper emphasis upon effective construction of the dispersed small dams. What is involved is not merely agriculture and manufacture, but a direct road to socialism.Kosambi’s comments on research on energy for a country like India are controversial and courageous. His essay ‘Sun or Atom’ (1957), poses the issue sharply:In all this, the question of India has naturally to be foremost in our minds. …Our fissionable materials consist of the lowest grade ura-nium in central India, plus the radioactive (thorium) sands of Kerala, which are not immediately utilisable for power production. Add there-to the low achievements of our costly but inefficient science and tech-nology, and the problem becomes formidable. All the more so because foreign sources of uranium are controlled, atomic research is every-where a painfully guarded secret; power politics has entered into the thing else, with new gusto. Is there no other way that would be more paying, without interference with any other mode of power-produc-tion? The answer, for India is a definite YES. Instead of competing with the sun, what we have to do is to find some way of utilising what the sun thrusts upon us with matchless persistence. Let the sun split the atom, fuse the nuclei for us. Why should we not use the energy di-rectly rather than wait for it to be absorbed by plants, converted into firewood, and so on? The cost of research on direct utilisation of solar energy would be far lower than for atomic energy. India has much greater supply of solar energy than most other countries; in fact, the problem is to keep the land from being blasted altogether by the sun. One difficulty is that the sun’s energy is not constant. The advantages are that the fuel – the sun’s radiation – costs absolutely nothing, and there are no harmful exhaust gases or radioactive by-products. Moreover, the installation can be set up anywhere in India, and will work quite well except perhaps in the heaviest monsoon sea-son. The research is of no use for war purposes. This is why it attracts some of us, but does not attract those who control the funds. But the huge primary source of energy today remains the sun. Direct utilisation is hindered only by the desire for prestige, which makes India waste so much of her money in supposed research along other lines.Writing similarly on the subject of ‘Solar Energy for the Under-developed Countries’ (Seminar, September 1964), Kosambi throws a challenge to the future:These strictures seem rather harsh, but surely not undeserved. When some years ago, the main ideas of this note were spoken out in a popu-lar lecture, the matter roused some heat not due to the sun… Ques-tions were asked in Parliament and answered by high authority with the words that such projects are designed to keep India backward, in the bullock-cart age. This, in spite of the remark made during the lec-ture that the bullock-cart is inefficient, and that India needs every form of energy it can afford.A question of science, technology and economics was reduced to one of ostentation and prestige. However, the sun has not yet been abol-ished by decree, so that the matter may be taken up at some future date when common sense gets a chance.Science and ReligionKosambi’s essays also include two on the subject of superstition and religion: ‘Sin and Science: Introduction’ (1950), and ‘The Scientific Attitude and Religion’ (Seminar, 1964). In both these essays some social aspects of religion are considered in so far as they serve to keep India a backward country. The methods of cure suggested are by legislation, education and improved social conditions, with a brief example or two to bring out the basic idea in each case. One-fourth of the essay of six pages on religion is an argument on how religion is akin to a drug or narcotic, and if alcohol and drugs are taxed and regulated by the state, why then should religion also not be taxed and regulated? Following this is a

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