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Science Communication in Cultural Milieu of India!. Dr.Manoj Mishra, Sr.Faculty, Dept.Of MassCommunication,VBSPUniversity,Jaunpur,India

(A science tableaux demo emphasizing needs of River Ganges)

Science Communication in Cultural Milieu of India!
Dr.Manoj Mishra
Dept.Of MassCommunication,
Science Communication through cultural medium is an innovative programme by Shri Dwarikadhish Lok Sanskriti Avem Vanaspatiki Vikas Sansthan in collaboration with National Council Of Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC ),New Delhi, India which aims to sensitize illiterate /lay people of India about science and technology. -A dozen workshops in Jaunpur, Ballia, Mirzapur ,Varanasi ,Faizabad,Allahabad and many other districts of Uttar Pradesh, India have been organized which were of four days each and attended by more than 400 delegate participants from various regions and for flung areas of eastern U.P.
The workshop culminates in making beautiful and impressive tableaux which have blending of cultural elements and science to easily attracting lay people and then to spread the message of science spontaneously to the latter.The bottom line of such innovative pursuits is that while science is purely an objective exercise science communication entails the subjective /cultural perspectives also.So unless some cultural angle is not employed the mass communication of science remains largely less effective insofar as illiterate people are concerned.The above photograph emphasizes the urgent need of conservation of rivers showing the culturally prominent image of Goddess Ganges.
A feedback response was obtained from the participants in order to ascertain the utility and importance of these workshops for popularization of science in eastern belt of U.P. Feedback proforma contained 10 objective type questions covering a broad range of issues related to science communication.
The analyses of feed-back response as obtained from delegates are as follows:- .
In response to the question that how participants got information about the workshop ,40% told that it was through newspaper while another 30% replied that it was through circular sent to them by organizers and remaining 30% told that it was through personal contact and other sources.
These workshops are significant in dispelling the orthodox beliefs and misbelieve as evident by the replies given by the participants after participating in these workshops. Majority, 90% participants replied that they were having many misbelieves before participating in these workshop. They had firm beliefs in many age old notions which in fact do not stand before scientific scrutiny.
Interesting feed-back was obtained regarding the effective form of communication from the participants. 70% participants were of the opinion that print media constituted most effective form of communication. 20% favored broadcast i.e., radio and T.V., while 5% opted in favour of digital media and only 5% were of opinion that folk/cultural/traditional and public relation and interpersonal contacts were effective for them. The comparative picture is depicted in pie chart given in annexure-2.

When participants were asked that whether they were convinced to help spread further the spirit of science, their responses were affirmative and they told that were fully convinced to spread the spirit of Science in society after attending these workshops.
Among participants 70% were Intermediate/Graduate, 20% were post-graduates and 10% constituted new Neo literate artists and individuals’ up to 10th standard only.
About 70% participants were from villages and 20% were from town/city and remaining 10% from small settlements.
After participating in these workshops almost 90% delegates accepted that they will strongly oppose the so-called miracles and superstations and motivate people against them as well. Among participants 65% accepted that they had already encountered such miracles themselves while 30% were of opinion that they get news of such happenings by somebody else. Only 5% told that they had no previous experience of such miracles.
When participants were asked which scientific subject was more useful in their opinion 60% told it was Biological/ Medical Science, 15% were in favour of agricultural Science and equivalent no. of participants voted in favour of environmental science. Other remaining groups constituting 5% each opined that Earth/Physical Sciences and general sciences were more useful to them. The findings are shown in annexure -3 through a pie chart.

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