Excerpts from Governor's Message to the Congress
India has a long tradition of excellence in sciences and technologies. In the present circumstances of resource scarcity, ecological degradation and constraints of infrastructure, the need to strengthen and revive these traditions is obvious.
His Excellency, P.C.Alexander, Governor of Maharashtra
The Spirit Behind the Congress
We all know the long history of excellence in sciences and technologies in this country. We also know that the products of this civilization have been the object of admiration for other civilizations for a long time... The spirit behind the organization is that much of these traditions in the domain of knowledge, skills and production are still living and possess a large functional significance even today. This is evident from the diversity of living traditions which despite severe survival problems continue to serve life-supporting social needs.
Prof.B.Nag, Director, IIT Bombay and the President of the Congress on Traditional Sciences and Technologies of India
The very fact of this event having been initiated and organized jointly by the PPST Foundation and the IIT Bombay truly conveys the spirit behind these efforts, namely, a genuine-eagerness to establish communication and dialogue at all levels without being constrained by conventional role-definitions.
Prot.C.V.Seshadri, President, PPST Foundation, Madras and President of the Congress
On Traditional Sciences and Technologies of India.
The Congress was inaugurated on 28th November 1993. The inaugural function began at 4.45 p.m. in the Convocation Hail of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay with the Invocation followed by lighting of lamp of knowledge 'Gyana Jyoti' by Tarkateertha Laxmanshastri Joshi. The people on' the dais were Tarkateertha Laxmanshastri Joshi, Chairman, Maharashtra State Board for Production of Marathi Viswakosh Prof.M.M.Sharma, Director, UDCT, Bombay University Ganapathi Sthapathi, Director, Vastu Vedic Research - Foundation, Madras; Smt Ushaben Mehta of Gandhi Samarak Nidhi, Bombay; Mr.S.P.Godrej, industrialist prof. C.V.Seshadri President, PPST Foundation, Madras; Vaidya Ramesh Nana!, Distinguished Ayurvedic Practitioner from Bombay and Prof.B.Nag, Director, IIT,Bombay.
Vaidya Ramesh Nanal, speaking in chaste Hindi, stressed that there is a need to grasp the special features of our civilization. The two significant notices which he made were:
(i) India has a special geographical identity and stability. The Himalayas form one edge and the sea the other. .The substances, .materials, and the life forms in the geographical region are unique and their interrelations are also unique. The People in the region since antiquity have lived among them; and the thinking and the use of these resources have got a stamp of the region.
(ii) The enterprise of Sastras has been seen as an enterprise of science and technology. But the two enterprises are not the same. We have to understand the specialty of the sastric enterprise. It is this specialty which makes it different from other traditions of theorization. There are deep questions which perplex us today: What is sastra? What is Science? How do the two perspectives differ? Further, if we think we can use sastras and practice them today, we need a high order of confidence. How' are the Sastras in today's use adequate and sufficient for the well-being of all? Only if we have clarity arid understanding on this count the true significance of Sastras can be brought out in the Congress. Vaidya Nana also pointed out two unique aspects of Indian Sastric tradition. One is the Guru-sisya educational structure which has remained operational uninterruptedly and extensively. The other is the self-sufficient, self dependent (swayam puma) life-style in which all necessary requirements to fulfill life is available in one's accessible neighborhood.
Smt. Ushaben Mehta stressed the need for a Gandhian perspective in understanding problems of modern science and technology. Further, she pointed out a- need for founding the unity of specialized knowledge (vijnana) and self knowledge (atma-jnana).
Pt.Lakshmanshastri Joshi said that right from Rgveda, Indian intellectual tradition worked on the question of universal reality. Diverse approaches got worked out on the question of reality of being. The Veda itself posits the problem of the structure and evolution of universe. How are things in order? How do they behave the way they behave? Such questions are posed in antiquity. Panini's style and structure of grammar were held high in the Indian intellectual tradition. This can even help computer science. He ended his diction with an assertion - "There, is a continuous contribution, of .Indian civilization to-the World”.
Pt. TARKATEERTHA LAXMANSHASTRI JOSHI: A PROFILE
Pt.Laxmanshastri Joshi is a renowned living symbol of traditional scholarship. He is known as a veteran philanthropist, freedom- fighter and also an eminent scholar for his Encyclopaedic work on Indian theories of society, polity and philosophy in the Marathi language and his scholastic work on the Dharmashastras.
Born on 27th January 1901 in Wai, a town some 100 kms from Puhe, he had his early education under Pt. Kevalananda Saraswathi in a traditional seminary "Prajna Pathashala" which he directs and guides till today. He had formally joined the Pathashala at the age of 12 and lived with his guru till the age of 22. After completing studies of Sastras at Wai, he went for higher education in Navya Nyaya to Calcutta. There he earned the title of Tarkateertha. After completing his higher studies, he continued with his research and studies under his Guru Kevelananda Saraswathi in Bengal. That was the period of nationalism and Calcutta was the hub of the nationalistic activities. No wonder he joined the movement especially when he was inspired and influenced by his Guru Kevelananda Saraswathi. In 1930, Mahatma Gandhi heard of his talent in logic and his knowledge of traditional theories of Justice and Society. He invited him to formulate arguments against untouchability by virtue of his knowledge of the Vedas and the Upanishads. He established that untouchability was not professed in the Vedic tradition and was rather an interpolation, not only in theory but also in- practice. He fought against untouchability by getting the Saurastra temple accessible to all and by justifying the inter-caste marriage by performing the marriage ceremony of Gandhiji's son Dev Das and Laxmi, the daughter of Rajagopalachari. In course of time, he was also influenced by M.N.Roy and was attracted to Communism. Soon, he was disillusioned with Marxism and turned to other social and reformist activities.
His popular scholastic and pedantic works are- Dharmakosha, Marathi Vishvakosha (fourteen volumes are already published; one is under print and three are yet to be compiled); Vedic Sanskrit sa Vika (this won him die Sahitya Academy award for 1954), Hindu Dharma chi Samiksa (Critique of Hinduism) and the editing of Kevalananda SaraswathVs Mitnansakosa.
We note with deep regret the recent demise of Pandit Joshi - Editor