(rough draft made from notes taken by rapporteurs and being reworked by authors)

Panelists: Prof Wiebe Bijker and Shiv Visvanthan
Date: 29th Nov 2008

Introduction to the Panel discussion - Shambu:


The need to have some discussions on this theme arose from the public talk and discussions on ‘alternatives to Interlinking of Rivers’ organized by CWS in May this year. It was evident during the course of the discussions that no matter how involved, factual, analytic one’s scientific arguments were the scientific establishment could ignore them altogether due to the existing complacency about science and technology and its role in Indian society. Unlike most institutions in India that are open to democratic scrutiny and thereby control, the scientific elite in India in particular have largely remained outside democratic purview. This theme has engaged the attention of many KICS members since. For example Kavitha has shared the recent work of the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA) and its partners in using the RTI or Right To Information Act to very good effect in democratizing the debates on genetic engineering. It was felt that we should have a more detailed discussion on this theme from people who have looked at the relation of science and technology with society at some depth and get them to share their insights.

I would invite Wiebe Bijker and Shiv Visvanathan to share their views and insights on this theme.