Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mythological Ideas for SF Story Themes: A Novel Approach of Effective Science Communication among Indian SF Audience


Mythological Ideas for SF Story Themes: A Novel Approach of Effective Science Communication among Indian SF Audience
(Delhi,10 - 12 January 2012) 


Indian mythology as contained in Indian scriptures abounds in imaginative ideas. Carl Sagan was very impressed by these sources of ancient knowledge and once appealed SF writers to delve deep into Indian mythology to get original SF theme ideas. Many of such imaginative dreams of our ancestors are still in queue to be realized in want of appropriate technology though many have already seen the light of the day!

There are extrapolations, imaginative themes, and descriptions of gadgets in contemporary sf and in Indian mythology often quite alike. In Ramayan for example, there is a description of a very special kind of aero plane infused with artificial intelligence and emotions named Puspak Viman (Remember, Rendezvous with Rama by Clarke?) . Puspak Viman also possesses a vacant seat always for any last minute VIP entrant! Sudarshan Chakra (a kind of revolving disc) and specially designed arrows used by Lord Krishna and Lord Rama in war fields return to them immediately after hitting the target (Guided Missiles!). Maya Yuddhaa (A kind of illusory /virtual  war) as described in the epic Ramayan causes no real damage to enemy soldiers but is practiced only to frighten enemies who ultimately surrender in such fearful situations! These stories have been very popular among masses and could very well be used in modern Sf with ingenuity in order to woo Indian SF audience.

A survey was made to find out such imaginative ideas in our scriptures for using them as Sf themes as an approach to attract Indian audience for effective science communication. Findings shall be presented. 



(Reviewer’s comments) The flow of ideas from myths to SF ought to be to increase the scientific temper rather than ‘romaticise’ the past by anachronistic reconstructions of the past using present day scientific knowledge. The mythology ought to provide ideas for new scientific theories and new technologies rather than legitamising the past ‘achievements’ to the extent of dulling the present efforts. Author is advised to keep this key difference in writing this paper.Efforts should be to trace the ‘know-why’ of the mythical objects to (re) construct them in the present rather than ‘know-what’ of these objects.



5 comments:

  1. @Thanks a lot for the acceptance .Thanks to reviewer also for the erudite and insightful comment. Paper is being written in that vein only ...i am aware of the folly people do in glorifying and boasting our past with the claim that every great achievements of today's world in fact existed in the ages of our Veda. Present approach has entirely a different view point.

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  2. Very well written :)

    your observations are worth a read n yeah its true Indian mythology is very richin various themes n ideas.

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  3. Mythical stories of India do contain fiction and a bit of day-to-day science. All tribal stories in the world contain such descriptions. However, in the modern age, science fiction has attained many dimensions with a variety of subjects.

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  4. In many ways Myth and Legend come from story telling of those who came before us..coming from Man's need to understand himself before science. Cultures all over the world are steeped in Myth and Legend...one of my favourite authors on the subject being Joseph Campbell. Not unlike the past, what Myth and Legend are we creating today to be remembered by those who come after us. Metaphisics are all around us...we are Mystery....and India is steeped in Mystery...wonderful Post...

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  5. आपका पोस्ट मन को प्रभावित करने में सार्थक रहा । बहुत अच्छी प्रस्तुति । मेर नए पोस्ट ' आरसी प्रसाद सिंह ' पर आकर मेरा मनोबल बढ़ाएं । धन्यवाद ।

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