Friday, October 29, 2010

Innovative Science Fiction for S&T Communication-A Parallel Discussion Session in 11th PCST

Yes ,this is the topic for a parallel  session in forthcoming 11th PCST to be held in India and I have been given the responsibility of moderating the discussion.The idea of innovative science fiction sprang from some experiments in which illiterate people which did not have  access to prevalent forms of media were successfully lured to tableaux of sf and mythology mix themes  put in festivals .Indian psyche is very much familiar to imagery of mythological stories. Science fiction as we know incorporates  many elements similar to imagery's of mythological stories.Ursula K. Le Guin once quipped that sf is contemporary mythology.The abstract of the paper which is accepted for the  presentation and extrapolations of similar approaches to employ sf in popularization of science is pasted below-

Innovative SF and Mythology Mix to communicate S&T to Indian Masses

With the help of improvised cultural tableaux by judiciously blending sf and mythology during festivals like Durga Puja and Dussehra we successfully tried to attract illiterate Indian masses in order to communicate S &T perspectives and developments. Some model tableaux were as follows:

A. Tableau showing concept of Cloning: With the help of a mythological story popularly knows as ‘Raktbeej and Mahishasurmardini ’(Demon vis a vis a Hindu goddess Durga ) and sf extrapolations on cloning we explained the process and implications of the emerging technology to  illiterate people .

B. Tableau of Biotechnology: The science fictional biotech tree akin to mythological 'wishing tree' (Kalpvriksh) demonstrated the hidden potentials of biotechnology.

C. Tableau depicting water harvesting technology: Traditional techniques of rain water harvesting and its necessity as narrated in Hindu myths notably the efforts of sage Bhagirath to bring the river of gods i.e. river Ganges on earth.

D. Tsunami Tableau  : Awareness and preservation of natural mangroves is the key to safety from killer waves was demonstrated with the help of many catastrophe models as described in sf stories and myth of Lord of death i.e. Yamraj.

It was established that Sf stories with a judicious mix/blend of Indian myths could be effectively used through attractive tableaux to communicate science and technology to illiterate masses that do not have access to modern means of communication. A similar approach could be replicated in other parts of the globe.

Anyone interested could participate in discussion by registering him/herself for the conference .The deadline for registration is 31st inst. i.e. October,2010.