An open letter to the Director General of CSIR

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An open letter to the Director General of CSIR

Dear Dr Girish Sahni,

I am addressing this letter to you to bring to your kind attention the following clause in the undertaking which has to be signed by all research scholars to be eligible for a grant for the institution which you head – the CSIR.

It is reproduced here for your kind information:


“I………………….do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to India and to the Constitution of India established and that I will loyally carry out the duties. So help me God.”

Signature of the Research Fellow / Associate

I have no objection to the contents of the oath except for the last sentence which asks for a nonexistent entity to help the person who signs it. While I have no objection to anyone’s personal beliefs, I do wonder what this entity has to do with research. Since you are a protein chemist and being a biochemist myself, I would like to you to clarify as to whether this entity determines the primary, secondary, tertiary levels of structural organisation of proteins? The quaternary level? Or post-translational modifications? At the level of replication of DNA? Transcription of RNA from DNA? If so, who causes mutations and the problems occurring thereafter?

In a country where a citizen has the right of belief (which also includes the right not to believe), how can you compel research fellows to sign an undertaking as to seek the aid of an entity whose existence has not been proved to help the signatory?

I do hope that this obnoxious clause will be removed from the application form of an organisation which is supposed to research in the scientific field.

On behalf of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, I strongly protest this attempt to bring religion into research. It does not matter whether it is one or the other but bringing an entity like “god” into an undertaking is a step in that direction.

Yours humanly,
Narendra Nayak,
President, Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations

CSIR turns into a religious institution

After doing “research” into the miraculous properties of ganga jal and panacea like properties of gaumutra, CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research Human Resource Development Group (Extramural Research Division)) has now gone into propagation of faith in a non-existent entity called “God”. The research fellows have to sign an undertaking with various clauses none of which can be held to be objectionable except this:

CSIR-turns into-religious-institution (1) CSIR-turns into-religious-institution (2)

While being faithful and bear true allegiance to the Constitution of India is laudable, we fail to understand what an entity called “God” has to do with it! It may be a research project of CSIR for the next millennium to establish the existence of this entity. But, we do not know which is the god they are talking about; whether it is the millions of those of the Hindu pantheon, or the patriarchal Abrahamaic bearded figure sitting on a mountain or the god of the aborigines which may vary from tribe to tribe. Well, one wonders as to what atheists have to do to be eligible for a fellowship from CSIR or whether they are specifically excluded as they do not believe in any such power. This applies also to Buddhists and Jains who do not believe in any such powers.

In a secular democratic country like ours where there is freedom of belief, I do not know how CSIR can compel scholars to sign an oath owing allegiance to an entity whose existence has not been proved so far. We strongly condemn this move to thrust beliefs on others. We demand that CSIR withdraw this sentence immediately. This goes against the article 51 A(h) of the Constitution of India which states that it is the duty of every citizen to develop scientific temper, the spirit of inquiry and humanism.

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