Just recently, the honourable minister of state for human resource development said that the Darwinian Theory of Evolution should not be taught in Indian institutions because it is scientifically wrong. Many scientists, students and three science academias of India signed petitions and issued joint statement in multiple languages pointing out that there was no scientific basis behind those remarks. In the end, HRD minister, Prakash Javadekar intervened and stated that such issues should best be left in the hands of the scientists.
Although the controversy has now taken a back seat, it does shed light on how evolutionary biology is not given much importance in the Indian curricula not just on the school level but on the college and research level as well. There is widespread neglect of evolution and it is considered irrelevant to the current advances in biology and is of no use to practical applications. But, evolution digs deeper as it explains how we age, how pathogenic strains surface and how epidemics spread etc., to name some theories among the few.
Research in evolutionary biology is also not that expensive. What we need right now is revamping of the biology curricula at all the educational levels. This will help to integrate a perspective into the biology training. We should also work towards setting up at least one national institute that is completely devoted to training and research in evolutionary biology to create a place for us among the world leaders in the field.
By: Neha Maheshwari