Tag Archives: Indian Institute of Science

Ramchandra Guha, Satish Dhawan Chair at IISc and Modi bashing

Lalit Shastri

An opinion piece by Ramchandra Guha, with the title “ Why Modi And Shah Fear Young Activists” has been published by NDTV on Tuesday February 16.

Ramchandra Guha has been occupying a chair at Indian Institute of Science (IISc) under the Satish Dhawan Visiting Professor/Scientist Program funded by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Department of Space.

The article by Guha begins with a loaded statement to defend a 21 year old activist arrested and remanded to police custody by court to help the Delhi Police carry forward the investigation into the Republic Day violence and the charge of “conspiracy”. The accused in question has been accused of joining the international gang – Poetic Justice Foundation – that’s bent upon creating unrest in the country with the support of the Khalistani group, under the pretext of serving the farmers’ cause. The Delhi Police is investigating the role of Disha Ravi, Nikita Jacob and Shantanu. They were allegedly hand-in-glove with Poetic Justice Foundation and were engaged in sharing a diabolic toolkit linked with 26 January violence in Delhi. It was posted and shortly thereafter removed from twitter by the much exposed Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg. A chat between Greta and Disha flashed across media, amply shows they were in cahoots.

Guha throws the poser challenging the Indian State when its doing its best to protect the Constitution, ensure law and order and maintain security by cracking down on elements that have ganged up with international forces bent upon fomenting trouble in India. He begins with a set of questions: “Why would the Indian state arrest a 21-year-old woman activist who seeks a cleaner and safer planet? Should not the country want young people to look beyond their narrow personal interests to the interests of society at large?….” these questions, Guha says, were asked of him by a friend when the news of Disha Ravi’s arrest came in.” If these questions were really asked by a friend, one can only brush them aside by saying “man is judged by the company he keeps.”

Guha is entitled to his opinion but question arises can a section of the media be allowed to become a vehicle for spreading any opinion that challenges the law enforcing agencies, Police, and the State when they are working in tandem to protect the Constitution and thereby national security, dignity of the national flag, life and property of the people and the parliamentary system of government.

Disha Ravi

Who will tell Guha the difference between democratic non-violent protest and a diaboloc toolkit aimed at spreading anarchy. If anyone follows the path of anarchy, the age and gender factor notwithstanding, the accused deserves the strictest punishment under the law. Questions being raised in the public domain by a so-called intellectual over the arrest of Disha Ravi is only an attempt to subvert the due process of law and investigation into what the Delhi Police has described as international conspiracy to destabilise the country.

It is a matter of serious concern and what needs investigation is how and on whose recommendation Guha got the Satish Dhawan chair at IISc Bangalore. It is important to know, for the sake of transparency and accountability what are Guha’s academic credentials vis a vis space research and who in IISc approved his professorship.

The Satish Dhawan chair was established in 1996 by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in the field of Engineering Sciences, having relevance to Space Science & Technology. This Visiting Professorship is named after the former Director of IISc, and is the chair of the Indian Space Commission.

Under this scheme, visitors are expected to spend 1-3 months at IISc, deliver lectures, work on collaborative projects, and interact with faculty members and students at IISc.

As per the IISc website, following have currently been appointed under this scheme:

Prof. Rajesh P N Rao, University of Washington, USA
Prof. Herbert Levine, Northeastern University, USA
Prof. Sajal K Das, Missouri University of Science and Technology, USA
Prof. Arun Shukla, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, USA
Prof. Rao R Tummala, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Prof. Prasad Tetali, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Prof. Murugesu Sivapalan, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
Prof. Siva Athreya, ISI Bangalore
Dr. Ramachandra Guha, Bangalore
Prof. Sargur N. Srihari, University at Buffalo, The State University of New York


Why is it sweating in Shillong?

Because temperatures in India’s biodiversity hotspot are on the rise

Dinesh C Sharma

Shillong: Sitting in the glass-and-concrete State Convention Centre in the capital of hilly state, Meghalaya, participants of a media workshop on climate change were feeling sweaty. The convention centre is not air-conditioned nor does it have ceiling fans. For the comfort of guests, some pedestal fans were plugged in.

Why are we sweating in Shillong? Asked state information technology minister Dr M Ampareen Lyngdoh. The question may sound strange for those who have read in tourist brochures and text books about the wettest places on the planet being in Meghalaya and about its round-the-year cool weather.

The answer to this question came in the form of a new study done by researchers from the Water and Climate Lab at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Gandhinagar. The study has shown that air temperature in the state is rising at the rate of 0.031 degree per year. The trend is consistent from 1981 to 2014, barring the years 1991 and 1992. This translates into 1 degree centigrade rise between 1981 and 2014, which is quite significant. Future projections indicate similar rise over next two decades.

The state has also been witnessing highly fluctuating frequencies of hot days, hot nights, cold days and cold nights. “The number of hot days and nights show an increasing trend while that of cold days and cold nights show a declining trend. These are indications of a consistently warming region,” pointed out lead author Dr Vimal Mishra while presenting results of the study commissioned by the state government. “The higher number of hot night frequencies is a matter of concern for the state.”

Based on historic and observed data as well as computer models, the study has projected changes over short-term (2013-2040), mid-term (2041-2070) and long-term (2071-2100) for the state. It is a high-resolution study in the sense that projections have been made for grids of 5 X5 km size, so as to help in vulnerability assessment for each grid and adaptation planning at local level.
Future projections show an increasing temperature rise under different scenarios. Under these projections, the rise in maximum temperature in Meghalaya in the long term ranges from 2.65 degree to 3.8 degree, while the rise in minimum temperature will be between 2 degree and 3.5 degree in the long term. The increase in temperature may result in higher number of extreme hot days and nights. Under the extreme scenario projection, the number of hot days could be as high as 100 a year. Similarly, there may be a decrease in extreme cold days and nights.

“The state has already seen a rise of temperature of 1 to 1.5 degree in the past three decades, and the projections point to a similar rise by 2040. If temperature in Meghalaya will rise by about 3 degree rise in a span of half a century, we don’t know what Meghalaya will be like in future – West Bengal or Assam?,” wondered Dr Mishra.

There will be changes in the rainfall patterns too in future. The central plateau region is projected to experience an increase in rainfall at a higher rate than the rest of the state. The occurrence of extreme rainfall events will also show an upward trend under various projected scenarios. “The West Khasi hills which already receive very high precipitation are projected to face even higher rise in precipitation,” Dr Mishra added.

The changing climate in Meghalaya, he said, would have widespread implications for forests, water resources, biodiversity, agriculture, livestock and human health. For instance, due to significant rise in temperature, forest fires may go up while extreme rainfall events will increase risk of landslides in high altitude areas causing siltration of water bodies downstream. The rise in temperature will also threaten endemic plant species many of which are already on the verge of extinction. Rainfed agriculture in the state will be adversely hit with crop yields and production declining. Higher temperature will also induce premature breaking of insects and pests.

“Meghalaya has some of the most vulnerable districts to current climate risks and long term climate change in the region,” pointed out Prof. N.H. Ravindranath of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. “Sectors like agriculture, forests, fisheries, horticulture are already subjected high climate risks currently and will be highly vulnerable to climate change risks in future. We need to prepare both incremental as well as transformational adaptation plans to make based on vulnerability assessments.”

The workshop was jointly organized by the Department of Science and Technology, Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Programme (IHCAP) and Centre for Media Studies. (India Science Wire)

Twitter handle: @dineshcsharma