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PLUTO: Science and Technology has assumed much importance in almost all endevours of human activity today and with the passage of time Sri Lanka has come up to `the age of reason' to give pride of place to science and technology within the para-metres of the lanka polity.

The introduction of the computer, computer technology, television and the Cell-phone to the country, has in turn secured a veritable place in the school curriculum. Today, unlike in the times we were small kids, the pre sent generation have a better knowledge of new technology , possibly because they grow up with the new technology and trends.

While speaking on the relevance of science and technology in our day today life, this week we were reminded of the life and times of one of the Asian thinkers of our times.

The self-proclaimed Atheist Abraham T. Kovoor, son of Cleric of the Christian sect, who strongly believed that he did not believe in many things including the Supernatural power which the ordinary world believed in. He preferred to be known as a non-believer an Atheist and he laid much stress on rational thinking.

He challenged many things the world believed and had taken for granted, had a vibrant group of followers in Sri Lanka and they were very much in the news during his life-time.

Human nature despite where we live have many things in common and one of them is their trust in the might of the stars, the celestial powers.

From time immemorial and for generations up to now we find that a considerable section of people show interest in astrology and display keenness to know what would happen to them at the next instant.

Every newspaper and periodical published in Sri Lanka and even in the world press, played well on this human urge to know the unknown and the hidden. One could read what stars in the sky wield influence over one's life. This, whether a myth or truth, did not did not attract veracity. Each and everyone were very much inclined to accept that there is something to `take' from the readings.

In this back ground, many astrologers did financially well, selling the 'Grahayas' up to recent times until it was announced by the International Astronomical Union (IAU) that one of the members of this "Grahayas" PLUTO was no more a planet which has been part of the solar system since 1930.

According to the controversial reclassification which came after the passing of a new resolution by the IAU, on August 24, this year, Pluto is no more considered to be a planet as explained by the resolution passed.In terms of the new classification a celestial object to be considered as a planet should fulfil three criteria.

A celestial body must have enough mass and gravity to gather itself into a ball(nearly round shape); must orbit around the sun; and must reign supreme in its own orbit, having " cleared the neighbourhood" of other competing bodies, to be a planet according to the new rules.

Though Pluto satisfies the first and second criteria, it doesn't satisfy the newly introduced third criteria. Pluto shares the outer solar system with thousands of Pluto-like objects. Because it has not "cleared its own neighbourhood," it is not a planet. Instead Pluto is re-defined under a new category, added into the solar system called "dwarf planets", the media reported.

With the astronomers discovering more and more orbiting bodies including asteroids, comets,moons and as yet unclassified bodies, it has been found after 76 years, that Pluto has not fulfilled the requirement and hence it is out of the planetary sphere.

With this announcement there is much debate in astrological circles about the veracity of what has been predicted all these decades considering the fate of Pluto, a member of the planets.

Whether one agrees or disagree with the thinking pattern of Kovoor, his thinking sheds a shadow of light to the thinking of his contemporaries and to the world anxious to know about the galaxy of stars and its influence over human life. Kovoor was a man who hit hard the naivety of man and was all out give a discerning view. What he wanted from everyone was not to be slaves but to be free from an enslaved mind.

Science opens the door for critical thinking and to reach for profound knowledge of things that is around us. We study that man is free and intelligent. But in practice we act like puppets in the hands of those who `sell his pack of lies' and put the buyer in doubt and suspicion, a sort of a prisoner. Kovoor wanted men to be released from this clutch and to use scientific knowledge to pave the way for proper understanding of things.

Great philosophers lived their lives serving the human race to rise up to the `truth' which never change and they showed the way to arrive at the truth following scientific methods.

The advanced science and technology of the day invite us to proceed from here to the future and much could be done if the people at every level is facilitated to grasp the truth and reality.

Computer technology introduced to Sri Lankan society can do marvellous things if the people at the grass-root level are assisted in making the best use of the facility. But it is unfortunate that in many parts of the country, the basic needs, the infra-structure facilities are minimal and in some cases they are unheard of.

The Science and Technology Ministry should take steps to provide better class-room facilities for children and canvass the support of other Ministries to provide electricity a basic requirement to move with the introduction of `Vidatha' program which is gaining ground.

People in general like to live in a fantasy world. They go behind half-baked astrologers to find out what their future would be, because of ignorance. They do not mind being fools, before other fools who say lofty things to keep the people who come to them, in their dream world, so that they can flourish on these buffoons.

But it is up to the Science and Technology Ministry, to provide a wake up call to those in slumber and wake up people from their dream world to the stark reality, so that they will not be heavily dependent on the fate, like fatalists but will fight tooth and nail against fate, emerge victorious with the profound knowledge they have acquired through scientific learning.

Children who grow up with the new technology and experience the ever changing course of science and technology will not be slaves or people who places everything in the hands of fate and live with folded arms. It is to them that new knowledge is to be imparted and facilities should be provided on a equal basis whether they live in the town or in the village.

Whether Pluto is part of the celestial body or not it has no bearing on man who has the guts to fight his fate. The Ministry should help our future generation to be men of courage who have the sagacity to march forward come what may, unruffled.

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Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
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Produced by Lake House Copyright 2006 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

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