Pakistan has religious channels, life-style channels, food channels, music channels, sports channels, kids channels, entertainment channels and billions, possibly trillions of news channels. In other words we have pretty much covered every genre of television channels there is in the world, with one frightening exception… science. In fact, let alone an entire channel, I don’t think we have even produced a decent television programme on science in the last two decades.
The catastrophic results of this neglect are undeniably apparent in society. Ask any random person on the street about say, the policies of PMLN, and he will have multitudes to say on the topic possibly including technical advice and a detailed analysis. Next, ask the person about the performance of Shahid Afridi and you’ll get an additional hour of lengthy discussion. Repeat the process for any number of political, social, religious, musical or financial issues and you will receive the same response…. now ask him about his opinion on quantum mechanics.
If he is a scientific layman and manages to give you detailed reasoning behind the Double Slit experiment and Feynman diagrams then there is hope for the country yet. Perhaps we might even see another Pakistani Nobel Laureate in a few years. If, on the other hand, your question was received with stupefied incredulity, then Pakistan needs a science channel, preferably in Urdu. Why in Urdu? So it is actually understood by people who will benefit most from it, the people who couldn’t afford to get a decent schooling.
One of the science shows that I believe should be translated into Urdu and broadcast immediately is COSMOS: A Personal Voyage. The main reason behind this is, in addition to providing insight on the universe and our place in it, COSMOS also embeds a sense of unity and humanity. Two of the best quotes from the series are,
A new consciousness is developing which sees the earth as a single organism and recognizes that an organism at war with itself is doomed. We are one planet.
Our loyalties are to the species and the planet. We speak for Earth. Our obligation to survive and flourish is owed not just to ourselves, but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.
Promoting science education in the society will not only decrease public sympathy for intolerance, terrorism and territoriality, but will also spark innovation and create a sense of unity and humanity in the country.