Scientific Indian

Now Narendra Modi has begun his new onslaught. The onslaught is on science, but with a cover. This cover is false claim about the scientific achievements of ancient India. Once Narendra Modi made the grotesque claim that the god of wealth, Ganesh, was an embodi-ment of plastic surgery; Ganesh's image was constructed by superimposing an elephant's head on a headless human body. There is no need to spell out the theoretical process behind such surgical inventions. Late Sukumar Ray, father of Satyajit Ray and the king of nonsense literature, once wrote a poem with illustrations of such combinations, e.g. that of a pochard and a porcupine. Innumerable persons enjoyed the poem, but everybody took it as a brilliant product of Ray's imagination, not as a brilliant scientific accomplishment. Ray himself wrote the poem, along with many other poems and stories in order simply to amuse readers. Now, professors and vice-chancellors loyal to Modi are discovering that the idea of dashabatars (the 10 incarnations of Vishnu) is superior to Darwin's theory of evolution of human species. Superior indeed, but only in imagination. Referring to Gandhari's giving birth to one hundred sons, one vice-chancellor has even claimed that ancient India had the technology of producing test tube babies. Another delegate to the Indian Science Congress claimed that the ideas of Einstein and Newton were flawed and that his own theory was superior. It is common knowledge that no technological accomplishement can be made without relevant theoretical foundation. But these vice-chancellors and professors hardly care. They consider it more profitable to make bizarre claims without elaborating their theoretical basis, simply because they are incapable of doing so.

History of cultivation of science in India is not an altogether uncultivated subject. The names of three important works come readily to the mind of this commentator. They are Bigwaner Itihas (History of Science), History of Hindu Chemistry (Later renamed History of Chemistry in Ancient and Medieval India) by P C Ray and History of Science and Technology in Ancient India by Debiprasad Chattopadhyay. Their works were products of painful research and investigation and they were not written at the behest of any prime minister or Sangh boss. P C Ray was a renowned scientist and a fellow of the Royal Academy, Debiprasad Chattopadhyay was a famous historian of philosophy and Samarendranath Sen was a scientist cum historian. The acolytes of Modi, posing as scientists or historians of science, are insulting these scholars and undermining the real scientific achievements of ancient India. They deserve punishment for their crimes.

Vol. 51, No.29, Jan 20 - 26, 2019