Science meet to discuss ancient Indian aviation

Science meet to discuss ancient Indian aviation

 The scientific academic community attending the Indian Science Congress here would have to watch out for a session where “ancient science through Sanskrit” would be discussed.

The topics up for discussion include “ancient Indian aviation technology”, “neurosciences for Yoga”, “advances in surgery in ancient India” and “engineering applications of ancient Indian botany”.

Chaired by Uma Vaidya, vice chancellor of Kavikulguru Kalidasa Sanskrit University, Ramtek, the speakers list include union environment minister Prakash Javadekar and Vijay Bhatkar, former director of the Centre for the Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune, that created the indigenous super-computer Param after the US denied India technology for the same. Incidentally, Bhatkar courted controversy a decade ago when he addressed an RSS camp in Agra during the first NDA regime.

A former pilot, Captain Anand J Bodas, is expected to speak on ancient aviation technologies. In the past, he has quoted a document titled ‘Vaimanika Parakraman’, found to be just about 100 years old by a group of five scientists from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, who studied the text. This document carries several outlandish claims, in detail.

“This kind of session has no place in a major scientific conference. Its retrograde step. Are we going backwards?” wondered P M Bhargava, founder director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad. The veteran biologist ,who legally challenged former human resource development minister Murli Manohar Joshi's decision to teach astrology in academic institutions, described the session as “absurd and totally irrelevant.”

“Studies into the past are a legitimate and welcome exercise. These studies, however, should be open-ended, in context and carried out with detachment and rigour,” said Rajesh Kochar, former director of the National Institute for Science, Technology and Development Studies, Delhi, who studied ancient Indian texts.

Earlier this week, another group of academics sounded an alarm bell for Modi who claimed that Ganesha was an example of the glory that Indian plastic surgery had attained in the past. “Indian History Congress is perturbed to hear voices being raised in certain influential quarters on the need to rewrite Indian history through an abundant use of ancient mythology and speculative chronology, while fresh myths are being created,” said a resolution of the congress that took place at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.

“Unfortunately even the Prime Minister has suggested that in the hoary past Indians had learnt, and then forgotten, a kind of plastic surgery of a kind going far beyond what is possible now. The Indian History Congress is confident that all genuine historians would resist interested distortions of the past,” added the resolution.

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