Why Do Some Indians in the Guise of Scientists Talk Nonsense?


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Myself 

By T.V. Antony Raj.

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There tends to be two camps in history. One that discredits the ancient world as a bunch of amoral savages beating each other over the head with sticks, and the other that thinks ancient peoples were perfect in every way, could do no wrong, and managed to achieve stages of technological development beyond our own. Both are ludicrously wrong.
— Robbie Sentry McBoddy, a friend on Facebook.

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This year the University of Mumbai hosted the 102nd Indian Science Congress 2015  from January 3 to January 7, 2015. The Focal theme was “Science & Technology for Human Development.”

Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating 102nd Indian Science Congress 2015 at the Mumbai University on Jan. 3, 2014. (Photo: Sandeep Mahankal/IANS)
Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating 102nd Indian Science Congress 2015 at the Mumbai University on Jan. 3, 2014. (Photo: Sandeep Mahankal/IANS)

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On January 3, 2015, Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, inaugurated the 102nd edition of the Indian Science Congress.

On January 4, 2015, for the first time in the history of the Indian Science Congress, a session on “Vedic Science through Sanskrit” / “Ancient Indian Sciences through Sanskrit,” was held.

Some people in the guise of scientists presented to the audience extraordinary claims based on ancient Hindu texts, Vedas and the Puranas such as:

  • The ancient Indians extracted 24-carat gold from cow dung,
  • Used sharp knives that could split a hair in two,
  • Used aircraft to travel between continents and between planets, etc.,

 

Anand J. Bodas, pictured in Mumbai on January 4, 2015, says Maharishi Bhardwaj -- a sage of the Vedic period (around 1500 - 500 BC) -- laid down as many as "500 guidelines" on flying in a Hindu text ©STRDEL (AFP)
Anand J. Bodas, pictured in Mumbai on January 4, 2015, says Maharishi Bhardwaj — a sage of the Vedic period (around 1500 – 500 BC) — laid down as many as “500 guidelines” on flying in a Hindu text ©STRDEL (AFP)

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Captain Anand J. Bodas, a retired pilot with a Master in Sanskrit as well as an M. Tech. Degree presented a paper on “Ancient Indian Aviation Technology.

As soon as slated to speak at the event Bodas said that the airplanes of Vedic times could fly not only from one country to another but also from one planet to another. He said:

In those days, aeroplanes were huge in size, and could move left, right, as well as backward, unlike modern planes which only fly forward.”

At the session, Bodas cited an alleged old text called Vaimānika Śāstra (वैमानिक शास्त्र,) literally, “Shastra on the topic of aircrafts” attributed to an ancient Rishi named Maharshi Bharadwaj. According to Bodas, the text compiled about 7,000 years ago, mentioned aviation technology . The text  Bodas stressed that aviation technologythat had existed in India and the flight of the Wright brothers was nothing new. He said:

“There is a reference to ancient aviation in the Rigveda,… The basic structure was about 60 by 60 feet and in some cases, over 200 feet. They were jumbo planes,… The ancient planes had 40 small engines. Today’s aviation does not know even of a flexible exhaust system. The ancient aircraft could not only move in any direction, but travel between planets. History merely notes that the Wright brothers first flew in 1904… Bharadwaj, who authored the book Vimana Samhita, had written about various types of metal alloys used to build an aeroplane. Now we have to import aeroplane alloys. The young generation should study the alloys mentioned in his book and make them here,.. (sic)”

With these scientifically unproved ludicrous utterances, Anand J. Bodas has become a laughing-stock among the scientists and the rationals. Now everyone is wondering how the organizers of the Indian Science Congress allowed such inept speakers, who do not bother to verify their claims, to make such foolish utterances on their platform and undermine the honour of the Indian scientific community.

Ram Prasad Gandhiraman, a NASA scientist, launched an online petition demanding that the talk should be canceled as it would represent pseudoscience.

In 1974 five young Indian scientists – Mukunda, S.M. Deshpande, H.R. Nagendra, A. Prabhu, and S.P. Govindaraju – from the departments of aeronautical engineering and mechanical engineering of the prestigious Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore conducted a detailed study of Vaimānika Shāstra. The same year they published a paper titled “A Critical Study of the Work Vyamanika Shastra,” in the journal Scientific Opinion. They gave the reasons why the Vedic airplane theory according to Vaimānika Shāstra was not viable.

Rukma Vimana (Source: aryabharati.org)
Rukma Vimana (Source: aryabharati.org)

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The Scientists concluded that the aircrafts described in the text were “poor concoctions” and that the author showed a complete lack of understanding of aeronautics. In fact, none of the technologies documented in the Vaimānika Shāstra would allow an object to lift off from the ground except one. The study stated:

“The Rukma Vimana was the only one which made sense. It had long vertical ducts with fans on the top to suck the air from the top and send it down the ducts, generating a lift in the process.”

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Pandit Subbaraya Shastry
Pandit Subbaraya Shastry

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The young scientists debunked the claim that this text is ancient. They said it was actually written between 1900 and 1922 by Pandit Subbaraya Shastry. So much for Bodas’ exaggerated claim that this text was more than 7,000 years old.

According to these young scientists, Pandit Subbaraya Shastry was born in a small village in Hosur Taluk. His parents died when he was young. As a destitute, he contracted diseases and wandered from place to place. One day he met a great saint at Kolar. The saint initiated him into spirituality. He revealed to him several Shastras, including the Vaimānika Shāstra.

Pandit Subbaraya Shastry had no formal schooling and learned to read and write only after meeting the saint. So, it is unlikely the text was his own invention. He was unsure of the practicality of the ideas found in the text.

When a Dr. Talpade of Bombay tried to make models under Shastry’s  guidance, none of them flew.

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2 thoughts on “Why Do Some Indians in the Guise of Scientists Talk Nonsense?”

  1. Mr. Tv antony raj have you ever read vaimanika shashtra or iisc report before writing this? Interpretations of iisc are completely wrong .If you want to know how? You can mail me for proof. The problem is for you to understand with fair and open mind.It needs to be researched again for benefit of india……..dont try to link it with relegion, psuedoscience etc.

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