We convey to you our
deep concern with the proceedings of the session on ‘Ancient Sciences
through Sanskrit’ at the Indian Science Congress held from 3rd to 7th of
January at Mumbai. In this session a talk titled ‘Ancient Indian aviation
technology’ by Captain Bodas and Ameya Jadhav claimed the existence of aircraft
in India 6000-7000 years ago, which “travelled from one country to another,
from one continent to another, and from one planet to another” and that
“in those days, aeroplanes could move left, right, as well as backwards, unlike
modern planes which only fly forward.” The speaker did not bother to cite any
archaeological evidence and just referred to the texts of Shri Bramhamuni Parivrajaka
and Shri G. R. Josyer which have already been debunked in a study conducted in
1974 by a team of scientists from the Indian Institute of Science led by Prof.
H. S. Mukunda.
in that symposium dealt with the “fusion of science and spirituality due to
inter-penetration law”. Yet another talk claimed that “to understand Einstein,
one needs to read Vedas”—a claim without any reference to
which part of which Veda throws any light on relativity and how it was
historically possible to conceive the theory of relativity before the advent of
Newton's laws of mechanics and Maxwell's laws of electromagnetism.
We are deeply
astonished and shocked that such a hallowed assembly of scientists has been
misused to make false and chauvinistic claims about ancient India. Such
attempts only serve to make Indian science a butt of ridicule, and undermine
the true contribution of ancient India in science. We also note with dismay that
none of the speakers of this symposium were scientists of any repute,
and scientists and scholars who are known to have worked extensively on science in
ancient India were not among the speakers.
It is known
that in any reputed science conference, the papers are first reviewed by
experts before being accepted for presentation at a conference. We are not sure
whether this process has been followed for all the presentations. We are
not against talks
on debatable topics in a scientific conference, but it is the responsibility
of the organizers of a conference to ensure that the method of science is
followed in making a claim, and to ensure that sufficient time is available for
and questioning by peers from the floor of the house. However, In the
Indian Science Congress-2015, thisaccepted
scientific procedure was not honoured, and attendees who wanted to put
questions to the speakers were not allowed to do so.
We are deeply
concerned about the renewed attempts of mixing science with mysticism and history
with mythology, and the attempts to propagate unscientific superstitious
beliefs in the name of science. We urge the scientific community to be vigilant
about these attempts, to protect the integrity of the scientific process, and
not to let the scientific institutions, conferences, symposiums and meetings to
be used to propagate pseudo-science.
strongly in favour of a true appraisal of the achievements of ancient India in
different branches of science and technology and bring them to the notice of
the world. Commendable efforts have already been made by serious historians of science which have brought out many of the great achievements in ancient and medieval India. Such efforts need to continue rather than false claims which belittle our rich heritage in the eyes of the world.