Indian Science Congress, a premier scientific organisation of India was in the news for wrong reasons this month. A delegate of speakers made some utterly unscientific and ahistorical remarks with unfounded claims and audaciously mixed science with mythology at the 106th edition in January.
Some chancellors and scientists vocalised their pseudo-scientific beliefs about Indian history and world science without fear of ridicule and disgust.
On January 4th at Indian Science Congress session, Andhra University vice-chancellor G Nageswara Rao made an absurd assertion that “Kauravas from Mahabharata were born due to stem cell and test tube technologies and India possessed this knowledge thousands of years ago”. “Lord Rama used ‘astras’ and ‘shastras’ (weapons) which would chase targets and after hitting it they would come back”, Rao said at an ISC session.
So according to his gibberish claims, the science of guided missiles is not new to India and it was present thousands of years ago. Rao, who is a professor of inorganic chemistry, also added that, “Ravana from the Ramayana possessed 24 aircraft and that Sri Lanka at the time had airports”.
“Everybody wonders and nobody believes, how come Gandhari gave birth to 100 children. How is it humanly possible? Can a woman give birth to 100 children in one lifetime,” Rao asked.
“But now we believe we have test tube babies. Again Mahabharat says, 100 eggs were fertilised and put into 100 earthen pots. Are they not test tube babies? Stem cell research in this country was present thousands of years ago.
Today, we speak about stem cell research.
“We had hundreds of Kauravas from one mother because of stem cell research and test tube baby technology. It happened a few thousand years ago. This was science in this country,” Rao said.
At the same session, KJ Krishnan, a scientist at a centre in Tamil Nadu, preposterously said that “Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein were both wrong and that gravitational waves would soon be rechristened “Narendra Modi waves”.
These fictional words of wisdom by these personalities have triggered a huge uproar amongst eminent scientists and researchers from several institutions across the country. They are condemning the “irrational and unscientific claims” made at the prestigious ongoing sessions of the Indian Science Congress.
Breakthrough Science Society, a voluntary science body, committed to propagating science and scientific outlook, had organised a protest on January 6th (Sunday). It said, “it was distressing that such “chauvinistic claims” about ancient India were made before the young and impressionable minds”.
K VijayRaghavan, principal scientific advisor to the centre said, “It is indeed unfortunate that a sitting vice chancellor of a state university says something that is scientifically untenable”.
“Scientists say what they say, and if they talk nonsense, they will feel the heat from the community. It is indeed unfortunate that a sitting Vice-Chancellor of a great state university, a biologist to boot, says something that is scientifically completely untenable,” VijayRaghvan said in a blog.
Ever since its inception in 1914, the main objective of the Indian Science Congress is to promote the cause of science in India. However such unscrupulous remarks are leaving the scientific community stunned and ashamed and prompting condemnation from senior scientists.