Public Funds Not for Hindutva Propaganda: False Claims in MS Univ’s Academic Diary

Vadodara – Cultural Capital of Gujarat Falsifying History

Vadodara University

The Hindu right-wing has long been trying to propagate their belief that many inventions and discoveries of modern science and technology were known to people of ancient India. The right-wing administration of the Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU) has reiterated  this belief by hailing several sages dating between 6th and 2nd BCE for their “contribution to science” in their official dairy for 2017. These sages are being credited with the invention of nuclear technology, cosmetic surgery and rocket science.

Only few days ago, the MS University administraion called off a workshop on politics of caste and social movements in India citing possible “backlash” from “some people” similar to the ruckus the ABVP created in Ramjas college of Delhi University. Now, we hear that Sushrut is being hailed as the “father of cosmetic surgery” and that Acharya Kanad “developed nuclear technology”. The dairy also states that Kapil Muni is the “father of cosmology”, Maharshi Bhardwaj, “discovered rockets and aeroplanes”, Charak Rishi is “father of medicine” and Garga Muni is the “scientist of stars”. It’s a pity that an educational institution cannot dicsuss the realities of India – caste, dalit movements, labour issues and corruption – but lies such as these can be perpetuated by the administation; the administration which should actually be creating a space for fearless learning.

These bunch of people in the adiministration of MSU are merely following the path that the right-wing has paved for decades and one which the Prime Minister of India treads on. Narendra Modi gave the examples  of Karna and Ganesha to support the view that cosmetic surgery and reproductive genetics were used thousands of years ago in this part of the world.

One wonders whether there are any women figures among these ancient scientists? The bhakths equally propagate the lie that the Vedic period was a women friendly period, and that violence against women is influenced by the West. Deep knowledge of history is not needed to disprove these claims. One lie of the right-wing negates another lie.

It is obvioius for evident reasons that we need not raise the question of what caste these wannabe scientists belonged to. They had to belong to the educated caste.

Mayank Vahia of Dept. of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, who leads India’s Astronomy Olympiad programme said at an event last week that these false “claims make Indian scientists look like idiots. And even genuine work gets negated because of these baseless ideas.” He also said that he was very proud of his Indian heritage and has great respect for Aryabhatta, Charaka, and many others who have made some phenomenal scientific and philosophical contributions.

Vadodara or Baroda, where Maharaja Sayajirao University is located, is known as the cultural capital of Gujarat. Capital of what kind of culture? That of threatening free speech, of curtailing right to discuss and debate, and of falsifying history?

Courtesy: Indian Cultural Forum



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