Mumbai: Dr. Ramprasad Gandhiraman, a scientist with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Ames Research center and the Universities Space Research Association in California, has launched an online petition demanding that a talk ‘Ancient Indian Aviation Technology’ be scrapped from the 102nd Indian Science Congress.
India’s prestigious 102nd Indian Science Congress will be held in Mumbai from 3rd to 7th January and Mr. Bodas and Mr. Jadhav will be delivering a talk titled “Ancient Indian Aviation Technology”. The conference will have high profile scientist speakers from India and abroad including Nobel Laureates.
“Such kind of mythology-based talks do not in any way contribute to science…my biggest concern is these things will (eventually) become part of school curriculum (in India), and that is completely unacceptable,” told Dr. Gandhiraman to Rediff.com
“What impact it would have on Nobel laureates, who come and listen to such kind of talks that say ancient Indians had airplanes that could travel from planet to planet? You can’t imagine President Obama talking like this and the American scientific community keeping quiet.”
“I sense a new trend of parliamentarians openly eulogizing the past without any scientific basis,” he said.
Mumbai Mirror, which reported on the controversy, wrote, ‘how organisers of the 102nd Indian Science Congress… had slipped in Vedic mythology about aviation into the Science Congress’ schedule, which is otherwise packed with talks on ribosomes, resistance to antibiotics and the origin of life, and discourses on controlling the cell cycle, all delivered by some of the finest scientific minds, including six Nobel laureates.’
The newspaper reported that Captain Anand J Bodas, when questioned about his talk on ‘Ancient Indian Aviation Technology’, had said, ‘The Vedic or rather ancient Indian definition of an airplane was a vehicle which travels through the air from one country to another country, from one continent to another continent, from one planet to another planet. In those days, airplanes were huge in size, and could move left, right, as well as backwards, unlike modern planes which only fly forward.’
“Providing a scientific platform in a prestigious science conference for a pseudo-science talk is appalling. It questions the integrity of scientific process. It also appears that this is the first time such a session is held in Indian Science Congress. This talk is not an isolated incident to shrug off. A google search with key words “Indian Prime minister plastic surgery”, “Indian Home minister Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle”, “Indian Health minister sex education ban”, “Gujarat school books science myths” etc., will give plenty of alarming developments happened over the past 6 months. We as scientific community should be seriously concerned about the infiltration of pseudoscience in science curricula with backing of influential political parties. The accelerated pace with which it is being promoted will seriously undermine nation’s science and it will have a disastrous effect on the future generation scientists. Giving a scientific platform for a pseudo-science talk is worse than a systematic attack that has been carried out by politically powerful pseudo-science propagandists in the recent past.”
“Scientific temper and the accompanying curiosity to understand the universe had always existed throughout human history. Today, we live in an era which has seen amazing technological advancement. And we are able to understand our universe in a way that is far superior than our ancestors did at any point in human history. Pseudo-Science does a great disservice to science and it is the responsibility of the scientists to stand up and defend the science. If we scientists remain passive, we are betraying not only the science but also our children.”