BJP’s recently elected chief minister of Tripura, Biplab Deb has contributed his bit to the growing compendium of Hindutva knowledge of science in India, asserting that the internet was invented in India “lakhs of years ago” and that the technology and satellites were present during the period of Mahabharata.
Only yesterday, noted economist Kaushik Basu had commented in a tweet: “The tragedy of religious fundamentalists & hypernationalists is that instead of spending time trying to do mathematics, philosophy, literature or science, they spend their time trying to show that 5000 years ago their ancestors did mathematics, philosophy, literature and science.”
Addressing a regional workshop on Public Distribution System (PDS), the CM said, “Not US and other western countries, but the internet was invented by India lakhs of years ago.”
“Many may decline the fact, but if the internet was not there, how Sanjay could see the war in Kurukshetra and describe it to Dhritarashtra? It means internet was there, the satellites and that technology was there in this country at that time,” Deb was quoted as saying by Tripura Infoway.
The CM said, “I feel proud that I am born in a country with such an advanced technology, the countries which claim themselves to be technologically advanced are hiring Indian talent to upgrade their software mechanism.”
“Even today in internet and software technology, we are ahead. See Microsoft, it may be a U.S. company but most of its engineers are all from our country,” the Tripura CM said.
The BJP leader said India lost technological prowess after the era of Mahabharata but the country has once again started to regain its position. “It can be proved from the fact that a large number of software engineers play a vital role in the US companies,” Deb said.
Deb’s statements set off a wave of jokes and sarcastic comments, but an unruffled Deb stuck to his guns, not embarrassed in the least.
He told ANI: “Narrow-minded people find it tough to believe this. They want to belittle their own nation and think highly of other countries. Believe the truth. Don’t get confused and don’t confuse others.”
Deb has been brought up in tradition and values of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), BJP’s ideological mentor, where he received his training. He was BJP’s prime choice for the top job in Tripura when the BJP stormed to power in the state with a promise for development after three terms of Left rule.
Deb was following in the footsteps of his illustrious seniors. Union Minister for Science Dr Harsh Vardhan had already claimed that the late Stephen Hawking had stated that Vedic shlokas contained scientific knowledge and formulations more profound that Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.
In January this year, Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development responsible for Higher Education, Satypal Singh, questioned Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and said, “Darwin’s theory (of evolution of man) is scientifically wrong. It needs to change in the school and college curriculum. Since (the time that) man is seen on Earth, he has always been a man. Nobody, including our ancestors, in written or oral, said they saw an ape turning into a man.”
Singh added he knows because he has a postgraduate degree in science.
He also said certain Vedic ‘mantras’ codified the laws of motion much before they were discovered by Isaac Newton.
Last year, he minister said the first flying machine was invented by Indian scholar Shivkar Bapuji Talpade and not the Wright Brothers. This, he said, should be taught in the Indian Institutes of Technology and other engineering institutes.
Y Sudershan Rao, the chairman of India’s leading historical organisation, has maintained that Ramayana and Mahabharata indicated that Indians were flying aeroplanes, carrying out stem cell research and using cosmic weapons 5,000 years ago. Horrified by such views, many academics have described his appointment as a blow for the 40-yera-old history organisation.
In October 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s comments that Lord Ganesha was the product of plastic surgery, prompted the Indian History Congress, to pass a stern resolution to “resist interested distortions of our past.” The next January, PM Modi had said the account of Karna’s birth in Mahabharata indicated that “people were aware of genetic science”.