Funny Science

I couldn’t stop laughing at Ashish Shakya’s tongue-in-cheek writing about the scientific advancements of our ancestors in India being proclaimed at the Indian Science Congress 2015:

This humour column was written 7,000 years ago!

IF THE PILOTS IN ANCIENT INDIA GOT BORED OF FLYING DOMESTIC, THEY COULD CHOOSE TO GO FOR AN INTERPLANETARY SPIN

Like most middle- class Indian kids, I first completed my engineering and then got around to figuring what I really wanted to do in life. So I’m the first person to admit that I know next to nothing about science. The only time I use my education is when my parents ask me to fix some busted gadget, and I, applying what I learnt as a telecom engineer, swiftly pick up a cellphone to call the repair guy.

Airplane invented by Indian kids, circa 5000 BC.

But as it turns out, I would’ve been clueless even if I’d actually paid attention in class because here’s a news flash: What we know about science is wrong. It is all a western imperial construct designed to overshadow our original achievements. Simply put, the Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Americans have all shamelessly Pritam’d our inventions.

I’m thankful to the various patriots who, of l ate, have been working really hard to enlighten us about this piracy. The most recent exposé took place at the 102nd Indian Science Congress, where leading scientists had all the logic smacked out of them by the glory of ancient India.

For example, you might think that the first airplane was invented by the Wright Brothers, after they got sick of booking tickets on IRCTC. But no. Captain Bodas, a retired flying instructor and a speaker at the Congress, pointed out that the first airplanes had been invented in Indian about 7000 years ago. Some of them were the size of jumbo jets and apparently they could move forward, backward and sideways, hover in mid-air, do barrel rolls and also Bharatnatyam.

These planes were also loaded with twenty missile systems. Now I don’t mean to brag, but I too designed similar fighter jets in school via the technical process of doodling in my textbooks. (I was inspired by scientific materials such as Swat Kats and Centurions, but clearly I should’ve paid more attention to Amar Chitra Katha.)

But that’s not all. We reportedly also had pilots in ancient India, who were prescribed a diet that alternated between buffalo, cow and sheep milk and wore special shockproof, waterproof, electricity-resistant suits made from the fibres of underwater plants. Their names have been lost to history, so let’s just call them Captain Shri Maverick and Goose.

If the pilots got bored of flying domestic, they could take their crafts for an interplanetary spin. No, really. It was claimed that the planes could go from planet to planet. To buttress this point, another speaker, Kiran Naik, said that proof of this lay in the fact that during ancient times, and I wish I were making this up, two kings were fighting on Mars when one of their helmets fell off. This is why you should take off your helmet before fighting on Mars.

He said that “If you Google ‘helmet on Mars’, that helmet clearly shows up”, because ancient India also invented Photoshop. Sadly, all these advances in aviation were squandered because as it turns out, the industry was run by Vijay Mallya’s ancestors.

Mr Naik then educated the audience about a bacteria that lives inside cows and converts whatever the cow consumes into 24 karat gold. Wow, that has to be the worst Tanishq ad ever. Picture a young, hopeful man going down on his knees as his girlfriend blushes with anticipation:

Guy: I cannot imagine a life without you. Will you marry me?

Girl: Yes, yes, a million times yes! (pause) Where’s the ring? *They hear a PLOP! In the distance*

Guy: Go get it yourself.

Seriously, I cannot get over the fact that India is home to bovine creatures that crap gold. But enough about Mukeshbhai.

Not all talks at the Science Congress were as eye- opening. The others were woefully bereft of fantasy and stuck to boring ol’ scientific temperament. I wonder what it was like for the scientists, including Nobel laureates and a Fields Medal winner, to sit back and listen to stories that essentially took a flamethrower to their life’s work. It’s like Sachin Tendulkar being told by a baseball player that his stance had been wrong all these years and also once an ancient Indian batsman hit the moon for a six.

I bet they feel smarter now and cannot wait for next year’s Science Congress. If I were them, I’d make travel arrangements right now. Where can I book a one-way ticket to 5000 BC?

This article appeared on 11 Jan 2015 Hindustan Times (Mumbai) ASHISH SHAKYA ashish.shakya85@gmail.com

Disclaimer: This is a humour column, meant solely for entertainment. Ashish Shakya is a stand-up comedian and not a real journalist, because he likes money.

Who is trying to rewrite Indian History?

24 Sep 2014, Hindustan Times (Delhi), SITARAM YECHURY the views expressed by the author are personal

Ignorance, lies posing as truth

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The RSS, in its effort to convert our modern secular democratic republic into a ‘Hindu rashtra’, is trying to rewrite our history.

The latest incident of the dismissal of 11 Dalit students from a BJP state government-run school in Bikaner, Jaipur, on the grounds that they were drinking water from an earthen pot earmarked for an upper caste teacher once again highlights the continuing caste and social oppression in our country. It is indeed the irony of our times that on the same day the RSS chief released three books authored by a BJP spokesperson, carrying forewords by three top RSS leaders attributing the genesis of Dalits, tribals and many other oppressed groups to “Muslim invasion in medieval times”. RSS leaders claim that these castes had come into existence due to atrocities by foreign invaders and did not exist in Hindu religion earlier (The Hindustan Times, September 22, 2014).


REUTERSThe origins of the RSS itself are based on the religious sanction of the ‘Hindu code’ which the most sacrosanct of RSS sarsanghchalaks, Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, endorsed

The RSS emboldened by the central government under its political arm, the BJP, has intensified its efforts, to validate a common Hindu thread to unify all groups under one Hindu identity. For this, it is essential that the history of the lands constituting our great country today is rewritten according to their narrative. This is essential for carrying forward the RSS ideological project of converting the modern secular democratic Indian republic into their conception of a ‘Hindu rashtra’. The entire diversity of culture, traditions, language and customs of the people who have inhabited India over the centuries is sought to be straitjacketed into a monolithic ‘Hinduism’. Secondly, an external enemy (i.e. external to Hindus) needs to be created — the Muslims — against whom a hate campaign can be whipped up for achieving this objective.

In this latest exercise of rewriting history, Bhaiyaji Joshi, the second in command in RSS hierarchy, says that the ‘shudras’ were never untouchables in Hindu scriptures. ‘Islamic atrocities’ during the medieval age resulted in the emergence of untouchables, Dalits and Indian Muslims.

Echoing a similar tune another top RSS functionary writes that the oppressed castes and sub-castes came into existence as a result of atrocities against Brahmins and Kshatriyas during the Islamic age, “Dalits had the genesis during Turks, Muslims and Mughal eras”. Focusing on such lines of rewriting Indian history, media reports that one of the RSS affiliates recently convened a conclave of over hundred historians to discuss historiography and changes (in our syllabi), to construct an overarching Hindu identity beyond any caste or sub-castes in order to achieve the objective of Hindu consolidation.

That the caste system and the accompanied social atrocities never existed in ancient Hindu society and were the creation or the incorporation into such a society by Muslim invasions is a gross distortion of recorded history as well as the rich experience of oral historiography that has run through millennia in these lands. In fact the origins of the RSS itself are based on the religious sanction of the ‘Hindu code’ which the most sacrosanct of RSS sarsanghchalaks, Madhav Sadashiv Golwalkar, endorsed. In a 1939 tract titled ‘We or Our Nationhood Defined’, Golwalkar acclaims Manu as the “first and greatest law giver of the world” who “lays down in his code directing all the peoples of the world to go to Hindustan to learn their duties at the holy feet of ‘eldest born’ Brahmins of this land”. In a much later work, the Bunch of Thoughts (1966), he says “Brahmin is the head, King (Kshatriyas) the hands, Vaishya the thighs and Shudras the feet. This means that the people who have thus, four fold arrangement, i.e. the Hindu people is our God.”

Now what does the Manusmriti say? “Serving Brahmins alone is recommended as the best innate activity of a Shudra; for whatever he does other than this there is no fruit for him” (Chapter X, 123). The Manusmriti then proceeds to define the outcastes and untouchables who have no place in society at all and defines their menial activities. This intolerant caste structure finds expression in the RSS today as the Manusmriti is exclusively based on ‘Aryan social organisation’. “Un-Aryan behaviour, harshness, cruelty and habitual failure to perform the rituals are the manifestations in this world indicating that a man is born of a defiled womb” (Chapter X, 58).

The establishment of such a ‘Hindu rashtra’ however, requires incontrovertible proof that Aryans originated from these lands alone and did not come here from anywhere else. All questions of historical evidence are brushed aside by the RSS, by an assertion of ‘matters of faith’. Historian Romila Thapar, establishes that “the linguistic evidence of Vedic Sanskrit supports the coming into India of an Indo-European language from Iran but does not support the notion that India was the homeland of the Aryan speaking people”. (Seminar, 400, 1992). All this is brushed aside as ‘faith’ takes over evidence, mythology over history and theology over philosophy.

In India, Hinduism enforces poverty on those labelled ‘untouchables’. To help people most in need of help brings ‘bad karma’ on you personally (because you are interfering with the ‘law’ of karma where the station of a person in this life is due to their deeds in a former life), so people do not have a reason within their religion to help others in need, etc.

It is the tenacity of such a criminally oppressive social order that continues to perpetuate gross injustices in India today. According to a report published by the ministry of labour in 2001, (the last of its kind), 15% of the population constituting the three upper castes (Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas) with no legal reservations occupy 66.5% of political representation, 43% of education, 87% of employment, 97% of business and 94% of landed estates. The rest of the population consisting of the OBCs (Shudras), the SCs and STs, along with the Muslims, with a population share of 85% share the rest in hopeless conditions of inhuman inequality. This social order has to be overthrown to begin the struggle for justice.


The RSS/BJP’s agenda of rewriting Indian history is designed to perpetuate such unacceptable levels of social oppression along with the denial of basic human rights for anyone they consider as un-Hindu — their blueprint for the future of India.

Sitaram Yechury is CPI(M) Politburo member and Rajya Sabha MP

 

Author’s note: The Hinduism/Brahmanism of India was imported and imposed onto India’s earlier population from outside invaders who happened to have lighter skin tones on average. It’s probably no coincidence that the upper caste of Hindu society, the Brahmins, are mostly lighter-skinned. The lowest caste, the so-called ‘untouchables’, who can still occasionally be killed for daring to touch a Brahmin, are predominantly the darker-skinned descendants of the vanquished people group. The whole horrible caste system seems designed to keep an entire group of people in a permanently servile state. Did I say ‘horrible system’? Indeed so. ‘Political correctness’ should not deter us from ‘speaking the truth in love’ (Ephesians 4:15)

That’s why it’s important to repeatedly emphasize the truth of Genesis history and what it means for all such ideas—they are simply untenable. Our true history should remind Christians in particular of two great facts. One is our fallen nature, so prone to thinking and acting wrongly towards others. The other is the immensely close relatedness of all members of our one human family.