Students, academics and researchers protest at IISc

Around 35 students, academics, researchers and IT professionals held a silent gathering and held placards at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) main gate on Sunday morning under the banner of Breakthrough Science Society’s Bengaluru unit. This was to protest against the unscientific papers presented at the 106th Indian Science Congress being held in Punjab, which concludes today.

Resource persons from science organizations such as the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, All India People’s Science Network, Akhila Karnataka Vicharavadigala Vedike and Chitradurga Taralaya were present at the protest.

On Friday, Andhra University vice-chancellor G Nageswara Rao, a professor of Inorganic Chemistry, presented a paper that claimed the Kauravas from the Mahabharata were test tube babies, that Ravana, from the Ramayana, possessed 24 aircrafts, and that Sri Lanka at the time had airports.

Another speaker, KJ Krishnan, a scientist from Tamil Nadu, presented a paper in which he claimed that gravitational waves should be renamed Narendra Modi waves. He also discredited Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein. Protesters said that mythology and science were being mixed, with no scientific backing.

Among those present at the protest were Prajval Shastri, a retired professor from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics.  Prof Jayant Murthy, director, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, who addressed the researchers and students, said, “I think when responsible people like vice chancellors come out in support of this nonsense, it needs to be noticed, as it sets a bad example. If it is a random person, it’s okay, but the Science Congress is an important place, and V-C’s are supposed to represent academics.”

Rajani KS, state secretary, Breakthrough Science Society, in a statement, said, “It is important to note that no technological accomplishment can be made without the relevant, scientific foundations. For instance, construction of guided missiles requires electricity, metallurgy, mechanics, projectile motion, radars, optics, motion sensors, wireless communication, and more, and there is no evidence for the existence of these in ancient India.”

“Puranic verses and epics are poetic, enjoyable, rich in moral elements and imagination, but not scientifically-constructed or validated. Hence, it is wrong to mix mythology and science. To claim that such innovations already existed in ancient India, citing these sources, is not only false, but an affront to the real achievements in science in ancient and medieval India. Further, such false facts are, as Darwin said, more dangerous than false views,” she added.

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