The Hindu right-wing has long been trying to propagate myth as facts about ancient India. Many of these alleged instances of past glory would be funny if it were not for the fact that both science and reason are injured by such propaganda, especially in educational institutions. The right-wing administration of the Maharaja Sayajirao University (MSU) in Vadodara has issued an official calendar for 2017 which hails several sages for their “contribution to science.” These sages, who lived between 6th and 2nd BCE, apparently “knew” and “invented” nuclear technology, cosmetic surgery and rocket science. Sushrut is the “father of cosmetic surgery”; Kapil Muni is the “father of cosmology”; Acharya Kanad “developed nuclear technology”; Maharshi Bhardwaj “discovered rockets and aeroplanes”; Charak Rishi is the “father of medicine”; and Garga Muni is the “scientist of stars”.
Only a few days back, the MS University administraion called off a workshop on the politics of caste and social movements in India, citing possible “backlash” from “some people” similar to the people (read the ABVP) who created a ruckus in Ramjas College, Delhi University.
Do spreading fear of “backlash by some people”, silence on critical issues such as caste, and boastful fabrication passed off as ancient history go together?
It would seem they do. What happens to an educational institution when students, teachers and scholars cannot dicsuss the realities of India – caste, dalit movements, labour issues and corruption? What happens to the same institution when irrational lies about an imaginary India replace real learning?