Algebra and the Pythagoras theorem originated in India, said Union mister for science and technology Dr Harsh Vardhan at the inauguration of the Indian Science Congress at Mumbai university on Saturday.
Vardhan said ancient Indian scientists have graciously allowed scientists from other countries to take credit for their findings. “Our scientists discovered the Pythagoras theorem, but we very sophisticatedly gave its credit to the Greeks. We all know that we knew ‘beejganit’ much before the Arabs, but very selflessly we allowed it to be called algebra. This is the base the Indian scientific community has maintained,” he said.
The congress has already attracted controversy, for the symposium on ‘Ancient Indian sciences through Sanskrit’ where a paper titled ‘Ancient Indian Aviation Technology’ is to be presented. The abstract, ‘Aviation technology in ancient India is not a tale of mythology, but a total historical document giving technical details. Ancient Sanskrit literature is full of descriptions of flying machines, vimanas.’
On Saturday, the Union minister said Indians have never used their knowledge of science for negative purposes. “Whether it is related to the solar system, medicine, chemistry or earth science, we have shared all our knowledge very selflessly,” he said.
RA Mashelkar, former director general of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, said scientific validation is important to all traditional practices. “There is a belief that India, despite being a pioneer in science, has not received credit for it. There are ancient testimonies, but scientific validation for it is very important.”