Union science and technology minister Dr Harsh Vardhan on Friday said there is evidence based on western commentary that India started inoculation against small pox before Edward Jenner and that wireless was invented by JC Bose much before Marconi but there are certain sections in the country who find it problematic to accept this “glorious past”.
This is not the first time the minister has alluded to India’s ‘ancient knowledge’.
In 2015, he stoked a controversy at the Indian Science Congress by saying Indian scientists “discovered the Pythagoras theorem but gave its credit to the Greeks” and “knew Algebra as beej ganit much before the Arabs”.
On Friday, speaking at the 6th Nanaji Deshmukh memorial lecture, the minister credited a book written in 1906 — Hindu Superiority by Har Bilas Sarda — as the source of his assertions on Indian achievements and discoveries in science, medicine and mathematics.
Referring to the book, which he especially wants media persons to read, he said it gives a comprehensive view of India’ s achievemen ts based on‘ western commentary’.
Anil Kakodkar, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India, who delivered the lecture, concur red with Dr Harsh Vardhan about India’s significant contributions in the past.
Kakodkar refer red to research conducted by individuals to substantiate India’s achievements in metallurgy, surgery, architecture and credited Madhavacharya of the Kerala Schools of Mathematics for giving the value of ‘ pi’ much ahead of the westerners.