Arjuna’s arrows had nuclear power, chariots flew, says Bengal Governor Dhankhar; draws flak
Scientists left furious by Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar’s remarks said that he should refrain from making such statements as they have a negative impact on the society.Updated: Jan 14, 2020 23:26 IST
West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, while addressing a science and engineering fair in Kolkata on Tuesday, said that mythological character Arjuna’s arrows had nuclear power and chariots mentioned in the Mahabharata actually flew. He immediately drew flak from scientists and scholars.
“In Mahabharata, we had a situation where Sanjay narrated everything and not from the field (the battle between the Pandavas and Kauravas). We had those arrows of Arjuna that had nuclear power,” Dhankhar said while addressing a gathering at the inauguration of the Eastern India Science and Engineering Fair 2020 where he was the chief guest.
He also said that although aircraft was invented by man in the 20th century there was Udaan Khatola (flying chariots) in Ramayana.
“If we delve into our scriptures...plane was invented in 1910 or 1911. But in Ramayana we had Udaan Khatola,” said Dhankhar.
For the record, the Wright brothers – Orville and Wilbur – made the first aircraft that flew on December 17, 1903 in North Carolina in the US.
Dhankhar said that the world can no longer afford to ignore India.
Scientists criticized the governor and said that he should refrain from making such statements as they have a negative impact on the society.
“He is showing symptoms of insanity. As scientists, we get furious when we hear such things. Someday he may say Lord Krishna’s chakra had powers of hydrogen bomb. This is absurd. Since he is a governor, people listen to what he says. I am afraid that such statements can have a negative impact on the society. He means to say that we had everything in the past and there is nothing new,” said veteran nuclear physicist Bikash Sinha, a Padma Bhusan and Padma Shri awardee.
“Someone should tell him that he should stay calm and refrain from such statements so that his position as a governor is not affected,” said Sinha.
Jadavapur University professor Nrishimha Prasad Bhaduri, an expert on ancient scriptures, said, “The governor seems to have mistaken poetic imaginations and foresightedness depicted in the Ramayana and Mahabharata for achievements of science. We all know that no man went to the moon when H G Wells wrote First Man in the Moon. Leonardo Da Vinci imagined airplane much before it was created.”
Bhaduri said that atoms and molecules have been mentioned in Nyaya Vaisesika but as basic elements of nature and not as destructive energy.
“Arjuna’s Pashupatastra (a weapon) and the Pushpaka Rath (chariot) are nothing but works of great imagination. Poets and artistes have through the ages conceptualised things that science achieved much later. But conceptualization and realisation are different things altogether,” said Bhaduri.