‘I subscribe to Indian history’: WB governor defends statement on Arjuna’s arrows
West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar defended on Wednesday his remark that the arrows of Arjuna, a character in the epic Mahabharata, had nuclear power, stressing that he “subscribed to the Indian history and culture”. Dhankhar also said he did not believe that Rama was a mythological figure.
“You don’t believe that we were leaders in the world 4,000 years ago. You don’t believe that Sanjaya gave description [of the Kurukshetra war] to Dhritarashtra. You don’t believe that the arrows that Arjuna used were so powerful that they can be compared with the best in the current times. Sir, madam, I subscribe to Indian history, Indian culture. I am proud of it,” he said in Kolkata. “We have given to the world what the world never had. World is looking up to Indian language Sanskrit now. Nasa is looking at it. No other language is as rich as Sanskrit, even for scientific development,” he said .
On Tuesday, speaking at the 45th Eastern India Science Fair and 19th Science and Engineering Fair in the city, Dhankhar said flying objects existed during the time of Ramayana, drawing criticism from a section of scientists and scholars, and several politicians.
Dhankhar said on Wednesday he respected the views of his critics, but had the right to disagree. “I regard their opinion well. But that does not mean I have to agree to it...Sir try to read Indian history, Indian culture. I can join issues with anyone. It is so easy to say it is unscientific,” he said.
“Some people may take Lord Ram to be a mythological figure, but I don’t. It is said that the plane was invented in 1910 or 1911. But if we delve into our scriptures, we will see in the Ramayana that we had the ‘uran khatola’ [aircraft],” he said. “I believe in my culture. I believe in my background of science,” said the governor.
Hitting out at Dhankhar, West Bengal education minister Partha Chatterjee said, “I fail to understand why the governor is making a laughing stock of himself.”
Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said, “If Arjuna’s arrows were so powerful, let him give those to Prime Minister Modi. He can destroy all his enemies. We won’t need the army.”
The Bengal unit president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Dilip Ghosh, came out in Dhankhar’s support and said, “Do those criticising his statements have proof that such things did not exist? Have they studied our scriptures? What contributions have these scientists made? They criticise people for saying things that they have not studied,” Ghosh said.
Nuclear physicist and Padma Bhusan awardee Bikash Sinha said he is afraid that such statements can have a negative impact on the society.