Science minister victim of fake news on Hawking’s Veda comment
In his inaugural speech at the Indian Science Congress in Manipur on Friday, science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan said astrophysicist Stephen Hawking had said Vedic theories were superior to Einstein’s famous equation: e=mc2. The minister was likely unwittingly peddling fake news.
“We recently lost a renowned scientist, cosmologist Stephen Hawking. He also emphatically said on record that our Vedas might have a theory which is superior to Einstein’s theory of e=mc2,” Harsh Vardhan said. The minister did not back his claim with evidence and when questioned by reporters asked them to find the evidence on its own.
The only online reference of Hawking commenting on Vedic science being superior to Einstein is a post on the website of the Hyderabad-based Institute of Science Research on Vedas (I-SERVE).
Sakamuri Sivaram Babu, who has served as a senior official at I-SERVE, has written multiple papers about the theory of creation propounded in the Vedas and claims that Dr Hawking posted a comment on one of his papers.
The comment was not on the official Stephen Hawking Facebook page, but on a fake Stephen Hawking Facebook page.
The post from Nov 10, 2011 reads: “Vedas might have a theory superior to Einstein’s law E=MC2.
The Satapatha Brahmana 7-1-2-23 and Gayatri Mantra talk about Universe being threefold (triloka): Prithvi (Earth), Antariksha (the space in between) and Dayu (Heaven). Krishna Yajurveda 23.12 (7-4-45) 43 Pannam-18th Anuvakam-45th Panasa suggests the existence of a softer intermediate space called Pilipila. Modern science says the matter and energy are interchangeable but the Vedic science says there is Pilipila in between.the two.(Ref: Modern Science in Vedas- 1 and 2 by Dr Sakamuri Sivaram Babu and Arjunadevi-Guntur-A.P.India published in 2007)....”
Encouraged by the post, the officials at ISERVE reached out to Hawking on his official University of Cambridge email address to record their appreciation for his comments, and in return received an automated reply.
This is not the first time senior ministers have made controversial claims about modern inventions and discoveries made in ancient India not backed by scientific evidence or documentary proof.
In January, junior minister for human resource development Satyapal Singh said India’s mantras codified the laws of motion before Newton. He had earlier termed Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution as ‘scientifically wrong.’
Singh’s comments on Darwin were roundly criticised by Indian scientists. Harsh Vardhan could not be reached for comment.