We will prove Prime Meridian runs through Ujjain, and change world time: MP CM | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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We will prove Prime Meridian runs through Ujjain, and change world time: New MP CM

By, Bhopal
Dec 22, 2023 11:39 AM IST

Mohan Yadav was referencing an ancient Hindu astronomical belief that Ujjain was once considered India’s central meridian

The Madhya Pradesh government will work to shift the Prime Meridian, the line of longitude that is used as the global reference for time, from Greenwich in England to Ujjain, the state’s newly minted chief minister Mohan Yadav said on Thursday in the course of a speech where he railed against rampant “westernisation”.

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav and Deputy Chief Ministers Jagdish Devda and Rajendra Shukla during the Winter session of MP Assembly, in Bhopal, Thursday,(PTI)
Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Mohan Yadav and Deputy Chief Ministers Jagdish Devda and Rajendra Shukla during the Winter session of MP Assembly, in Bhopal, Thursday,(PTI)

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Responding to the governor’s assembly in the state assembly, Yadav said his government will “prove that Ujjain is the global Prime Meridian”, and stressed that he would push to “correct the time of the world”.

“It was our (Ujjain’s) time that was known in the world, but Paris started to set the time and later, it was adopted by the British who considered Greenwich the Prime Meridian,” he said.

Yadav was referencing an ancient Hindu astronomical belief that Ujjain was once considered India’s central meridian and that the city determined the country’s time zones and time differences. It is also the basis of time in the Hindu calendar. Ujjain, the belief goes, is located at the precise point of interaction with the zero meridian and the Tropic of Cancer. It is also the location of what is India’s oldest observatory, built by Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur in the early 18th century.

To be sure, the 1884 convention on meridians accepted the longitude passing through Greenwich as the zero meridian or the Prime Meridian. Indian Standard Time, 5.30 hours ahead of Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT), is calculated from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh (UP), which lies on the 82°30’E longitude.

The Madhya Pradesh chief minister, who took charge on December 11 after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) sweeping victory in the assembly elections, also took umbrage at the extant accepted idea of midnight.

“The world has two types of living beings – one who is awake during the daytime and another awake at night, so what is the logic behind changing the day at midnight?” he asked.

Westernisation is ruining the world and his government will collaborate with scientific minds to reverse this rot, Yadav added.

“The adoption of westernisation is an attack on our culture, but not anymore. We will do research at the observatory in Ujjain to correct the time of the world. Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) will do research and develop a platform so that honourable Prime Minister Narendra Modi can take this to the international level,” Yadav said.

India’s neighbours will support Ujjain’s anointment as the central meridian, he claimed.

“All the countries, whether China, Pakistan or Afghanistan... believe that if it is a matter of fixing standard time, then it will be decided by India,” he added. To be sure, there is no evidence any other country would support such a plan.

Yadav then took aim at the Gregorian calendar, which has been accepted globally for nearly five centuries, and said emphasis should be placed on the Hindu calendar, known as Vikram Samvat.

“Aryabhatta, who is a renowned mathematician, did remarkable work in aeronautics. Now, it’s time to give importance and recognition to our ancient knowledge. Vikram Samvat should be given importance over the Gregorian Calendar,” he said.

Research will be done on Baba Mahakal and Samrat Vikramaditya, who, the chief minister said, was known for his judiciary skills, justice, valour and generosity.

After time- and date-keeping norms, Yadav took a swipe at western education.

Praising the New Education Policy, Yadav said, “The Congress didn’t do anything on the mistake of 1835 of Macaulay’s education policy. But we (the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre) rectified it by introducing the New Education Policy.”

Read here: MP CM Mohan Yadav orders to ban loudspeakers/DJs at religious, public places

He was referring to Thomas Babington Macaulay’s 1835 Minutes on Education In India, which subsequently led to the formation of the English Education Act.

Congress legislator Umang Singhar, the leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, said, “We don’t understand why the chief minister spoke about these things in the assembly, We were keen to know the government’s development plan, but he gave speech on this bizarre thing.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    She is a senior reporter based at Bhopal. She covers higher education, social issues, youth affairs, woman and child development related issues, sports and business & industries.

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