Exploitation of cows led to our downfall, Gujarat seer tells IIT-Bombay students
The sessions reportedly began on Saturday under the title “Knowledge System in Ancient India” and will continue till Friday.
The Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) has been hosting a series of talks that has enthusiastically been praising ‘benefits’ of cow urine and dung, aeronautics in ancient India and ‘distortion’ of Indian history.
The sessions reportedly began on Saturday under the title “Knowledge System in Ancient India” and will continue till Friday. They were organised by some students and at least one faculty member from IIT-B. While the organisers said that the purpose of the talks was to find solutions for modern-day scientific questions in the ancient India, some students and faculty members have criticised the seminars, calling it a propagation of ‘right-wing agenda’ and ‘pseudo-science’ at the institute.
The talks, apparently delivered by a seer from a ‘vedic’ institute in Sabarkantha, Gujarat, a person who runs a cow shelter and a gurukul in Ahmedabad, a retired professor from the University of Mumbai (MU) and a scientist from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), among others, are reminiscent of dubious claims about aircraft technology in ancient India made at the 2015 Indian Science Congress, held in the city. The claims were widely denounced as untrue by many academicians and scientists.
The session were earlier billed as ‘workshops’ to be held in the lecture hall complex at the IIT-B campus in Powai — HT has a copy of the programme’s brochure — but according to sources, the event was moved to the Computer Science department and may now be held at a temple within the campus.
The brochure lists a number of sessions on astrology, pharmacy, medicine and aeronautics in ancient India. According to the students who attended the talks, while the organisers are not following the original schedule the content was almost the same. “Most of the talks are delivered by the seer from Gujarat, while the person who runs the cow shelter talked about merits of cow dung and urine. He said that the reason for our downfall is the exploitation of cows,” said a student from IIT-B.
Rohit Apurva, a research scholar at the institute and one of the organisers, said, “In ancient times, science was used for the good of humanity. Unless we talk in scientific terms, people won’t understand or ideas.”
WhiIe recognising the right of the organisers to openly discuss and propagate their views on various issues, around 35 students and faculty members wrote to the IIT-B director Devang Khakhar, raising questions over the event.
“When the names of speakers/guests and their organisational affiliations are not transparent, it would not be possible for the IIT-B community to hold the speakers or the organisers accountable for the content discussed in the workshop. This becomes pertinent especially in case of propagation of wilful falsehoods on science and history of India rooted in personal or sectarian prejudice rather than substantiated by scholarly material proof,” read the letter.
A spokesperson for IIT-B also said that the organisers didn’t seek mandatory permission before going ahead with their event.