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Online petition hits out at book endorsed by AICTE

Calling all experiments in the book “conspiracy theories”, experts said AICTE was endorsing pseudoscientific claims about supposed inventions of ancient India

mumbai Updated: Sep 29, 2018 00:27 IST
Shreya Bhandary
Shreya Bhandary
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,online,petition
Officials from AICTE said the book has references as well. (Pic for representation )

A group of scientists and educationists have started an online campaign against All India Council for Technical Education’s (AICTE) decision to endorse ‘Bharatiya Vidya Saar’ as a reference book for an elective course on Ancient Knowledge Systems.

Calling all experiments in the book “conspiracy theories”, experts said AICTE was endorsing pseudoscientific claims about supposed inventions of ancient India. The petition, which was launched on Thursday, highlights some of the “outlandish claims” mentioned in the book. These include a theory on how Rishi Agastya invented photovoltaic cell, introduction of electrolysis to produce oxygen and hydrogen from water, speed of light and mention of theory of gravitation in Rig Veda.

“The claims stem from misunderstanding or deliberate mistranslation of philosophical verses or ascribing an ancient origin to verses composed in the last century. Several of the claims have been explicitly debunked over the years by respected academics,” said Aniket Sule, from Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education. “Such books as do a disservice to the goal of taking knowledge of ancient Indian sciences to students by spreading conspiracy theories and blatantly false information.”

Officials from AICTE said the book has references as well. “There are several counter petitions by other experts who feel this book is going to help students because it is published by a very reliable group. The Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (publisher) has also ensured that references are made available to students in the book,” said Anil Sahastrabuddhe, chairman, AICTE.

He added the council is asking colleges to conduct scientific investigations and find out the truth behind these theories, in the spirit of scientific research.

First Published: Sep 29, 2018 00:27 IST