Hall of Shame: On a Hindutva Apologist’s Recent Lectures at IIT Madras

Written by September 5, 2012 9:58 pm 244 comments

What  are the least things one should expect from a scientist who has worked in a CSIR lab for 25 years? Among all attributes one need to have, we could safely say that integrity and commitment to truth and scientific method are bare minimum moral requirements. It turns out that these are the very same qualities the ‘celebrity’ Hindu evangelist Dr. N. Gopalakrishnan lacks although the endless bragging about his career, D. Lit awarded in Sanskrit and “Americans who were dumbstruck by his revelations”, continued unabated in the 56 minute long verbal diarrhea that flooded the central lecture theatre at IIT Madras on the 16th August 2012. If one wasn’t enough, this charade was repeated in a supposedly interactive session held in the media resource centre, library building on 17th August 2012. The event was the inauguration of the yearly activities of Vivekananda Study Circle, an institute sponsored club whose mundane activities are intimated by none other than Dean of Students in his official capacity. If one wonders why Indian science and technology did not progress the way it should have, one need not look far. A nation whose premier institutes themselves succumb to such narrow nationalistic pride, bigotry and the endemic disease of lack of integrity, shouldn’t dare to aspire a higher stature.

Dr. N. Gopalakrishnan’s inaugural address at the Vivekananda Study Circle meeting, Central Lecture Theatre, IIT Madras:YouTube Preview Image

Dr. N. Gopalakrishnan’s second lecture at Media Resource Centre, IIT Madras:
YouTube Preview Image

The mistake of inviting a man, whose main hobby is bad mouthing other religions (while never applying the same arguments to Hindu religion), who unabashedly shouts inaccurate facts to blatant lies, is not just a matter of bad selection but also a breach of the constitutional ideal of government (and its institutions) being secular. As rationalists committed to secularism (one of the authors being a member of the IITM community too), we find it both shocking and ridiculous, and are of the opinion that public interest is being served by writing this critique. Majority of his claims were hugely distorted or wrong. His arguments were basically clichéd right-wing ideals that give instant orgasm to the proponents of cultural nationalism and his conclusions were not only preposterous but also dangerous.

Let us glance through some of the remarkable opinions that were expressed in those two lectures. We have categorized them under three headings.

  • The supremacy of Indian civilization: India is the only civilization that has withstood the test of time and absolutely nothing of any value remains in other classical civilizations; just the “pyramids and pygmies” (sic) remain in Egypt and only a mausoleum of Mao remains in China. Indian civilization was alive in B.C. 8275 and thus it has 10,000 years of continuity and great knowledge. Western paradigm of development is destructive and only India can combine the knowledge of East and the knowledge of West. Unlike Semitic religions, Indians wrote many books because they realized that ideas need amendments and people are diverse. Vedas have been recognized by UNESCO as world heritage and Bhagavat Gita is taught in 186 American universities despite the fact that the US is not ruled by BJP.  There is a western conspiracy which is supported by JNU (Marxists) in purporting the Aryan Invasion Theory. India is the only country which has not invaded other countries ever in history. In short India was the most scientifically advanced and morally upright civilization.
  • Inferiority of ‘non-Indian’ traditions and religions: Non-vegetarians, people who follow western traditions, values and life styles are somehow culturally inferior. “God send his prophet to Saudi Arabia and God sent his son to Israel. God came here 10 times”. Entire Africa was converted to Christianity in 62 years while British and others could only convert 2 percentage of Indians. There is a European (Christian) conspiracy behind not recognizing Indian history beyond 1500 B.C. Adam and Eve was born only a while before that according to the Semitic myths, and that is the reason why they refuse to recognize Indian civilization (Vedic) before 1500 B.C.
  • Justification for Indian traditions: All Indian traditions have a rational and scientific basis. The anaachaaras (anachronistic traditions) or duraachaaras (wrong traditions) like caste and untouchability were the result of the fall of civilization after the Gupta period due to the raids by Timur. None of the 210 maharshis who composed Vedas were Brahmins. Caste discrimination was non-existent in the early India. Punarjanma or rebirth, which is a part of Indian philosophy, has been scientifically proved.

Apart from these broad ideas and opinions, Gopalakrishnan made some specific claims about ancient Indian scientific heritage:

  • Gravity was not discovered (sic) by “Newton or Oldton”, but by Bhaskara II and is described in his work Siddhānta Siromani.
  • The spherical shape of earth was not discovered by “Copernicus or Silvernicus” but Indians knew it well in advance and is mentioned in Bhagavata.
  • The 15th century Mathematician from Kerala Puthumana Neelakanttha Somayaji had already found the angular velocity of earth to the precision of microseconds and had written this in his work Karana padhhathi using the katapayadi system.
  • Human evolution and even aerodynamics had already been discovered by early Indians.
  • Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is given in Patanjali’s Yoga sutras.
  • Zero was not discovered by Aryabhatta but by Pingala and is mentioned in his work Chandahśāstra.
  • Before A.D. 1820 Kaliyuga (K.E.) was used world over.
Copernicus' vision of the universe, showing the sun at the centre. From his major work "De revolutionibus orbium coelestium".

Copernicus’ vision of the universe in “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium”. (Image in public domain; links to source.)

While debunking these claims is essential, given that many people might fall for his gimmicks with Sanskrit verses and magnanimous dosages of self-praise, it should be noted that almost all of these claims are merely repetitions from his early speeches. It seems, for all his presumptions of grandeur and wit, originality has never been a strong point of this researcher who celebrated a silver jubilee in his career. His series on “Indian astrology” (13 lectures) was stripped bare by the three bloggers, Umesh, Suraj Rajan and Calvin (Sreehari), and a 62 page long collection of articles on ‘Astrology and science’ was published as an e-book in Malayalam. By some astrological accident, some of the YouTube videos of his ‘fabulous’ lecture series were soon withdrawn or edited. Interestingly some of the very same claims made in that lecture series (and in his many other lectures) are repeated here.

The task of re-inventing the wheel, i.e. repeating the same exercise of debunking these idiotic claims that others did quite successfully before, is unfortunate.  Still, let us analyze a some of his prominent opinions and claims, which by no means are exhaustive, as his entire war with words is ridden with such incredible ‘pearls of wisdom’.

It is well known to anyone who has bothered to look beyond his/her own nose that superiority claim by any civilization doesn’t hold much water. The modern human knowledge is a sum of all the knowledge that various civilizations have gathered and/or generated over many millennia. It seems, for Dr. Gopalakrishnan even monumental discoveries like the fundamental ideas of counting, arithmetic, geometry, divisions of time, position of stars, axioms of Euclid, writing paper, printing, rockets, democracy, glimpses of analytical philosophy etc. –  the huge list of worthy things developed by other civilizations independent of India – are irrelevant. If continuity is a measure, Chinese civilization surpasses Indian by any yardstick. But one wonders how, when and where did pygmies feature in ancient Egypt. Perhaps, he found out through transcendental meditation.

Indian civilization being as old as 8275 B.C. would imply that people had an Iron age/Bronze age civilization before the Mehrgarh civilization, a precursor of the Indus Valley civilization and the oldest urban civilization that’s been discovered yet in the Indian subcontinent. This would be a revolutionary discovery about the history of the human race. This would push time of Neolithic age back by several thousands of years and therefore it would require a massive European conspiracy to cover it up. Still, there is no doubt in Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s mind that it happens to be the case.

It is not hard to identify the embedded racism in his rants against non-vegetarians, ‘western culture’ and the Semitic religions. But much worse is the ‘nationalistic pride’ he attempts to inculcate among the audience for its aggression and emptiness. The mention of European conspiracy behind “not allowing Indian civilization to date before 1500 B.C.” and deviously presenting “Aryan Invasion Theory” as the modern consensus version of ancient Indian history in the academic circle (as against the Aryan Migration Theory) should not miss one’s attention. Further he has deliberately ignored the actual academic debate about ancient Indian history- i.e. whether the Aryans (which is a linguistic term and does not denote race) who wrote Vedas were indigenous (i.e. whose ancestors migrated from Africa before 60,000 years and settled in India) or pastoral groups who migrated from Central Asia or elsewhere and settled in Indian peninsula in gradual waves in and around the B.C.  Second millennium, the evidence of the later being more overwhelming than the former. With such abysmal standards of presentation and propaganda, one would wonder whether the event was the inauguration of a club in IIT Madras or a conference organized by the Rashtriya Swayam Sevaks. And our honourable speaker affirms his affiliation with such fantastic statements like Vedas being declared as world heritage by UNESCO and 186 universities in USA, which is not ruled by BJP, teaching Bhagavat Gita! We do not know from where he came up with the figure, but except for a course in comparative religion or theology (in which Bible, Quran etc are also taught), a university worth its salt would hardly find it persuasive to teach Gita unless it is of the ilk of ‘Hindu University of America‘. The fact twister in our revered guru is again trying to mislead audience by confusing ‘vedic chanting’, which was declared as world heritage by UNESCO, with ‘vedas’ (the scriptures).

Dr. Gopalakrishnan speaking at IIT Madras

Dr. Gopalakrishnan speaking at IIT Madras

In his second talk, a rational person cannot help but laugh to see Dr. Gopalakrishnan stretching his imagination and (il)logic to justify every tradition and superstition. But the most prominent one was his denial of caste discrimination.  He even goes to the extent of passing the blame of ‘caste discrimination’ to the ‘Timur’s invasion’. The nonsensical claims like all 210 rishis who composed Vedas being non-Brahmins, are subpar jokes at the best. Let us trust that he is either unaware of the Smritis, the story of Sambooka in Ramayana, Ekalavya in Mahabharata and countless other instances of casteist apartheid promulgated by Hindu scriptures or has an impeccable proof that they were added by Muslim kings or the British.

Claims of primacy with regard to “gravitational physics”, “spherical shape of the earth” and “aircraft technology” are only a few of the blatant falsehoods Gopalakrishnan dumps on the audience. Isn’t it odd that someone who claims to have a doctoral degree in science and brags about spending many years in a premier science institute in India believes that Newton did not “discover gravity”? Not only does he revel in his complete ignorance of the history of science, but also makes spurious claims firmly based on that ignorance. He amuses the audience by quoting the verse from Siddhānta Siromani (Bhuvanakosa, v 6) and to the people who have no clue as to the history of the concept of gravity, it would sound awesome, for sure. However, Bhaskaracharya’s Siddhānta Siromani dates back to 11th century AD; the idea of a force attracting things towards the earth had already been well established by then. Aristotle, c. 300 BC had mentioned about the inherent attractive force possessed by the earth. Many thinkers have stumbled upon variants of the same idea since then. Vituvius of Ist century BC in Rome, John Philoponus of 5th century AD in Alexandria, Brahmagupta of 7th century AD in India have all suggested their own ideas on the theme. By 11th century AD, Ibn Sina, the famous Persian polymath had already proposed the idea of inertia, momentum and motion in the absence of resistance. Even the inverse square law had been around for quite some time before Newton’s Principia (1680s).

One only needs to refer the original sources he mentions to get shocked at the level of his ignorance and propaganda. Let’s consider the claim that Bhagavata treats earth as a sphere. Historians agree that although the oral tradition of Vaishnavism makes it difficult to date Bhagavata purana, interpolations and redactions to the text could have continued way into the 10th and 11th century A.D. Canto 5, Chapter 16 of Bhagavata contains Bhuvanakosa varnanam (‘description of the cosmos’). Although there is a single reference to earth as “Bhoogola”, i.e., the “sphere that is earth”, nowhere in the said chapter does Bhagavata describe earth as a sphere. In fact the earth is described as a circular and flat! Not surprising; pretty much every religious text depicts the earth as flat. The Bhagavata goes on to liken the flat earth to a fully bloomed Lotus. At the center of the lotus flower, or what we call the receptacle, is located the Meru mountain, which the ancient Hindus believed to be the abode of the gods — something akin to mount Olympus of the Greeks. The bizarre geographical descriptions do not end there. The Jambu land mass, on which mount Meru firmly rests, is surrounded by concentric circles of 7 water-bodies, each separated by 7 circular land masses. These water-bodies, or “oceans” as it is stated in Bhagavata, are further described as made of brine, nectar, milk, butter, yoghurt and so on. There are also elaborate descriptions of netherworlds beneath the earth where huge serpents, demons, divine beings and gods live (Bhagavata Purana: Canto 5, Ch 16: 5-30; Ch 20, 24, 25). Apologists like Gopalakrishnan would not be happy talking about all this. He likes to cherry-pick from Sanskrit scriptures; often without even understanding the context of the actual verse or hymn. The claim that Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and Darwinian laws of evolution are mentioned in Patanjali’s Yoga sutras is one such instance. Gopalakrishnan, presumably for lack of time, has not ventured into his claims from Yoga sutras, but the videos of his past talks on this were removed from YouTube by his organization (IISH) after this was pointed out to be a blatant act of cherry-picking and misquoting.

According to our venerable evangelist, Aryabhata’s mention of “spherical earth” (Aryabhatiya, Golapada: 6) predates Copernicus and hence the primacy goes to the former. Once again, he hardly has a clue about history. The idea of spherical earth has been around at least since 5th century BC. Pythagoras and Parmenides hint at early Greek concepts of a round earth.  Plato (4th century BC) unambiguously called earth “round as a ball”. His student Aristotle later suggested reasons for why the earth must be spherical. Eratosthenes measured the circumference of the earth in BC 240 — nearly 700 years before Aryabhata. In short, the idea of spherical earth had already been around for centuries when Aryabhata’s treatise on astronomy was compiled (499 AD). The concept of rotation of earth also features very early in ancient Greek cosmology. The Pythagorean school of ancient Greece held such a belief and Heraclides of Pontus (c. 390 BC) is probably the foremost among the Pythagoreans who suggested that the earth rotates once every 24 hours.

It is noteworthy that in a fit of nationalistic pride, Gopalakrishnan conflates many concepts such as spherical shape of the earth, rotation of the earth and revolution of earth around the sun and attribute them to Indian astronomers and mathematicians. In fact all of these concepts developed often separately and gradually over time. For example, even Aryabhata regarded the earth to be the center of the universe (a belief prevalent during his time). Brahmagupta (7th century AD), who critiqued many of Aryabhata’s ideas, followed the concept of geocentrism as well. Other eminent Indian astronomers such as Varahamihira (6th century AD), and Bhaskaracharya (12th century AD) also believed the same. This was the case with Greek astronomers as well. Though the Pythagoreans believed in a central fire (akin to the sun) around which all celestial bodies revolved, this wasn’t shared by their contemporaries.

The book Vaimanika Sastra of Bharadwaja, supposedly authored by one Subbaraya Sastry in 1923 has been a source of great pride for Hindu revivalists and nationalists as it seemingly suggests methods of designing and manufacturing aircrafts (vimanas). Gopalakrishnan passingly mentions this book along with his usual claims of antiquity of Indian knowledge. However should be noted that this book was the subject of a detailed rebuttal published in 1974 by the departments of Aeronautical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (Mukunda HS et al., 1974). These IISc authors have concluded that the work “cannot be dated earlier than 1904” and that “the planes described [in Vaimanika Sastra] are at best, poor concoctions, rather than expressions of something real. None of the planes has properties or capabilities of being flown; the geometries are unimaginably horrendous from the point of view of flying…”

Nailing his other claims about ‘Kali era’, discovery of Zero by Pingala and micro second precision of Somayaji’s calculation etc. are left to the readers (interested readers may also refer ‘Astrology and Science‘ ).  However, let it be underlined that the purpose of this article is not to question the proven mathematical, astronomical, medicinal, metallurgical achievements from ancient India. Far from it, the intended purpose is to bring attention towards the need to keep vigil on such hollow propagandists who taint every bit of achievement through a combination of huge exaggerations and outright falsehoods. The larger question of allowing space for such hate-mongering, cultural supremacists whose only credit is a good memory of Sanskrit verses, in secular national institutes remains. If this trend continues, we should better change the name of IIT to Indian Ignoramus Technocrats.

(This article is authored by Javali and Suraj Rajan. Javali is a member of the IIT Madras community and Dr. Suraj Rajan is a neuroscience student at UCL, London.)

References

  1. Astrology and Science Umesh P. N., Dr. Suraj Rajan, Calvin http://www.usvishakh.net/documents/astrology_and_science.pdf [pdf, Malayalam]
  2. The Pseudoscience of Gopalakrishnan Dr. Suraj Rajan. http://surajcomments.blogspot.in/2010/02/pseudosciencegopalakrishnanindian.html [Malayalam]
  3. Gopalakrishnan’s Astrology, Dr. Suraj Rajan. http://surajcomments.blogspot.in/2010/04/jyotish-gk-pseuodsci.html [Malayalam]
  4. The Yojana that changes with person Umesh P. N. http://malayalam.usvishakh.net/blog/archives/404 [Malayalam]
  5. Mathematics in India. Kim Plofker, 2009.  Princeton University Press
  6. A critical study of the work “Vyamanika Shastra” H. S. Mukunda, S. M. Deshpande, H. R. Nagendra, A. Prabhu, S. P. Govindaraju, 1974.  . Scientific Opinion, p.5, 1974 http://cgpl.iisc.ernet.in/site/Portals/0/Publications/ReferedJournal/ACriticalStudyOfTheWorkVaimanikaShastra.pdf
  7. Siddhānta Shiromani Bhaskara II (notes by Pandit Muralidhar Jha), 1917.   E. J. Lazurus & Co. Benares

 

 

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244 Comments

  • Kisholoy Mukherjee

    Indeed such horrible Hinduists should be challenged at every instant whenever they utter their nonsense.

    I had found the second part of this lecture some days back and had made my own small attempt to rubbish it in this facebook group.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/216250838501714/permalink/220772514716213/

    Good to see that it has been elaborately refuted by more knowledgeable people

    • We appreciate your own attempt on de-bunking Gopalakrishnan which was posted in FB. We thought of going through each of his “claims” elaborately and refuting them until it was clear that the exercise would take writing a short book! But the sad fact is that despite being de-bunked, and exposed many a times this person is often called to T.V. debates and worse in places like IIT.

      • Captain Mandrake

        What really is the point of debunking this BS if such clowns keep popping up all over the place.

        We need to figure out an effective way to publicly shaming these people.
        Any ideas?

        • Unfortunately there are no easy solutions. But showing complacency by “letting them go” could make things worse. We have a unique problem in which a good proportion of our graduates are good in the ‘technique’ of science (like using maths and engineering) yet disappointing when it comes to understanding and living by a science. i.e. we do not follow the value system of science, but are kind-of-good at using it, sometimes selectively so as to justify blunders like the ones propagated by GK. The only workable solution is to voice our opinions louder so as to make us heard.

  • Now imagine a country ruled by people like these.

  • the author should first understand the difference between srutis and smirtis…

    srutis include vedas and smirtis include all other hinduism practices seen today. there is no mention of caste system or the word ‘hindu’ in vedas. it was introduced by later authors who made smirtis. and caste system is a result of Aryan invasion in India.

    many other claims by Dr.Gopalakrishnan seems rationalas Indian history as preached and projected today starts from Aryan invasion. wat abt people already living before aryan invasion and their civilisation history (harappa)which is not dealt in detail ?

    the claim of scientific explorations like gravity, angular velocity, etc is also rational. those were ooks not much explored and studied all. had the authors read those books before claiming them to be false ???

    • Authors does understand the difference between Sruthis and Smrithis, but there is no evidence to suggest that only Smrithis were written by Aryans. In fact the Sruthis-the Vedas, (especially Rig Veda)- are highly unlikely to be written by the Harappans who followed an organised city life style, with foriegn trade and whose script has not yet been decoded. Rig Veda’s depiction of dieties seems to be complimentary to the Zorastrian ‘Zend Avesta’ with the heroes and villians exchanged.

      His claims about gravity and angular velocity of earth (calculated by Puthumana Somayaji) are highly exaggerated and distorted. We weren’t complaining about the “rationality” perse as Bhaskaracharya or Somayaji are geniuses in their own right. Our complaint was about Goplakrishnan distorting their works and presenting them as if the “first ever theory” which is completely dishonest and untrue.

  • These type of things are happening with all relgions … Dr. Gopalakrishnan is one such example .. Christian prayer meetings Dr. Zakir Ali etc are typical examples …

  • From Googling a random name-dropping. ‘The Self-Aware Universe’, which made him cry because it was too hard to understand, is authored by one Amit Goswami who wasn’t mentioned at all. FWIW, Gopalakrishnan chose to state Richard E. Reed (co-author) and Fred Alan Wolf (foreword!) as the authors. White man says, it must be correct, no? Tsk tsk.

    • Thanks for that information. We got tired of picking out non-sense from his talks so as to stick on to a few important points.

  • He seems to be the mirror image of Zakir Naik. The danger with the Gopalakrishnan kind of people is that they are bent upon making India another Pakistan and Hinduism a regimental religion. I wud say its better such people are given chance to expose their idiocy in all the forums and not just in idiotic forums. Thats the only way to engage them and expose their hollowness and their expertise in cherry picking. The biggest joke is about “Non-Vegetarianism” being “western influence”..!!!
    For a moment lets say we accept the Uber Superiority of Hindu civilization (again Hindu Civilization as defined by the likes of Gopalakrishnan). If it was so superior, people were so advanced – intellectually and financially – why on earth our forefathers were so easily ruled by “others” for centuries??? Because the “others” were idiots and “we” were super brilliant?!!
    In any case, what matters is what we are now. And the answer to that is that we are a bunch of fools who, for some strange reasons, use education to justify our superstitions and idiotic concepts rather than kindling scientific curiosity. Strangely, all the modern tools are used more for spreading and cementing ignorance and divisiveness (see the number of caste based matrimonial sites!!) rather than for making the society devoid of ignorance and divisive ideologies. And most importantly ours IS a highly corrupt and poor country.

  • I don’t want to talk about his claims because I didn’t go through any of the scriptures he had mentioned. For your good English, I appreciate you. But this article is totally biased. Not just the article, you yourself are biased, I feel, because there is nowhere in this lengthy article any appreciation for Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s efforts in trying to go through the Ancient India’s Sanskrit literature to see what they have to say. If you want people to think about it unbiasedly, why have you based your article only on the claims which truly need further investigation, but forgot/ignored the claims such as metallurgical genius of India (Delhi Iron Pillar) etc. You seem to have been following the direction in which many authors (no need for reference here) have opted to follow, i.e. criticize something and refer to a lengthy book/article knowing that a common man doesn’t bother to go through the reference and see what exactly it says, but bursts out the emotions in the form of Comments, Likes, Shares. Coming to the content…

    This line is totally shady -“However, Bhaskaracharya’s Siddhānta Siromani dates back to 11th century AD; the idea of a force attracting things towards the earth had already been well established by then. Aristotle, c. 300 BC had mentioned about the inherent attractive force possessed by the earth. Many thinkers have stumbled upon variants of the same idea since then”. Without any reference to Aristotle’s work or anybody else’s, why should we consider your point at all. Give references to your claims first, before blaming anyone.

    The dating of Indian Historical events was mostly proposed by foreigners. You, not knowingly believing that they conducted that research without any nationalistic feelings in them, come here complaining about Dr. Gopalakrishnan.

    Finally, what do you mean by this – “Vivekananda Study Circle, an institute sponsored club whose mundane activities …”. What kind of glorious activities you are involved in? If you are not interested, that’s fine, but there are many people who are interested in those activities and want to connect to their forgotten source.

    • “owhere in this lengthy article any appreciation for Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s efforts in trying to go through the Ancient India’s Sanskrit literature to see what they have to say.”

      — We did not find it compelling or do not even think that Dr. Gopalakrishnan’s command over Sanskrit is that exemplery. Most of the ideas he presented (like Aryabhatta’s or Bhaskaracharya’s works) were already there around widely discussed by the Indian scientific community. If disipation of knowledge is what he should be given credit, he has failed miserably due to his exaggerations. Gopalakrishnan’s only contribution is distorting facts to suit his pet theories. If you need reference check “Encyclopedia of Classical Indian Sciences” which is authored by Dr. Roddham Narasimha, a towering aerodynamist from India.

      ” Without any reference to Aristotle’s work or anybody else’s, why should we consider your point at all.”

      — Check Wiki or Encylcopedia Britannica. Aristotle’s ideas have been recorded by his disciples and they have long been validated. Greeks did have the habbit of recording their knowledge.

      ” You, not knowingly believing that they conducted that research without any nationalistic feelings in them, come here complaining about Dr. Gopalakrishnan.”
      — All researchers are human beings and hence vulnerable to nationalistic or ethnic feelings. But that doesn’t mean that all of them decide up on a finding based on his/her nationalistic prejudice. There is something called scientific integrity and what Mr. GK has demonstrated through his exaggerations and falsehoods is that he doesn’t qualify in terms of scientific integrity. And that is exactly our contention.

    • ““Vivekananda Study Circle, an institute sponsored club whose mundane activities …”.”
      — More than anything, this is our primary concern. Mr. GK is free to express his opinions, even foolish or cultural supremacist ones (as long as it is not a call to hurt or discriinate people), but does that mean such a person (who is notorious for doing so) be invitied at a reputed institute like IIT? Institute sponsoring VSC (which is a Hindu organisation in principle and in function) is a direct breach of the secular nature of IITM, which is a public funded university? Whether or not we are involved in “glorious” or “less than glorious” activities is irrelavant as our activities, if any, are not funded or sponsored by public money. IITM is a campus where Muslims, Christians, Jains, Sikhs, Athiests and other free-thinkers reside. It should be allowed to hijacked by a sect of ‘Hindu supremacists’

  • Please visit any major European city and see if they have cars there. People use Public transport services and cars must be parked in the outer limits of the city. However these same European companies want to motorize the Indian cities and wreck havoc here (pollution, congestion etc) just to fill up their coffers. If you say you would believe such people(who care only about their image and profit) and not your own texts, I find it only painful.

    Some of his claims were stupid, some false, accepted. But please don’t use that as an excuse to rubbish some of the good points that he is making.

    Indian and Chinese philosophy are any day better than the western counter parts and it is the relentless stand of Chinese traditions that has made them a superpower- an area where we failed and we have lost our identity and have become dogs for a foreign master.

    Just because of a stupid lecture series dont start hating Indian philosophies, there are a lot of good things we can take from them.

    • We made no comments about ‘Indian philosophy’. There is no “single” Indian philosophy either. One can follow or ignore any tradition or idea in this country. Our concern is only about inviting such people to campuses.

      • Why should he not be invited to the campus? I am not supporting that prof, I don’t give a damn about him. I feel this is more of an attack on the early Indian literature(which by chance happens to be Hindu in nature, you can’t help it. India was first populated by Hindus, you have to accept that fact and move on) rather than the speaker. IIT-M is a secular campus no doubt, but that should not stop us from discussing Indian literature. If anyone is offended or does not wish to take part, they can simply walk away :\

        • What would be your opinion on bringing ‘Zakir Naik’ to the campus? Or let us say, a Christian preacher who proclaims openly that ‘there is no salvation until you believe in Bible’ or ‘Bible contains all science’, ‘Chritian (European) civilization made all discoveries etc.’ If they are unacceptable, so is Goplakrishanan.

          And there are enough and more experts on Indian literature and science who do not make up things and who wouldn’t find it amusing to proclaim ‘supremacy of Indian/Hindu culture’. We have no abjection to inviting them. But to Mr. GK, we do have very strong objections.

          • As i said, I dont give a damn about Mr. GK. He gave a very skewed depiction and did not quote references properly. However if you use that as an excuse to say that Indian literature is flawed, does not have elements of scientific brilliance then that is totally unacceptable and I would be up for a debate anytime. Mr GK or whoever he is could have made a mistake but there are N ppl out there who can give a better explanation for the verses he uttered.

            And in response to ur point about inviting other “religious celebrities”, I might consider attending a couple of them and if I find it not worth my while I will simply walk out and not resort to bad mouthing the Bible or Quran in a public forum. You are lucky that you are rubbishing Hindu claims, had it been the Quran ppl might have issued a Fatwa against you.

          • Satish Chandra

            Nobody rubbished Indian literature. Only things that get rubbished on this site are the absurd stuff. That includes everything. Also, it is possible to appreciate Indian literature without giving into Hindu revisionist nonsense.

          • Why does it bother you so much if someone proclaims that Indian tradition of pluralistic outlook towards spiritual matters is inherently superior to dogmatic, politically motivated religious ideologies / cultures? The peaceful co-existence of contrasting ideologies ranging from outright atheism (Charvakas, Buddhists) to ritualistic theism (Rigvedic Brahmans) and the mature philosophical debates between these various schools of thought (instead of Crusades and Jihads) testify to their inherent superiority to other cultures. As an inheritor of such a rich culture, I am as much justified in popularizing, propagandizing my culture as a Scientist popularizing Science.

          • The peaceful co-existence of contrasting ideologies ranging from outright atheism (Charvakas, Buddhists) to ritualistic theism (Rigvedic Brahmans)…

            This historicity much-vaunted ‘peaceful co-existence’ halcyon needs to be established more soundly. Downright hostility towards Charvakas seems to be recommended as kingly conduct in the epics. Other alleged records that jar against the halcyon narrative are instances of persecution of heterodox faiths in the Sunga and also in the Mauryan periods.

          • Indian tradition is in deed pluralistic. But it was not due the magnanimity of some ancient pioneers but mostly due to the hard necessity that arouse from the interconnected communities which were multi-ethnic, multi-lingustic and lived in multiple geographies. In addition, this pluralism was only restricted an upper segment of the society for except the followers of hetrodox traditions (which included Budhism and many schools of though that rejected Vedas and/or a divine creator) the predominant ‘Hindu traditions’ thrived on a kind of internal slavery, in which the “low castes” and “untouchables” were comparable or worse to slaves.

            “ and the mature philosophical debates between these various schools of thought (instead of Crusades and Jihads)”

            – Who told you that there weren’t violence? Have you heard about the history of the ‘Bharani festival’ in Kodungallur (Kerala)? There is a famous age old ‘pottan theyyam’ (a folk art) in Northern Kerala that depicts the story of tragic warrior of the “low castes” or “a Budhist” burned alive by the ruling upper castes? The only thing that prevented crusades were the diversity and hence the inability of priesthood to form a monobloc religion. Nothing else. Of course, there was an argumentative tradition once (somewhere between BC 600-AD 1st century) when the best of its literature and thoughts got compiled but it degenerated fast enough and even that did not reflect the majority of people’s story who were imprisoned by the orthodoxy.

            Again, the presence of such hetrodox thought is not unique for India. Greeks were its epitome. Even Islamic culture in its early days had may hetrodox sects. There is even a concept of ‘analhaq’ in Sufyism that resonates with the ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ of Vedanta philosophy (the great Pakistani Urdu poet Faiz Ahamed Faiz was a proponent of ‘analhaq’ during his final years). But none of those anecdotes changes today’s situation or proves (in one way or other) that you are the “best”.

            “I am as much justified in popularizing, propagandizing my culture as a Scientist popularizing Science.”

            – Sure. But not at the expense of public money!

          • The same mistake again, the topic has shifted from Vendetta against Dr. GK to Indian literature. What this shows is your utter lack of knowledge about Indian literature as well as world History. Please dont give me the bullshit about being a man of science and forward thinking, I can give a hell lot of examples where people who have gone MUCH MUCH deeper into science and history(PhDs) and follow with appreciation the Indian traditions and literature. These examples can range from over our own institute Directors to the likes of Srinivasa Ramanujan and I can very safely assume that the authors are no where close the calibers and maturity of these people. Just because you cleared an exam like JEE, dont mistake yourself for a Messiah of science.

            If your aim was to prove what Dr.GK said was wrong, you should have done a fair bit of research and actually quoted what is written in the books he mentioned. I don’t see any quotes or translations anywhere, I can only see rebuttals and no references mentioned. If you are trying to prove that there was no scientific, metallurgical achievements in India, historians will only laugh at how pathetic your knowledge is.

            On the issue that the lecture was Hindutva by nature, you have to accept the fact that early India WAS Hindu, hence Sanskrit literature will be Hindu as well. There was no question of Islam in India before the mughal invasion, and hence all our forefathers were Hindu(it is a proven fact, if you dont agree please speak with Dr. Subramanyam Swamy and I am sure he will beat you to a pulp in an argument) and hence every Indian has a responsibility in projecting the beauty of INDIAN innovations and heritage to the world.

            I would like to quote two texts which was shown to me by a prof in IITM. I shall give you the translations : “The earth attracts objects towards itself due to its substance(read mass)” – Prasnottara upanishad ; “The sun never sets, it is we who move around” – Aitreya Brahmanam.

            Please give an unbiased opinion from now on, otherwise simply say you are anti-Indian or anti-Hindu or you don’t have proper knowledge about the discussion so that I wouldn’t bother wasting my time in reading such articles.

          • Dude, one thing your comment does prove is that passing JEE does not guarantee comprehension powers or even clarity in thoughts. If you find this anti-Hindu, or anti-Indian (how is even anti-Hindu synonymous to anti-Indian?) and stop reading, we will not miss you at all. But the fact is that only thing we are ‘anti’ to is spreading exaggerations and falsehoods- be it Hindu or non-Hindu.

            If you are happy with your PhD’s in ‘vedic science’ despite the oxymoron that it stands for – one who understand neither Veda nor science- just stick with them. Your own inability to counter the points we raised speaks volumes. And FYI we did fair amount of research to write this article. If you had checked, one of the references itself was ‘Sidhanta Shiromani’ by Bhaskara II. It is freely available in original Sanskrit from the net. Go search and come back. Trolls like ‘what about this and this’ will not be entertained any longer.

            I can find verses from ‘Lord of the Rings’ that speaks about string theory if I try hard enough. There is something called ‘context’ and when analogies are taken out of context it could be explained in any way according to one’s will. Come up with the complete shloka including the context (and cross references). Even if what you wrote is right, let me ask-”so what?” It is not surprising at all given that many cultures (which might include Indian too) have had their ideas about cosmos, some of which could have been true by accident. The method of deduction is more important and that is called science. Would you vouch for all the other ideas mentioned in Aietreya Brahmanam? Even Aristotle believed that earth is a sphere (when the whole word- including Indians- considered it flat). But his logic behind the spherical earth was that “sphere is the most perfect shape. The world is perfect due to its harmony. So earth must be a sphere”. That makes his claim unscientific.

            Regarding your Subramaniam Swami rants, his hate speech was finally acknowledged even by Harvard (which always take a liberal stand on issues). And he was completely wrong too! The earliest Muslims in India weren’t Mughals. Any school graduate would know that Delhi sultanate pre-dates Mughals. Further Muslims have been there in coastal Kerala atleast beginning from the 9th century AD through trade contacts. There is a myth that the last Chera king converted to Islam and went on a pilgrimage to Mecca and his burial is still believed to exist in Oman. Whatver the truth is, the Samuuthiri kings (Zamorins) of Malabar had a navy composed of native muslims who fought against the Portuguese- none of them were forcefully converted. So next time, come prepared.

            The early ideas of Athiests – Carvakas- were also in Sanskrit and much of it were destroyed by the orthodox Hindu kings. So don’t come up with the ‘innocent question’ that isn’t a talk about Sanskrit literature supposed to be Hindu? We are not against reciting Kalidasa, Bhavabhuuthi or Aryabhateeyam. But claiming the primacy of Gita- which is definitely a religious book- is not acceptable. If your logic should apply shouldn’t we be talking all about Bible in the MA English course at IIT, since Anglo-Saxons after the 4th or 5th century were all Christians.

          • Firstly there is an ‘or’ between the words “anti-Hindu” and “anti-Indian” in my comment and I did not use it interchangeably.
            I am not talking about PhDs in “vedic Science” but in Physics, Mathematics, Electrical Engineering etc and the likes of Srinivasa Ramanujan(he was a mathematician for godsake, do u think he is that stupid to accept such a lot from Indian literature without even thinking about it). They definitely have the ability to take both the good and bad and analyse it properly without a bias unlike you and me and for that I respect them.
            I again repeat, please go through my comment carefully, I never claimed that indian literature is the best or the supreme, all I said was that in the process of rebutting GK you are demeaning Indian literature which I am not very comfortable with. Since this is a sensitive issue you have a moral obligation that when you say something is wrong or incorrect you also should also point out the correct arguments in the literature.

            “These water-bodies, or “oceans” as it is stated in Bhagavata, are further described as made of brine, nectar, milk, butter, yoghurt and so on.” – the way in which this sentence was used really pained me, even JJ Thomson described the atom as a “Plum pudding” so shall we pack particle physics totally?

            On the mughal part, what I meant to say was that Islam was never indigenous to India and sanskrit literature existed long before its inception. Hence the forefathers of Indians had to be Hindu and hence EVERY Indian has equal claim in the heritage of Indian literature as their forefathers would have contributed too. It is something every Indian must take pride in and not just Hindus. At the same time everyone has equal responsibility in spreading the good messages in the texts. My request is that when you write an article in the future, consider both the sides of the coin and give an unbiased view.

  • He is the same as Zakir Naik. Why don’t you spend the same amount of time debunking Zakir Naik and his claims of quran is god’s word nonsense. Same thing with Christian Evangelists and the Bible.

    • Let Zakir Naik be invited to IITM, we will do the same. We are not against Mr. GK shouting his ‘opinions’, but against giving him a venue at secular national institutes.

    • Captain Mandrake

      Just for the sake of argument let us say the authors of this piece do not spend any time debunking Zakir Naik. Does that make any of Gopalakrishnan’s BS claims true?

      Can you answer this question. It will help us better understand your concern.

  • BTW the Aryan Migration theory has been proved false. By the science of genetics.

    • I certainly am not aware of that. If you are quite sure, please do provide the reference.

      Further, indegenous Aryans is more incredible theory given the evidences. Hence we had the “Horse Play in Harappa”.

      http://www.flonnet.com/fl1720/17200040.htm

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rigveda:_A_Historical_Analysis

        please read the third book by Shrikant Talageri before commenting anything on Aryan Invasion Theory

        I guess you need to read books instead of just some internet blogs …

        And first and foremost (if applicable in your case) you need to stop worshiping romila thapar or ramchandra guha …

        • Satish Chandra

          Looks like you haven’t even read the article. Nobody said anything about believing in AIT. And it appears you haven’t read Romila Thapar either. She doesn’t endorse AIT. Maybe before commenting, you should clear your head of Hindutva revisionist nonsense and actually read the stuff that you think you are criticizing?

          • hats off to your common sense to think that i commented on the article instead of the comment above …

            without arguing over what label she gives to here “theories”, just read them – invasion, migration etc are all synonymous to me since she has just a fixed agenda … she has not even been able to refute Arun Shourie’s criticism of her in “Eminent Historian”

            well glad to see a spokesperson on her behalf :) i guess more will follow …

        • Thanks for the advice. But only Talageri, right! Not the ones like “The Indo-Aryan Controversy Evidence and Inference in Indian History” by Edwin F.Bryant which provides a balanced account of both arguments and the ones by Witzel or Romila Thapar.

          And wow! You even concluded that we don’t read books (trancendental meditation may be). Glad to know that worshiping Taligeri and Rajaram is permissible according to you (or Indian culture). Atleast the other camp do not have proven ‘fabricators’ (who photoshopped an image to suit his theory) like Rajaram or GK. Even according to Talageri’s estimate, Indians do not have a cilivilization in BC 8275 as claimed by GK. Since I do not want to drag this into yet another Aryan debate, I leave it there. Thank you.

          E

          • Thanks for the word “balanced”. I guess that was badly needed.

            FYI the “balanced account” book might have left out Talegeri’s 3rd book – The Final Evidence… (in case you wish to read what person X said instead of what person Y whats you to think person X said).

            anyways thanks for your enlightening article. It made a dull evening in rains a lot interesting ..

          • Hopefully my last comment on this topic.

            If according to you, Arun Shorie (whose command in history or historiology itself is questionable) is unbiased while Romilla Thapar has some “agenda” (talk about conspiracy theories!), I have to thoroughly disagree with you. In any case, I would rather read both sides of the argument than one Talageri alone (and be mindful about the ‘fabricators’ like Rajaram).

            Let the debate continue at the academic level and ideas, arguments and evidences be contested than throwing hollow cliches and brandings. As a rationalist, it hardly makes any difference to my world view if Aryans were from the subcontinent or outside or if Indian civilization is to be dated to begin during BC 3400 or BC 1700. But evidences, logic and the method of reaching that conclusion matters.

      • The reference is “The real eve” written by Steven Oppenheimer, where he has provided incontrovertible evidence based on Mt DNA and Y chromosome mappings. I am surprised you have not taken that into consideration.
        Just like BB Lal, I was also neutral but after seeing the evidence in the last 10 years, I have changed my mind. I hope you open your mind to truth in your life time, instead of attacking everyone who does not agree with you as a Hindu fundi.

        Also read “Vedic astronomy” written by Dr. Richard Thompson to understand how Bhagavatam astronomy is in line with today’s astronomy. Mt. Sumeru, Rahu Ketu are imaginary objects placed for mathematical calculation purposes and that earth and other planets are circular is mathematically described in that book.
        Dr. Shah

        • Mr. Raju Shah,

          This is not a discussion on “who Aryans were”. In fact, the whole question is inconsequential to the present discussion as we were discussing a date of BC 8275 in which GK claimed a civilisation did exist. I am in no mood to hijack this thread to that big topic. Whenever such a topic springs up we shall discuss it in length and breadth either.

          Vedic Astronomy is as much a science as Voodoo or scientology. Please correct me if you should. And regarding reinterpreting Mt. Sumeru, Rahu, Ketu etc to “exact” theory that is known today- it is an easy technique called re-engineering. Now give me a theory, I can find evidence for that from Bible, Quran or even Harry Potter. So taking things out of context and interpretting is a thriving art. We have the Biblical and Quranic scientists too. In any case as spherical as a “fully bloomed lotus” is outstreched.

          • As I discussed in my mail, please read the Steven oppenheimer DNA evidence that places Indians in India milleniums before 8275.
            Instead of dismissing the Richard Thompson book please refute the evidence given there in, heavy duty math is required.
            Also show astronomy evidence from Koran and bible and harry Potter on Astronomy, that contains more info than the science available at that point.
            Again do not digress, I am not keen on Bhagavatham being accurate, but I believe in DNA science that disproves your assertions.
            Also refute scholarly the archeological evidences presented by BB Lal and Rao.

          • First, I did not find any “mail” from you
            .
            Second, give me a verifiable and (possibly) peer-reviewed article link from authentic sources where Steven Oppenheimer made that claim.Also give me a three to (max)four sentence summary of the finding in your own language.

            Third, nobody made any claim that ‘Indians (as we know today) did not exist’ in BCE 8275. Sure they did exist and there are evidences of an agrarian civilization in Mehrgarh as we mentioned earlier. The claim is that a sophisticated civilisation which spoke well defined languages, with societies and infrastructure probably did not exist or we do not find any evidence for that. How can DNA evidence define the level of sophistication? It has to be supported by archeological and linguistic evidences.

            Fourth, your comment sounds like – Dr. Hahaha said Santaclaus exist, now refute that!! We need not refute anything for none of your claims can be taken as default positions. Therefore the (strong) evidence should come from your side.

            Fifth, there are many fringe theories circulating in the world- from the Atlantis to Giants came to Egypt. Most of them claim to have “authentic evidences”. It is neither our duty nor botheration to comment on each one of them. The respective scientific communities will discuss and validate them. Hence peer-review is important.

            Sixth, there is nothing surprising in finding exotic dates from ancient literature since this is a part of ‘Indian story telling’. The position of constellations in relation to fixed stars (astronomy was required to estimate and memorise dates) were used through out which evolved from the ritualistic needs. For eg. Aryabhatta, Brahmagupta and Bhaskaracharya (all after CE 450) mention the date on which ‘Kali Yuga’ started according to the Indian myth. They refered to an astrological event of alignment of planets. Does that also mean that the Hindu cosmology- 4.32 billion years for the life cycle of universe. And the dates of events (if mapped to the time we follow) itself is inconsistent with the time in cosmology. For if Mahabharata war happened in BCE 5000’s, then when did Ramayana happen? It happened in ‘Treta yuga’- ie around 1,296,000 years before!!! How do you make sense of that? For apologists, some are fantasy and some are facts. Agreed, but then how do you decide which is fact and which is fantasy? Further they aren’t even consistent in their methologies. I can sure find astrological dates from ‘Lord of the Rings’. Would like me to try?

            Seven, This will be the last time I will be responsing to this line of discussion. Please provide the links and your summary.

  • This is a pre-planned refutal. I say this because of the following reason. I attended both the talks and I know from which angles the videos were captured by the authorities, and clearly, those are not the ones you posted here. You came to the talks with your own handycam and recorded them. But when the talk was open for questions and discussion, you simply kept quiet without bringing in whatever points you have brought in here. And you blame IIT and VSC for that. These kind of talks are conducted not to make people (IITians) believe in whatever the speaker says but to bring awareness of what different organisations have been doing. They welcome any kind of refutal there and then. The people who had attended the talks might not know of other refutals like the one you quoted (Mukunda et al.). But what about you? You may say that you have thought about them only afterwards, then who asked you to carry the handycam?

    You said, “The nonsensical claims like all 210 rishis who composed Vedas being non-Brahmins, are subpar jokes at the best.” Did you check if there was any Brahmin rishi in those 210. If so, why didn’t you give a reference.

    • “But when the talk was open for questions and discussion, you simply kept quiet without bringing in whatever points you have brought in here. ”

      :) Now blame us for inviting a person who speaks non-sense!!! When did that great incident of allowing questions happen? There was “a-supposed-to-be-interactive” session after the second lecture where you have to write down the questions, you guys would collect and he would answer. We did not need a lot of planning since his “opinions” were de-bunked long ago. And worse, this man lacks even originality to bring up the same rotten things again in each talk. VSC members should be ashamed about bringing such a person and not we for de-bunking him.

    • The rishi claim isn’t even serious enough to contested given that he intended that as an anecdotal evidence for “lack of caste discrimination” in ancient India. First of all, we couldn’t figure out where he came up with 210. Even if there were exactly 210 rishis, how many of their “ancestral roots” are fully traceable?

      Since you asked for an example. Take this. Agastya, one of the Rig Vedic rishis, is the son of Pulastya, who was one of the Saptarishis directly created by Brahma according to legend. Does that make Agastya a brahmin or not? What about ‘Vashista’ the ‘manasaputra’ of Brahma?

      Our central argument was that his claims about caste discrimination in India is non-sense. There are several articles published in Nirmukta about caste discriminations from ancient India.

  • About caste read the definition from Bhagavad Gita(Generally we cant make a 10th std graduate a CEO).It was not made for the purpose that it is now.
    About Bhagavata about its correction till the 11th century.
    How r u so certain.By “Transcendental Meditation”?
    U say all cultures contributed to the world, but luckily u hav mentioned only the Greeks and none Indian(Being an Indian)except somewhere in 3 places after mentioning Greeks.It is mainly because of the attitudes of people lik u, GK sir is forced to do wht he is doing.Every Religion has got good thins in it,but conversion is not gud.Whts wrong in being proud of ur country, its achievements.Dr GK,has talked sense in many things,but u sort of make the lecture stupid by taking only negatives(ur Biased!Why i dnt know).U seem to goto Wiki for reference where but the Vedas dates r given as 1700B.C at earliest which cant be logically and scientifically and only mentions abt a debate being going on and it still follows “Aryan Invasion Theory abt 1800 B.C” (http://sanskrit.safire.com/pdf/ORIGINS.PDF).So wiki cant be depended on many data.
    Sorry if I hav hurt u,but u made me to do so by commenting very badly on a very sincere person.

    • Generally we cant make a 10th std graduate a CEO…

      This isn’t the first time someone rehashed that tired old analogy here. How about first making sure that nobody is denied a chance to be a 10th standard graduate or for that matter, even a 7th standard student? Somehow, there seems to be so much urgency on part of the so-called cultural nationalists to fight for immunity of their demagogues from criticism on blogs, than to fight for access to opportunities for those denied these by an unspoken apartheid.

      • Tired old statements require “Tired old analogies” my friend!

      • The question is: Is revivalism of the Dr.N Gopalakrishnan variety or the Dr. S Swamy variety the soundest solution cultural nationalists are able to offer to counter the still-prevailing tyrannical old situation?

        • First of all, in my opinion Caste reservation must be replaced by Economic Reservation,then changes will start takin place!

        • First of all, in my opinion Caste reservation must be replaced by Economic Reservation,then changes will start takin place!

          This is another silver-bullet myth favoured by cultural nationalists, along with the utopian myths of a conflict-free harmonious society in the India of antiquity. Discrimination begins at birth, in contemporary India and its basis is not solely economic. This ongoing FAQ discussion on this topic may make useful reading.

          • I would support Pramod in the argument that reservations should also be based on the economic ability. A person from a weaker section of society, but has adequate money should not have reservations. There is no school in any city that will deny admission to people if they can pay the fees properly. It is expected that they avail the opportunity and compete in a level playing field. Also only one generation of a family should be give reservation, if the father becomes an engineer or a doctor then it is expected that he educates his child properly and he/she should compete in a level playing field again. The argument that even though they are rich, they will be socially discriminated does not hold water as the objective of reservation is to educate the weaker sections and that purpose is served, the solution to abolishing castes is only through inter-caste marriages and not reservation and once its purpose has been fulfilled for a family they should relinquish the rights.

    • “About Bhagavata about its correction till the 11th century.
      How r u so certain.By “Transcendental Meditation”?”

      — Most certainly not so. We are ‘almost sure’ that there is no such working thing called trancendental meditation. There is an article at Nirmukta explaining why Bhagavat Gita ‘almost certainly’ is not composed in one particular period. In addition go to wiki for links.

      “U say all cultures contributed to the world, but luckily u hav mentioned only the Greeks and none Indian(Being an Indian)except somewhere in 3 places after mentioning Greeks.It is mainly because of the attitudes of people lik u, GK sir is forced to do wht he is doing”

      — I’m suprised by your comprehension powers.Dude, we were writing a rebuttal to his claims. It is understood (and we have reiterated with the word ALL) that we are not excluding Indian civilization in any ways. If you were expecting a eulogy of the “great and the most spiritual, wonderful, knowledgeable” Indian civilization, your bad. We never claimed Indian civilization was “way lesser” in scientific achivements. We just do not agree that it is “way higher” either. Greeks were mentioned to counter his claims and if you cannot understand that “thank you for visiting”.

      Almost everything Dr. GK mentioned about the Aryan Invasion contrevertsy is exaggerated or fabricated. And if depending on wiki is “biased” what would the unbiased be- “organiser”? Do you know that even you can edit wiki if you can give valid references, especially from peer reviewed sources? Just try out. Also the issue is not as simple as Aryans Vs rest. It is actually the history of early civilizations in the whole peninsula. The theory should fit the jigsaw puzzle of other connected ones like Iranian ‘Zend Avesta. There is a serious academic debate going on in there. If you are interested go and read some actual books (covering both sides of the argument) than tidbits of propaganda. Any any case, what GK said was mostly nonsense.

      “Sorry if I hav hurt u,but u made me to do so by commenting very badly on a very sincere person”

      — Don’t worry about me. I won’t get “hurt” because people pass their opinions. And I standby my views about his lecture. It was a propaganda which was completely inaccurate and ridden with outright falsehoods.

      • U mean “Bhagavatha” ri8 and not “Gita”, fine!
        About the invasion it is pretty difficult to fit in more than 1000 branches of veda ,brahmanas, aranyakas and so on…within a period of 1000yrs (1500-500 B.C)
        I dnt know hw ur “almost sure that there is no such working thing called trancendental meditation!”
        Cant u mention anythin gud he has said.Cant u put a right review!
        Also,ur statement “whose main hobby is bad mouthing other religions (while never applying the same arguments to Hindu religion)”!Hear his other speeches in Youtube speaking about Hinduism!

        • Yes I meant ‘Bhagavata’ (my mistake) but never mind, the article I was refering to is the one in the series ‘The truth about Bhagavat Gita’ by Prabhakar Kamath. Please read the text carefully before commenting for the claim was not that Bhagavatam was definitely written in 11th century but modified (with additions and ommissions) till then. Further it follows from the simple logic that Bhagavata cannot be written before ‘Mahabharata’ and also like all oral traditions it will have inclusions and exclusions as it is passed through various soceities and traditions. The exact logic behind the claims of additions in the later period of 10th to 11th century is easily verifiable. For eg. in Malayalam ‘Thunchathu Ezhutachans’ ‘Bhagavatam’ (it is not a commentary but text) varries quite a bit from the original bhagavatam. And given the oral nature of transmission it isn’t surprising either.

          “About the invasion it is pretty difficult to fit in more than 1000 branches of veda ,brahmanas, aranyakas and so on…within a period of 1000yrs (1500-500 B.C)”

          — First of all, you are parotting GK- where was the invasion mentioned?

          Secondly not all smritis are necessarily composed before 500 BC. It is unlikely that all of them are composed given the social practices dieties and many cultural aspects that they hint at.

          Thirdly it is entirely possible even in the worse case (which I don’t subscribe to). Do you know how many publications come up in a year in a very small state- say Kerala? Even serious discussions might exceed 1000 in a matter of 2-5 years. And we are talking about 1000 years!!!

          “Cant u mention anythin gud he has said.Cant u put a right review!”

          — If he has said something worthwhile which is original too, we could have given appreciation.Unfortunately he hasn’t said a lot of good things and even if he did, it was basically in connection with his other preposterous claims. Therefore sorry, no donuts to him since he is supposed to be a researcher with 25 years of experience and we (perhaps naively) expect better standards.

  • Argument for the sake of argument does not bring any meaningful conclusion. I do appreciate your effort to counter argue to the talk. However, you did not accept some of the facts mentioned in the talk (all of that is not totally wrong). You should come and listen to some of the talks happen here in the U.S. (especially Talk Show Radio) and you will see how folks try to mislead the masses. When it serves the purpose of promoting one’s believes and organizations, they see nothing wrong in making such claims. But, the counter argument done emotionally also looses its luster and becomes meaningless rhetoric. Instead of jumping the guns, I would really encourage you to write a well researched rebuttal and it would be appreciated by many. I do understand your plight in this but you should also understand the reasons behind such cheer leading talks to bring the masses to rally for a specific cause. What I have seen more so in the elite groups is more talks (arguments and counter arguments) without any concrete plan of action and we maintain the status as it is. Some time even someone trying to make some societal changes are steam rolled by these type of emotional exchanges.
    In my college days (that is some time ago) I used to sit around argue like you all (even with elders in the community) but received scorns most of the time and now I feel what we need is not that young emotional outbursts but methodical research based consensus. You did mention some research groups doing just the same. Let me stop my ramblings here.

    • Good thing you realized you were just rambling.

      About your claim that these cheer leading talks gets people rallying up for ‘specific’ causes, what good cause do you see in misleading our youth by lying to them? Our youngsters need to have a true scientific spirit. The false pride we get from GoKri kind of talks are like drug induced hallucinations. Eventually the drug will wear off and we will be worse than before.

      What we need is to stop living in the past and start looking to future. If there is some thing to learn from our history, it is how our racial discrimination and the fierce protection of knowledge by the Brahmins, and the religious adherance to orthodoxy hindered our progress. And by the way, being a History graduate, I believe the only use of studying History is that we don’t have repeat the same mistakes over and over.

  • Eurocentrist’s rant on Indian history. Mr. Author: Its not your fault. Its the effect of your eurocentric education since your childhood. Yes, beliefs can be real hard to let go off. You need a lot more time to come out of delusions that have been imbibed into your mind in the form of “western education”. All the best for your ‘scramble’.

    • Satish Chandra

      A translation of your comment so that it makes more sense – “I don’t care about the actual arguments presented in the article because I’ve already made up my mind that whatever Gopalakrishan says is true. So I’ll just dismiss the article by using the magic word – eurocentrism“.

      • This is not just what Mr. GK says. You’d probably understand more if you invest time in reading “Actual” history. Not just what your school teacher taught you. That would be more productive than writing rants online about something you don’t understand. Also its rather a pity that you mistake ‘sanskrit verses’ as ‘hindutva’ or ‘hinduism’. FYI sanskrit was a common language of the people of that era when these literatures were composed. Not-surprisingly, you fit perfectly into the description of “eurocentric apologist”

        • What we have writen in the article was exactly what GK said in his lectures. We even quoted him verbatim in many places. You can undertake the torture of going through the videos again and point out where we quoted him wrong. And do not bother about our understanding for the authors did enough homework before starting to write this piece. If you have some “understanding” to share, you may. Meaningless rants will be ignored.

        • Satish Chandra

          Sigh. Chanting a magic word is all you seem to know. Goodbye.

  • Jaya chandra Bingi

    I do not find any fault in talk,this stupid english education system in India is the problem,because it is never allow us to think positive about our ancient science.Now it became secularism means “do not trust the Hindu(India)knowledge,just wipe it out” this is not correct I feel.Any way I felt above write up is your opinion.Strong and true knowledge can withstand for any critisism.In next 50 years this english education system is surely wiped out,now largest number of intellectuals concentrating on proving the rightness of Indian scince(science,social and engineering). Soon we will know the rightness of Indian science Wait and seee :-))
    “Who cannot respect the past,never have future”

  • Hmm lets see where have we reached on commenting.

    1. Ok you criticize Gopalakrishnan, but only if you find postives in a talk (which is a must)

    2. there may be some stuff wrong that GK has said, but he is not TOTALLY wrong (but i have the slightest interest to point out which are the right things GK said)

    3. Though the article seems to written after much research, i would still say go and do your research before writing the article. You should read actual history before refuting GK. By actually what i meant is the one which was ‘discovered’ during NDA regime.

    in nutshell , you either agree to brahminic hegenmony and its evangelists or you keep your mouth shut. if you are so particular about criticizing, do it but all in all you should respect the ‘brahmininc history of india’ (no way you should be [proud of akber’s india, but the ‘hindu india’ alone…

    yeah yeah got it..

  • Dear Javali,

    You are trying to become equally irrational in portraying that hindu scriptures are racist.

    How do you decide that a statement is true or false? The fact represented by that statement should always be true or false, not randomly true or false.

    So earth recolves around sun. This is always true, not just for a day or for a month or just in some context.

    Now consider Ramayana:

    In Ramayan, Rama eats “ber” from the hands of Sabri, which is non-racist and then he kills somebody because he was sudra, that is racist. So assuming that both these events are equally important, the Rama is neither racist nor non-racist. Still, if you go by several other depictions in Ramayana, it shows that author even criticizes Rama for not being good to Sita or for testing her purity and it even praises Ravana for being an intelligent person though astrayed. Now if you use a bit of reasoning you will see that while Rama can be racist or non-racist at different times, Ramayana itself is non-racist, because it doesn’t justify racism. But if your reasoning is arbitrary, you can understand it in any way?

    The same is true about Mahabharta..

    and if you get chance to read Upanishads, you will find the same non-racist approach.

    … Read what German philosophers themselves say about Upanishads not what some biased Christian authors say about them. After Greece, the philosophy and science of Europe was taken over by Germans and then USA took it from them.

    You can read Schopenhauer and Voltaire to see how the priase Hindu civilization, there are many more, most Hindus hardly know what Upanishads are, or what it means to say what Upanishads said in 800-900 BC. And most of them do not know what Bhaskracharya or Panini did and what is the importance of those works.

    Further you probably do not know that recent discovery of Kerala school of mathematics does say that the calculas was invented by that scholl much before Leibnitz or Newton. Do you know what Al Beiruni said about India or who was taught maths to Al Kindi? Read what Arab and Greek scientists say about India/Hindus, read what Germans say about them.

    The Vedas, Upanishads, Geeta/Mahabharta and all these Sanskrit texts were written in India, so even if Aryans came from “XYZ” place, they didn’t become ” the Aryans”
    before India, further if you add your own logic that Aryan is not race and that everybody came from Africa eventually, you will realize that origin is irrelevant and more relevant is that your forefathers who lived in India and whom people call as hindus were smarter than people around them at one point of time and for quite sometime they were quite smart.

    Now it is our turn to become smart again.

    Just remove that guy N. Gopalakrishnan’s exaggeration and digest the fact that yes at some point the Arabs/Greeks and lot many others had nothing close to Upanishadic/carvak or Budhdhist ideas, or even mathematics/science. and don’t feel proud but do understand that you have probability of having same genese and so can possibly become leaders again.

    Confidence is important in pursuing goals. Don’t tell hindus that they were racist, because if they were racist then all other people who kept slaves till 19th century or even now, were much more racist, because they give less importance to slaves than hindu racism.

    Thanks

    Regards,

    Pankaj

    • If you do any sort of moderation, let me know on my email. If you find anything not so good, let me know.

      This whole idea of moderation before posting is somewhat manipulative, things should be first posted and then based on objections they should be moderated. These all not official comments but idea of individuals and such moderation is not even required.

      This is the harvard’s genetic study that some other poster was referring to..

      http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2009/09/24/dna-points-to-indias-two-pronged-ancestry

      • Even better, you can read the original from here: http://genetics.med.harvard.edu/reich/Reich_Lab/Welcome_files/2009_Nature_Reich_India.pdf

        Let me quote its findings as they put it:

        “India has been underrepresented in genome-wide surveys of human variation. We analyse 25 diverse groups in India to provide strong evidence for two ancient populations, genetically divergent, that are ancestral to most Indians today. One, the ‘Ancestral North Indians’ (ANI), is genetically close to Middle Easterners, Central Asians, and Europeans, whereas the other, the ‘Ancestral South Indians’ (ASI), is as distinct from ANI and East Asians as they are from each other. By introducing methods that can estimate ancestry without accurate ancestral populations, we show that ANI ancestry ranges from 39–71%
        in most Indian groups, and is higher in traditionally upper caste and Indo-European speakers. Groups with only ASI ancestry may no longer exist in mainland India. However, the indigenous Andaman Islanders are unique in being ASI-related groups without ANI ancestry. Allele frequency differences between groups in India are larger than in Europe, reflecting strong founder effects whose signatures have been maintained for thousands of years owing to endogamy. We therefore predict that there will be an excess of recessive diseases in India, which should be possible to screen and map genetically.”

        It actually supports an Aryan Migration as the ANI is close to the Middle Easterners and Cental Europeans.

        • Javali,
          I consider both N Gopalakrishnan and Zakir Naik to be opposite sides of the same coin. Both manipulate scripture words to their whims and fantacies….. Let them make a living out of that. Only people who compromise common sense can belive their ideas.

          But I can’t agree with the idea that the ANI-ASI theory actually supports Aryan Invation Theory because ANI includes, middle Easterners are not considered to be aryans. Their liguistics background is differrent from aryans or Indo -European for that reason.

          • I did not mean to say it “conclusively supports”. It is an area of research which can be settled only after looking at many other pieces of evidences. We need much more piles of evidence to decide one way or another. For the time being it looks more in favour of a migration (the date of which is unknown) is all I wanted to say. So I put my full stop over there and this is hardly the topic of this thread.

          • FYI- Aryan (in the historical context) is not a race but a language family. Middle East languages have a close tie with Iranian family, which again was split from the Indo-Aryan family at some point of time. And NOBODY is talking about an invasion. Migration is not uncommon in ancient times and ALL of our forefathers (and mothers) have migrated from Africa at some point before 60000 years or so according to the latest archeological and genetic evidences.

          • Toomas Kivisild, Siiri Rootsi, Mait Metspalu, Ene Metspalu, Juri Parik, Katrin Kaldma, Esien Usanga, Sarabjit Mastana, Surinder S. Papiha & Richard Villems, “The Genetics of Language and Farming Spread in India,” ch. 17 in Examining the farming/language dispersal hypothesis, eds. Peter Bellwood & Colin Renfrew (Cambridge: McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, 2003), pp. 215–222.

            Quote: “If we were to use the same arithmetic and logic (sensu haplogroup 9 is Neolithic) to give an interpretation of this table, then the straightforward suggestion would be that both Neolithic (agriculture)and Indo-European languages arose in India and from there, spread to Europe.”

            End quote.
            i.e, sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

          • Could you give a weblink to the orginal paper. Did you read what the paper actually says?

            This is yet again a classical example of cut-copy-paste and selective quoting. I found the full text from googling, which is as follows

            Quote:
            “Second, great caution is required when interpreting the dates deriving from Y-chromosomal STR coalescent calculations. Table 17.3 reveals that profoundly inconsistent time estimates can be reached when different calibration methods are used. Hence, it seems safer to operate with raw diversity estimates – to determine the polarity of the movement – leaving the time of origin question unanswered until reliable dating methods for Y-chromosomal STR diversity are worked out.

            Yet, even if time estimates are avoided, there are some problems introduced by sampling strategies and differences in demographic histories. For example, in the study by Quintana- Murci et al. (2001), a decline in diversity stretching from Iran to India was observed in haplogroups 3 and 9 and the authors rushed to interpret this empirical observation in favour of directional gene flow to India during Neolithic period (haplogroup 9). They linked this finding to the introduction of Indo-European languages (haplogroup 3) to India. Time estimates for their spread were derived from the STR clock.

            Here, however, the clock is just a secondary problem – the first being the Indian reference sample used. Indeed, the Indians included in this study consisted of a (limited) sample from Gujarat – one of the western maritime provinces of India. When extending the Indian sample with colIections from different states, a quite different, even opposite, pattern emerges (Table 17.3). Indians appear to display the higher diversity both in haplogroups 3 and 9 – even if a pooled sample of eastern and southern European populations was considered. If we were to use the same arithmetic and logic (sensu haplogroup 9 is Neolithic) to give an interpretation of this table, then the straightforward suggestion would be that both Neolithic (agriculture)and Indo-European languages arose in India and from there, spread to Europe. We would also have to add that inconsistencies with the archaeological evidence would appear and disappear as we change rate estimates (Table 17.3). ”
            End Quote:

            Out of this you took the convinient part to suit your theory. The whole study itself states that it could be quite inconclusive given the sampling methodology. Further there are serious inconsistencies with archeological evidences.”

            Now for the last time (further discussions on this line will be ignored) I remind you that we are not in a discussion about “who were Aryans” or “where did they come from”. We did not even mention that in our article and that is a larger academic debate. What we are against is misrepresenting facts as GK did and as you have attempted here. For that matter there is another curious finding which suggest that mother of all languages were spoken by the Turkish farmers.

            http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-08-24/india/33365607_1_indo-european-languages-sanskrit-agriculture

            Reading that along with the Reich’s Nature paper of 2009 (which also says that there was probably a major admixing happened around 2000 BCE), it looks that Aryans PROBABLY came from outside. Again, we are not taking any position on this subject as yet.

          • Because you have a stupid policy of moderation on your web-site I did not post the whole quote. You can see it on my website posted several days ago:

            http://arunsmusings.blogspot.com/2012/08/on-origin-of-indians-3.html

            as well as some others, which you may find instructive to read.

            Anyway, you did well to read the whole paper. I hope you got the point, which is that if you come to the genetic evidence with migration theory as a predetermined idea, then you will find it. (Read the other papers linked to on my site) You will find that if you take language or caste to be a genetic category, you will find it to be so; otherwise not.

            The correct approach, and that too is touched upon, is geographical, there are geographical gradients of various alleles. You may or may not find correlation with language or caste groups.

          • What is even more offensive, about your website, Javali, is that the “Reply” button is not there on your posts.

            Not only do you moderate, but you choose to allow/disallow replies to you.

            This is not the policy of an open-minded or fair person.

            I don’t know how it is in India now, but in the USA, the people who have such stupid moderation policies are typically right-wing zealots. The liberals are true to their ideals, and typically do no such moderation.

          • Arun,

            Looks like you are here to pick a fight. Don’t you know that there is something called comment threading?

          • I do not handle comments. They are done by admins/editors. The policy of pre-approval might be due to the (stupid) cyber laws in India which would enable the authorities to take down a website based on complaints mere complaints. Since the topics discussed here are bound to be controvertial, some nut cases might use abusive language. That could be the reasoning. You should rather contact the admins for registering your opinion about it.

          • Javali,
            you are saying that persian language is split from indo european linguistic family. its not split its actually a part of indo european linguistic family. But middle eastern/ arabic is not a part of this family. there may be connections and similarities but then dravidian language too has that,

        • Sorry, ANI is ancestral to India, and its connection with Middle Easterners and Central Europeans dates to 50K years ago. It does not support the Aryan Migration theory where Aryans immigrated into India with horses and chariots some 3.5K years ago.

          • The paper says:

            “The split is estimated to have occurred about 50,000 years ago, indicating low female gene flow between Europe and India since that time.”

            This finding if true only says that the ANI and Central European BRANCH diverged around 50K years before in terms of cultural evolution. It also means that there was a split in their evolutionary paths at a time when there was neither an Indo-Aryan nor a European. The European and Indo-Aryans (whose lineage ties with ANI) evolved much later. They possibly co-existed and split into different branches one of which reached India and Iran to form a civilization. The date of that is yet to be determined and is hotly contested, Unfortunately it is taken as a political debate rather than as an academic issue. Even the more academic sounding researchers (I discard the whackos) of the right like Talageri is giving a date of BC 3400 for the Rig Veda. The conservative estimate is BC 1500 -1700. Again what about ASI? Where they the original inhabitants of Harappa? If not, who were they and what were they? These questions remained unanswered.

            This particular discussion can continue in another relavent thread. But for the time being this topic is about Mr. GK’s ideas and its critique and so would I like it to remain.

    • Dear Pankaj,

      Thanks for the lengthy comment.

      How did you conclude that we were accusing Ramayana or Mahabharata to be racist? We hold the view that, more than anything, Ramayana and Mahabharata are epic works of literary fiction. It contains traces of history and fantasy and till date we do not know precisely which is which. One thing that can be ascertained is that they reflect the social structures of the prevailing societies or of those societies in which it were retold and additions were made (which is very common in orally passed traditions). Thus the point we were driving home was that caste discrimination was definitely a part of the early Indian societies. The anecdotal evidence of Shambooka itself speaks volumes about it. It wasn’t Rama who was interested in murdering Shambooka because he was a ‘Shudra’ and did ‘tapas’, but the Arya Dharma! And here too, we must be careful because all ancient societies had some some kinds of ‘insider-outsider’ rule and hierarchies. Some had stricter criteria and were at times brutal. Egalitarianism as a social ideal is largely a post-enlightenment phenomena although crude versions of it could be seen in Budhist Sangas and ancient republics.

      It seems odd to us that someone should instantly jump to a bandwagon of ‘you are ignorant of our scriptures and ancient sources’ when somebody criticises some Indian traditions or exaggerating them for political purposes. Did you even check the reference list we gave? ‘Mathematics in India’ by Kim Plofker is the latest book that gives detailed description of the mathematical traditions from India. We know quite a bit about the works of Aryabhatta, Brahmagupta, Bhaskaracharya and even the commentaries of their works made by Persians. And whom do you want to know from the Kerala school of Mathematics – Sangamagrama Madhavan (known as the ‘Golavid’), Vattasseri Parameswaran, jadevan(yukthi bhashyam), Puthumana Nilakanta Somayaji, the katapayadi’ system of representing numerals……..? Please avoid treating others as totally ignorant! We did ample research and were careful in our statements, yet we do not claim that we know quite a lot. But we know enough to write this much, that is all.

      “The Vedas, Upanishads, Geeta/Mahabharta and all these Sanskrit texts were written in India, so even if Aryans came from “XYZ” place, they didn’t become ” the Aryans””

      The geography of ‘Rig Veda’ is still a matter of question. The others were probably written in present day India and perhaps in places of todays Pakistan. But the stories in itself might date much further. There are theories which referring to commonalities in all ancient civilisational tales (the ones from Babylonia, Egypt, India and even Greece) that it might have elements of a much early racial or tribal memory of floods, of infanticide etc. In our ancient literature there are even references to places outside the borders like Gandhar, possibly the Kandahar in Afghanistan. So shrinking everything to ‘India’ itself is reductionist. They are South Asian literature and sources of history. We have viewed them as such. What we are against is undue glorification. We are not ‘one of a kind’, there are many other civilizations that share our features, some yet to be fully explored. And more than anything it is the modern science which is telling that whatever our features, language or cultures are, beneath our skin we are all Africans. Thus there is no justification for this obsessive compulsive nationalism. The reason we should know history is to know ourselves better and we are against making it a narrow political project.

      ” the Arabs/Greeks and lot many others had nothing close to Upanishadic/carvak or Budhdhist ideas”

      Do you realise that what you are talking about are different schools possibly from different points in history of the sub continent? Also did you read about Greek philosophy (for starters check this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Greek_philosophy)or their Mathematics to make this comment? Do you realise how monumental the single work ‘Elements’ by Euclid (the concept of a formal proof) is to even modern Mathematics? And how far have you read about Arabs contribution? Of course Arab contribution post dates many of the Indian contrubutions, but that is not the point. We do not say Greeks were the most superior people, but we do not agree that Indians were either. Spreading myths of this ‘superiority’ is not only untrue but also dangerous as it happened to Germans after the world war I.

      We should be aware of our contributions and most importantly live in the present to do better. Another important aspect of reawakening is acknowledging the mistakes by our forefathers. There are millions of Indians who were treated worse than slaves- the Dalits. Do they not deserve justice? We cannot undo what is already done, but as a people Indians should at least own it like Germans did after the Holocaust. If your concern for nation doesn’t permit you that, then whose nation are you talking about? Europeans did rule us and treat us in a third rate manner, but it wasn’t them who treated ‘our own’ way brutally so as to write down ‘that molten metal should be poured into the ears of a Shudra who happens to hear Vedas’ in Manu Smriti.

      Any way, our prominent question was neither caste nor ‘Indian nationalism’. For that matter, we do not support any kind of national glorification by any particular group- be it Indians or non-Indians. Our concern is spreading wrong facts and the political angle involved in it. This is more comparable to the pre-world war II Germany when even scientists were talking about Aryan science and Jewish science. People like GK replaced Aryan with Indian and Jewish with ‘non-Indian’ and we are against that.

      Regards

      Javali

  • Captain Mandrake

    Just for the sake of argument let us assume that the theory of gravity was discovered by some bloke living in India several hundred years before Newton. Why does that give a hard-on to the hindutvadis? Do they realize that the modern day English aren’t getting any brownie points because the theory of gravity was in fact formulated by Newton, an Englishman from 1600s?

    • A terrible inferiority complex,perhaps? Let me quote what one person has commented:

      “Just remove that guy N. Gopalakrishnan’s exaggeration and digest the fact that yes at some point the Arabs/Greeks and lot many others had nothing close to Upanishadic/carvak or Budhdhist ideas, or even mathematics/science. and don’t feel proud but do understand that you have probability of having same genese and so can possibly become leaders again.”

      That sums it up …we need to believe in the quality of the “genes” of our ancestors to feel that we can do great things!

      • So what is your game “superiority complex”? The new version of Aryan supremacy theory called ‘Indian supremacy theory’?

        That “sumed up” statement and whole comment was already answered in detail. Just go down. If you have something new to say, please do. Otherwise it will be considered a troll.

      • Captain Mandrake

        NanDGate,

        Thanks for pointing out the inferiority complex of our hindutvadi friends.

        That sums it up …we need to believe in the quality of the “genes” of our ancestors to feel that we can do great things!

        First of all, I am not sure if having a great scientist as an ancestor actually increases your chances of you being a great scientist.

        But just for the sake of argument let us assume that such ancestral genes actually improves your chances of being a great scientist. What does that imply? Wouldn’t the fact that Indians don’t have more than a handful of Nobel laureates among them then imply that the probability of their ancestors having been great scientist are extremely low?

        So may be it was not some ancient Indian who came with the theory of gravity. It is was probably Newton who did it first.:)

  • They are in their best and careful enough not to achieve anything scientifically and let others, but to project and support the bluff Sanskrit theories. Most of the top ranking prof, scientist, bureaucrats are on the delegate assignment of spreading RSS fundamental theories. It is crystal clear his (GK) research was only around his caste Sanskrit theories throughout his research carrier, curse of Indian science and tech research and funding of public money. Does he proclaim that the Newton, Copernicus, Kepler etc… steal the inventions/technology from his ancestral backdoor? All muddy lengthy loose texts, which we can witness it from a Guy who come out of liquor shop. Why this particular society is so much worried about the Sanskrit texts? Why they are now propagate it (Sanskrit) to the common mass which was protected as divine text? Where and what happened to their theory of punishing (killing) sudra who hear, read even see the Sanskrit Vedas. Govt should ban the all activity of Sanskrit since it is not a spoken language, and there is no use of it to anyone except Brahmin.

    • Criticism of arbitrary unproductive investment in pet disciplines, is warranted, but a call for bans on entire disciplines of linguistic and anthropological interest, seems prima facie incompatible with freethinkers’ stances. Draconian bans will only worsen obscurantism and hinder open criticism. Similar concerns are addressed in this earlier comment.

      • Captain Mandrake

        Well, you don’t have to ban research in a particular area but you can always stop funding researchers based on past performance. Identify all the supremacists and take away the research grants.

      • Making faculty appointments contingent upon the highest standards of scholarly conduct is of course past due, and this recent case from Harvard offers a useful precedent. On that point itself there is no disagreement. My comment above was more in response to the suggestion (perhaps made only for effect) that Govt should ban the all activity of Sanskrit since it is not a spoken language which if taken literally would outlaw many native Indian names including the name of the blog, the national motto and the national anthem.

        • Yes absolutely, it is difficult because the slave system changed from English to Sanskrit but the pathetic is the low caste: the scapegoats who occupy the most of the atrocity news in the media muted out by the elite classes.

  • My my Javaliji, that was some rant. Did this Gopalakrishnan dude upset you so much? If he is just a crank why get so upset? Your post sounds like your world view collapses on exposure to Gopalakrishnan’s world view.

    Incidentally you say “we wrote” in one reply. Is that a royal “we” or a suggestion that your article had more than one authour?

    • Please read the post completely before commenting.

      “The mistake of inviting a man, whose main hobby is bad mouthing other religions (while never applying the same arguments to Hindu religion), who unabashedly shouts inaccurate facts to blatant lies, is not just a matter of bad selection but also a breach of the constitutional ideal of government (and its institutions) being secular. As rationalists committed to secularism (one of the authors being a member of the IITM community too), we find it both shocking and ridiculous, and are of the opinion that public interest is being served by writing this critique.”

      — Does that answer your both questions? The description of other author of “we” (which is not the “royal we”) is given at the end of the article.

      • Oh my, so are you one more of the famed reservation candidates belonging to a minority community which crys hoarse each time somebody from a majority community professes pride in their faith and culture?
        There is nothing rational and secular about you or your blog. The only thing apparent is your quasi leftist disdain for anything and everything Hindu, and your inability to admit that there are people who neither agree with you, and unlike you deracinated chaps, are actually aware of, and are researching their own culture.

        • Let me see. No attempt to point out what you find disagreeable in the article. But plenty of effort on an ad-hominem. Please take your casteist trolling elsewhere.

  • Captain Mandrake

    Much like the bogus claim about theory of gravity why is the hindutvadi so emotionally attached to opposing the aryan invasion/migration theory?

    What does he hope to achieve?

    Does he just want to claim that his ancestors were the ancestors of all of humanity? If that is all he wants then all he has to do is go back in time to the point when the first group of homosapiens walked out of Africa. That would make his claim true.

    Will that make the hindutvadi happy? Can any of you apologists please answer?

  • If one wonders why Indian science and technology did not progress the way it should have, one need not look far.

    Really? I mean, do you believe that the Nehruvian socialist economic system we chose -otherwise known as the license-permit-quota raj – where any spark of entrepreneurial spirit was treated as a disease, where the most draconian regulations ever invented by man were placed on the industry, where the hard won assets of private individuals were forcefully taken over by the government, where industrialists and business people where considered to be equivalent to criminals by default, where the government ruled the commanding heights of not just the economy but every human endeavor has absolutely nothing to do with the sorry state of science and technology in this country?

    While I do agree that the ridicule dumb-asses like GoKri receive is well deserved, the alarmism over scientists’ beliefs is an ill-conceived over-reaction from science-fetishists. In today’s world religion is not a threat to science. A scientist’s superstitions should be a cause of concern only when it has a bearing on public policies advocated by them. Religious superstition is hardly a threat in that direction – I doubt even GoKri would advocate special poojas to propitiate rain gods as a government program to combat drought. However, a scientist’s ‘secular’ superstition can have pernicious effect on a whole nation, including death to thousands of people – if in doubt, type ‘Lysenko’ into google and take a look at the results that come up. If scientists in positions to influence public policy have superstitious beliefs like socialism, redistributionism, climate alarmism etc, the results could be fatal to the nation. Sadly, a lot of scientists do have such beliefs, but hardly any attention is focused on that.

    From Nirmukta’s objectives section:
    To promote secular humanism, equality

    In other words, it is ok to have superstitions, just make sure that they are of the non-religious variety.

    • While the red tape in India was a hinderance, I doubt business people were considered criminals. Are you sure you are quoting from history and not an Ayn Rand novel?

    • Captain Mandrake

      #In today’s world religion is not a threat to science#

      Thanks to vigilant people like the authors of this article.

      # if in doubt, type ‘Lysenko’ into google and take a look at the results #

      # In other words, it is ok to have superstitions, just make sure that they are of the non-religious variety.#

      Lysenko doctored scientific evidence to arrive at pre-determined conclusions to promote policies of the politburo. Can you point to any articles on Nirmukta that doctors scientific evidence to promote the stated objective of equality.

      As to your Randian rant in th rest of your post, I can only advice you to stop watching Fox.

      • >>Thanks to vigilant people like the authors of this article

        Not necessarily. It’s because of a number of reasons: science itself has become an establishment, the belief that science works has been well established in the minds of people (though the credit should largely go to engineering, technology and entrepreneurship for this) and most importantly, religion doesn’t come into direct conflict with science in most avenues. Whatever conflict is there, is largely limited to the teaching of evolution vs creationism. One hardly hears physicists complaining that the religious nutjobs are threatening the teaching of Newton’s laws of motion or the theory of special relativity. Much less, electrical or mechanical engineers complaining about religion posing a threat to say, control theory.

        >>Lysenko doctored scientific evidence to arrive at pre-determined conclusions to promote policies of the politburo.

        ‘pre-determined conclusions’ is more or less equivalent to ‘superstition’. I don’t know where you got the idea that I accuse Nirmukta of doctoring scientific evidence. My comment was in response to Nirmukta’s belief in ‘equality’ as stated in it’s objectives. ‘Equality’ (used in the sense Leftist generally use it) has less evidence to its existence than that for rainbow tailed unicorns or the tooth fairy.

        • Satish Chandra

          My comment was in response to Nirmukta’s belief in ‘equality’ as stated in it’s objectives. ‘Equality’ (used in the sense Leftist generally use it) has less evidence to its existence than that for rainbow tailed unicorns or the tooth fairy.

          In your Randian selfishness and self-centeredness, you fail to see how moral values work. I could see you justifying racism, misogyny and casteism quite easily because when people were fighting against racism, there was no evidence that blacks deserve to be treated as human. Women obviously are different than men and hence they can’t demand for equality. Coming to caste, there’s plenty of “evidence” that it lead to a “stable” and “efficient” society. So why bark for equality when there’s no evidence that getting rid of caste is of any use?

          • Please read my comment once again. I said: ‘Equality’ (used in the sense Leftist generally use it) has ..

            You failed to grasp the significance of the phrase inside the parentheses. Leftists use ‘equality’ to mean ‘equality of outcome’. Despite their lip-service to it, they never believe in ‘equality of opportunity’, because they very well know that equality of opportunity will never lead to equality of outcome. In fact, if we were to achieve equality of outcome, the only recourse will be to use unimaginable violence as did the Communist regimes of the 20th and 21st century, even then it is not achievable. If the Western civilization is ever to fall (I believe it is a question of when, not if) it will be as a result of the pursuit of equality of outcome.

          • Satish Chandra

            Equality of outcome is a strawman that you imagined. And it is quite a common delusion amongst Randian style libertarianism which can’t get over the fact that most people acknowledge that communism is a failure. But letting go of that delusion means acknowledging that inequality exists and needs to be addressed. That is hard. Wallowing in self-pity induced by moocher persecution is easy.

          • >>Right there in your first post where you objected to Nirmukta’s objective of … one has to be an imbecile to not see that it is implied there

            Equality as an abstract concept is definitely preferable, only the real world version is the problem. Also, the question about equality is not irrelevant to science, in fact it has a life-and-death significance for science. For, the biggest threat to science today doesn’t come from religion at all, but from equalitarian ideologies, feminism being the foremost one. There is a relentless push to expand Title IX quotas to STEM disciplines in the US universities. This will devastate science and technology education much like it devastated college sports earlier. But the people who get into a fit when scientists’ religious beliefs are mentioned not even know about this threat. If you think that maybe it is only the US science that will go to the dogs thanks to the equalitarian ideology, you haven’t read recent news.

            >>As to the whether it is achievable or not and if achievable..addressed in the democratic arena..

            I can only marvel at your naivete – equalitarian ideologies always push their agenda through the backdoor – state power and the bureaucracy – and can’t care less for democracy and due process. This is what the EU is doing today. This is how feminism achieved most of its goals. This is what socialists all over the world recognize – they stand no chance in a direct confrontation – socialism is to be achieved piecemeal through bureaucratic fiat.

            >>The trouble is that you do not understand that if anything can be claimed to work it is only through the scientific method that you can confirm that it works.

            Again, you confuse trial and error with science. By your reasoning, tasting the dish to see whether the salt is right is science, so is checking the pressure in your tyre. Science is a method, a knowledge base and a profession. Trivial activities of day to day life is not science, whether they are used to confirm whether something works or not.

            >>And Engineering is an offshoot of Science.

            I will not say I am surprised only because I know for a fact that science fetishists generally have only the foggiest ideas about history, philosophy or even what science itself is. Engineering pre-dates science by several millennia. The majority of the developments in engineering and technology are completely independent of science. That science helps engineering or the two have a relationship doesn’t make one the ‘offshoot’ of the other.

            >>you bringing up the workings of EU only shows that you are not a honest debater.

            Nope, as I showed above, it was to highlight how misplaced your touching faith in democracy is. You also are confused about democracy (which always tend to be the rule of the mob as history shows) and constitutionally limited government.

            I need not repeat that it is highly unscientific for any organization to include ‘promoting equality’ as one of its objectives.

          • – Most of the objections to seeking equality raised above, will be found to be misplaced when it is recognized that uniformity and fairness are not synonymous. To assume that anyone demanding fairness under the banner of equality is also demanding naive uniformity, is a strawman.

            – Without falsifiable predictions, no activity can qualify as Science, however much it maybe adorned with formalisms and dignified as a ‘body of knowledge’ or a ‘profession’. “The tyre is not flat” is a falsifiable prediction and to test this is indeed an exercise in the scientific method. Astrology isn’t, even though it is a profession, and Vaimanika Shastra isn’t even though it is written in venerable-seeming verse. To de-emphasize the indispensability and centrality of falsifiability to Science, features prominently in the modus operandi of postmodernists.

            – The breeder’s art was quite mature well before Darwin formalized artificial and natural selection in The Origin of Species. From examples like this, it might seem that ‘engineering’ predates ‘science’. The breeder’s art, however, would have proceeded iteratively, empirically and heuristically; testing and falsifying predictions about how each brood turns out looking and behaving, even though vocabulary such as ‘null hypothesis’ and ‘confidence interval’ wasn’t used to describe and document such exercises. We might say, in a manner of speaking, that the breeders were ‘doing Science’ without being trained in it or recognizing it as such. Philosophers of Science since Francis Bacon have recognized and emphasized how the ’empirical’ and the ‘rational’ are inextricably intertwined while ‘doing Science’ and to suggest that somehow heuristic and empirical approaches associated popularly with Engineering are somehow divorced from Science, seems yet another postmodernist distortion.

          • >>To assume that anyone demanding fairness under the banner of equality is also demanding naive uniformity, is a strawman.

            Far from being a strawman, it is an observable fact that the equalist ideology doesn’t care two hoots about fairness when it suits it and its aim is equality of outcome (that by the way, is not synonymous with uniformity). Title IX is just one example – it is not enough that women be proportionally represented in sports, but any over-representation by men should be corrected too – hence the slashing of tens of thousands of men’s programs (somehow, this is not applied when women are over-represented – fairness, anyone?). The foundational myth of the equalist creed is ‘disparity implies discrimination’ (this by the way, has no basis in reality (hence the myth), in fact, groups that are historically discriminated against like the Jews have done very well) which implies that the only path to non-discrimination is equality of outcome. One of the other prominent slogans of the equalist creed, ‘tax the rich’, is not even about equality of outcome – it is about punishing success, envy, the belief in life as a zero-sum game etc.

            >>Without falsifiable predictions, no activity can qualify as Science..

            While this is true, the converse is not true. The heuristic approach, trial and error etc., are practised from time immemorial. Heck, it is not even unique to homo sapiens. Science only formalised the methodology. (It is important to note that this formalism is what distinguishes science from garden variety trial-and-error and is at the very heart of it). That doesn’t make falsifiable predictions or testing them science per se. Claiming that heuristics is science because science uses it is like claiming that electronics is biology because biology uses electronic instrumentation.

            >>.. heuristic and empirical approaches associated popularly with Engineering are somehow divorced from Science..

            It is not ‘divorced’ from science, but it pre-dates science as a body of organized knowledge by at lease two thousand years. Whether some of those practices were later incorporated into the body of science is immaterial. It is disingenuous to claim for science what people did long before it even existed using their real world experience as a guide.

        • Captain Mandrake

          Not necessarily. It’s because of a number of reasons: science itself has become an establishment, the belief that science works has been well established in the minds of people (though the credit should largely go to engineering, technology and entrepreneurship for this) and most importantly, religion doesn’t come into direct conflict with science in most avenues. Whatever conflict is there, is largely limited to the teaching of evolution vs creationism.

          Where ever conflict arises between science and religion or truth and made up BS it is the vigilant people like the authors of this article who resolve the conflict in the favor of science and truth. And the conflict does go beyond creationism and evolution. For example in this article GK uses his made up BS to question both science and history. And the authors do a good job of exposing his BS.

          And I do not quite understand your motivation behind that diatribe against scientific establishment. If you seriously believe that the scientific establishment is flawed and want to reform it by all means do so. Why don’t write up an article and send to Nirmukta editors for publications.

          ‘pre-determined conclusions’ is more or less equivalent to ‘superstition’. I don’t know where you got the idea that I accuse Nirmukta of doctoring scientific evidence.

          I do not know, may be because you brought up Lysenko and moved right into “Promoting Equality” being an objective of Nirmutha.

          ‘Equality’ (used in the sense Leftist generally use it) has less evidence to its existence than that for rainbow tailed unicorns or the tooth fairy.

          The existence of ‘Equality’ is besides the point. The question is “Is it better to live in a more equal society or a more unequal society?”. Unless the society is filled with sociopaths like Ayn Rand the answer to that question is that it is better to live in a more equal society. For example this article shows even americans want to live in a more equal society.

          Now the next question is how do you create a more equal society? We can have a healthy debate on this topic. Should it be through strong government intervention or through the free market or by a combination of both (eg. New Deal, Obamacare) is a question that should be addressed through democratic means. The beauty of it is that even Randian sociopaths will have a voice in such a democratic process.

          • Captain Mandrake

            There was a error with the link I gave in the previous post.

            …For example this article shows even americans want to live in a more equal society…

            The link I refer to is given below.

            http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/08/americans-want-to-live-in-a-much-more-equal-country-they-just-dont-realize-it/260639/#

          • >>And I do not quite understand your motivation behind that diatribe against scientific establishment.

            Well, ‘diatribe’ is your opinion. I was just making those observations for the simple reason that, science fetishists have take over the scientific establishment and tall claims are made in the name of science, often in an authoritarian voice. (‘Science is the only known method to seek truth’ – hey dude, science is not in the truth business). The reasons why people’s trust in science is waning are not far to seek: http://www.american.com/archive/2010/july/science-turns-authoritarian

            >>Equality of outcome is a strawman that you imagined.

            Far from being a strawman, even a cursory reading of leftist literature is enough to convince one of their firm belief in the equality of outcome. In fact, the whole spectrum of leftist political ideas rest on the assumption of equality of outcome.

            >> it is better to live in a more equal society

            It is even better to live in a society with no crime, disease or even disputes. The question is whether those things are achievable or what price to pay for it.

            >> Now the next question is how do you create a more equal society..

            Leftists and science fetishists (one and the same, mostly) have an answer for that – through the use of government force (of course, the government is an authoritarian technocracy). The ugliness of this is that, nobody, sociopath or otherwise, will have a voice in this and everything will be decided by a technocracy of ‘people who know better’.
            Any doubt about the above? Remember the light bulb ban? Ever heard of the European Union? Ever read a pro warmist climate blog? (see here: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/09/15/we-need-a-conspiracy-to-save-humanity/ That’s from a blog named ‘Skeptical Science’! The irony!)
            More here: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=6878

            By the way, I brought up equality as an example of the secular superstitions that pervade the scientific community. These superstitions are far more pernicious than the alleged religious beliefs of some scientists. It is ludicrous to see people who think that a scientist’s belief in Communism is not a problem throwing a tantrum when they see another scientist performing a puja.

            And let me add that I am impressed by your use of repeated calling of me a ‘Randian sociopath’ as debating tactic.

          • Satish Chandra

            By the way, I brought up equality as an example of the secular superstitions that pervade the scientific community.

            Yeah right. Fighting discrimination is a superstition for you. Because in your twisted worldview striving for equality = left = OMG commies.

            It is ludicrous to see people who think that a scientist’s belief in Communism is not a problem throwing a tantrum when they see another scientist performing a puja.

            If you take the trouble of stepping outside your warped world, you’ll see that no one here has supported communism.

          • Captain Mandrake

            Murali

            And let me add that I am impressed by your use of repeated calling of me a ‘Randian sociopath’ as debating tactic.

            I was only referring to the teabaggers by the term “Randian Sociopath”. But hey, if the hat fits just wear it. Anyway, my point was that even these brown shirts get a chance to influence public policy on how to promote more equality. In a perverse way even their insistence on equal opportunity is their hare brained way of acknowledging the importance of equality.

            ‘Science is the only known method to seek truth’ – hey dude, science is not in the truth business

            Really? What business is science in then?

            If science is not the only known method to seek truth can you please explain what are the other methods to seek truth? Please answer this question.

            The reasons why people’s trust in science is waning are not far to seek: http://www.american.com/archive/2010/july/science-turns-authoritarian

            Yeah, and American Enterprise Institute in not the place seek that. That was also a nice dodge. You started by implying that there was a serious flaw in scientific establishment. Now you have reduced that flaw to an admittedly informal study of terms that sound authoritarian. That is hardly a flaw even if it is backed by a formal scientific study.

            It is even better to live in a society with no crime, disease or even disputes. The question is whether those things are achievable or what price to pay for it.

            What if a society with out crime, disease and disputes are not achievable? Would you then call the efforts to reduce these social malaise as secular superstition?

            The ugliness of this is that, nobody, sociopath or otherwise, will have a voice in this and everything will be decided by a technocracy of ‘people who know better’.

            Ever heard of the thing called democracy. It does give voice and power to climate change deniers and Randian sociopaths. So I don’t know what you are ranting about.

            Remember the light bulb ban?

            Wow, what a horror that was along with other horrors such as the ban on CFCs and the ban on DDT.

            By the way, I brought up equality as an example of the secular superstitions that pervade the scientific community.

            I understand that you brought up equality as an example of secular superstition. However you have not said anything convincing to show why equality is not preferable. And I still don’t see how the term superstition can be used in this context even if we can show that equality is not preferable. And whether are not people prefer more equality has been answered several time over the history. As an example I gave you link to an opinion piece written by the author of a study that shows that the Americans (scientists and non-scientists) across the board want more equality. The study itself can be found here.

            Norton M.I. and Ariely D. (2011) “Building a Better America–One Wealth Quintile at a Time.” Perspectives on Psychological Science., 6 (9), 9-12.

          • >> Yeah right. Fighting discrimination is a superstition for you..

            If you think that the efforts to force equality of outcome is the same as fighting discrimination, then there is nothing much to say. (Horror of horrors.. I didn’t become another Bill Gates. The society must be terribly discriminating against me.)

            >>Really? What business is science in then?

            Science is in the business of observation, forming hypotheses, testing the validity of hypotheses against observed data etc. Seeking truth is the business of philosophers.

            >>If science is not the only known method to seek truth can you please explain what are the other methods to seek truth? Please answer this question.

            Logic is one. Mathematics doesn’t need the scientific method to prove axioms. Austrian economics has completely done away with positivism, but still got it right. Eventhough it is often ridiculed, intuition also works under many circumstances. The trouble is that you are conflating the fact that science sometimes works with the conclusion that science is the only path to truth. Engineering works even better than science, but nobody seeks truth with Engineering.

            >>You started by implying that there was a serious flaw in scientific establishment.

            The so called flaw is as I had said more than once, the authoritarian tendencies, fetishism, secular superstitions etc. These are serious flaws which have implications for the lives of millions, not to be laughed about.

            >>What if a society with out crime, disease and disputes are not achievable? Would you then call the efforts to reduce these social malaise as secular superstition

            The trade-offs is the question. Do you favor the complete annihilation of personal freedoms, 24×7 monitoring of citizens’ private lives, the establishment of a police state and punishment for thought crimes in an ‘effort to reduce the social malaise of crime’? If you do, I will rightly classify that as dangerous secular superstition. I know that many science fetishists have illusions about the ‘perfect society’, achievable through the rule of the technocrats. Perfection is in fact a project for totalitarians, absolutists and cranks.

            >> Ever heard of the thing called democracy

            Tell me more about how this democracy thing works in the EU bureaucracy. Or the EPA bureaucracy. Or the ATF bureaucracy.

            >>Wow, what a horror that was along with other horrors such as the ban on CFCs and the ban on DDT

            Do a little more research about how those bans panned out before jumping into conclusions.

            >>However you have not said anything convincing to show why equality is not preferable

            Where did I say that equality is not ‘preferable’? Let me repeat, the question is about whether it can be achieved, or if it can be, at what cost. In the real world, the cost for equality of outcome is a lack of freedom, persecution and an incredible amount of inequality of opportunity. I don’t find that preferable at all.

          • >> I can only advice you to stop watching Fox..

            I don’t watch Fox, funded by Saudi oil sheikhs. But after reading your comments, I have a suggestion to you: go easy on Pharyngula, the Fox News of science blogging.

          • >> If you take the trouble of stepping outside your warped world, you’ll see that no one here has supported communism.

            Maybe nobody vocally supports communism. However, if a pro-communist scientist starts a lecture circuit in the top institutions talking about dialectical materialism, scientific socialism, people’s revolution etc., will there be a howl of protest as in the case of GoKri? I very much doubt it.

          • Satish Chandra

            You know what, we have no articles about malnourishment. So we must be supporting it, right? Your argument is one of the most idiotic ones that can be made. Communism gets criticized aplently. However the likes of GoKri get a pass we get people like you who make up stuff like Glenn Beck.

          • Captain Mandrake

            Murali,

            Where did I say that equality is not ‘preferable’?

            Right there in your first post where you objected to Nirmukta’s objective of promoting equality? Sure the word preferable was not used but one has to be an imbecile to not see that it is implied there.

            As to the whether it is achievable or not and if achievable at what cost and if the cost is worth paying are profoundly complex questions that are addressed in the democratic arena taking into consideration both the facts and the values of people involved. Even the sociopath saying that he does not prefer equality will have a voice in this process.

            Logic is one. Mathematics doesn’t need the scientific method to prove axioms.

            All these fall under Science.

            Austrian economics has completely done away with positivism, but still got it right.

            Any economic model including the Austrian kind can be claimed to work only after it is verified scientifically, you know by proposing a hypothesis and testing it in the real world. There is no escaping the scientific method.

            Eventhough it is often ridiculed, intuition also works under many circumstances.

            I don’t know what you puked up there. But if you end it with “many circumstances” and not with “all circumstances” you have not made any frigging point. Not sure if you understand that.

            The trouble is that you are conflating the fact that science sometimes works with the conclusion that science is the only path to truth. Engineering works even better than science, but nobody seeks truth with Engineering.

            The trouble is that you do not understand that if anything can be claimed to work it is only through the scientific method that you can confirm that it works. And Engineering is an offshoot of Science. Man, did you ever have a formal education?

            And as to communism that you keep bringing up, sure I could not find any Nirmukta articles criticizing communism. But so what, I don’t find any Nirmukta article criticizing Friedmanite trickle-down garbage either. But no one is accusing Nirmukta of being the Indian arm of tea party, are they?

            I am getting tired of debating you as you have been bringing all kind of issues that are completely irrelevant to article under discussion or Nirmukta’s objective of promoting equality. For example, you bringing up the workings of EU only shows that you are not a honest debater.

            I must admit that it is my fault for debating a troll like you. I am not going to engage you any further.

  • This episode reminds me of a similar (almost exact replica) of an incident that took place at the Powai campus of IIT Bombay in the year 1969. The late sixties was a turbulent period in India as it was for the youth all over the world. Globally, radical thinking and some sort of scientific materialism was inspiring the youth. The war in Vietnam was at its peak and the atmosphere was no different from what we recently witnessed as the Arab spring. Young IITians in Bombay were not untouched by the global tidings.
    The self appointed guardians and the moral police of the Hindu Samskriti were alarmed by the developments. They had a handful followers in IIT too who used to meet clandestinely at their shakhas held in the forest just outside the campus. To counter the influence of modernity and radical thought they invited a leading light of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to speak to the young misguided minds. They however made the mistake of inviting Professor N. R. Kamath, then Deputy Director and Head of Chemical Engineering Department to chair the meeting. The guest speaker of portly manner and a flowing beard spoke for one hour in glowing terms about the superiority of Hindu religion, culture and science much on the same lines as reported in this blog over 40 years later. The lecture hall was overflowing. I was one among the audience having joined the IIT in the same year for the B.Tech. programme. We were aghast by what was being said from the podium. Soon the discourse was over and Prof. Kamath rose to give his address as the Chairperson of the meeting. I cannot forget that day because, for the next half an hour Prof. Kamath ripped apart every statement that was made from the podium and chided the speaker for having dared to come to the Indian Institute of Technology, an institute founded for promotion and development of modern technology based on science to preach irrational, anachronistic, non-scientific and parochial thoughts. The entire lecture theater was in an uproar with voices of support for Professor Kamath and not a whimper from the followers of the guest speaker.

    • Thank you for sharing those inspirational reminiscences. The ’60s and ’70s do seem to have been a period of considerable churning and awakening, as described above and also in this Outlook article referred to here earlier. In the early 2000s, I remember attending public lectures by Prof. Jayant Narlikar and Prof. B M Udgaonkar that would feature vigorous criticism of parochialism and superstition. A sobering point is that the stand for science is still having to be taken by septuagenarian stalwarts with no conspicuous ‘second line’ emerging to provide a similar commentary in the lecture circuit as well as print/electronic media. I will be more than willing to stand corrected here by a list of contemporary scientists playing a role similar to those of Profs N R Kamath,H Narasimhaiah, Yash Pal, J V Narlikar or B M Udgaonkar. Perhaps superspecialization in recent decades is at least partly to blame for this seeming social disengagement on part of recent generations of scientists.

    • Thank you for sharing this with us. I,for one,am tired of people going on and on about how great a heritage we HAD but no one speaks of what we are going to leave behind for future generations to be proud of . Are they going to see this clips of pseudo intellectuals and feel great or are they going to chuck them into the can ?

    • Thank you Mr. Shekhar Sathe for sharing your reminiscences. As a member of the few surviving “rationalists” at IITM, what we do not see here are Dr. Kamaths. Of course, there are quite many reasonable (and perhaps rationalist) professors in our institute. Most people who differ with the prevailing ‘Hindutva cultural hegemony’ choose to keep quiet, while the other side would have many open sympathisers and even promoters aong the professors. I’m not challenging their democratic right to preach and opine what they believe (even the stupidest ideas), but some amount of solidarity from the more reasonable faculty would have made a big difference.

    • Thanks Shekhar Sathe for that inspiring recollection ! I am overwhelmed even by the mental image of the occasion, the stage, the speech by this Dr. Kammath and the crowd cheering.

      The 60s and 70s saw a strong rationalist movement in India and I’m sure there were more people supportive of the ideas of material idealism and rationality then. There were people like Dr.Abraham T Kovoor who openly questioned and challenged Sai Baba and other “gurus”. When the hippie culture of the west was embracing the likes of Hare Krishna movement, we had ‘Godmen Busters” like B Premanand rising to prominence. It would have been an exciting era to live in, for sure.

  • Thank you Mr. Arvind Iyer for your words of appreciation and for sharing the article from Outlook regarding Prof Narasimhaiah and Satya Saibaba. I have had the privilege of meeting Prof BM Udgaonkar on a few occasions. I too, like you, have wondered about the utter lack of awareness, leave aside concern, for “scientific temper” on part newer generations including my own.
    It is possible that there are many reasons for the same. one is that the humanity is overwhelmed by its own technological prowess and by and large, most people do not find the need to question and inquire. Today’s higher education especially in science and engineering is devoid of any instruction in philosophy or history of science. The value education is left to what an incumbent can absorb from her surroundings. Once the septuagenarians you speak of fade beyond the horizons, there is no one left to speak of these things.
    Another reason I believe is that today political and ideological discourse is clouded by the hate and smear campaigns successfully run by some sections of the society against the Nehruvian contribution to modern India. Even a learned commentator on this blog-post has unnecessarily unleashed his ire on the path of development and political non-alignment India adopted after a considerable debate in a democratic set up. While there can be room for difference of opinion mainly based on hindsight regarding merits or demerits of State Capitalism, it is a fact that India moved away from those positions when it was time to do so without causing too much disruption or pain like many other countries of the world. I do not understand why we forget that the very institutions we boast of today (especially IITs) were the result of the same Nehruvian thought of scientific temper and model of development. One of the biggest aspects of science is that it is secular i.e. it does not depend on any religious view for its own development even if people engaged in science may have their own religious views. Scientiic temper is an inseparable part o secularism that India has adopted for its own cultural setting.
    Lastly, I think the absence of “scientific temper” is also due to the absence of a peer group and a role model for today’s youth engaged whole time in the act of living and pursuit of careers. There is no leisure for the youngsters. Or, whatever leisure they have is consumed only by easy entertainment and bad food habits.
    The IIT Bombay incident I narrated in my earlier comment led to the formation of a “study circle” which was simply called that and not named after a Vivekanand or a Marx. That study circle blossomed for several years and did leave a mark on many a mind.
    This blog post has done a valuable job in putting a rotten body of thought on the discussion table for dissection and inquiry. Please do keep up the good work.

    • >> Today’s higher education especially in science and engineering is devoid of any instruction in philosophy or history of science

      Not only that, the ugly underbelly of science education is that most scientists are untrained in basic economics, math (especially true for biological sciences) fundamentals of the other branches of science and even how the real world works. It’s no wonder that scientists happen to be the most gullible people around.

      About Nehruvian economics: the ridicule it rightly gets is well deserved. And one needed no hindsight back in his time to see through his misguided schemes. Bellikoth Raghunath Shenoy had written a dissent note to Nehru’s second five year plan, and as a result, Shenoy was hounded out of academia and died in relative obscurity. Why the central planning model was doomed was well enunciated by Ludvig von Mises as far back as in 1920. Milton Friedman himself told the central planners that their schemes were not going to work. And all those predictions came to fruition in a spectacular manner. It should be noted that P C Mahalanobis, the brain behind the five year plans was a brilliant mathematician.
      The IITs as a success story of the Nehruvian model: firstly, we should not forget that the IITs are small islands of relative excellence in an ocean of mediocrity that is the higher education sector in India. The primary education sector is even worse. Secondly, the IITs’ ‘success’ is in fact the success of its alumni, not the institution itself, and that is almost entirely due to the rigorous selection process. IITs fair poorly in terms of research output, patents, innovation and entrepreneurship compared to even the third and fourth tier universities in the US. I understand that it is a little unfair to criticize the IITs on this, as the economic model that stifled entrepreneurship has a large role to play in it. In other words, despite their outward appearance of success, the IITs too are as much a failure of the system as say, the PSUs. Maybe far less spectacular, but failures nevertheless. Thankfully, the situation is correcting itself to some extent post liberalization.

      It’s instructive to read what Friedman opined about PC Mahalanobis, and mathematicians in general: ‘Realizing their own ability as they do and working in a field of absolutes, tends, in my opinion, to make them dangerous when they apply themselves to economic planning’. For anybody who has read this, it is dejavu all over again when one hears the pronouncements of climate scientists today. Scientists are especially prone to the idea of a totalitarian technocracy, a rule by the scientist-king if you will. This and their other false beliefs like socialism, communism, statism etc. in my opinion are far more dangerous than any religious beliefs they may have. No wonder scientists have been on the wrong side of almost all the major political movements of the 20th century.

  • Dr. N. Gopalakrishnan claims most of the scientific discoveries such as “gravitational physics” were made long time ago by Indians and such theories were mentioned in sanskrit texts such as Siddhānta Siromani. If that is the case those sanskrit texts should contain even more scientific facts yet to be discovered by modern science.

    Being a scholar of those texts and having worked as a scientist for many many years how many discoveries were “revealed” by this “scientist”?

  • “Punarjanma or rebirth, which is a part of Indian philosophy, has been scientifically proved.”

    Seriously??? Wow. I’d love to see a couple of double-blind studies proving this.

    This man is clearly an idiot. He does not deserve the title of a Scientist.

  • I would just like to add that Vivekananda Study circle is a very unpopular “club” in iitm and *very few* people ever go to the activities of VSC.
    Please dont make a general opinion about IITians from this. The average IITian is a skeptic and majority are atheists.At lease in IITM.

    if you want a debate on how IIt has contributed in the field of science and technology it would be good if you do a thorough research on it first.
    Such generalizations dont look good on a website which deals with misconceptions in humanity.

    ” A nation whose premier institutes themselves succumb to such narrow nationalistic pride, bigotry and the endemic disease of lack of integrity, shouldn’t dare to aspire a higher stature.”
    WTF thats my institute youre talking about
    just come and see how many people here believe in things like this. I have not met a single person who would believe in things like thses in my four year stay at IITM
    thanks

  • I agree that Dr. N. Gopalakrishnan is full of shit and his talks should be debunked which you did a good job of.
    But IIT s should encourage non academic clubs and those non academic clubs should be able to engage any speaker they wish to. Free speech should not be fettered. It is not an endorsement by the IIT if one of its student clubs (partly/fully funded by IIT) engages an idiotic speaker.

  • baba ramdev ka baap!! wat a waste of country’s resources in educating him, paying him, making people listen to him, etc.

  • it looks like you have a problem only with hinduism … you make it sound and look like Islam and Christianity is the best religion and only hinduism has all the problems in the world …

    if you are an atheist group and is really working towards human development , then you must be criticising all the religions but that’s not what you are doing . Your aim is simply to defame Hinduism.
    It would be great if you are using your brains to do some constructive criticism but your focus simply seems to be on defaming hinduism

    • Not again!
      This picture an this one too are worth a thousand words apiece, but if you prefer a wordier response, you are free to catch up on these earlier comment-trails here and here.

    • Srinath Mohandas

      Dear Nirmukta friends,

      It concerns me a lot. I am not mentioning about Dr. N G’s lecture at IIT Madras, but your attitude of “champions of rational thought” which is evident from the language of your criticism to his lecture.

      Your criticisms are based on conventional (established) understanding of Indian history, heritage and science. You have done justice to that extent. But here in the lecture, Dr N G was pointing out from indigenous scriptural literature of India a different (and higher) dimension of her history, heritage and science. So you trying to prove him wrong by quoting the very same ‘shreds of evidence’ whose authenticity and degree of credibility is under question is ridiculous! We need not fall for his talk and sanskrit quotations, but let us be open minded to look into the direction he points. After all he is a credible scientist who served one of the premier scientific institutions of India.

      Your discription of him as “celebrity Hindu evangelist” (if at all such a thing exists!) and accusation of “narrow nationalistic pride” is most unfortunate. Think for yourself, whose vision is narrow? Yours or his? You fail to look into fresh research on India and her heritage.

      For eg. Prof. Nicholas Kazanas (Director, IMILOS Meleton Cultural Institute, Greece) who is a reputed Vedic scholar and Indologist, researching for more than 3 decades in the subject,also concurred with Dr. N G’s comments on ‘historicity and supremacy of Indian Civilization’. I’m sure you are aware that Prof. Kazanas also delivered a lecture at IIT Madras and I wonder why you did not come up with a similar rebuttal as he also very forcefully advocated theories based on which Dr. N G also gave his lecture.

      To summarise, i would only request you to look at it with an open mind. Wait before you jump into conclusions.

      May Truth prevail,

      Srinath Mohandas
      Teacher, Indian Philosophy and Culture

      • Not again!

        Mr. Srinath, let me repeat that we did enough homework to write this much. As to the sources and “versions of history”, please write some good arguments and supporting evidences to justify GK than pelting a stone and running away. We do not care who speaks and on what authority, what we care is what type of argument they present, based on what method and evidences. For one Prof. Nicholas Kazanas, there are so many respectable academicians who ally with various schools of social or political thoughts. If you want to raise a point why don’t you do it than expecting us to dig the dirt! As the author, I stand by every word written and there is no doubt in my mind what so ever that Mr. GK was presenting colossal exaggerations to outright lies, with little or no evidences. More importantly, we even doubt whether he understand the process of science after listening to his claims like “Newton or Oldton did not discover gravity but it was Bhaskaracharya” (refer to the article for explanation). Arguments rather than rants, would do better for a constructive discussion, if you had one in mind i.e.

        • Srinath Mohandas

          It is neither my intention nor the necessity to prove you wrong. Also I realise the futility of arguments and counter arguments as both sides can come up with ‘n’ no. of references to prove themselves right.

          The only reason that prompted me to post a comment here is your attitude of belittling your ‘opponent’to which i take strong objection. And from your reply its clear that you are very proud of the way you responded. Hence there is no point in me continuing.

  • Dr gopalakrishnan has apparently rediscovered hinduism. So he is overZealous in preaching its superiority. New converts are sometime like that. In their enthusiasm they forget basic tenets of debate and become fanatics.

    But I believe, the religious tolerance, respect for the contrarian world-view and spirit of accomodation which the practitioners of this religion in general exhibit, is rare indeed. Yes we have quite a number of people like good doctor who behave like little children. But they deserve nothing more than an indulgent smile and a shrug. Any attention to them and they will metamorphose into something like worthy CM of a western state in India.

  • This reminds me of the character in My Big Fat Greek Wedding who claims that every word in almost every language has a Greek root! Such people use inane babble(like shlokas) while making their claims,offer no evidence and denigrate the people who criticize them. “You have been brainwashed by the West”. Well,why should I be proud of my country when we are still knee-deep in cholera and TB in the 21st century?

  • one sided views on indian culture and civilisation by dr.gopal ji maharaj can’t be subcribe by all. No doubt our cultural heritage is one of richest in the world but not every thing is started from here.we must acknowledge good thing can happen in other culture also.moreover,if our civilisation started from 8000 BCE ago then we would have colonised mars by now and western developed countries would follow kingship system instead of democracy as democracy is alian to indian culture.

  • V. Balakrishnan

    “Gravity was not discovered (sic) by “Newton or Oldton”, but by Bhaskara II and is described in his work Siddhānta Siromani. The spherical shape of earth was not discovered by “Copernicus or Silvernicus” but Indians knew it well in advance and is mentioned in Bhagavata. Human evolution and even aerodynamics had already been discovered by early Indians.Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is given in Patanjali’s Yoga sutras.”

    That’s quite a bagful! Too bad I missed this gentleman’s brilliant lectures. I could have learnt what the correct solutions to the deepest questions in physics today actually are, as they seem to have been answered long ago. Such as the quantization of
    gravity, the true interpretation of quantum
    mechanics, the correct version of the origin
    of the universe, and the nature of dark matter and
    dark energy. And maybe even the hardest question of all: will there ever be a clean toilet on a flight from or to India? (Sorry about that!)

    • Sir,

      Yes, many people who could have caught him with his trousers down one the stage were absent. In all fairness, it was quite an entertainer, except for the fact that the majority took him seriously. But this was neither the first nor will be the last of the kind. Who knows, the next one will be coming up with a “karma theory of gravitation”!

      • V. Balakrishnan

        “…except for the fact that the majority took him seriously.” Isn’t that precisely the problem? Like I always say, in India the laws of blackbody radiation apply only on the blackboard. Outside that plane, it’s astrology, palmistry, vaastu, feng shui, and so on. College is about the only time when a bright young person can really open his or her mind, take in vast amounts of new information, sift through it and understand the interesting parts, make correlations, diversify one’s interests, let the imagination soar, and dream of achievement, all without worrying about making a living or making mistakes or sullying one’s ‘reputation’. If these years are used, instead, merely to further solidify encrusted prejudices, biases and misconceptions, the whole point of education would seem to be lost.

        • Educational system, R &D, Politics and Policy decision, Media & net work and intellectualism (fake) are corrupted by the Indian religious lies. Continues uncertainty of human mind always looks for satisfaction through superstitious lies, this superstitious lies intern produce and support human minds as such of Dr.N.GK.

          The core meaning of the lecture is “We(Funda.. of Hindu/Muslim/Christ) can fool you even in the 2012 and days to come”,

          This is a open challenge to the all intellects/Scientist/rationalist of not only India but to the world.

  • Thank you so much for this article. I’ve met many such people who think that everything from nanotechnology to space travel , from quantum mechanics to computer science was invented in India.
    Misquoting, quoting out of reference, cherry-picking is always their tool. Next time I meet one of them, I’ll point them here.

  • Well,why don’t you do a video response and rebut Dr Gopalakrishnan on youtube.I see that all you are doing in your long monotonous anti hindu rant is defaming Hinduism.I have read Christopher Hitchens’ books and Dawkins’ books. Dawkins,Hitches and Harris have went on to say that Hinduism and Buddhism are probably the least violent religions in the world. Hitchens and Dawkins have repeatedly written against Christian and Muslim cultural practices. I see that you are a pseudo liberal who wants to gain attention by defaming a good man.
    And writing against a Zakir Naik will be against your atheistic principles I suppose. I am myself an atheist and I don’t give a flying fuck about both religions but the level of hypocrisy on this page surprises me.

    • Satish Chandra

      It’s not surprising that trolls like you would love to type nonsense without even making the simplest effort, like for example, scroll to the top a little and read an earlier comment.

  • The debate here shows that many Indians know little at all, not only of India’s real past, but even of its recent history when Bengalis revived the mythology of India’s ancient superiority. Nirad C. Chaudhuri expressed this most succinctly in the 2nd volume of his famous ‘Autobiography of an Unknown Indian’, as follows:-
    Highly educated Bengalis also held a very low opinion of the education and culture of the local British. They tried to take their defence to a higher intellectual and moral plane, but actually found it only in a historical myth, which was plausible without
    being true. According to it, the Hindus were not only a highly civilized people when the British were savages, but their civilization was also superior to the European. Ironically, this myth was provided almost readymade for them by the European Orientalists, especially the Germans. But the Bengali nationalists finished the picture with very much heightened colours and varnish. ‘

    As it happened, the myth of ancient India began to exert its practical influence simultaneously with the appearance of the British hatred for the educated Bengali. Sir Henry Maine noticed this as well, and in the same address in which he criticized his countrymen for their unfair disparagement of the Bengalis, he also warned the latter against the risks involved in
    holding the mythical view of ancient Hindu civilization.

    ‘On the educated Native of India’, he said, ‘the Past presses with too awful and terrible a power for it to be safe for him to play or palter with it.’ He added that ‘the Past could not be coloured by him in the way he was doing it without misreading the Present and endangering the Future.’ He developed the argument as follows: ‘There are some educated Native gentlemen who seem to have persuaded themselves that there was once a time in India in which learning was more honoured and respected, and when the career of a learned man was more brilliant than in British India and under British rule.’

    He was, of course, perfectly aware that the European Orientalists were in a great measure responsible for such delusions. As he put it: ‘The value attached in Europe to ancient Hindu literature, and deservedly attached for its poetical and philosophical interest, has very naturally caused the Native to look back with pride and fondness on the era at which the great Sanskrit poems were composed and a great philosophical system evolved.’

    Maine went on to say that in regarding their past educated Indians were imitating a European intellectual bias, and explained how t
    that was done, more explicitly: ‘The Natives of India’, he said, ‘have caught from us Europeans our modern trick of constructing, by means of works of fiction, an imaginary Past out of the Present, taking from the Past its externals, its outward furniture, but building in the sympathies, the susceptibilities, and even (for it sometimes comes to that) the knowledge of the present time. It is true that, even with us it may be that too much of the sloughed skin of the Past hangs about us, and impedes and disorders our movements.’

    It was all very well for the Europeans to do that, he said, because there were correctives to a false view of their past in the activities of the present. But in India, as he put it, ‘the effect of such fictions, and of theories built on such fictions, is unmixedly deleterious.’ His advice to the Bengali graduates who were listening to him – it was at a degree-conferring ceremony – was
    clear and unambiguous: ‘They may be safely persuaded that, in spite of discouragements which do not all come from themselves or their countrymen, their real affinities are with Europe and with the Future, not with India and the Past. They would
    do well once for all to acquiesce in it, and accept, with all its consequences, the marvellous destiny which has brought one of the youngest branches of the greatest family of mankind from the uttermost ends of the earth to renovate and educate the oldest. There is not yet perfect sympathy between the two, but intellectual sympathy, in part the fruit of this University, will come first, and moral and social sympathy will follow afterwards.’

    I am citing Maine at this length, not only to support my view of the cultural situation in Bengal, but also to show that there did cme to India Englishmen who understood what was happening to Indian life, culture, and the Indian mind, and also to make known the extraordinary nobility of spirit of an Englishman who could speak at this level of intellectual perception to young Bengali graduates whom a majority of his countrymen in India pretended to despise. I find it curious that Maine’s pronouncements have virtually been ignored by the historians of modern India.

    But Maine spoke in vain. Neither side to whom he gave his advice followed him. The intellectual sympathy to be followed by moral and social sympathy, of which Maine spoke, never came. Even if the Indians were ready to contribute to it, the local British never encouraged the inclination.

    The false view of lndia’s past to which patriotic Indians were clinging, persisted, and, after arriving at its full development, it has become a part of the historical consciousness of all educated Indians all over India. Nothing can free them from its evil hold.
    Yet this was not the worst outcome of the temperamental quarrel between the Englishman and the Bengali. It added another duality to that which was created in Bengali life by the weakness of the Bengali character. This duality has become a permanent feature, not simply of the Bengali’s personality, but of the entire Indian personality in a more harmful manner.

    The myth of a superior Hindu civilization did not prevent any Bengali from anglicizing himself in every way he could, whether in his mental cast or in external appearance and behaviour, and the more anglicized the Bengali was, the higher was his status in Bengali society.

  • I think the website is trying to blatantly disprove the theories he have put forth. You are not saying the viewers any proof. What you want to prove? Is it that christianity is better than hinduism or the facts which were said in hindu texts are all wrong or there is nothing as such? Please dont go with a simple surface study. Knowing the corners of knowledge or making a website out of it wont make you a genius. Better spend your energy and time on some productive work rather than trying to paint people black. When you dont have any proof to prove him otherwise wrong or produce a better counter argument (i am not saying about the “blah-blah” you do here), why to waste your time???

    • aneesh, you have mis-read the article. Where are the authors saying that “facts which were said in hindu texts are ALL WRONG or there is nothing as such”? Where did they mention Christianity or for that matter any other religion is better?

      “Please dont go with a simple surface study” – you have nailed it here. This is exactly what the authors are requesting readers while listening to GK’s speech. They have only tried to disprove GK’s points on Indian supremacy over others, but never implied that Indian history/culture or that Hinduism is inferior in anyway. The article is against GK distorting the facts in his favour. Had he said ‘Indians were the first to use zero as a number’, I’m sure the authors would have happily agreed.

  • Hi Javali & Hari,

    I came across your remarks recently and found it very encouraging. After all Indian ethos does accommodate & encourage debate and disapprovals.
    However, as a student of science myself, I guess, Dr NG had a bigger Goal in pointing to the abundance of material which is found in Indian heritage – rest of it is a matter of interpretation.

    I had met him at university of Alberta briefly and some of the conversations we had was indeed very thought provoking. He is only pointing to certain scientific knowledge which existed in his country many centuries back

    If you would like to dispute his claims and if you intent serous people to take notice of it you should rather refute the claim on the basis of his reference – Eg, how do you disprove that Gravity as a phenomena has not been explained by Bhaskara II in his work Siddhānta Siromani.

    I would request you to do some research in that direction, which shall be very helpful for people like me, who is been spending a lot of time in your country on various research projects.

    Sam

    • dear sam,
      Firstly, good luck for your research in india. yes you are correct in noticing the bigger goal in dr ng . the goal is to insert nonsense into modern science and shove it down the throats of indian masses. one example of such nonsense is that the ancient indian rishis already have knowledge of nine planets (navagraha) existed even before scientists discovered nine planets (observe nine).
      the nine planets of ancient india are as follows(you can find their names and figures in every temple of india)..
      numer one…sooryagraham (the sun). let us not proceed further for a while. sooryagraham literally means sunplanet (graham=planet). it is the bad fate of india that we are studying sun as a star but not a planet in our textbooks,unlike depictions of ancient knowledge.
      one more planet is chandragraham (moonplanet), we were taught that moon is a natural satellite just like titan. the rulers ,policy makers of india or the men behind the curtain belong to the class or community of priests of temples whose fundamental interest is to conserve the heritage (livelyhood of priests)of ancient india and its knowledge no matter howmuch outdated and pure rubbish it is. the future of india and its scientific progress can be estimated in comparision to that of afghanistan under taliban. mindless followers of pseudoscience in developed nations don’t understand the damage they are doing to developing and underdeveloped nations.

  • How much work is being carried out in India to learn Indian Scriptures, atleast to see whether there is something in it – atleast to disporove it?

    @Sam Very happy to see that you understood NG’s motivation towards these studies – he is trying to inculcate interest in more research. He was not writing a journal paper with his findings, but he was trying to say that there are many things which we need to look in to.
    The top class Indian brains will mug the top class rational scientific theories, get top class CGPA, top class positions in MNCs and we can’t expect them to do any research on Indian scriptures.
    Atleast you foreigners do some research and come out with some conclusions – so that the rational Indians will
    accept them.

    • There is mistake perhaps of understanding the universe through faulty measures of British historians and archeologists.

      Because they ruled the globe, they may have arrogated to themselves some rights psychologically.

      That is not same as authenticity by itself.

      We do not know what our neighbors in the next house did yesterday, the historians claim ‘authenticity’ on ‘all’ past things.

      At least physicist get a chance to show that their assumptions, theories etc. stand experiment after experiment.

      We ‘must’ take archeologist’s truth on the other hand granted for whatever they choose to write.

      I have myself read many historians and archeologist. It may be instructive for an unbiased person to read some of the British history and archeology literature critically.

      Remember only one thing, Human brain has evolved to present level at least 100,000 years back. The modern scientific and technological progress dates back only 500 years.

      It is too much reliance on dynasore era of 60+ million years to stone age history.

      One belief is that a 10,000 year period is enough to wipe out signs of human activity, which must restart again.

      Today’s coal and oil may have your ancestors as well, buried in the plant remains which are converted to your fuel.

      -rkk

    • Dear Rakesh,

      The thing is that people in the West do learn these texts and know them quite well. Look up South Asian Studies or religious studies sometime.

      The two fields aren’t highly developed in India, for perhaps the very reasons you put out. But they do exist.

  • “Indian civilization being as old as 8275 B.C. would imply that people had an Iron age/Bronze age civilization before the Mehrgarh civilization, a precursor of the Indus Valley civilization and the oldest urban civilization that’s been discovered yet in the Indian subcontinent. This would be a revolutionary discovery about the history of the human race.”

    Apparently, members of nirmukta jathi claim even greater revolutionary discoveries. See:
    http://nirmukta.com/2009/05/11/hinduism-religion-culture-or-way-of-life/

    Marked in bold: “My ancestors made jewelery 28,000 years ago”. Hindutva evangelists in nirmukta too ?

    “The fact twister in our revered guru is again trying to mislead audience by confusing ‘vedic chanting’, which was declared as world heritage by UNESCO, with ‘vedas’ (the scriptures).”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rigveda#Manuscripts
    http://www.unesco.org/new/en/communication-and-information/flagship-project-activities/memory-of-the-world/register/full-list-of-registered-heritage/registered-heritage-page-7/rigveda/

    Now who is trying is mislead can be decided better after referring to the above two links.

    “the idea of a force attracting things towards the earth had already been well established by then. Aristotle .. Vituvious … ”

    The point here from the lecture is “The celestial bodies are getting attracted among themselves”. This detail is present in Bhaskaracharyas works. Is there such details in there work of others ? Certainly not discussed in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_gravitational_theory

    “We do not know from where he came up with the figure, but except for a course in comparative religion or theology (in which Bible, Quran etc are also taught)”

    Here, GK is not at all comparing different religions. The point to be taken home from the lecture is that Bhagavad Gita is taught Harward, and there was a magazine released with the title “Gita becomes new mantra for big business community in US”. Is this true, please find that rather out than comparing other religions.

    “But one wonders how, when and where did pygmies feature in ancient Egypt. Perhaps, he found out through transcendental meditation.”

    May be. But I got it from 1 minute of google search. Here is the one of the links: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3854789?uid=3738256&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&sid=21101336794483

    • Satish Chandra

      Apparently, members of nirmukta jathi claim even greater revolutionary discoveries. See:
      http://nirmukta.com/2009/05/11/hinduism-religion-culture-or-way-of-life/

      Marked in bold: “My ancestors made jewelery 28,000 years ago”. Hindutva evangelists in nirmukta too ?

      Thanks for letting us know that you lack any semblance of intellectual honesty. Here’s the sentence from that article which you conveniently chose to ignore:

      Beads, red ochre paint, ostrich shell jewelry, and perhaps even shrines to long-lost gods-the hallmarks of an early symbolic culture-appear by 28,500 years ago.

      That claim is backed by this. The article too links to that. Maybe you should add “reading an article properly” to your l337 google 5k1LLz.

      • Satish,
        First kudos for managing a very good blog. I have no issues with the post on hinduism-religion, culture, way-of-life. The comment I had posted was actually directed to Javali and Suraj, not to the nirmukta community in general.

        All I wanted to say is that one must be careful before calling others Hindutva evangelists, who work on cultural glorification who hating non-Indian cultures. It is to be noted that Gopalakrishnan does not use the word Hindu in the first lecture.

        The article would have been much better if GK’s comment in 1st lecture 42m 30s,

        “Dr A K Biswas and B K Biswas, Minerals and Metals of India – Benaras Hindu University and IIT Kanpur, IIT Lucknow and IIT Kharagpur – they have combinedely done the studies of 1000s of materials using Greiger Muler counter and found that our history goes back to BC 8275. The oldest artifact discovered from Kalibanghat, Bhagavanpura, Meherghar … ”

        It does not appear that GK’s stance is not backed by sources.

  • Dr. Gopalkrishnan has clearly gave the relevant evidence mentioning about Indian scientific heritage. Author should provide, If he has any argument against those. Why don’t you study the evidences given by Dr. G and come to conclusion. You don’t do anything but opposing Dr. G.

    • Look at the reference the author has posted for your evidence. Gopalkrishnan evidence are all baseless once looked thoroughly.

      • Not all the references are valid. The author has referred 3 articles from which either his own publications or other authors from nirmukta. No one is sure if those are genuine or not. It could contain greater mistakes than what Dr Gopalakrishnan has made during the lecture. Quoting ones own articles is acceptable if those articles have been peer reviewed, or have undergone a serious discussion.

        “Gopalkrishnan evidence are all baseless once looked thoroughly”

        Generalized statements like these do not help anyone. Have you gone through all the evidence he has presented so far in all his lectures and publications?

  • Your criticism of Dr GK seems curious. Does it matter that he got some things wrong? Maybe he did. But I am sure in the one hour lecture he always got many things right. I never read you lauding him for that. If you want to criticize learn also to give credit. Unless the idea is only to criticize.
    Further, the lecture- flawed or otherwise- is an eye opener for so many of us. That Aryabhatta really wrote somethings relevant at a time when writing on such things seems inconceivable. That there were so many people who did so many things in the past that either predated, did alongwith or even did later compared to others from the West. I did not know of so many of those things. And I am glad that I do now. I feel happy and proud of suddenly being an Indian. I am intrigued into trying to find some more additional material on these things to read. I am inspired enough to tell my kids that look, here is some stuff about India that you all need to know. It is enough that they know – it is not necessary that we did it first is relevant.
    Seen from such an angle, I feel Dr GK can self congratulate himself all he wants. I have no problem with that. He quotes extensively in Sanskrit. To impress? That is your interpretation. How else is he supposed to quote those lines written? In HIndi perhaps? Or in Oriya or something? Come off it man, you are just griping for the sake of griping. You missed the big picture completely. Did he sell you something? Did he ask anyone for a handout? Did he charge you a bomb for this lecture? Go chase the charlatans and expose them if you want to spend your time and effort more fruitfully.
    I was curious when I saw your insert about a rebuttal. But it turned out to be personal animosity. I can only sad for your limited view on the matter.

    • Captain Mandrake

      Narayan,

      Your criticism of Dr GK seems curious. Does it matter that he got some things wrong? Maybe he did. But I am sure in the one hour lecture he always got many things right. I never read you lauding him for that. If you want to criticize learn also to give credit.

      If you are served a shit sandwich, you have to complain about the shit that is sitting between the bread and not congratulate the chef for baking such tasty bread.

    • Narayan,

      You are not seeing the point at all.

      Precious little of what he says is true, and these are not mistakes, these are lies told with a clear intent to deceive.

      He’s quoting in Sanskrit not as much to impress as to dupe. Since lots of people neither understand Sanskrit nor bother to fact-check what he quotes, he can quote some verse and attribute to it whatever meaning is convenient for the lies he’s selling.

      He has an outfit (IISH) which exploits narrow-minded nationalist sentiments (people who’d happily believe any lie about the supremacy of their country or civilization over others) and milks money out of it by selling material and memberships, calling for donations etc. Yes, maybe he doesn’t charge a bomb for his lectures or ask for a handout. But, all of this feeds into the lie-peddling-money-making business he’s building.

      All of this is in front of you and you are still looking around for charlatans? Hint: Look no further than GK.

      • There are several Sanskrit-English/Regional Indian language tools available on the net. Some of the quotations in his lectures (not just this one) can be heard in many temples in India. The other quotations are available in books. I agree it does take effort to translate and understand Sanskrit. But if you are trying to refute someones evidence, the least you can do is provide the non-sankrit speaking population with translation and then refute, with an objective UNBIASED view of the evidence. This blog post is similar to many books and articles written by the so-called rational thinkers(as if they have a monopoly on rational thinking !!) I agree Dr Gopalakrishnan does at times make mistakes in his lectures. You must understand this is not the only lecture he has ever conducted. Also, he has authored several books. Where is rebuttal of the evidence presented in those books? You cannot call a person a liar/ charlatan based on just 1 lecture and on the basis of flimsy evidence. He is not a pleb like you or me.
        If he is quoting Sanskrit texts, he has to speak in Sanskrit right? He is not ‘using’ Sanskrit for the purpose of deceiving. You are free to check his translations to English.
        Where is the evidence that he is milking money by selling material and memberships? Most of the material in IISH are either available for free, or at nominal rate. Dr Gopalakrishnan/IISH does not hold copyright, so you are free to distribute. Have you been to IISH?

        His only objective is to promote Indian culture its history and science. There are Indians(??) in this country who wish they had white parents, and they were born in another faith. Dissing their own culture, which has stood the test of time, is a favorite past-time for them. I agree our ancestors have made several mistakes. But they have also made several crucial discoveries in a time when most of your ‘white parents’ were in caves running around in loin cloth. Anyone attempting to point out those discoveries is called a nationalist and a hindu apologist only in this country. Dr Gk’s is only trying to remind the Indians of the great culture that they possessed (faults and all). we should try to remove those faults and improve our culture. Rather that blindly aping the west to show that you are capable of rational thinking.

        IF Dr Gk’s intentions are good, we should join hands with him and correct his mistakes, however trivial they may be. Promoting/Criticizing Indian culture is not a sin. But we should make sure we do it in a unbiased fashion and avoid destroying the sheer wealth of knowledge our forefathers have given us. Remember, wherever we are we always stand on the shoulder of giants. Those great souls need not necessarily have to be of white skin or a different faith

        JAI HIND

        • Satish Chandra

          But they have also made several crucial discoveries in a time when most of your ‘white parents’ were in caves running around in loin cloth.

          Before you lecture others on being “unbiased”, you should acquire some school level knowledge. Like this.

  • Mr Gk,
    There are talks of NG availble in youtube in malayalam,in which he says all the youngsters to join VHP kind of organisation.Is this also part of great indian culture

    • Shijoy, can u give me the link for such a speech by NG …..Buddy, It is unfair to mix religion in NG’s speeches. You have to agree that Hinduism is very much part of the Indian culture, or Indian culture used to be Hinduism.

  • I happened to listen to NGs few lectures and has come to a conclusion that there is clear evidence of narrow nationalism in his many lectures. However, he cannot be stamped as a fundamentalist Hindu.

    His frustration finds meaning when Indians are hesitant to acknowledge their rich heritage, while every country takes pride in its culture and heritage.

    NGs Sanskrit is quite okay, and his translation and interpretation has no religious tone. Learning Sanskrit is a good way to understand these verses. Moreover, he constantly requests others to keep religion out of many subjects including Astrology……..

  • The Pingala discovering zero claim is a common misconception.

    Pingala was the first to use a concept similar binary numbers. Since we write these as 0s and 1s today, people assume he knew what 0 was.

    The concept was after his time though.

  • Truly Hindus are the worst enemies of Hindus..

    No wonder the mughals and europeans could rule the country for so long…

    • > Truly Hindus are the worst enemies of Hindus..

      Hardly.

      First, the Hindus who are capable of offering a rationalistic critique of Hinduism are a precious few.

      Second, such critique is critical for Indian enlightenment. It was the Christian critique of Christianity that led to Western enlightenment.

      As a cultural Hindu, I KNOW my culture and heritage is rich. But I get frustrated when people praise it for the wrong reasons. Hindu culture can endure without the crutch of the myths – supernatural and historical.

  • Dr. N. Gopalakrishnan may be exaggerating a bit
    but i guess this will create some interest to think or to do some reasearch in this field . For Eg.
    The YOGA may be studied in depth and can be developed as a healthy living style for the humanity .This will reduce the dependance on modern medicine which is rooted on profit/business .
    There are some lobbies who relentlessly try to tarnish all such research efforts in this direction.
    Please do not be part of such evil mindset
    best reagards

    • Does yoga have health benefits? A little bit, yes. But they don’t outweigh those of modern medicine.

      I also don’t believe any lobby exists which tries to tarnish any research efforts into yoga’s benefits– after all what is there to research? We know it stretches you out. As for the meditative aspect, we also know that meditation is good for you. Look up Jon Kabat-Zinn. Who’s trying to derail all this? The only people being derailed are people like Gopalakrishnan and quacks like Deepak Chopra.

  • Sudheer,

    We should feel proud about Yoga and Ayurveda. These were excellent cultural accomplishments produced from several thousand years ago and compare very well with similar systems produced by other cultures, *at that time*.

    However, comparing these old systems to modern science is absurd. They don’t come even remotely close. The people, at the time, did not know about microbes, cellular structure, DNA, hormones etc. They neither understood how the human body worked nor how the disease process went about. They did not understand chemistry like we do today and were not able to understand drugs at a molecular level and how they interacted with receptors. It was all understandable of course, since the technology was not developed at the time. All they could do was make up some vague unscientific theories… basically guesses on how it all happened. This was true worldwide, back then.

    It saddens me when I see Indians place things like Ayurveda, Yoga and worse… western homeopathy on the same footing as modern medicine. Its like comparing traditional Deewali firework technology with modern rocket technology, and not even that with homeopathy, which is just a placebo. The academic research in modern medicine is pure and scientific. The drug companies and some doctors have admittedly been less pure (just like many alternative medicine practitioners – that’s just human nature). But the solution to that is better policy, not replacing them with bronze/iron age systems.

    Before we used modern medicines, the mortality rates were terrible… neonatal and pregnancy related death rates were very high. Infectious diseases wiped out people by the villages. No amount of Yoga and Ayurveda could stop this. Vaccines and antibiotics saved billions of lives, worldwide. In 1919 India, the measured average life span of a person at birth was 19 years… Yes, 19. Today, it is in high sixties and improving (and why we had a population explosion despite having fewer kids). Those stories you hear of how healthy people then were, are made up. Many Indians only remembered the odd individuals who lived long and ignored the rest of his/her family/village did not make it, and in many cases just made up long life times because they did not keep proper records of birth themselves (just made up age numbers).

    Please learn about the history of science and medicine, especially in the last 100 years when much of modern medicine took shape. Don’t be part of that ignorant group that tells people not to get vaccinated, not use medicines until it is too late etc. because you think it is an evil conspiracy or that traditional systems like Yoga are adequate. That will cost many lives and is no service to the country.

    No one is against Yoga. Yoga… and just any regular exercise really, not just Yoga, is useful for people to keep healthy. But it should never be seen as replacement for actual scientific (not western) medical interventions.

    • Bravo!

    • Pritesh Pathak

      Very articulate.

    • I literally stood up from my seat and applauded.

      So proud of the fact that such articulate critical thinkers as yourself actively voice opinions and post critiques & rebuttals on public forums instead laughing off the general ignorance of the Hindu apologists and the religiously inclined and classifying them as “beyond salvage” in a generic sweep.

      This has inspired me to post responses more frequently instead of giving in to my languid urges. However, I am going to bookmark this response for posterity sake – to use it as a standard response for blind proponents of Yoga / Ayurveda / alternative quackery over modern medicine in particular, and desi supremacists at large.
      (For homeopathy, I would still rely on the ever-so-effective James Randi)

      Will make sure to give you source credits though :)

      Thanks a bunch Ravi.

    • >> “…homeopathy, which is just a placebo”

      If that is true, then homeopathy is indeed an extremely powerful and effective ‘placebo’!

      Dear Ravi, do you know how many people have cured their illnesses through the use of this ‘placebo’? FYKI, and these illnesses include those which cannot be cured by Allopathy.

      Do you know anything about all these, Mr. Ravi?
      In fact, do you first of all know the difference between how Homeopathy and Allopathy works.

      >> “In 1919 India, the measured average life span of a person at birth was 19 years”

      If that is true, then what was the life expectancy 1000 years back?

      • Captain Mandrake

        Raz

        **If that is true, then homeopathy is indeed an extremely powerful and effective ‘placebo’!**

        If you can show that homeopathy is better than a placebo you have million dollor prize waiting for you from James Randi (http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/jref-news/1208-feb5video.html).

        **If that is true, then what was the life expectancy 1000 years back?**

        Must be even lower. But why does it matter. It is a simple fact that modern medicine has significantly increased life expectancy at birth.

        • Captain Mandrake, your comments are too loose and casual!

          It is pretty obvious u have little or no experience of Homeopathy treatment. I have! And I’ve been treated!

          And do you know anything about the “million dollor prize waiting for you from James Randi”? FYKI, the prize is only for Psychics and Paranormal practitioners.

          Regarding the link on “lecture by James Randi in which he downed an entire bottle of homeopathic sleeping pills to show they had no effect.”, I find this absolutely HILARIOUS!

          I mean this just proves that you, Ravi and your guru James Randi are totally ignorant about the homeopathy medicines. FYKI, these medicines do not react the way that you people naively think it should. LOL!

          You will not get any instant effect at all by downing any kind of homeopathy medicine. It takes its own time to show its effects which can vary from person to person and disease to disease.

          It is pretty obvious you are ignorant of this basic fact.

          James Randi has made a fool of himself by swallowing those homeopathic pills in order to prove that the medicine the will not make him doze off within one hour!

          • Captain Mandrake

            Raz,

            **And do you know anything about the “million dollor prize waiting for you from James Randi”? FYKI, the prize is only for Psychics and Paranormal practitioners.**

            Please stop parading your ignorance and stupidity.

            Here is something from the link (http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/jref-news/1208-feb5video.html ) I provided you.

            **In his message, Randi issued a one-million-dollar challenge to the manufacturers of homeopathic products to prove their claims, and challenged major drug retailers like CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens to stop tricking consumers into paying real money for fake medicine.
            **
            The challenge applies to quacks of all kind (psychics, homeopaths, etc).

            Based on your posts it is clear that you have not read/understood the link on placebo effect that Ravi provided you. So it is difficult to reason with you. But let me try. If I give you a vial of water and a vial of 30c (1 part active ingredient in 100^30 part water) homeopathic medicine can you tell the difference between the two vials? If so how will you do that?

            http://youtu.be/eN6U6cpGzss

            Please check the video link above. Dawkins does a good job of explaining the absurdity of 30c homeopathic medicine.

          • > Dawkins does a good job of explaining the absurdity of 30c homeopathic medicine.

            This one does it even better.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMGIbOGu8q0

          • Captain Mandrake

            **This one does it even better.**

            Lol! Awesome video!

      • > If that is true, then homeopathy is indeed an extremely powerful and effective ‘placebo’!

        That’s not how placebo effect works. At the very least, read the Wikipedia page on it.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Placebo_Effect

        > In fact, do you first of all know the difference between how Homeopathy and Allopathy works.

        Yes. Quite well, in fact. But it is quite clear you don’t.

        At least read the Wikipedia page on Homeopathy (top to bottom, no skipping) and get back here. Oh, and don’t return with conspiracy theories that the world is against you.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeopathy

        I started explaining how Homeopathy is absurd, but concluded that this has been discussed to death (Randi was mentioned recently. He is a fine source). Here is a short note though: If Homeopathy works, we can throw away all our Chemistry books… that would be a pity… since we are pretty good at Chemistry at this point.

        I don’t blame Hahnemann. He made a heroic attempt in early 1800s when Chemistry (and Pathology) was in its infancy. He even tried to be as scientific as he could. Over time, all his ideas have been disproven after technology gave us a clear view of how stuff worked at microscopic and molecular level. But if anyone who clings to those theories today clearly slept through his/her science classes.

        I know this is below the belt, but I don’t know if you noticed. All Homeopathic quacks are medical school (and Dental School, Pharmacy school and others) rejects. I sure don’t know any one who declined a medical school admission and took up Homeopathy. Do you (there must at least be a handful who are taking up family business)? We are not talking of the brightest bulbs here.

        There is no such thing as Allopathy
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allopathy
        It is a derogatory term used by Homeopathic quacks. There is only Scientific Medicine or Modern Medicine. The rule behind modern medicine is simple. If you can empirically show that it works (Hahnemann himself was an early proponent of empiricism. Later, homeopaths decided to criticize it when the studies did not come out in their favor), it is Scientific/Modern/Evidence-based Medicine. No dogma.

        When someone today says that Homeopathy works, that means they do not understand how Chemistry, Physiology, Pathology, Statistics and the Scientific Method work. Modern Pharmacology does not even need to factor into this.

        > Dear Ravi, do you know how many people have cured their illnesses through the use of this ‘placebo’?

        None. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

        But you will meet plenty of patients (and unfortunately, even a few physicians – since many physicians in India have adequate clinical training but inadequate scientific training) who will tell you that they have been cured by homeopathy. This is the same vein that plenty of people will tell you that a pilgrimage or a pooja or an amulet has cured their incurable disease or solved their problems. If you are confusing those claims with scientific data, then you don’t understand how basic scientific process works, let alone how and whether a particular medical system works. Understand the difference between beliefs and data.
        “Knowing” something well is very tricky business.

        Especially in the last 300 years or so, scientific revolution has entirely changed the knowledge base of humanity. This revolution is grounded in the realization that what people think they saw is often wrong (Fancis Bacon’s Idols, Novum Organum, 1620). The way we extract real data is by a.) addressing for cognitive biases (double blinded clinical trials in case of medicine) b.) using a sound statistical method. This basic scientific kernel however seems to have escaped you.

        I have met Homeopaths in India who have told me without shame that they mix modern medicines in their proprietary remedies. Over the last year, speaking to physicians and patients in India, I am beginning to share suspicion, that at the very least, Homeopaths (and other traditional medicine practitioners) in my town, are mixing corticosteroids in their formulations (you should be fine if you get a sealed standard formulation from an independent store, rather than directly from the quack). The patients are showing signs of steroid insufficiency on withdrawl. I am not sure if this is an isolated phenomenon or if it is more widespread. Steroids produce an immediate sense of well being (and the patient thinks he is cured in case of minor ailments, especially allergies), but have a host of problems, such that those who don’t understand them, should not prescribe them. Under such circumstances, it is possible for instance that a patient who might not have responded to anti-histamines seemingly responds to steroid laced alternative medicines.

        > FYKI, and these illnesses include those which cannot be cured by Allopathy.

        Oh, please do tell. Provide us with links to reputed journals with sound impact factors that verify these claims. I don’t care about “in my experience” or “he said, she said” claims though. Those are dime a dozen.

        > If that is true, then what was the life expectancy 1000 years back?

        The life expectancy at birth throughout history, across the world, before the scientific revolution (before asepsis measures, vaccines and antibiotics) was around 30… sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. India was not any different. 19 was a little low for India when that measure was taken, probably due to the destruction of governance and society during the colonial rule. The crown already began reversing some of the destruction that had taken place during the corporate rule by East India Company, but changes would have taken some time to take hold.

        • Captain Mandrake

          **I know this is below the belt, but I don’t know if you noticed. All Homeopathic quacks are medical school (and Dental School, Pharmacy school and others) rejects. I sure don’t know any one who declined a medical school admission and took up Homeopathy. **

          Good one. Their mediocrity should be publicized and made fun off.

          • Please, sir, NO!

            Some of my friends are homeopaths, but they fully realise that this is BS. They’re only in it because of the extraordinarily tough and luck-based “competitive” PMT exams we have. I would much rather:

            1) the Govt NOT run any more such “medical” colleges. Quackery must be left to total quacks.

            2) provide lateral entry stream in mainstream medical science to those practitioners who want to pursue MBBS after BAMS/BUMS/BHMS (considering the first year course is substantially similar).

            3) INCREASE MBBS Seats! These people doing BHMS/BAMS etc are a LOT smarter than the average Indian! If you think cracking PMT at even BHMS level is easy, think again!

            In my opinion, all this mess has been created by the Govt by meddling in medical education and licencing, thus placing quackery on the same footing as Modern Medicine. It is not right to blame those practitioners who are now trapped in their stream, but can’t get out.

          • Captain Mandrake

            Alex,

            Ok I take what I said in the earlier post. I agree that must be more sane way of bringing these people back into the medical profession. But when debating people like Raz few punches below the belt are warranted.

            **In my opinion, all this mess has been created by the Govt by meddling in medical education and licencing**

            Not sure what you mean. Are you saying the Govt should not be in the business of regulating medical profession?

          • Captain Mandrake

            **Ok I take what I said in the earlier post.**

            Ok I take back what I said in the earlier post.

          • Alex,
            Your thoughts are certainly more compassionate than my harsh remarks, which were in the context of the annoying tone of Raz’s remarks. Additionally, my experience (which I cannot claim is representative) with Homeopaths was different from yours. None of them were my friends (hence, less empathy from me). None of those I know seemed to want to admit that what they practice was quackery, even to their friends. And I was annoyed at the occasional defense by mainstream Indian physicians, of this “system”, demonstrating their own lack of scientific temper, in the process.

            > They’re only in it because of the extraordinarily tough and luck-based “competitive” PMT exams we have

            I agree that medical entrance tests in India are much harder than they need to be (to the point of being unfair) and that we are not meeting demand.

            > 1) the Govt NOT run any more such “medical” colleges. Quackery must be left to total quacks.

            I agree.

            But then again, even Britain is not able to shake quackery off NHS. Homeopaths lobby over there and have the support of royals. Not sure how that works over here.

            I see a role for a combative stance more than an empathic stance though. After all, medical policy should be about the welfare of patients, more than the welfare of practitioners.

            However, I also see our government’s pragmatic point of view. Bringing traditional mid-wives into the system was a major success in the interim. Asepsis training helped reduce neonatal mortality, until PHCs caught on. Homeopaths and Ayurvedics are much less dangerous, with some standard certification, than without. The really dangerous ones I know are the self-styled ones.

            > provide lateral entry stream

            Indian educational system as a whole is indeed very rigid and it is very hard to change tracks or receive some credit for prior training. In contrast, the US educational system is much more modular and hence flexible, such that one is not bound for life, based upon the circumstances of youth. We can learn from at least some of its aspects.

          • Captain Mandrake,

            I feel that hitting below the belt weakens one’s own argument. Anyway, it is my debating technique. I always give my fellow debater an ‘out,’ in order to reach an amicable conclusion. As opposed to school “debates,” these conversations are about life and livelihood, so pragmatism and compassion are necessary.

            As for Govt—Yes. I do feel that Govt should NOT be in the business of regulating medical profession (or any other business, in fact). The Medical profession and education should be self-regulated by a professional body. MCI was intended to be such a body, but political control has reduced it to vassalage of the Union Health Ministry. The cases where medical practice leads to civil/criminal liabilities are well covered in the various Civil and Criminal codes, and should be left to the judiciary.

            I feel that Govt “regulation” (aka money-skimming) of medical colleges leads to artificial shortage of doctors, on the one hand, while Govt “regulation” of quackery like Homeopathy and others only serves as an *endorsement* of these schemes in the public mind, on the other.

          • Ravi,

            Raz clearly deserves harsh words. I only request to avoid painting all homeopaths with the same brush. Many of them are not in this profession by choice, and are some of the smartest people this country has to offer. I attack only quackery, while hoping to bring the practitioner around to do what is right. Of course there are many belligerent, irredeemable frauds, but I hope to reach those who might want to get out, not debate fruitlessly with the confirmed frauds.

            The non-preference of medical aspirants for these quackery streams is easily seen in PMT coachings—not a single student wants to do anything but MBBS. Only those that don’t get the coveted stream go into BHMS/BAMS etc., but they are also very smart—smart enough to have cracked PMT at all! If there’s any chance of their taking MBBS, they’ll jump at it. I only aim to raise awareness about this.

            I don’t have first-hand knowledge about Britain, and the second-hand stuff I know about NHS paints it in a very poor light indeed. More about those socialists some other time!

            I blame our Govt’s “pragmatism” (alias for realpolitik and corruption) for most of the country’s ills today, this being one of them. The fact is that the Medical Education system run by Govt has failed the country miserably. Aseptic training for midwives does not obviate the need for obstetricians and nurses. It is a short-term Band-Aid® that has been kept on and on and on, and as a result now we have a whole army of ANMs that could easily have been an army of nurses. The only reason certified Homeo/Ayur- paths are less dangerous is because they are *really* *smart* people! They can easily tell which patient is serious enough to warrant *real* medical treatment, and they treat common ailments with modern drugs too! I cannot emphasise this enough. These people are basically general practitioners with high intelligence and good clinical skills. I have no doubt they can pass MBBS education and licensure if only given a chance! Then we’ll only be left with the thoroughly illegitimate quacks, and it will be relatively easier to deal with them when we have lots of modern GPs for immediate healthcare needs of the population.

            As for medical policy being for whose welfare, I challenge the concept of Govt-mandated Medical “Policy” at all. No science should be held hostage to Govt. The various cases where medical *practice* leads to actual, quantifiable *harm* (civil or criminal) are governed by various laws and enforced by the judiciary.

            The rigidity in the Indian education system is probably due to a nugget of caste-doctrine. The Indian educationist feels that one *ought* to be bound for life in a single profession. Only now, due to various reform movements and pressure, one is bound based upon the circumstances of youth, rather than circumstances of birth! This is highly speculative, of course, but I feel I have a good point here. The Indian mind is *horrified* of a society where one can change education and occupation at will!

        • Correction:

          The link should be
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Placebo
          not
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Placebo_Effect

          The later points to a Twilight Zone episode.

          • Recently the Chiropractic Association in UK had sued Mr. Simon Singh (A brilliant essayist and author) for libel on account of some critical articles he had written about Homoeopathy and Chiropractic. He won the case and forced a change in the libel laws of UK. For those who are interested in details can check the following link.
            http://www.senseaboutscience.org/pages/simon-singhs-case.html

        • Dear Ravi, I want to divide your comments into two parts: one on Homeopathy and the rest.

          ‘The rest’ is perfectly Factual and Sound and Logical. No doubt about that!
          Now let me dwell on Homeopathy.

          It is pretty obvious your views on homeopathy are merely influenced by quack doctors. And I can’t believe that a so-called Rationalist is making fun of homeopathy by using the example of wrong kind of people. You are “barking the wrong tree”, by dear Ravi!

          And, shockingly, you also think no one has yet been cured by Homeopathy!

          Where are you living right now? Inside a cave!
          I do not know whether to laugh, cry or shout at you!
          This is just a horrible combo of Ignorance and Arrogance!

          It is very obvious you’ve never visited a qualified and good homeopathy doctor ever in your life?

          Dear Ravi, “the taste of the pudding lies in its eating”!
          I have tasted the ‘pudding’ – not you!
          I have come in contact with “qualified and good homeopathy doctor” – and I’ve seen the good results as well.

          And I will not be surprised if you question me even on those “good results”!

          If no one has yet been cured by Homeopathy then what about all those well-established doctors in cities? They should have been out of business by now! There should have been 1000s of cases pending against them in HCs & SCs.

          Have you heard of any case against Dr. Batra of Mumbai, for example?

          Just a second…do you know him, btw? Here’s a link to help you out –

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mukesh_Batra

          I am waiting for you to get back to me before I say anything more.

          • Raz,

            Looks like you don’t know about the existence of internet or Google.

            Below are links though a few in number have looked at the bonafides of Batra and are not very flattering to him. There are also probably complaints against him in Consumer courts

            http://www.psorsite.com/docs/batra.html

            http://www.consumercourt.in/homeopathic/6273-dr-batra-homeopathic-clinic-2.html

            http://sawaal.ibibo.com/health/dr-batras-positive-health-clinic-really-good-466459.html

            The success of Dr. Batra lies in the type of homeopathic treatment that he is providing. He is really into the business of what looks more like cosmetology than really medicine.

            Even in his community, his brethren say that the treatment his clinics provide are more ‘cosmetic’ in nature than ‘curative.’ Dr Batra’s concentrates basically in segments like trichology, obesity, diabetes etc.

            So it is not surprising that he has managed to avoid controversy and lawsuits to a great extent.

            The sorry state of science and scientific temper among people in India, also accounts for this situation where the quackery of homeopathy and ayurveda not only thrives but receives formal recognition and respectability

            I believe Dr. Narendra Nayak has also investigated the credentials and methods of Positive Health clinic and has provided some insights into the modus operandi of Dr. Batra’s quackery.

          • > It is very obvious you’ve never visited a qualified and good homeopathy doctor ever in your life?

            Why on earth would I do that? I have also never visited witch doctors for my ailments. Yet, somehow I know, without subjecting myself to them, about their efficacy.

            Homeopathy has been around for more than 200 years. There is plenty of scientific data studying it. Why do I need to ignore it? Because you don’t like the conclusions?

            > Dear Ravi, “the taste of the pudding lies in its eating”! I have tasted the ‘pudding’ – not you!

            “The proof of the pudding” is in scientific proof (or rather in disproof). It is in clinical trials; not in whatever happens to be Raz’s personal “experience” and proclamation.

            What you are offering is a testimonial, nothing more. Testimonials don’t mean anything in the world of science. We care about independent observations.

            > And I will not be surprised if you question me even on those “good results”!

            Like I said, personal experiences do not mean anything in the world of science.

            You do not understand how the scientific method works. You don’t establish medical facts by personal experience. That is a big part of the scientific revolution. I covered this in the last post. You seem to have glossed over it while you were busy going bombastic.

            Let me try again: If I visited a homeopath or a witch doctor, and if I got “cured” the next day or the next month (since Homeopaths like to say that their treatments take time, while really waiting for natural remissions), I cannot scientifically say that I have been cured by the homeopath or the witch doctor. The same is true for modern medicine. That is why we do all those expensive trials.

            Making causal claims is very tricky business. The only right language to deal with the frail causal propositions is the language of statistics. If you are not talking about p-values, confidence intervals, odds ratios etc, you don’t have anything to say, really. If you don’t understand them, you are not even qualified for this debate.

            “Why don’t you try for yourself?” “Why don’t you see it with your own eyes?” – I understood the fallacy of these common claims by the time I was 8 (reading Dr. Pattabhiram’s magic books – the art of misleading logic and perception) – the beginning of my scientific awakening. You can too.

            > If no one has yet been cured by Homeopathy then what about all those well-established doctors in cities? They should have been out of business by now! There should have been 1000s of cases pending against them in HCs & SCs.

            Witch doctors have been in business for thousands of years. By your logic, black magic must work. Or else, they would be having lots of suits against them by now. No?

            Lots of otherwise smart people in India follow Vastu. Are you suggesting that this is a validation of its effectiveness?

            > Just a second…do you know him, btw?

            No, I do not know of him. Nor am I impressed by his wiki entry.

            I don’t do personality worship. I just care about data. What data did he produce?

            I don’t worship commercially successful doctors, including those in modern medicine (let alone quacks). Unless he has invented or discovered something significant, or famed in peer-reviewed research, I do not care about him.

          • As a followup to the thread… the Australian Research Council (NHMRC) just completed a comprehensive systematic review of the literature on Homeopathy and released a draft report yesterday.

            Results are of course unsurprising (bunk, as The Guardian puts it… or more politely/technically – not more effective than placebo for the 68 clinical conditions considered from 334 studies), but necessary to make a formal recommendation for policy.

            http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/apr/08/homeopathy-is-bunk-study-says

            http://consultations.nhmrc.gov.au/public_consultations/homeopathy_health

            Of course, this is unlikely to have any impact on the popularity of homeopathy in India.

  • I came across this video claiming science in religious stuffs of hinduism on youtube.It claims that Shiva pooja is a science.The person here gives weird justifications to convince others about his stand.He also does the same claims about other stuffs.Here is the link to the video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzMvPdVnfQE
    I have made three comments denouncing this video by the name superbbcfan.I am highly suspicious of his claims but still I want to know whether any of his claims does holds truth.I want you to debunk his claims please.I would to ask you how can we articulate the vital points while debunking these claims.Do you suggest any science websites/blogs that really helps in debunking these deceivers.In recent days I also came across hillarious claims about the pragmatic significance of shiva linga and it being a blueprint for various energy reactors on the following website:
    http://sivapurana.blogspot.in/.
    Please guide me whether I should take these claims seriously.Is there any plausibility in those claims?please do respond.

  • Dr. Subramanyam Nambaru

    Hello Flocks,

    I felt that you are debating and targeting subject author – isn’t against to your own commenting guidelines..

    Any how regarding the way you have gathered the information about the foreign people and their religions are well appreciable but i couldn’t understand why you are so apologist for foreigners and their religions..

    why are not willing to agree that all the new inventions which you have credit to foreigners where already discovered by our ancestors

    What you know about Pushpak viman in Ramayan and missiles/rockets used by Ashvathdhama in Mahabharat

    Do you people know still German scientists are researching Bhagavath geetha to understand what kind of sophisticated plains were used by Krishna
    to travel

    Do you know what ever the religion in this world have translated Bhagavath Geetha slokas in to their respective religious books..

    We have very rich tradition but we have very high intolerance in least accepting this…

    It’s appreciable that you people are asking for reference but how far you searched/researched for truth in our vedas and puranas..

    Like ravi said not only yoga or Ayurveda but kamasutra and much more sciences were gifts to the whole human kind by our rushies

    I do agree that most of the modern science came from west but must not forget that most of our evidences to prove our ancestor’s legacy was destroyed by those foreigners….

    First try to learn and understand what your ancestors gave to the world rather what other people said..

  • Subramanyam,
    I am not sure you understood the points I was making. I want to be proud of our culture for the right reasons, not for easily disproved imaginary reasons that you are proposing.

    I support comparing Hindu cultural accomplishments with ancient Greek and other *contemporary* cultural accomplishments. Promoting historical world views from ages of ignorance, over modern scientific world views is absurd and dangerous and is holding back India from its true potential and its rightful place in the modern world.

    I consider it just as absurd to promote ancient Greek, Egyptian or Chinese medicine today over modern medicine, as it is to promote Ayurveda over it. Nationalistic eagerness costs Indian lives.

    > why you are so apologist for foreigners and their religions

    Note that no one here is promoting Greek and Abrahamic religions. I can talk as fluently of western hypocrisy of values as I can talk about Hindu hypocrisy of values. We are all human, after all.

    I am not a western apologist. The dissenting people on this board are NOT western apologists. For instance, Homeopathy is a western system. You won’t find a single rationalist here to support it, just because it is western. We only point to its absurdity and laugh. We support modern science, not because it originated in the west, but because we understand the dangers of cognitive biases, epistemology and probability theory – universal concepts.

    What we are, are humanists. We believe that a cultivated mind is a cultivated mind, regardless of the culture from which it emerges. We are progressives who believe that India’s (or for that matter, the world’s) better days are ahead of us, not just behind us. We believe that we can make a healthy modern transition while proudly retaining our cultural identity, rather than be stymied by it. Japan has done it. In contrast, South American cultures unfortunately failed. We want to be like Japan – a blend of modernity and tradition – taking only those traits that make objective, rather than emotional sense. The goal is not to simply be proud of our fore fathers and live in their shadows (like modern Greeks). It is to become a people that our fore fathers would be proud of.

    > why are not willing to agree that all the new inventions which you have credit to foreigners where already discovered by our ancestors

    Because that is an absurd claim that won’t stand to an iota of critical examination?

    > What you know about Pushpak viman in Ramayan and missiles/rockets used by Ashvathdhama in Mahabharat

    Please don’t confuse mythical technology with actual technology. Other (Greek, Egyptian, Mayan etc) cultures also have magic stories that can be interpreted as SciFi. Myths are not history; they are fictional works; they may be culturally critical fictional works, but fictional works nonetheless.

    > Do you people know still German scientists are researching Bhagavath geetha to understand what kind of sophisticated plains were used by Krishna to travel

    Germans do have some fascination with Indian culture. Two points here…

    1.) you seem to strangely suggest that foreigners both destroyed our culture and simultaneously use the fact that there is some foreign interest in our culture as proof that validates our myths. Do you not see the contradiction?

    The Europeans did not understand the depth of Indian culture when they first conquered India, and the domination did accelerate the decline than began much earlier. But once they understood, they appreciated its richness, and did not deliberately destroy it, even if they continued the economic exploitation. I found that western academia is/was quite respectful of Indian culture.

    2.) Just because some foreigner studied something of ours does not make it true. There are plenty of non-rational people in the West (quite less than Indians, since literacy is better, but still enough) who still don’t get science, despite excellent educational opportunities.

    Have you actually read Bhagavad Gita? It is a moral and spiritual poem. You can “research” it all you want, but trying to find any technology secrets in it is as absurd as studying Bible codes or Torah codes… and there will always be some people willing to try anyway. If someone funds me, I could probably find some meaningless, but amusing lexical patterns in them, by running some legitimate statistical learning algorithms on them, and call it “research” :-).

    > Do you know what ever the religion in this world have translated Bhagavath Geetha slokas in to their respective religious books..

    Its called a study of Comparative Religion. Great stuff. We should do it too, not just pat ourselves on our backs that we made it into their curriculum.

    > how far you searched/researched for truth in our vedas and puranas..

    I have. Have you? What is your definition of this “truth”? Philosophers and theologians have variously and often flimsily defined it over the course of history. I have some clear definitions of it and expect to find no instance of it in any religious book – Indian or foreign.

    > must not forget that most of our evidences to prove our ancestor’s legacy was destroyed by those foreigners….

    Just as many Greek texts were lost. Just as much of the legacy of all ancient cultures, including western ones were lost. Welcome to the world.

    I’d say Hinduism fared quite well compared to many others and proved to be quite resilient compared to most, to foreign influences. For example, Mayan culture was wiped out in little time. Hinduism, on the other hand, withered 15 centuries of foreign domination. That is a testament to its intrinsic cultural strength and is something real to be proud of, rather than a position of victim-hood, from which to be ashamed of, or grumble from.

    > First try to learn and understand what your ancestors gave to the world rather what other people said..

    You first need to learn a little about world history, anthropology, theology, philosophy, both classical and enlightenment, scientific method etc before you can even begin to understand our own culture, in global context. Otherwise, your understanding of it will be quite sterile and bombastic, rather than being grounded in reality.

    • Ravi,

      It is an excellent and detailed yet patient rebuttal of the kind of delusions of grandeur of Indian antiquity that many Indians with conservative religious leanings and nationalism have and keep voicing from time to time.

      The sober and concise points of refutation that you have made, but at the same time balancing it with pride and wonder that is legitimately aroused by many aspects of ancient Indian culture, its accomplishments and its resilience is something many skeptics and India critics need to take note of.

      As a blogger and an essay hobbyist on Indian scriptures and antiquity, it has been a pleasure and an eye opener for me to read this comment-response and note its paraphrasing the creed of rationalism and method of critique.

      There is much that I can learn from this approach to criticism.

      Thanks

    • Ravi you’ve given a fitting reply to a blind follower of Indian Culture who is suffering from a false sense of superiority.

      >> “we understand the dangers of cognitive biases, epistemology and probability theory”

      Can you please explain in what way “epistemology and probability theory” is dangerous?

      • Hi Raj,
        It was a bad sentence. I realized after I posted it. Perhaps, I should have posted a correction soon after.

        > “we understand the dangers of cognitive biases, epistemology and probability theory”

        A semicolon might have been more proper, but perhaps still not clear enough: we understand the dangers of cognitive biases; epistemology and probability theory.

        A proper framing would be: we understand the dangers of cognitive biases, -the importance of- epistemology and probability theory.

        So yes, as you would agree, (I am simply elaborating, I know you understand all this) the lack of a sense of epistemology is often what drives people to believe wild claims. It makes people place some really old text that does not give any idea of how it acquired the said knowledge (the bits that make some sense, after culling the mystical rituals), on the same footing as that of say, a rigorous randomized controlled trial.

        Without understanding epistemology, people instinctively assign reverence, especially in oriental cultures, which have a higher tendency to worship anything with a label – ancient on it.

        Probability theory frames our current understanding of a proper epistemology and teaches us to appreciate how fickle the enterprise of attributing causality is from correlation – that simply because a cure followed the administration of a drug does not automatically imply that it was the drug that did the curing or whether if it was a cure at all, rather than simply a condition that ran its course. How can one know without understanding variance of multiple factors involved – in quantitative terms?

        Unfortunately, I meet trained physicians in India who don’t have a sense of how science is done and why we needed to do it that way. In a way, I blame the educational system rather than the products of it. We simply don’t adequately teach the human intellectual history about how we got here. Without it, people regress as soon as they are out of school.

        Thanks.

        • Ravi, thanks for your erudite response!

          Btw, it’s “Raz” and not “Raj”. Not that I feel offended…but just wanted to remind you of a small typo.

          Coming back to the main issue…the typical Indian mind is hopelessly illogical and is far removed from understanding the importance of Epistemology. It does not know how to think logically, esp. when it comes to matters of God, Religion, and Culture.

          Another thing Ravi…the rantings of Dr. N. Gopalakrishnan can also be interpreted as arising from a deep sense of Inferiority Complex – which causes some die-hard Indians to falsely glorify the Indian past based on flimsy reasons.

          • Raz (error noted),

            > the typical Indian mind is hopelessly illogical

            I have been coming to terms with some of this lately, although I am certain that it is not a uniquely depressing condition. I would wager that the general public of all cultures were just as illogical at this stage of socio-economic development.

            While the current generation is indeed reticent, I am hopeful for the next generations, whom I believe can ultimately be second to none, standing on at least equal intellectual footing, once again, with the rest of the world.

            Some of this will simply happen automatically alongside steadily rising prosperity, while the rest of the enlightenment must be guided to the extent feasible, by the intellectual vanguard.

            > arising from a deep sense of Inferiority Complex

            I think so too. I was asked to write an article and I will be covering this among other things, including how I had to deal with this myself while growing up and why I feel that the use of fluffy claims is unnecessary and more dangerous for the health of the nation now than ever before.

    • Ravi have you read my post right at the bottom of this forum? Love to read your comments!

      • Raz,
        I did see it. My response then was just rolling my eyes. Given the sheer number of the claims, and because demonstrating the sillyness will involve much more than short casual statements of grand conclusions, it could end up in several pages. I will be travelling from tomorrow (and mostly offline). So I will address just a few now.

        > 10)Email: invented by an Indian

        The whole fiasco behind this claim, resulting from sloppy journalism on part of Time, is summarized here.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiva_Ayyadurai#Development_of_EMAIL.2C_ensuing_controversy

        Or at least, I think the author is referring to the above, instead of Sabeer Bhatia, who did the first wildly successful *web* mail – Juno was the first web mail; Hotmail followed right after).

        > 16) sanskrit is the fasted language can be used to communicate super computers

        Sigh. This again originated from another piece of sloppy journalism from Forbes, a non-scholarly financial publication, rather than an academic Computer Science journal, from several decades ago when journalists did not understand computers very much, and silly people latched on to the claim ever since.

        I understand many programming languages and have some familiarity with Natural Language Processing (NLP)… enough to understand that such a claim is nonsensical. I recall trying to trace the original article. It reasoned something to the effect that because Sanskrit is a well structured language, it would be sensible for computers.

        It is true that Sanskrit would be much easier to parse than English, which is arguably the most mutated language ever (sense disambiguation in English is hard), since English draws from everywhere and is changing all the time (all languages in popular use do – well understood phenomenon for students of Linguistics). If we all spoke in dead languages like Sanskrit, or Latin for that matter, computers would have a much easier time to parse the intent of our sentences. But we don’t pick our human languages based on whats easy for computers (and it is absurd to even try to use *any* human language to efficiently program them now). And if we all for some reason widely used Sanskrit or Latin, they would end up exactly like English.

        > 14) Nuclear bomb: American scientist invented from the knowledge of Bramha asthra as explained in puranas, he even chanted bhagavatgita verses. There were records of nuclear warfare happened 5000BC in India.

        History channel, which is no longer about history, made some idiotic documentaries that promulgated ancient astronaut theories from crack pots, which is where I believe this author got this drivel from. Oppenheimer did have a copy of Bhagavad Gita and did quote from it though.

        The philosophical complexity of Indian culture was suddenly recognized in the 1800s, by the West, and everyone from Shopenhauer to Einstein, greatly cherished its texts, for the right reasons, and one can argue, seem to have understood the Indian texts for what they were, much better than nearly all Indians at that time (who largely chanted them as mere words and seemed mostly oblivious to the bold, open-minded, philosophical spirit behind them).

        In all these, we see the same phenomenon of naive nationalism I noted earlier – mock West’s interpretations of India, until someone says something nice… then treat it as the gospel truth, often just because the source is Western (Time, Forbes, History Channel).

        Charaka compares fine with Galen. I am frankly more impressed with Chanakya than Machiavelli. I did feel that these Indian historical figures were not given as much credit as they are due, in standard lectures on history (specialized Asian studies did seem to do better). I of course, did not see any conspiracy for that… just an understandable cultural blind spot. We can help fixing this as we get a better economy, and with it… better funded academia to bring these contributions forward, through further scholarly expeditions… comparing and contrasting contemporary cross-cultural intellectual developments, in much better detail, objectively, rather than this bombast.

        There is no us vs. them here. We cannot afford to not understand the West, at this point in history… and the West cannot afford to not understand us, at this point in history. We now live in a smaller world, increasingly on equal footing. So let’s explore each other, together.

        • Captain Mandrake

          Good post. Particularly the part about Sanskrit

        • In defence of Sanskrit linguists (esp. Pāṇini):

          When John Backus (of IBM) designed a formal structure for
          specifying grammar of computer languages (a landmark in computer
          science), call it «metalinguistics», he developed a framework and
          notation to go with it, that was later called «Backus Normal Form»,
          then renamed (at Donald Knuth’s insistence) «Backus-Naur Form».
          This was another step in the development of formal language
          systems, but it was very important as a rigidly specified language
          can be machine-interpreted and translated. Such languages use
          context-sensitive grammar (where the meaning of each word is
          shaped by its context), thus when the context rules can be formally
          specified, a rule-follower (commonly a computer, but also a human
          translator, for example) can exactly understand the meaning of the
          sentence. This is an application of Emil Post’s and others’ work on
          formal systems. Most modern computer languages are specified in
          this way (ALGOL68, FORTRAN, C, C++, Ada, you name it).

          Only it turned out that most of this work was replicating Pāṇini’s
          work from 400 BC! This man was a genius beyond belief—extremely far
          ahead of his time. In his frustration over the ambiguities inherent
          in the Vedic Sanskrit language of the day and the inaccurate
          chanting by young incompetent priests, he developed the entire
          theory of formal systems of language from scratch, even developing
          a formal notation that parallels Backus’ work (almost two millennia
          later). This was so surprising to European and American computer
          scientists that the «Backus-Naur Form» was proposed to be renamed
          «Pāṇini-Backus Form» in the sixties itself! Using this system, Shri
          Backus designed the first modern computer programming languages.
          Guess what language Pāṇini designed using *his* (substantially
          similar) system? Yup. Sanskrit! Pāṇini changed linguistics from
          Vedic Sanskrit to the Classical Sanskrit Era. Too bad he didn’t
          have any computers for which to design languages.

          Pāṇini’s Sanskrit may well be the world’s first formally-specified,
          unambiguous language that was designed to be so, based on an
          earlier Vedic language, also called Sanskrit. Consider Pāṇini’s
          version as Sanskrit version 2.0. It remained the only
          formally-specified language in the world for two millennia! To be
          honest, this was really a solution looking for a problem until
          computers came along with a need for unambiguous languages. So
          Sanskrit2.0 is definitely superior in design and unambiguity to
          *any* human language till date (including Latin). IF people
          commonly used Sanskrit, NLP wouldn’t be a hard problem. The
          difficulty is that humans have great difficulty learning and using
          language, so the more rigid a language, the less attractive it is.
          That’s the real reason for Sanskrit’s failure to achieve a mass
          market. The jealous Brahminical guardians may also have had a role
          to play.

          I’m hopeful for Esperanto though! Maybe I’ll get to learn it
          someday…

          • My turn to say… Bravo :-). This is the stuff chain mails ought to be made of.

          • What’s more amazing is, that Pingala might have been Pāṇini’s brother!

            Pingala was the one who developed the world’s second Binary Numeral System
            (the first probably being the legendary Chinese work I Ching). The two
            brothers anticipated almost the entire foundation of computational
            linguistics, from high level language specification (Pāṇini) to machine
            language (Pingala). Unlike I-Ching, Pingala developed a notation for
            representing binary numbers and developed basic operations on them.

            What galls me is the *generations* of fools that followed these men and
            smothered their legacy in religious mumbo-jumbo. Just look how far their
            Pashtun descendents have fallen (yes they were Afghan/Pakistani according to
            modern national borders). And modern successors of those fools continue to
            hold all Indian (geographically) achievements to ransom.

            It’s not wrong to be proud of Indian achievements, but at least be proud of
            the *right* things!

          • Shekhar Sathe

            Where can I get to see the stuff (indicating their prescience)you attribute to Pingala and Panini with specifics? I will be obliged if you can provide some references and peer reviews. Thanks in advance.

          • Shekhar,

            Sure! Pāṇini’s name is quite well known in computer-language circles,
            thanks to a Letter to the Editor (CACM, March 1967) by P. Z. Ingerman,
            suggesting the Pāṇini-Backus Form moniker. This started it. You can find it
            here:

            http://cs3.ist.unomaha.edu/~stanw/papers/p137-salton.pdf

            Although, as I said, Pāṇini’s work deals with a context-sensitive language
            (CSL) (Sanskrit), while computer languages approximate context-free languages
            (CFL), the general theory of CSLs also applies to CFLs with exceptions, which
            is most computer programming languages in practice. The Gold Standard for
            interpretation of Pāṇini’s grammar in modern terminology (showing a
            system possibly of greater power than a finite state control system) is «From
            Pāṇinian SAndhi to Finite State Calculus» by M. D. Hyman, linked here:

            http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1530313

            Unfortunately that paper is not free. Here is a more in-depth (and very
            recent) work presented at Coling 2012—«On Pāṇini and the Generative Capacity
            of Contextualized Replacement Systems» by G. Penn and P. Kiparsky. This paper
            goes into depth demonstrating the similarity and, more, importantly, the
            limitations of Pāṇinian analysis as compared to Backus-Naur, but also shows
            that this is necessary because he needed to define an existing human language
            with a large body of work. This paper is available at:

            http://aclweb.org/anthology//C/C12/C12-2092.pdf

            It is important to note that grammar is actually what transforms a
            collection of words into a meaningful sentence. In most (all?) human
            languages, the order and positioning of words in a sentence are the most
            important criteria for grammar, but in Sanskrit, this is greatly minimised
            (though not eliminated) by extensive rules for suffixes and combination
            (sandhi). It is from sandhi that most of the power of the system derives. It
            is very difficult (or impossible) to construct a grammatically correct
            sentence which can have more than one derivation. One correct sentence has an
            unambiguous meaning. This unambiguity at once removes the need for fuzzy logic
            and statistical analysis from NLP, if conducted in Sanskrit. Of course,
            computer languages are even more simplified (at a grammar level), but that is
            because they do not have to adhere to any existing language standards; but
            Pāṇini was constrained to support an existing, *human* language.

            An interesting paper that shows how semantic analysis of a Sankrit
            sentence (using modern Sanskrit grammar) is relatively straightforward:
            «Knowledge Representation in Sanskrit and Artificial Intelligence» by R.
            Briggs (AI Magazine Volume 6, Number 1, 1985) The gist of the paper will be
            immediately apparent to anyone with a knowledge of the prototypical Sanskrit
            sentence—«Karta ne Karma ko Sampradaan ke liye Aapaadaan se le kar Sambandh ka
            Kiya» (rendered in Roman letters in Hindi), link here:

            http://www.aaai.org/ojs/index.php/aimagazine/article/view/466/402

            A paper describing which aspects of Pāṇini’s (linguistic) work are
            relevant to modern computer programming languages is «Computer Simulation of
            Aṣṭādhyāyī: Some Insights» by Goyal et al, (Lecture Notes in Computer Science
            Volume 5402, 2009, pp 139-161), linked here:

            http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-642-00155-0_5

            Fortunately, the full text of the article is freely available:

            http://sanskrit1.ccv.brown.edu/Sanskrit/Symposium/Papers/AmbaSimulation.pdf

          • Shekhar,

            Regarding Pingala, his invention of a Binary numeral system (although
            useless in his own day, as he was applying it to describing poetic metre) is
            found in many computer science text books. However, the definitive reference
            is «Contributions to the History of Indian Mathematics» by Emch,
            Srisharan, and Srinivas, linked here:

            http://www.ams.org/bookstore-getitem/item=HIN-27

            A simple and concise explanation is given by Dr Sridharan here:

            http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/a-brief-overview-of-combinatorics-in-ancient-and-medieval-india/article2751920.ece

            Pingala was also the discoverer of Mount Meru (Pasacal’s Triangle) and thence
            the Fibonacci series of numbers.

            Thanks for your interest,

            Cheers!

          • Oops! Pasacal=>Pascal.

          • shekhar sathe

            Thanks Alex C. That was quite a handful. It is good to have specifics without which one tends to be apologetic like the Hindutva Apologist to whom we owe this thread!

          • Alex,

            If I am a billionaire, I will surely promote my chennai tamil as the world best computer language, which is a grammar free, phrase free etc… There are plenty of scholars and writers running for phd and topics with paid work and seeks attention from publics-promotion is easy? It matters with nothing when we see the important you plead at for sansksrit, since there is no basis in practical application or reach of its usage-A dead language?

          • pannaichan,

            I’m not sure I understand you completely, but I’ll try to clarify
            my position.

            > If I am a billionaire, I will surely promote my chennai tamil as
            > the world best computer language, which is a grammar free, phrase
            > free etc…

            Why? A living, thriving language with millions of speakers, a
            vibrant culture (though surrounded by the same obnoxious religions
            as the rest of India), a *huge* film industry, and a continuous
            stream of literary work from the legendary Thiruvalluvar to modern
            times, does not need *you* as a billionaire to promote it as a
            computer language(!), of all things. Do you think Tirukkural is
            somehow inferior or in need of any promotion? It is a LANDMARK work
            in any language, and it is Tamil pride and honour. It is not just
            *your* Tamil. I’m an Indian—it is *my* Tamil too. Do you think that
            just because I think highly of certain ancient Indian philosopher
            sages, that I somehow think that the *language* they worked in adds
            to or detracts from their greatness?

            > There are plenty of scholars and writers running for phd and
            > topics with paid work and seeks attention from publics-promotion
            > is easy? It matters with nothing when we see the important you
            > plead at for sansksrit, since there is no basis in practical
            > application or reach of its usage-A dead language?

            I’m not sure I get your point here. I did not talk about Sanskrit
            as a useful or vital language in itself (or, at least, as useful as
            other Classical languages like Ancient Greek or Latin), least of all
            for computer programming. It was, first and foremost, a *human*
            language, and has several limitations when directly applied to
            computer programming, as some of the papers I mention correctly
            pointed out, which you should know if you read them before
            slandering their authors. The main thrust of my argument was
            recognition of Pāṇini’s contribution to linguistics in general.
            That he applied his linguistic theory and methods to rationalising
            a pre-existing language—Sanskrit—was purely a happenstance. Things
            could have been different had he been born in Tamil Nadu.
            Similarly, Thiruvalluvar could very well have been a great Sanskrit
            poet and lawgiver had he been born in Varanasi. You would not think
            highly of Tirukkural in that case, if they were written in Sanskrit
            and called Sripadam? Put another way, would you not recognise Sir
            Issac Newton’s seminal contributions to Physics because they were
            written in Latin (the language of science in the day)? Would you
            not recognise Noam Chomsky’s linguistic work because it is in English?

            I’m very sorry to say this, but you came across as a language and
            regional chauvinist—while simultaneously mis-attributing your own
            bigotry to me.

            I’ll conclude with a couplet from Tirukkural, which is a very
            important thought against fatalism (and very rare for an ancient
            Indian Hindu to express so clearly):

            Even if Fate (or God) wills failure,
            Hard work brings reward. — Tirukkural 619

          • @Alex C.

            Yes, its my mistake that I have used chennai tamil in my post-because only tamilian knows the specialty of chennai tamil, others probably not. There are colloquial spoken styles followed different region of tamilnadu, among which chennai tamil is something crude and enjoyable to hear, that is what I said, it is grammar free and phrase free etc… And Tamil unique heritage is proven one, there are very old carbon dated leaflets are available to tamil, even older then the sanskrit.

            > It was, first and foremost, a *human*
            language, and has several limitations when directly applied to
            computer programming, as some of the papers I mention correctly
            pointed out, which you should know if you read them before
            slandering their authors.>

            There is no basis for this claim, since sumerian stone script cult is the only oldest known first and foremost language of human usage, is recorded so far. You have rightly said , I have not read your link, but yourself or your sankrit supporters must find another persons like panini or Pingala writings to equal the DNA computer developments, since it is fully based not on binary but 4 base (AGTC).

          • Dear pannaichan,

            >> It was, first and foremost, a *human* language, and has several
            >> limitations when directly applied to computer programming, as
            >> some of the papers I mention correctly pointed out, which you
            >> should know if you read them before slandering their authors.>

            > There is no basis for this claim, since sumerian stone script
            > cult is the only oldest known first and foremost language of
            > human usage, is recorded so far…

            Do you even know what «first and foremost» means? It is synonymous
            with «primarily». It does not mean «first» or «foremost». I know
            English is a strange, illogical language, but at least please use
            Wiktionary to your advantage before giving hilarious responses.
            Here, let me help you:

            https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/first_and_foremost

            In light of that, let’s see what claims there may not be any basis
            for (according to you):

            1. Sanskrit was primarily («first and foremost») a human language
            (as opposed to a computer language)
            2. It has several limitations when applied to computers
            3. Ergo, it cannot be used for computer programming.

            Yup, no basis for these claims at all.

            > You have rightly said , I have not read your link…

            I would ask you to read them, but I’ve a feeling you’d still not do
            it. They clearly explain how Sanskrit is *not* a computer language,
            only a (very meticulously defined) human language.

            > …but yourself or your sankrit supporters…

            There you go again with your bigotry. Do NOT attribute your
            language chauvinism to me, sir/ma’am. «Sanskrit supporters» indeed!
            *Your* being a Tamil zealot does not make *me* a Sanskrit booster.

            > must find another persons like panini or Pingala writings to
            > equal the DNA computer developments, since it is fully based not
            > on binary but 4 base (AGTC).

            This is irrelevant tripe, not worthy of a proper response.
            Linguistics doesn’t have anything to do with the numeric base of a
            computer.

          • Appreciate your study. At least few people are still there who understand importance of our heritage.

      • Given Hindutvadi cultural chauvinism, I wouldn’t be surprised if some tried to do this in the near future:

        http://www.smbc-comics.com/?id=2718

  • Oh.. no.

    India’s culture is such a waste. I studied sanskrit for 6 exams in school. I now understand why Indian govt does not value it. All at a sudden, the viral Yoga caught the attention of Indian.

    .Now, I understand the rational_humanity eye is offering an compassionate mix angry look to the natioanlism biased entity. :)

    . But, the rationality this side too says if eating non-veg is too human, not being human to the neighbourhood is also equally humane.

    In any case, let not the post get moderated. Free thought is the foundation of rationality, and offering that freedom to express one’s thought should not be subjugated to moderation.

    I will revist the page soon..

    • Wow. 6 exams on Sanskrit! You must be an expert on Indian culture. You defintely have a license now to freely trash talk about it. I read Amar Chitra Katha. I am an expert too.

      If only you took 6 exams on English, you would have been an expert on Western culture and civilization too.

      … or at least be able to write sentences that the rest of us can decipher.

      > . But, the rationality this side too says if eating non-veg is too human, not being human to the neighbourhood is also equally humane.

      Whatever that means.

  • Dr. Gopalakrishnan may be an intellect or scientist, but he lacks some basic qualities of a civilised person not to harm your neighbour. He is creating a devided and violent community. He must stop.

  • The rantings and ravings of Dr. N. Gopalakrishnan again proves that those who make bombastic revelations or talk in a boastful way about their culture or religions are propagandists to the core.

    Only gullible fools would believe things that they say!

    In fact, such false and dubious parading of supposed Indian “achievements” of the past is nothing new. The Net is full of them. If you were to believe them, then our forefathers have discovered or invented everything that the current scientists are discovering or inventing!

    Therefore, I want to show you all another incredible example of such propaganda (pasted ‘as is’):

    1) Micro waves and radio waves: discovered JC BOSE but didnot want to take patent since it is universal, and didnot want to sell the patent aswell irrespective of pressure of the western people, later a western scientist after 2 years of the JC BOSE claimed he discovered it. All satelights, aeroplanes, mobiles phones, telivisions, radios are working from this. be proud of Indian

    (My comment: Although JC BOSE successfully conducted wireless experiments in 1894, it was David Edward Hughes (in 1879) who had first successfully done that.)

    2)Aeroplane: From vaimanika sashtra by saint bharadwaj, germans have translated to their language and discovered 26 important vital parts of the aeroplane, In briths raj days a marathi made a flight by following this shastra and successfully flew before wright brothers, since we were slaves those days we were opressed. Be proud of Actual India and be part of it, don’t be motivated by foreign forces.

    3)Water on the moon: ISRO during chandrayaan proved

    4)Geography: Our purans, aryabhatta and many more great saints have discovered way before 2500BC. Again due to our education system was controlled by the westerners those who graduate from those schools will ignore Indians effort like you. Be proud of India and be part of building the Bharath.

    5) Economics: Brother you don’t know about kautilya who has written Artha sashtra 2500BC, Entire world is following his findings and incorporated into economics. 50% of economics was given by kautilya. Be proud of India and be part of its glory.

    6) Mathematics: Brother we are the supreme in the field of mathematics, almost all matematical concepts has been developed by our ancestors. Eienstien said with out Indians and their mathematics science cannot prevail upwards even an inch. Be proud of India and be part of its glory.

    7)Surgery: Sushrutha –> father of surgery 3500BC, entire world is following his techiques and instruments almost all the hospitals, he is the inventor of plastic surgery. Be proud of Indian and contribute to its glory.

    8)Medicines: Charaka 2500BC, father of medicine, his techniques are following by the entire world. Be produ of INdia and be part of its glory.

    9) Astrology: Once again we are the pioneers in this field, successfully calculated velocites of planets, distances of planets, light velocity, number of planets, and its movement, existences of eclipses with accurate dating, calendar e.t..c,

    10)Email: invented by an Indian

    11)mail box: invented by an indian.

    12)pentium chip: invented by an Indian

    13)sixth sence technology: Invented by an Indian

    14) Nuclear bomb: American scientist invented from the knowledge of Bramha asthra as explained in puranas, he even chanted bhagavatgita verses. There were records of nuclear warfare happened 5000BC in India.

    15)Life of plants: JC BOSe

    16) sanskrit is the fasted language can be used to communicate super computers, NASA has its own sankrit university to explore more about puranas.shastras. Now 28% of americans voluntarily accepted sanata dharma which they were actually belogsto

    17) Boats: Indians are the first inventors of the boats 35000 BC, and they sailed , entire world has learned from India.

    18)Languages: Sanskrit is the mother of all languages in the world.

    19)Spiritually: India is the supreme when it comes to the subject of GOD, somany saints from all over the planet came to India for this subject, there were records of Jesus who stayed in India kashmir for 25 years and got his learnings and became vegetarian and went back to their land to teach his learnings from here. and again came back to India for enlightenment. see BBC Documentaries.

    20)Education: We were used to be the pioneers of the education system until the foreign invaders cruel invasions, Nalanda, takshashila universites are used to be the number one and first university all over the world, entire scholars from the world came to these institutions to study in the filed of all subjects, muslim rulers destroyed these universities.

    21)Art: Ajantha, ellora, and many more are wonders of the humanity, no one even to dare to recreate it.

    22)Monumnets: Even today entire world to come to india to see our archtectural glory like knark temple, mahabalipuram, ellora e.t.c,

    23)Mettalurgy: We are the pioneers, see the historical records.

    24) Wheel was invented in India. entire world runs on it.

    25) Marriage process started in India, entire world is following now.

    26)Law: Manu smrithi text as the root by entire world. Man english word came from him.
    Like this countless Boss.

    Don’t be pessimistic and don’t listen to the traitors or foreign forces who failed miserably during invasions are now trying to weed false knowledge to our fellow indians by the support of political parties in the form of conversions, bombings, rapes, abductions,riots e.t.c,, to destroy India.

    Now due to our political impotence we are behind in development. so elect a leader who really loves our mother land and want to make her proud. When Britishers came to India, they saw no unemlployment, no beggar, higly educated people, they quickly realized that the only way to destroy these people is by destroying their education system, they have looted all the money and assets and made us beggars. Now again they are making movies on Indians in the name of slumdog millionaire to defame again. Its our duty to protect our country and contribute to its glory. Dharmo rakshathi rakshitaha

  • Unknown achievements from yonder years …
    Don’t wipe away millions of tears

    How sad and tragic is the story of my country…..
    That we look for not true but fake glory

  • Good discussion going on here. One thing.Vivekananda says that, you go beyond scriptures and rituals. You search it. In this world, we all are one in some aspect. So take out the good things of the past, go on flowing with life. No reason to worry.
    I’m not sure if the first person who did get life in this world, ever realized the self. There is nothing out of the world. We have brains to think. Think and you will get it.

  • Awesome article. Simply loved it. I have personally taken part in undergraduate research in one of a similar hindutva brandishing “research” organizations. Relying on mythological pride and indulging in mindless mystical bullshit was high time rather than relying on actual research. Its high time students take action on their own to come out of this superstitious banner.

  • I would like to add my two cents to refute a few claims by Gopalakrishnan’s speech.

    NG’s claim: India is great because it did not conquer any outsiders:

    Refutement: Rajendra Chola sent his Navy to Indonesia, Malaysia and Burma and setup his emissaries and collected tax from Chinese ships passing the Malay Peninsula and conquered Sri Lanka (wikipedia).

    What’s so great about Indian Kings not invading other countries but instead invading within themselves. Afghanistan was never invaded till now because of its hostile terrain and India was bordered by Himalayas in the North and in the South by Water making it a sub-continent. If anything, they found it futile to carry the expedition with all these borders and India apart from Chozhas did not have a strong Navy.

    Claim: Can Science measure Love, Anger and Emotions.

    Refutement: His makes the argument on the implicit argument thats Science has exhausted its discovery and it is not able to prove or measure emotions. Modern Science started before 200 years and is relatively young relative to other pursuits. Most of the pursuits in Science apart from Astronomy and related branch, is driven by economics and is committed to solving major problems like Gnome sequencing in Biology, Energy alternatives like solar in physics and Chemistry. So, i think measuring emotions is not the emergent priority. We need to to first discover all properties of Consciousness before making an effort on measuring emotions.

    All civilizations have significant ancient knowledge contributed to knowledge. For example like a British comedian said all ancient herbals became medicine by extracting only the compound and synthesizing it to modern medicine instead of the entire herbal and those that did not work were thrown off.

    The only way is to go forward instead of looking back gloriously and degrading current and future Science endeavors. We must pay the due to respect on ancient knowledge where it works and consider the rest as a great literature of those times.

    Thanks.

  • I’m worried about the people who watch this video and conclude these irrational idiots words as the “truth”. I was particularly blown when he mentioned Copernicus. Copernicus proposed the Heliocentric(Sun centered) view as opposed to the Geocentric(Earth centered) view which was the prevailing belief at that time. Moreover the earth is not a sphere, it is oblate.I don’t think he knows real science. If he did he must have studied about planetary models of Plato(which was geocentric). I respect those mathematicians, because science is the driving force of a civilization.

  • Wow! I knew the obsession with the past was bad, but the Hindutva brigade takes it to a whole new level. And what about caste in the Manusmriti and Chanakya’s own writings and maybe if caste was invented by the invaders, maybe his ilk would not stop inter-caste elopements?Brahmins as an endogamous group can be seen even in the 1st century A.D. Hindutva supporters abound in IIT, when an activist recently went there and criticized Modi she was verbally abused and attacked.

    What’s scary is some of these claims are represented in school and college textbooks, I’ve even heard educated people repeat these claims but to have a lecturer at IIT repeat it is still astounding.

  • SHEKHAR SATHE

    We now have a Prime Minister who parrots such (Gopalkrishnan-variety) claims! Some of those claims are now finding a way in our school textbooks too. Whatever has happened to India that we have stooped so low in scientific and philosophical enquiry? It is a shame that a pristine culture such as ours should display such behaviour and intellectual bankruptcy.

    • Captain Mandrake

      This is disappointing. But what is even more disappointing is how the Indian diaspora across the world is enthralled by this clown. Last night I was at a dinner with some colleagues (some Indian and non-Indian friends) from work. The discussion turned to Indian elections and my boss (a silly Hindutwadi) started explaining to my non-Indian friends what an economic genius Modi is. I did not have the heart to shame him by bringing up the fact that the last Indian PM was a real economist and that Modi was complicit in the killing of 1000 Muslims in Gujrat.

  • There is nothing much more to add to what Javali and Suraj have rightly, elegantly, and systematically presented on 5th September 2012, in response to the unbearable rhetoric of N Gopalakrishnan (NG) at IIT/M on 16th August 2012.
    I am happy that both my sons, having completed their schooling, haven’t had to go through all the pseudo-nationalistic rubbish, that NG blabbers about, in their textbooks which currently run the risk of hosting all that in future. NG has hardly spared anyone from the scientific community. To him all are plagiarists who copied what we Indians knew thousands of years ago; be it Copernicus, Newton, Kepler, Magellan, Leibnitz, Euler, Darwin, Harvey or Heisenberg or just about anyone. However, John Napier, you should be a relieved man now, for NG has spared you from the realms of Indian Mathematics and magnanimously not deprived you of the credit of having invented the Natural Logarithms. And so should you be, Max Planck; your Constant too is untouched. Also left unscathed are Rudolf Clausius, Albert Einstein, Michael Faraday, John Bernoulli and others. They all must wholeheartedly thank the good Lord for the exemplary broadmindedness shown by NG.
    I wonder how an IIT community could tolerate NG for his outlandish lecture for a good 58 minutes and 40 seconds, without showing any resentment whatsoever, and without making any queries. Was it only to relax and reorganize yourselves – mind and body – that you gave a standing ovation to the utterances of a 24-carat megalomaniac.

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