BJP leaders and ministers continue to create post-truth narrative to attack science and education by equating facts with mythologies and modern scientific knowledge with vedic wisdom. It is a continuous attack at India’s scientific temperament using post-truth.
Latest in the line is Union HRD Minister and BJP leader Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ who peddled a blatant lie invoking NASA’s name. Addressing student and professors of IIT-Bombay as the chief guest of the 57th convocation Pokhriyal said: “NASA has confirmed that if walking computers were to become a reality, it will only be based on the foundation of Sanskrit.”
Did NASA really confirm this? I don’t think so.
I did some fact finding and it turned out NASA has never made any such confirmation. Soon as I raised the matter on Twitter, a faceless right wing Twitter handle came and said, “Yes this is true there is a paper written by a NASA Researcher Rick Briggs in this regard.” The handle even gave a link to the so called paper which was not really the paper but a paragraph about it. I didn’t read the paper but even assuming NASA researcher wrote a research paper, it is not the same as “NASA confirmed”. So the Minister cannot go ahead and make such a tall claim.
I sent a Tweet addressing the NASA handle asking them if they can confirm the Minister’s statement. A few more handles then turn up and gave me some more information. The result is shameful for India. We should be ashamed that such ministers are handling HRD, it is a blot on our nation.
One of my follower Sanjeet Kumar shared an article from Scroll by Dilip D’Souza titled ‘How Sanskrit came to be considered the most suitable language for computer software’ which explains how the misreading of this 1995 paper by Rick Briggs in ‘AI Magazine’ repeated over and over again made a false narrative the post-truth.
Sanjeet then also shared a video report by Ravish Kumar where he exposed the mediocrity and bigotry of this Minister.
I also found out that there is a controversy regarding this Minister’s education just like like Smriti Irani and the Prime Minister Modi. He has got an honorary doctorate degree allegedly from nonexistent Sri Lankan university. India Today writes, “Newly appointed HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank May find himself in centre of yet another fake degree controversy.”
BJP RSS followers repeatedly say these things that Sanskrit is best language for writing computer program, we had all these inventions in Vedic era and to prove their point they take refuge to the various Western canons be it NASA or Nobel. They simultaneously reject West but want validation and approval of West and even lie about it. Ironic and pathetic. It only shows how insecure these people are.
It took me so much of deep reading and fact finding to figure out that the Minister lied. Who has so much time to seek truth? Nobody. And that’s why post-truth narratives are ruling politics all over the globe.