Ancient Indian science

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I have noticed a tendency for Indian politicians to claim that people should regard sacred Hindu texts as accurate historical documents; and to use this claim to assert that India discovered and used various aspects of modern science and technology thousands of years before any other culture.

In 2014, for example, Quartz India reported that “Prime Minister Narendra Modi caused a few eyebrows to be raised when he suggested that ancient India must have been skilled in plastic surgery. How else would Shiva have grafted an elephant head on Ganesha after having beheaded the boy, Modi asked”.

According to the Guardian, while chief minister of Gujarat, he “wrote the foreword to a book for school students in Gujarat which maintains, among other things, that the Hindu God Rama flew the first aeroplane and that stem cell technology was known in ancient India”.

I saw what follows on page 2 of in The New Indian Express today.

I have no idea how I should take this, and I have not found anyone in India who can persuasively explain the phenomenon to me.

Posted on January 25, 2020