Mumbai: Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik today said the controversy over claims of scientific advances in ancient India was unnecessary as a flourishing tradition of scientific endeavour covering all the major areas of human knowledge and activities existed in the country. The claims made by some speakers on ancient aviation and surgery during the 102nd Indian Science Congress had created a controversy.
Delivering the valedictory address at Congress here this evening, Naik said ancient Indians had made great advances in astrology, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, architecture, physics and chemistry.
“I pity those who are ashamed of our history. In fact, we should be proud of the fact that what we knew a few thousand years earlier became a knowledge base for the world later. Our great teachers like Panini, Charak, Sushrut, Dhanvantari, Varah Mihir, Arya Bhhatta should be a matter of pride for us...Urban settlements of Harappa speak of existence of civil engineering and architecture. It was in India that the concept of zero as number was developed. A compendium was made on medical principles and practises in the form of Charaka-samahita, advances were made in metallurgy,” he said.
The former union minister said that ISC should have sessions on ‘Yogic sciences' and Vedic sciences. Vedic mathematics is already recognised the world over for its accuracy and simplicity, he claimed.
He also called for interaction between the scientist community and the general public. Apart from working on cutting-edge technologies, scientists should find low-cost, easy to implement technological solutions, he said.
Naik also said the approach to agriculture needs to be redefined as it is faced with limited availability of land and water, both impacted by the climate change. Naik also said women scientists can look at increasing their visibility by participating in community projects. Railway Minister Suresh
Prabhu, who was also present, said in his speech that the Congress should set a long term vision of at least 10 years.
Science needs to play a pivotal role in the national mainstream, Prabhu said.
“Science and technology should not just solve problems but also ensure that it does not create new ones like industrialisation giving rise to pollution,” he said. “We also need to understand how clean energy can be produced....if saline water can be used for agriculture.” Trains needed toilets that avoided dumping of feces on tracks, he noted. “We also want to know how the problem of accidents on 11,000 unmanned railway crossings can be stopped or minimised,” he said.
Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde said he would implement recommendations of the ISC and would increase funding of education department so that the Mumbai University could produce more research scholars. The state would also ensure that schools have science-related activities in the curriculum all through the year, he said.
The next year's Science Congress would be held at Mysore, and its president would be A K Saxena, it was announced.