Published: 06th October 2018
Scientists start petition to withdraw an academic book with pseudoscientific claims
The book, Bharatiya Vidya Saar claims that the Rigveda mentions the speed of light and that Agastya provided a method of electrolysis to produce oxygen and hydrogen from water
Who invented the electro-voltaic cell? If you're about to say Alessandro Volta, you might need to keep quiet. Wonder why? Allegedly, there's a new book that the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) is set to introduce in the engineering curriculum which acknowledges Rishi Agastya as the inventor of the cell. A group of scientists including Aniket Sule, who was instrumental in debunking the false claims in Vaimanika Shastra, have now started a petition on change.org questioning the credibility of these statements.
Did you know that according to the book Bharatiya Vidya Saar, the Rigveda accurately mentions that Rishi Agastya provided a method of electrolysis to produce oxygen and hydrogen from water and Rishi Kanad in Vaisesika Sutra discusses the types of motion, as well as Newton’s laws of motion and the speed of light? Sule says that it is unfair to teach speculations that aren't proved as part of the curriculum. "It is good to teach technical students about ancient knowledge and philosophy, but they have to be very careful in designing the curriculum. I don't know who recommended this book to the AICTE. It is obviously a bad choice. You cannot teach speculations as a part of the curriculum. If they do a good job with it, it would be a good course," he states.
The scientists were told that a committee will be set up to investigate the issue. But in the meanwhile, Shashi Bala, who was one of the editors of the book that is published by the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, has started another petition — this one to save the book. And Sule allegedly heard that Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairman of the All India Council for Technical Education, has signed it too. "Last Monday, he said that they would set up a committee to investigate it. With that being said, he should have had a neutral stand on this," says Sule.
Sule also found it strange that the book isn't officially published yet and that there wasn't any public consultation about it. "We only got to see some pages that a journalist accessed and our petition is based on that," says Sule.