Published: 07th July 2021
Pokhriyal resigns before cabinet reshuffle: Here's a look at the controversies during his term
The former Uttarakhand Chief Minister who was sworn in as the Minister of Human Resource Development in 2019, has had his share of controversies during his tenure
Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal resigned from his post on Wednesday citing health reasons, just before the cabinet reshuffle is set to happen in the evening. The former Uttarakhand Chief Minister who was sworn in as the Minister of Human Resource Development in 2019, has had his share of controversies during his tenure. We look at a few of those.
In 2019, after former HRD Minister Smriti Irani, the educational qualifications of Pokhriyal were called into question. A petition before President Ramnath Kovind demanded that the minister's 'oath' be declared null and void since he prefixed his name with 'Doctor' despite not holding a properly earned degree which would entitle him to use the honorific. With an MA degree, Pokhriyal has only honorary doctorates, and across the world, the practice is that those conferred with this decorative 'degree' do not call themselves 'Doctor'.
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In 2014, during a debate in the Parliament, Pokhriyal had said, "Science is a pygmy compared to astrology." He was speaking during a debate in the Lok Sabha on a Bill to give more powers to the School of Planning and Architecture, which was passed by a voice vote. "Today we are talking about nuclear tests. Lakhs of years back, Sage Kanad had conducted a nuclear test. All other sciences have been dwarfed before our ancient astrologers. Astrology is the number one science for the entire world," Pokhriyal had raised his voice over protests against his controversial statement.
In 2019, after being appointed as the HRD Minister, Pokhriyal issued a directive saying that all the files and note sheets forwarded to him must be in Hindi. This created controversy with ministry officials, as not all of them had the level of proficiency in Hindi needed to prepare notes in that language, and the norm until then had been to prepare all official notes in English.
In August 2019 at the 57th convocation ceremony of IIT Bombay, Pokhriyal falsely claimed that the US space agency NASA had acknowledged that talking computers could be developed only by employing Sanskrit, which he described as "the world's only scientific language".