‘Mere study of ancient texts not science’

January 05, 2015 11:29 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 05:21 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The claims of inter-planetary travel by Indians several years ago and other papers based on mythology at the 102nd Indian Science Congress (ISC) in Mumbai has drawn scathing criticism from academics and activists alike. Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad chair at the National University of Educational Planning and Administration, S. Irfan Habib, cautioned against “using the past as a battlefield instead of a springboard for research.”

Prof. Habib told The Hindu , “We actually do more harm than good in this race by claiming all achievements as Indian. This denigrates what already existed.” He explained that several scientific theories, now being attributed to ancient India, were simply ideas that were floated. “We do not have a series of investigations by a line of scientists to improve upon what was already known.”

Archaeology professor Nayanjot Lahiri of Delhi University said, “How can modern science contribute to the study of science in Ancient India is what needs to be assessed. The scientific data base, for instance, available for understanding ancient metallurgy is extremely shallow. It can, however, be qualitatively expanded through technical studies of ancient artefacts themselves and not through an analysis of ancient texts.”

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