HRD Minister says Ram Setu was built by Indian engineers
You are the country's HRD minister. You are invited to speak at IIT Kharagpur, one of the oldest technical institutes. And what do you do? You dig into mythology to "inspire" students. That's Ramesh Pokhriyal for you. Pokhriyal, recently, called Ram Setu an "engineering marvel". His remarks, obviously, stunned the students and their silence bore testimony to it. Here's what happened.
Pokhriyal, who is in charge of all levels of education in India by virtue of his role as HRD Minister, was invited to the celebrated institute for the 65th convocation on Tuesday. One would imagine a person of his stature to talk about new technology, but Pokhriyal spoke about mythology instead. Citing Ramayana, he said India has always produced good engineers.
"Do we have any doubts that we had good engineers in ancient times? For example, who built the Ram Setu? Was it built by engineers from US, Britain, and Germany? No... Ram Setu was built by our engineers," the BJP minister said.
Now, students who witnessed Pokhriyal's blabber were definitely astonished, and they didn't applaud him. Anyone who has studied modern science after clearing a tough entrance examination would have reacted similarly. But Pokhriyal didn't get the signal. When his words met with silence, he said, "Am I right? Is it right? Please say something. Why are you silent?" The students were then "obliged" to clap.
#WATCH Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal at IIT Kharagpur, West Bengal: When we talk about Ram Setu, was it built by engineers from US, Britain Germany? It was built by our engineers it amazes the world even today. (27.08.2019) pic.twitter.com/Ils3jpMe9g— ANI (@ANI) August 28, 2019
To the student's misfortune, Pokhriyal's mythological lessons didn't end there. He said Sanskrit was the world's oldest language, and that Lord Shiva is called "Neel kantha" because he consumed poison. "In future, if we develop 'bolnewala computers (talking computers), then you have to prove it (through research) that Sanskrit is the most scientific and appropriate language for talking computers," he went on.
Further, Pokhriyal said, "People call us conservative because we call River Ganges ma and trees devata (god). See today, the world is facing an acute water crisis because we failed to protect our ma. One must understand that our ancient thought was based on science."
This is hardly Pokhriyal's first offense. At an RSS-event, he said, "We need to prove that all that we keep talking about like Charaka, Aryabhata, they all existed and that our scriptures mentioned the concept of gravity much before Newton discovered it." On another occasion, he said computers will "die without Sanskrit" and NASA "accepts" this too. Just like IIT-K students, we too are dumbfounded.