Indians invented planes 7,000 years ago — and other startling claims at the Science Congress

Sharing this because a discussion on facebook made me wonder if those who make such claims are actually seeking something to be proud of in India, because some other countries are proud of their histories and cultures. (And that makes us feel inferior, because we must do what they do?)

Indians invented planes 7,000 years ago — and other startling claims at the Science Congress

“India’s science and technology minister, Harsh Vardhan, made another startling claim at the conference, saying that ancient Indian mathematicians also discovered the Pythagorean theorem but that the Greeks got the credit.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/…/indians-invented-planes-70…/

I won’t get into the correctness of these claims, but I am trying and understand why we need this validation from ourselves (maybe from others too?) before we can care for our fellow citizens and their rights? Or before we can like ourselves.

Why do we think we need to be proud of something we did not do, for something our ancestors did?

What about those who are a first generation of liberal, compassionate, wise and tolerant people but who had racist, ignorant, gullible and violent ancestors? Who should they be proud of? Should they be content with themselves or should they try to find/invent something to be proud of in their ancestors?

Why do we need to have great ancestors? Why isn’t it enough if we are good (i.e. fair, just, honest and tolerant etc) today?

Related Posts:

I am Proud of India Today. Not India of Yesteryears.

45 thoughts on “Indians invented planes 7,000 years ago — and other startling claims at the Science Congress

  1. That’s the very Indian – inferiority complex speaking. 1000 years of foreign rule – and our people have lost all self respect. Whether they had any before that is anybody’s guess.
    Most of our people think this is the only country on the planet that HAS a culture. So everybody else must be proved inferior. Froggy in the well syndrome is what they suffer from. They’ve not seen the outside world.

    Its also this inferiority complex that makes our people want to be fair. We look towards the west for approval. So we need Maria Sharapova to know who Sachin Tendulkar is – for him to be great.

    This kind of propaganda – Shiva did plastic surgery on Ganesh, planes 7000 years ago – hinders scientific progress. We’re already at the top – so why strive to go further…
    Its not at all that we’ve not made any scientific discoveries in our past. Somehow we couldn’t build on it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am reading Abraham Erally’s “The First Spring, Part 1.

      In the book’s preface, the author articulates a similar sentiment. He suggests that the need to glorify one’s past hinders us from seeking enduring solutions to our current problems.

      In a way, it’s escapism. It’s alright to live in a largely dysfunctional society in 2015. Hey, we invented Zero, so yeah, let’s ignore all the problems bedevilling us today.

      According to him, Indians have a long history of being insular and being “koopmanduks” (Sanskrit for frogs in the well).

      I highly recommend the book to anyone trying to understand why Indian society and the Indian psyche is the way it is.

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  2. I think there are several factors at play here.

    1. We don’t really create that much today, and therefore must refer to the good old days when we did. Think about it – ours is not a products industry but a services industry. We do not have Microsofts or Apples or Blackberrys, but we do have the Satyams and the EXLs. Very few companies actually make products.

    2. We’re constantly comparing. When A boasts about their daughter having scored 88%, B will feel the need to talk about their nephew’s neighbors daughter’s son in law having scored 90%. So when someone talks about their country’s past achievements (or not), we feel obliged to talk about our own country’s achievements. When an American Indian goes to space, we feel the need to highlight their Indianness more than their actual achievement.

    3. As a country, we are wired to take pride in other people’s achievements, be it our past (ancestors) or our future (children). What we have done is not important, because of point (4).

    4. We constantly make excuses for non-performance. The reason I did nothing with my life was because I was busy making sacrifices to provide for our children and give them the right education/environment. That is achievement enough for me. India was sone ki chidiya in the past, but thanks to the British, we have an excuse for not achieving that much today. But mind you, it’s not like we don’t have the potential – we were great once! We made the pushpak vimaan seven thousand years ago!

    All in all, I think that this stems from a deep-seated sense of mediocrity and insecurity. (And I may be wrong, but that’s okay, because some of my ancestors had this all figured out and then an American stole the notebook and took the credit! *chuckle*)

    Liked by 5 people

  3. I completely agree. I do not understand why one others to appreciate one’s believes, value systems or culture in order to feel good about themselves. It does feel good when others say nice things about your culture. But that should not be the only way you derive joy.

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  4. Ah, ofcourse we need super-great ancestors. How else will we justify cultural/ religious chauvinism and xenophobia?! ‘We’ have to be better than ‘them’ for ‘our’ people to rightfully oppress ‘their’ people. It’s the same reason that hitler had to invent the German-aryan myth of course!

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      • I think this requires a bit of context: Indians tend to glorify Hitler because Subhash Chandra Bose teamed up with the Germans and the Japanese to try to defeat the British, using the “enemy of an enemy is a friend” strategy, and also because they were against British rule and wanting to achieve Independence, using any means necessary.

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        • That’s true, but for all we know, a German invasion of India would’ve probably ended in ethnic cleansing here as well. While I can understand Hitler’s popularity back then when half the world wasnt even aware of what he was doing, I find it disturbing that people still “admire” him now, knowing what they know. I remember a lot of political leaders (Bal Thackeray included) saying that they admired him for his rhetoric and leadership. A lot of regular people also echo these sentiments, as if the systematic extermination of thousands of people in the most inhuman way possible is some tiny mistake to be brushed aside .

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  5. Of late I’ve noticed that this “omg we Indians did xyz hundreds of years ago” is somehow used to justify all the horrible things in current society – lack of cleanliness, lack of basic respect for life, our horrid educational system and other social/cultural things like casteism, religious intolerance, autocratic family systems,patriarchy etc.

    Its as though people are looking for something that they can say is Indian and actually be proud of. Also, this kind of rationalization is used to prevent “westernization” – basically a way of saying “look we did so many amazing things, so even some of our horrid practices must have some justification.” How many times have we heard people come up absurd psuedo-scientific explanations for taboos on things like menstruation?

    This obsession with highlighting(imagined) past glories is one of the biggest roadblocks to progress – because it makes it look like there’s nothing we need to improve upon.

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  6. I liked this question that you have asked.

    Why do we need to have great ancestors? Why isn’t it enough if we are good (i.e. fair, just, honest and tolerant etc) today?

    I agree with the relevance of the question. Instead of great ancestors, I would rather have great descendants.

    But, all the same, 7000 years is period that predates recorded history.
    No one can say with any certainty what prevailed then, and what was acccomplished and where on earth.

    It is also known that the earth is millions of years old. The entire period of recorded history is merely an instantaneous blip.

    Anything was possible thousands of years ago. May be everything was destoryed by some cataclysmic event and we have begun all over again. May be it will happen again when a nuclear world war III breaks out some day.

    Possibly, one of my descendants thousands of years lfrom now will claim that it was possible for his ancestor to write some text and instantly share it with everyone around the globe in a matter of seconds! Hopefully he won’t be laughed at!

    Regards
    GV

    Liked by 1 person

    • GVji, essentially, you’re saying, “Who knows?” Well, what can’t be proved as fact needs to stay out of scientific conferences, don’t you think? Other than that, I completely agree with your view.

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    • @GVji,

      On this issue, I would have to disagree with you. While we may be missing recorded history that dates back to 7000 years, we have to consider the following:

      – Technology only moves forward. Except for great calamities that wiped out entire civilizations, such advanced technology would not have been lost. And there is no geographical evidence of any such great catastrophe in the last 7000 years.

      – All archaeological evidence we do have suggests that our ancestors did not master aviation technology. For aviation to be possible, we need understanding of fluid dynamics, motors, light weight strong materials – at the very least. None of which have been found – their applications would have been far beyond aviation and would have shown up in other aspects.

      – Aviation claims are being based on mentions of pushpak vimana in Ramayana. It would be equally laughable if someone from the future read “Time Machine” by H G Wells and concluded that their ancestors were capable of time travel.

      – When someone makes a claim, the onus is usually on the person making the claim to have sufficient evidence to back it up, or to at the very least think of it as a possibility. I can also claim that there is a small teapot circling the outer solar system. Since it is very minute to detect, no one can actually disprove my claim, but that does not make my claim true.

      W.r.t the Pythagoras theorem, now there I am willing to concede that there is a strong possibility that it could have been formulated in India because we do have the works of mathematicians like Bhaskaracharya which suggests so.

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  7. To think this through to it’s logical conclusion-
    If it is true Indians invented airplanes (or the Pythagorean theorem or whatever tech advance) 7,000 yrs ago doesn’t that just make today’s Indians rather degenerate in comparison?
    Neither the British nor the Moghuls were around in India to ‘steal’ these advancements 7,000 yrs ago, so our favorite scapegoats certainly didn’t take our illustrious ancestors’ technology.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Whether we like it or not Aryabhatta, Charak, Bhaskara , Shushrut,Kalidas. These were real people who wrote real scientific piece of work. These works are still available maybe not in their original copy but yes they are available. These are documented history . Regrading plane we don’t have any evidence so we can say that it is maybe a scientific fiction.

    Why we make tall claims about past because we don’t have anything to be proud in present and will not be able to make it in future. Rightnow we don’t have any Google,Microsoft,Adobe ,Oracle,etc to take proud.

    Why we lost this knowledge because we don’t have freedom to follow what we want to do and has rigid caste system. I have read review of Kumar sambhavam written by Kalidas. If that literature is written today then Kalidas would have been killed. So there is no freedom. And because of caste system undeserved people were forced into education and deserved were kept out. Same is happening today. Engineer ka beta engineer banega. What beta wants doesnt matter.

    Even the past societies and culture was not perfect. Nobody can be . But today we are the degraded version of the society which was able to produce great work of knowledge.

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  9. The minister’s unsubstantiated claims notwithstanding, there was greatness in India’s past. Shrodinger, Bohr, and Einstein have written that they have been inspired by ancient texts (Vedas, Upanishads) on perception and multiple realities, concepts of time and space, the cyclical nature of the universe, and many of these ideas are reflected in their work in quantum physics where sub atomic particles behave nothing like what one would expect in the Newtonian world. Some of the fundamental concepts that underlie mathematical thinking also originated in India. The Rig Veda questions the very concept of God in a most skeptical fashion that sounds either agnostic or atheist, depending on how one would interpret it. We have architectural marvels in our country that we can never replicate today. The 7 pillars of Hampi that emanate the 7 notes when struck. The beam of light that settles on the Shiva Lingam at an exact point of time on the solar calendar every year in the Gavi cave temple. Yoga. Ayurveda. Artha Shastra. Vedic mathematics. All of these indicate a curious, scientific, artistic, philosophical, questioning people. There is enough evidence to support this. What happened to these people? No one really knows. There were inherent evils in the system probably even at the this time of greatness. The caste system must have made the people week. Denial of equality is never good for progress. Repeated invasions broke the back of the social fabric further. We will never fully know the exact reasons for the regression.

    But I fully agree with others that all of that doesn’t matter. Who we are now matters. We cannot lay claim to our ancestors’ accomplishments. If we take an honest look at who we are today, there is great cause for shame, and there is a great need for change. And change begins with acknowledgement. It begins with honesty. It begins with problem identification and definition.

    Instead what most people seem to do is live in denial, quote our “glorious past” (which we haven’t done one teeny bit to contribute to), and I find that people who take pride in India’s past know very little about the exact nature of the accomplishments or their significance to civilization. Thy have very little interest in reading or researching it. Instead they want to feel good (even if it’s a fake feeling), reassure themselves that we have a great culture, that we are superior to everyone else, especially the “morally corrupt West” and thus give ourselves a fantastic, air-tight excuse to not change.

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    • The Rig Veda may clinically dissect the nature of reality and God, but Vedic Hinduism is not the dominant form of Hindu religious practice today.

      Current Hindu religious practices have their basis in the Puranas, Smritis and Shastras which were subjective interpretations and commentaries that reflect the biases of their authors.

      Vedic Hinduism is shorn of a lot of prejudices that later, largely Brahminical texts embody.

      My first wedding was performed the orthodox way, and was replete with a lot of problematic rituals like my parents washing the groom’s feet and the priest symbolically asking the groom to change my name.

      My now husband and I had an Arya Samaj wedding based on Vedic philosophy and it was largely non-sexist and dignified.

      My husband and I made identical oaths to each other. I did not feel like I was property being exchanged, which is how I distinctly felt during the orthodox ceremony.

      My larger point is that Vedic Hinduism requires a rational temperament; an ability to understand the abstract and intangible.

      That’s why it is relatively unpopular amongst practising Hindus.

      The average, contemporary Hindu would rather not dwell on abstract concepts like Atman and Brahman.

      It’s easier to drink and dance to “BabyDoll” in front of a Ganesha procession.

      It’s easier to go crazy over the “menstruation taboo” and pretend you are being a good, little Hindu.

      The dominant and contemporary practice of Hinduism is far removed from the Vedic roots of the religion.

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      • I agree. I absolutely detest the form of Hinduism that is practiced today. I respect the ancient Vedic ideas but they are clearly lost to present day India. We have not a shred of rationality nor philosophical curiosity nor questioning left in us.

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      • You are right Neha. I read Gita and its not misogynist or patriarchal in nature. Its only talk about doing righteous thing. It clearly says wrong is wrong and right is right. Even if your parent are doing wrong then it will not become right. But these concept are very difficult to digest thats why they are simply brushed off and put aside. We don’t follow what actually God has stood for and taught us but rather the commentaries on his action.

        The culture which society today has is the decayed version. It is the culture because of which we were enslaved for nearly a 1000 yrs. We are follower of culture which was shaped in period of slavery and still continues to be same.Where control on other human is everything.

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      • “The average, contemporary Hindu would rather not dwell on abstract concepts like Atman and Brahman.

        It’s easier to drink and dance to “BabyDoll” in front of a Ganesha procession.”

        ha ha..this made me laugh😀.
        Another thing I’ve noticed about these stupid traditional marriage rituals that everyone insists on following is that they seem to have very sinister origins.

        1. The one you mentioned -washing the groom’s feet – a display of subservience, giving the daughter in marriage as a placatory gesture to a local landlord/dacoit

        2. Bringing the girl in a basket – ransom?? hostage exchange?? kidnap??

        3. Lifting the bride and groom on the shoulders for a procession – definitely child marriage

        4. Blushing bride being “brought” by mini-army of women (they are all literally holding and steering her -see tamil/kannada movie for reference) – Forced marriage.

        Sometimes I simply abhor the concept of tradition. Why do something just because someone else did it? Shouldnt it have some meaning in your life as well?

        Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s interesting to note that most great civilizations, the people who’ve made the earliest contribution to arts & science (like Egypt & Greece in addition to India) have somehow deteriorated through time. Africa, Mesopotamia, the cradle of life ….all of them horrible places to live now with very poor human rights records.

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  10. Oh IHM how i love your post! i feel the need to live in the present and try and leave it a better place for the future. Yes india as such has lots of cultural significance but what we really need is what your blog has highlighted as issues in our society.

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  11. <> I agree there have been Indians of unquestionable scientific genius in our past and our present. In some cases, their scientific discoveries did pre-date the same discoveries by more recognized scientists from other countries. However, having said that, there has never been a practice of inculcating widespread scientific temper in our country. Science has always taken a backseat to religion / superstition and it shows depressingly in how a majority of us have reacted to such pseudo-scientific claims….either through whole-hearted approval or by hesitantly saying that the claims could be true because we don’t know exactly what happened back then.

    Well, if we don’t know exactly what happened, then why are we making such silly claims with such certainty? Why are we giving any credence whatsoever to these claims?

    For the sake of our own scientific credibility (and our collective sanity), let’s not tiptoe around claims that are obviously deluded fantasies, like ancient inter-planetary planes. There are so many things wrong with this claim that I don’t know where to start. Luckily, I don’t have to. This claim is based on a specific text called as Vaimanika Shastra (or Vaimanika Prakarana). Vaimanika Shastra is supposed to describe the ‘science’ of how ancient aeroplanes were built and how they worked. Apparently the ancient Hindu saint Bharadwaja described this to the author through cosmic vision (seriously…I’m not kidding).
    At the obvious risk of wasting their time, there was a study done on this text by the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. I can only sympathize with them. Their growing frustration with the source material is obvious based on the comments peppered in the study like
    “The subject lays uncalled for emphasis on propulsive devices and structures, but little or no emphasis on aerodynamics”
    “A few lines have been devoted to the function of wings and tail and they appear to be incorrect”.
    “The height and width of the craft, in our opinion, are in such proportion as to put its stability in serious question”
    “There are inconsistencies in the dimensions mentioned in the verses and those given in the drawings”
    “The author shows a complete lack of understanding of the dynamics of the flight of heavier-than-air craft”
    ” (air being sucked from the bottom and steam being released at the top) is expected to produce force to lift the plane up – a statement which is a gross violation of Newton’s third law”
    ” If the craft is taken to mean what the drawings and the text say, it can be stated that the craft is a decided impossibility.”
    This was their conclusion.
    “Any reader by now would have concluded the obvious – that the planes described above are at best poor concoctions, rather than expressions of something real. None of the planes has properties or capabilities of being flown; the geometries are unimaginably horrendous from the point of view of flying; and the principles of propulsion make them resist rather than assist flying. The text and the drawings do not correlate with each other even thematically”.

    It is highly unfortunate that Indian science has descended to such a farce that a paper on this invalidated text was presented in all seriousness at the INDIAN SCIENCE CONGRESS and is being treated as a controversy. There is no controversy here. This is an entirely manufactured claim with no basis in reality. The so-called scientist who presented this claim must either prove it or redact it. There is no middle way. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. This nonsense cannot and should not be allowed to stand without proper and adequate substantiation.

    Yes, 7000 years is a long time and some knowledge may have been lost in the intervening years. But this does not mean that we have to accept any and every claim about what might have happened back then. We would have scoffed at this very same claim if it had been made by the Egyptians or the Chinese. But somehow we develop a blind spot if these claims are attributed to our own wise, all-knowing ancestors.
    <>

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    • Thanks for the detail in your post, made me want to dig up more on this particular paper.

      The original source material from the Vaimanika Shastra is in the form of shlokas. The drawings were made by an engineering student when IISC took up the study. The drawings in question show up on a google search. I wish more people would look it up,so that they can understand the absurdity of the entire thing.

      As you say, the results were full of technical impossibilities – the craft moving in the same direction as the jet stream, crafts shaped like temples with no aerodynamic structure etc.

      Sometime back, this particular text was covered by some program about UFOs on national geographic (I forgot which). They suggested that the designs were for space craft and then went on further to postulate that Krishna, Rama & other gods were actually extra terrestrials.
      The amount of backlash this received from Indians was phenomenal – why was the “west” trying to discredit our mythology by trying to explain it away by science?
      Now, our very own homegrown enthusiasts are trying to pass off this very same text as genuine scientific matter. Hypocrisy at its highest!

      At best, our ancestors can be credited with vision and imagination to think of flying crafts. But to take a rudimentary,basic idea and present it at a genuine,scientific conference is simply nuts. The ISC has always encouraged the advancement of traditional scientific methods such as yoga and ayurveda – things that actually have proven potential.( I have been a victim of ayurveda in the past , but it seems to work for others). Things like the Vaimanika shastra belong at a history conference.

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  12. I don’t think this was meant to be a discussion about whether or not we achieved all this 7k years ago. IHM, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the purpose of this post was to try and figure out why we have that blind spot that Satish is referring to in the above comment.

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    • Good point, the blind spot is definitely the greater issue. I think the discussion is veering a bit because this time the chest thumping has gone beyond the realm of ayurveda, shusrutha & turmeric to something really preposterous.

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  13. what is wrong in feeling proud that it was neither Plato, nor Aristotle nor Archimedes, who first invented advanced mathematics but it was my great, great grandfather who could calculate precisely the distance between sun and earth in scientific units called “Yojanas” even before the Greeks could speak and frame sentences properly. What is wrong in feeling proud that we had the most beautiful forests, waterfalls, peacocks, deer, and we would write poetry in a highly evolved language called Sanskritam. What is wrong in feeling proud that we never heard of Revolutions like French Revolution or Industrial Revolution because there was no need for such a thing. What is wrong in feeling proud that we had absolutely no censorship whether it is book like manusmriti or kamasutra or several books on atheism, or advanced philosophy texts called upanishads, all could co-exist in open market. What is wrong in feeling proud that we had the most ancient religion which said, you can worship any God of any form, or accept any faith of your taste, but all paths lead to the same final goal. What is wrong in feeling proud that we would worship Krishna who is a Yadava lower caste, or accept Valmiki who was a robber, or accept Vyasa who was born to a fisher woman as sages and maharishis. What is wrong in feeling proud that kings in my country would never attack another kingdom without due thought and reason and that even captured enemies would be treated with dignity and respect, not just human values. What is wrong in feeling proud that our children enjoyed 24 hrs undeterred love and affection of parents and their grand parents, not merely with once in a while gifts and hello’s and thankyou’s but perceived through clear action and that, our children had no need for boy friends, girl friends or anger management classes. What is wrong in feeling proud that when we said Namaste we really meant it by heart. What is wrong in feeling proud that we never aspired for societies, councils, president, vice president positions, but rather our lives were governed by simple but noble virtues of dharma, and Finally…. what is wrong in reminding our children and laying foundation for their children by narrating stories of such noble ancestors from the past and providing them with means to resort to these values and achievements, when in times of distress, confusion, or when they just need encouragement to perform with world-class brilliance.

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      • From this point we went wrong.

        What is wrong in feeling proud that kings in my country would never attack another kingdom without due thought and reason and that even captured enemies would be treated with dignity and respect, not just human values. —-Entire country was divided among small kingdom not more than few villages which can not support itself.

        What is wrong in feeling proud that our children enjoyed 24 hrs undeterred love and affection of parents and their grand parents, not merely with once in a while gifts and hello’s and thankyou’s but perceived through clear action—- Clear Action ???? What clear action were done to show that we are thankful.

        and that, our children had no need for boy friends, girl friends or anger management classes. — What’s wrong between interaction between boys and girls . Some people have bad temper what’s problem in taking professional help may be from any rishi or by reading Gita.

        What is wrong in feeling proud that when we said Namaste we really meant it by heart.—– Is it always from heart. Its simply a salutation like hello.

        What is wrong in feeling proud that we never aspired for societies, councils, president, vice president positions, but rather our lives were governed by simple but noble virtues of dharma, —- We don’t even understand the concept of real dharma written in Vedic text otherwise we would not have been slave for 1000 years.

        and Finally…. what is wrong in reminding our children and laying foundation for their children by narrating stories of such noble ancestors from the past and providing them with means to resort to these values and achievements, when in times of distress, confusion, or when they just need encouragement to perform with world-class brilliance.—— It shows that we have achieved everything and there is no need to explore for further knowledge.

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      • Well, my grandfather had a piece of beautiful property that was also worth few crores. One fine day, he said because of extra love and affection for me, he has decided to pass on that property to me. Would I first accept what he is giving me and then think what I need to do with it, or would I first argue with him, that I would rather be a beggar than accept what he has accumulated with his hard work and savings during his lifetime.

        Similarly, the stories of our noble ancestors from the past, their values and culture, is a treasure trove of knowledge. Feeling proud about it is the first step to ownership. With ownership comes responsibility. People who do not want to feel proud about anything are most likely trying to escape from responsibility.

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        • Well , if you ran around claiming that your grandfather’s land was 15 hectares of impossibly fertile soil in which magic-money-making plants were growing, then you’re not taking “ownership” or “responsibility”, you’re simply refusing to face facts.
          There is nothing “noble” or “patriotic” in making up random assertions. In fact, it actually shows insecurity and overcompensation due to lack of pride.
          Taking ownership of something means an honest evaluation accepting its mistakes and plus points, and then deciding to work with it. Indians may have invented a lot of other useful things which are worth studying and advancing on, but flying machines? Nope.

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      • I have to disagree with you on this IHM, Yes We can be proud of the past the same way as we were ashamed of our past (Covered in your post section ‘ The good old days?)
        Being proud of past does not imply to ignore present.
        I see it like this, Can’t I be proud of my father or mother who is a great achiever of something or can’t I be proud of my daughter for her achievements. Yes offcourse 7000 years is long ago, but we do know about some great mathematician ,scientist in old times and I guess there is nothing wrong to be proud about.
        Like I am proud of mahatma Gandhi and I was not even there.. Now am I wrong?

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        • But how can we be proud of Mahatma Gandhi? Then why can’t we be proud of Abraham Lincoln or John Lenon? Should we also be ashamed of casteism, infanticide or widow burning or slavery etc?

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    • I think you have a very,very poor understanding of India,Indian & world history and ethics and morality in general.

      “we never heard of Revolutions like French Revolution..”
      A revolt against the monarchy & taxes. After we go rid of colonial rule, we did NOT go back to monarchy, we did exactly what France did- became a democratic republic. Simply because as a monarchy, we would always be subject to changing fancies of the ruler. Our constitution borrows a lot from the French constitution.

      “..or Industrial Revolution.. ”
      You do understand that it was not a violent movement, but a transition to machine-made production? That it was responsible for the creation of the middle class. (a class of people
      current India is very proud of) That if it wasn’t for industrialization that more of us woulf be committing suicide due to droughts,famine etc?
      And supposing the absurd claim about us inventing aeroplanes was true, it could only have been done through some industrialization?

      ” because there was no need for such a thing”
      Both events that you quoted are part of modern history – a time when we were too busy revolting against colonial rule. Also, it is only the Harappan civilization which had no monarchs- everyone had equal status.

      “that even captured enemies would be treated with dignity and respect, not just human values.”
      Shakuni and his hundred brothers? Draupadi? Sita?

      “and that, our children had no need for boy friends, girl friends”
      Krishna and Rukmini were in love before they were married. As were Nala and Damayanti & a hundred thousand other figures from our mythology/history.Krishna & radha never actually got married. I don’t understand the implied derision in your statement. Do you think that there is something wrong with sexual/romantic relationships?

      “or anger management classes.”

      Parashurama’s dad could have done with an anger management class, along with all the rishis who ran around cursing people for the smallest transgressions.
      Same holds true for a huge number of “violent but silent” traditional Indian families.
      There are hundreds of stories about why one should not get in angry, simply because people DID get angry and do stupid things.

      I could go on and on about the other points in your post but I’m tired.
      The point is this : every ancient civilization including the sumerians,the egyptians, the greeks, the vikings, the chinese etc. have a rich past with inventions,discoveries and social structures. Nature worship always means recognising the dichotomy in everything. If we had ahimsa, we also had sati.We may be one of the few surviving nature-worshippers but it does not mean others did’nt exist.

      This absurd focus on highlighting our past glories takes away from actual research & achievement.And as IHM says, it is one thing to be proud of what we are, another thing to make up tall stories about things we possibly never did – it simply shows poor scientific & research spirit.

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  14. To be honest, I think our first question should how well do we know our ancestors?

    How many us of know what’s written in the Vedas, Upanishads and other scriptures of the past.

    Its very easy to build and thwart opinions because they don’t make sense but never try to understand the background of it.

    So my take is before making a judgement/opinion first know the source!!

    P.S: Do you know that at the Indian remains of Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, traces have been found that indicates of nuclear/atomic explosion/war. Radiation can still be found there. Now how is that possible when nuclear/atomic technology was not around?

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    • I beg to disagree. The presence of nuclear radiation is not an indication of the presence of nuclear technology. Nuclear radiation is very much present in nature.
      1) Uranium is present naturally in the earth’s crust in many places around the globe. When it decays, it forms Radon gas (and it’s isotopes) which leaks out of the ground into the atmosphere or into ground water, soil etc. Radon again decays into Bismuth which forms part of the atmospheric background radiation. Similarly, Radium, Thorium, Thallium are decay products of naturally occurring Uranium that eventually show up at the earth’s surface.
      2) There is also solar cosmic radiation that comes to us from the Sun and interstellar radiation that comes from other stars. Most of the radiation is deflected by earth’s magnetic field, but some of the cosmic radiation interacts with our atmosphere to develop secondary radiation that eventually reaches the earth’s surface.
      3) So it is not just Indian locales that have radiation. It has been detected all over the globe.
      4) Also, even if we assume that the radiation comes from an artificial source, how do we know that the radiation in Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa is ancient? It could have come from a lot of recent sources. Medical Imaging devices emit radiation, cigarettes contain Polonium which can emit radiation, the fallout from nuclear testing gets carried for long distances. What is the basis for this unsubstantiated claim?

      Furthermore, a basic sanity check will tell us why such claims are untenable. Electricity is more easily accessible in nature and electrical energy can be harnessed far more easily than nuclear energy. But, there is nothing to show that our ancestors were even aware of the nature of electricity. Yet, we are arguing here about nuclear energy which is far more inaccessible, difficult and complex to harness.

      Knowing about scriptures is ok, but when we are discussing about science, it will help us to know the scientific subject under discussion as well🙂

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  15. Wow! Your perspective is quite unique in these things. Personally I didnt give as big a thought as you gave..! While I do feel happy that Indian history has a lot of stuff, there’s a “we-have-a-better-history-than-anyone-else” attitude behind it, which disturbs me.

    I see at least 2-3 posts everyday in my facebook wall which say:

    “(Something) was invented (centuries) ago by Indians before (some other great scientist) found about it.!”.

    While there’s no harm, I don’t understand the motive behind it.

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  16. Pingback: Identity | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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