Ancient Indian science theories based on logic: Prakash Javadekar

Mumbai (PTI): “Ancient Indian scientific theories were based on minute understanding of observations of centuries and based on experience and logic,” Union Minister Prakash Javadekar has said.

“The theories, without much tools and machines, were based on minute understanding of observations of centuries and based on experience and logic. That wisdom must be recognised. That wisdom has a relevance today,” Javadekar said. He was speaking at a symposium on ‘Ancient Indian sciences through Sanskrit’ on the second day of the 102nd Indian Science Congress in suburban Kalina. “If Germans and others can, on the basis of our language (Sanskrit) and our ancient science, produce new equipment, what can’t we?” the Minister said.

“The issue of today’s symposium, Ancient Indian sciences through Sanskrit, is a good topic to be discussed because knowledge is supreme. The objective of the symposium is very secular and purely academic,” he said. “Those who want to pursue the path of knowledge don’t see how old it is. Everything old may not be gold, but not everything old is a waste,” Javadekar said. “We must be very clear as to what science means. I can’t deliver speech in Sanskrit, but I begin my day by listening to the 6.55 AM Sanskrit news. Once you know Sanskrit, it it easy to pick up other languages.,” the Minister said.

“The scientific community gathered here should pay attention to the Sanskrit knowledge fund and use it for human development. Germans have done it. Sometimes I feel that they have done it more religiously, more sincerely, extensively, globally. They were perhaps the first to recognise Sanskrit as the language of linguistic expression of science and culture in ancient India,” Javadekar said.

“This is one thing that modern Germany acknowledges and what it has learned from India, that India has not acknowledged well enough. Gandhiji said nature can take care of our need but not our greed and the climate change has been due to this greed. Where do science and Sanskrit converge? Science is rebellion and is against superstition. It challenges the status quo. We lack in innovation because our education system from primary level doesn’t allow curiosity to take place, to question the fundamentals.”, he said.

“I am trying to change the image of my department, which was negative, to positive. I am holding ‘Chintan Shivir’ at three places in India,” the Union Environment Minister said.

“Despite opposition from some officers, I have decided to have brainstorming sessions with officers over 35 and 45 years age and who have around 20 years tenure left. I will get ideas from the young people. Knowledge is a progressive process. All issues must be debated and taken forward. Whatever is good will survive. Whatever is not relevant will perish, he added.

“What India requires is innovation. A culture of innovation is badly needed today”, Javadekar said.

Javadekar said, “We should draw upon the knowledge of ancient Indian science concepts and explore possibilities of their application in the modern world. The scientific community gathered at the congress should pay attention to the source material available in Sanskrit and use it for the betterment of humanity.” The Minister wondered when Germany could make use of ancient Indian concepts and adapt them to produce cutting edge inventions, what prevents India from doing so.

On India lacking in innovation and research, Javadekar said, “Our education system from primary level itself does not promote questioning the fundamentals. This system of rote learning hinders reasoning and inquisitiveness. There is an urgent need to promote meritocracy, especially in the field of science education to prepare quality scientists, who in turn can contribute to the nation’s development and welfare. An ability of a scientist should be measured by his or her ability to innovate, rather than the length of his or her service”, he said.

Indian Science Congress president Prof S. M. Nimse, Mumbai University’s Vice Chancellor Dr. Rajan Welukar and Dr. Uma Vaidya, Vice Chancellor of Kavikulguru Kalidas Sanskrit Vidyapeeth, Ramtek, were among those present.