NEW DELHI (dpa) – Indians flew aeroplanes and carried out autopsies on human bodies with surgical instruments thousands of years ago, according to papers presented at a session of the Indian Science Congress in Mumbai, news reports said Monday.
The science congress held a session on “ancient science through Sanskrit” for the first time in its 100-year history, after the Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power with a landslide win last year.
Papers were presented Sunday on surgery methods, aviation, architecture and engineering applications in India during the Vedic period (1750-500 BCE), gleaned from ancient texts.
“The knowledge of aeronautics is described in Sanskrit in 100 sections, eight chapters, 500 principles and 3,000 verses,” a paper by Anand Bodas and Ameya Jadhav was quoted as saying by the Times of India newspaper.
Ancient Hindu sages spoke 7,000 years ago of aeroplanes that travelled from one country to another, one continent to another and one planet to another, Bodas said while presenting his reasearch.
Vedic-era Indians developed 20 types of sharp instruments and 101 blunt ones for surgeries, Ashok Nene said in a paper based on the ancient Hindu text Sushruta Samhita.
Nene is a professor of civil engineering, but most of the other presenters were scholars of ancient Sanskrit texts working at universities across India.
Leaders of the BJP and its ideological fountainhead the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have often expressed their desire to strengthen and propagate ancient Hindu culture, roots and even the rarely-used language Sanskrit.
A paper on engineering applications of ancient Indian botany said a herbal paste made of seeds and roots mixed with cow’s urine when applied to a person’s feet could help locate underground water, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported.
“The objective of today’s symposium is secular and purely academic,” federal Minister for Environment Prakash Javadekar said at the symposium. “We should pay attention to Sanskrit knowledge and use it for human development.”
If Germany can apply ancient Indian concepts to producing cutting-edge inventions, why could India not do the same, the Hindustan Times quoted Javadekar as saying.
“Any knowledge past or present should be considered. The relevant will survive, the irrelevant will perish,” Javadekar said. “We must look at ancient sciences with academic and scientific vigour,” Uma Vaidya, vice-chancellor of Kavikulguru Kalidas Sanskrit University of Nagpur, was quoted as saying.
The symposium was attended by students and professors from pure science backgrounds as well as researchers working on ancient Hindu texts.
The annual science congress is a forum for Indian scientists to discuss their latest research.