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RSS - inspired group to promote Indian science with books, CDs

RSS - inspired group to promote Indian science with books, CDs

Author: Smeeta Mishra Pandey
Publication: The Times of India
Date: April 18, 2001
Why should scientists learn Sanskrit? Because science is best explained in ancient Indian texts, say members of the RSS-inspired Samskrita Bharati, an organisation that promotes the language in the country.

Armed with books and CDs on Physics, Botany, Metallurgy, Medicine and Surgery in ancient India, the organisation is all set to distribute the newly published texts in schools and colleges to let students, teachers and parents explore "the richness of Indian Science in comparison with Western Science."

It is another matter that a child reading the books would get confused about who really came up with the laws of physics: A scientist living in the 18th century or an ancient sage? The book titled 'Botany in Samskrita Literature' talks of ancient Indian botanists who knew all about external morphology as the Atharveda carried references on it. The various parts of the plants are also described in the Vishnu Purana, it claims. A chapter on Plant Physiology begins with the assertion that "the association of ancient Indians with plant kingdom was so intimate that they felt the pulsation of life in them.... The theory of water absorption by the plant is described in the Mahabharat."

But is your child ready to delve into the shastras and puranas? "Why not?" asks Samskrita Bharati chief Chamu Krishna Shastry. "We will lobby to make Indian science a part of the curriculum in schools and colleges. What is wrong in Indians knowing their own heritage. After all, we gave the world the numeral zero. Without the zero, all your computer systems would collapse".

A book titled 'Indian Tradition of Chemistry and Chemical Technology' states, "The conventional understanding today is that Hindus were more concerned about rituals, spirituality, the world above or the world after death. That Hindus were an equally materialistic people... and had taken up basic questions of the principles of astronomy, fundamental particles, origins of universe, applied psychiatry and psychology and so on are not well-documented ... There are about 44 known ancient and mediaeval Sanskrit texts on a technical subject like chemistry alone."

So the book even talks of Hanuman in the Ramayana receiving tips from Jambavantha for identifying life saving drugs found in the Himalayas by their brilliant glow. Kautilya's Arthashahtra also finds mention. "Our book on medicine and surgery in ancient India talks of plastic surgery in those says," says a proud Laxmi Narayan, the Samskrita Bharati secretary. "It also carries diagrams of surgical instruments or yantram as they existed in ancient India."

Samskrita Bharati, now nearly twenty-years-old, is putting its best foot forward to popularise the language, so that people develop interest in Indian science as mentioned in the Shashtras. "Our USP is that we speak in Sanskrit at all times," says Mr Shashtry. "At gatherings, workshops, home, bus stops, just about everywhere. This is our way of telling people that Sanskrit is sahaj and saral and anyone can speak in the same."

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