AICTE pitches ancient Indian Science course to Engineers

A new elective course for engineers has been approved by the All India Council of Technical Education, an autonomous body under the Human Resource Development ministry in which they would study and research Rishi Agastya and Rishi Kanad’s scientific works ‘before rejecting any claims as unscientific’. From the next academic session, AICTE has approved the Bharat Vidya Saar published by Bharat Vidya Bhavan to be taught as an elective course.

In more than 3,000 technical colleges across the country, the course will be taught as part of its model curriculum which will be adopted to make the students aware of the history of Indian science and philosophy.

Online Petition

The move hasn’t gone well with the science community and a Mumbai-based scientist an online petition has been started by Aniket Sule addressed to the chairman of AICTE Anil Sahasrabuddhe. As ‘pseudo-scientific’, the petition calls the claims in the book and demands a quick withdrawal. Of Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education, Sule is a faculty member.

The petition lists out what it sees as unsubstantiated claims terming claims made in the book as ‘outlandish’. About 5000 years ago the Vaimanika Shastra was written by Rishi Bharadwaj. It is the authoritative text on not just construction on aeroplanes but also on navigation, aviation fuels and pilot preparation. In Rigveda, the speed of light has been accurately mentioned. First mentioned in Rigveda is the theory of gravitation. The Rishi Kanad in Vaisheshik Sutra discusses types of motion as well as Newton’s laws of motion,” the petition says, quoting claims made in the book that it disagrees with.

The core of the Petition

Not just in India, the petition also informs of scholarly works which are recognised internationally. As effectively damaging future academic careers of students, the request says that the scientific fraternity is seeing the AICTE approved book.

In response, one of the editors of the book, Shashibala from Bharat Vidya Bhavan has also filed a petition over protecting the ‘Right to Know Indian Knowledge Systems’.

The petition said that those questioning the new course are ‘Haters of Indian heritage and culture’. To sign the counter-petition, it urged the people to “protect India’s ancient knowledge” and answer the “haters of Indian culture”.

AICTE Overview

For the establishment of an All India Council for Technical Education, the AICTE Act was constituted to provide with a view to proper planning and co-ordinate development of a technical education system throughout the country, the promotion of qualitative improvements of such education in relation to planned quantitative growth, and regulation & proper maintenance of norms and standards in the technical education system and for the matters connected therewith.

The purview of AICTE (the Council) covers programmes of technical education including training and research in Engineering, Technology, Architecture, Town Planning, Management, Pharmacy, Applied Arts and Crafts, Hotel Management and Catering Technology etc. at different levels.

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