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Tripura CM claims Internet, satellite communication existed in Mahabharata era, gets panned

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Agartala, Apr 18 : Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb has claimed that the Internet and sophisticated satellite communication system existed in the days of Mahabharata, drawing sharp ridicule from his opponents, academicians and social media users alike who termed his contention as “unscientific”, “illogical” and “retrogressive”.

Governor Tathagata Roy, however, came out in support of Deb saying his observations are topical.

While a section of the Twitterati used humour to ridicule Deb’s claim, other took a swipe at him with tweets loaded with sarcasm.

Deb, a graduate in Humanities from Tripura University, traced the genesis of Internet and satellite communication during age of epic Mahabharata while addressing a regional workshop on public distribution system computerisation and reforms here last evening.

He said in the Mahabharata, it has been mentioned that Sanjay (the charioteer of Dhritarashtra) gave a live commentary of the war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas to the blind king.

“The communication was possible because our technology was sophisticated and developed during those times. We had Internet and satellite communication system. It is not like media or Internet was not available in the age of Mahabharata,” he said.

“I do not know what happened in the middle age though, between the Mahabharata era and now,” Deb said.

Today, he defended his stand on the sophisticated communication technology in the age of Mahabharata.

“They want to belittle their own nation and think highly of other countries. Believe the truth. Do not get confused and do not confuse others”, Deb told reporters this morning in his reaction to his statement yesterday.

Some European countries and the US claim that modern communication system were their invention, but “we had all these technology in ancient times”.

Deb said he was proud that he was born in a country which has the “best communication system” and “best culture” in the whole world.

“Modern technology and digitisation should be used to check corruption and protect secrecy in administration,” he asserted, adding that his government will dedicatedly work to ensure welfare of the poor and the backward people irrespective of any political colour.

Deb’s claim drew support from Roy, himself a civil engineer.

“Tripura Chief Minister’s observations about the happenings of the puranic period are topical. It is virtually impossible to conceive of devices like ‘Divya Drishti’, ‘puspaka Ratha’, etc without some kind of prototype and study there on,” Roy said in a tweet today.

However, the main opposition CPI-M sharply criticised the observations of Deb and Roy as “retrogressive thoughts”.

When contacted to comment on the governor’s tweet and the chief minister’s statement, Tripura CPI-M secretary Bijan Dhar said, “Both of them are influenced by the ideology of RSS. These are all  retrogressive thoughts.”

He said the way RSS thinks, both of them think alike.

Tripura Congress Vice-President Tapas Dey said, “History does not speak like this – neither modern history nor mythological history. This is nonsense and chief minister’s lack of knowledge. It is also the way of diverting the attention of the people from real problem of the state.”

Deb’s assertion drew sharp reaction from scientists and academicians too.

In Kolkata, former Director of Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics Bikash Sinha said it has become a trend of some people to make “useless comments”.

“What they are saying is total nonsense. Such comments have no value or basis,” he said.

“All I can say these are useless statements. And there may be political element to it,” he added.

A spokesman of Jadavpur University Teachers’ Association (JUTA) said, “We will move a resolution at a meeting condemning such unscientific comments which are aimed at misleading the common people.

“Our body of teachers and scientists would alert the students and public against attempt to make false propaganda by defying science,” he said.

All Bengal University Teachers’ Association leader Goutam Maity also endorsed the JUTA’s stand and said they will issue a protest statement against such comments.

Jadavpur University’s AFSU leader and state SFI committee member Somasree said, “We will carry on campaign among students of the university and other institutions to alert against BJP’s attempt to project mythological events and characters as documents of Indian history and spread false propaganda.”

“We will build up a campaign against such comment by the Tripura Chief Minister,” he said.

The 48-year-old Deb, who assumed office on March 9, is the latest in a list of BJP leaders who have often come up with bizarre theories about science in ancient India and Hindu traditions.

Union minister Satypal Sing had a few months ago debunked Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, saying it was wrong and the changes need to reflect in the school and college curriculum.

“Nobody, including our ancestors, in written or oral, said they saw an ape turning into a man,” the minister had said.

While addressing the inaugural session of the 105th science congress at Imphal last month, Union Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan had claimed that cosmologist Stephen Hawking had said the Vedas have a theory that is superior to Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.

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