Union Minister for Science and Technology opened the 105th Indian Science Congress at Manipur University and made a rather strange claim.
According to him, Stephen Hawking, the British cosmologist whose recent death was mourned world over, “emphatically said on record that our Vedas might have a theory which is superior to Einstein’s theory of E=mc2.”
#ISC2018 –Each and every custom and ritual of Hinduism is steeped in science; every modern Indian achievement is a continuation of our ancient scientific achievement. Even Stephen Hawking said, our Vedas might have a theory superior to Einstein’s law E=MC2. @moefcc @IndiaDST pic.twitter.com/QP9PbLElCd— Dr. Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) March 16, 2018
You would know the above equation is part of one of Albert Einstein’s most renowned contributions science – the theory of relativity. The equation shows the relationship between mass and energy, and was proposed by Einstein in 1905.
When asked about where Harsh Vardhan had heard of this ‘emphatic’ statement by Hawking, his answer was all the more evasive. Asking the media to “do some work” and figure out the source of the statement, Harsh Vardhan said, “When you have failed, then I shall disclose the source of my information.”
Needless to say, the said “work” revealed not only the source of our Science and Technology Minister’s claims, but also how little weight they held.
Apparently, the minister was quoting from a post on the website of Hyderabad-based Institute of Science Research on Vedas (I-SERVE).
The website post (screenshot below) said that Hawking had made the comment about Vedas having a theory superior to Einstein’s E=mc2, while commenting on the work of one Dr Sivarambabu who was the organising secretary at I-SERVE.
And Hawking seems to have made this comment too. A post dated November 10, 2011, on a page called ‘Stephen Hawking’ reads:
“Vedas might have a theory superior to Einstein’s law E=MC2.
The Satapatha Brahmana 7-1-2-23 and Gayatri Mantra talk about Universe being threefold (triloka): Prithvi (Earth), Antariksha (the space in between) and Dayu (Heaven). Krishna Yajurveda 23.12 (7-4-45) 43 Pannam-18th Anuvakam-45th Panasa suggests the existence of a softer intermediate space called Pilipila. Modern science says the matter and energy are interchangeable but the Vedic science says there is Pilipila in between.the two.(Ref: Modern Science in Vedas- 1 and 2 by Dr. Sakamuri sivaram Babu and Arjunadevi-Guntur-A.P.India published in 2007). Both Vedic and modern science agree upon a continuous dance of creation and annihilation of particle energy everywhere in the universe - Siva tandavam as per Hindu mythology, Rigveda discusses this cycle in detail.
Vedic View: The Universe rotates, shaped like an egg.
Modern View: The Universe is still and it resembles the surface of a sphere.
McCauley’s Educational Act of India (dated Feb 2nd 1854) aims at transforming Indians to be English in taste, morals and opinion. I strongly feel the process of westernization has brought about a psychological slavery among Indians who’d opt to be Engineers rather than Vedic scholars, given a choice.
To conclude, Vedas are a vast storehouse of knowledge, abundant information and solutions waiting to be discovered by dedicated youngsters (sic)”
Seems too good to be true, right? It is. The Facebook page where the post was made is run by someone called ‘Hari Scientist’. The page is not an official Stephen Hawking page. It has merely appropriated the name.
The post in Hawking’s name, but not by him, seems to have fooled others as well. Sivarambabu told Indian Express that he had written a research paper in 2007 about “an intermediate stage between the Yajurveda and the Atharvaveda, which suggests that energy cannot directly convert into matter.”
“There is an intermediate stage. So what I proposed was a modification from the Einstein theory to a Vedic theory,” he added.
Sivarambabu apparently sent the paper to Hawking, and said the latter endorsed it. The proof he provided? The text of the same Facebook post made by ‘Hari Scientist’ in Hawking’s name.
Sivarambabu said that Hawking could not comment on his second paper, authored in 2013, due to health reasons. I-SERVE’s former chairperson KV Krishnamurthy meanwhile, said that they did not receive a relevant response when they reached out to the real Stephen Hawking over email regarding the papers.
According to the website, I-SERVE is ““recognised by DSIR, Government of India, as a Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and is registered under FCRA, Ministry of Home Affairs in September 2008.”
Once these facts came to light, people were not impressed at all with Harsh Vardhan confidently broadcasting unverified information as science.
India’s science minister uses fake Stephen Hawking quote claiming that Vedas contain theory “superior” to Einstein’s theory of relativity. (This after junior education minister denied Darwin’s theory of evolution because nobody “saw an ape turning into a man.”) https://t.co/IQGPKEPHG3— Sadanand Dhume (@dhume) March 16, 2018
Wow, this is shameful. I dug around and I think I found the source of this. There were multiple articles saying he said it, and they all link to -- wait for it -- this page run by an Indian guy whose display name is Stephen Hawking. https://t.co/0QgS9te5sS pic.twitter.com/EumOpuNY7S— Sandhya Ramesh (@sandygrains) March 16, 2018
It is disappointing to see the Minister Of Science @drharshvardhan who is also a medical doctor justifying Vedic theory to be superior to Modern Science by quoting Stephen Hawking but originally Mr.Hawking never said so. It's high time they understand that Vedas are Pseudoscience— Surya Ragupathy (@imsuryaa) March 17, 2018
Words of Stephen Hawking: "God DID NOT create the Universe, and God does not exist". And #NoIQ BJP minister, Jhola chap @drharshvardhan says he praised vedas. @bainjal @sanjayuvacha @sadhavi @tavleen_singh @tathagata2 @sanjuktahttps://t.co/qS1kaq6MPq— bilal motorwala (@bilal_motorwala) March 17, 2018