The Scientific Edge and its conspicuous absence in India

I am almost done reading the book “The Scientific Edge: The Indian Scientist from Vedic to Modern Times” by renowned scientist Jayant Narlikar. I have had this book for an year or so but for some reason I didn’t quite get to reading it.

Maybe I expected to find the usual glorification of India’s past without any of the requisite scientific evidence.

That’s unfortunately how it’s usually done in India. Glorification of the past is the crutch that Indians routinely lean on, to somehow feel at par with the developed nations.

The problem with this approach is that we do not feel ashamed of still being so far away from being driven by science. Tradition and religion still determine a majority of things in the life on an Indian.

However Dr. Narlikar takes a refreshingly scientific approach to the subject. He does highlight and celebrate ancient Indian science that has solid proof to support it. However he methodically debunks all claims that are based on just hearsay.

Theories like “The reference to an aircraft in the ancient epic Ramayana, is supposed to be undeniable proof of ancient Indian science of building flying machines.”

He also delves into modern-day fads like “Vastu Shastra” and age old ones like astrology.

I had no idea that even the claim to “Vedic Mathematics” was so hollow and doctored.

I learned a lot about Indian science and astronomy from this book. However the most important realization for me has been to publicly voice my opinion against superstitions and in favor of the scientific approach.

I have always privately aired my views against things like astrology, vastu shastra, zodiac signs, etc. I now intend to be more vocal about it.