If you thought the Indian Science Congress cannot sink any further than it did last year – when presenters tried to prove that aeroplanes were invented by Indians during the Vedic Age – well, think again. This year, the ISC has outdone itself by allowing the presentation of two papers – one on how Lord Shiva is the greatest environmentalist and another on the physical and spiritual benefits of playing the shankh (conch).
The 103rd Indian Science Congress, which met at Mysuru from 3 to 7 January, received widespread condemnation when it came to be known that Akhilesh K Pandey, chairman of the Madhya Pradesh Private University Regulatory Commission and one of the invited lecturers, will present a paper titled Lord Shiva: The Greatest Environmentalist in the World. The paper tried to explain that Lord Shiva’s family co-existed peacefully with animals, thus spreading the message of environmental conservation, reports LiveMint.com.
As it turned out, Pandey was unable to go through with his presentation as he was unwell, reports The Hindu. Pandey’s paper was a part of the Environmental Science section and its president, Gangadhar Misra, reportedly claimed that there was nothing objectionable about the paper.
Meanwhile, another paper did get presented: Blowing of shankh – an indigenous tradition for fitness and wellness by Rajeev Sharma, Indian Administrative Service, additional commissioner, Kanpur. Mumbai Mirror quoted Sharma as saying that it is science as he has observed the health benefits not only in himself but also in around 40 other people to whom he recommended it.
However, 2009 Nobel laureate Venkatraman Ramakrishnan slammed the ISC, telling The Times of India that he did not attend this session because after attending one of the earlier sessions, he realised that “very little science is discussed”.