Some elderly relatives of mine wanted to visit the Akshardham temple in Delhi, so I took them there.
Among other things there, there is a cultural boat ride inside a tunnel , and we went on it. Inside this tunnel are scenes from ancient Indian history. Many of these are truthful, e.g. Sushruta doing surgery, Aryabhat explaining mathematics to students, Panini teaching grammar, etc. But there was one scene which completely put me off. That was a scene showing an aeroplane allegedly built in ancient India.
Afterwards I went to the head priest of the temple and told him that while the other scenes were truthful and should certainly be shown to people who should know about the great achievements of our ancestors, the scene of an aeroplane in ancient India was false, as there were no aeroplanes in ancient india, and showing such falsehood dilutes the great achievements of our ancestors by mixing truth with falsehood.
Many people, some of whom are even educated people, say that in ancient India we had aeroplanes, atom bombs and guided missiles. In support of this argument they refer to the Ramayan and Mahabharat.
NowIt is true that the Ramayan mentions Pushpak Viman, an alleged flying chariot, on which Lord Ram is said to have brought Sita from Lanka to Ayodhya, after defeating Ravan. On this basis it is claimed that there were aeroplanes in ancient India.
My reply to such people is this :
We must first understand what are Ramayan and Mahabharat ? They are epic poems ( mahakavyas). In poetry there is a thing called 'poetic licence', which gives a poet the right to exaggerate. So one must not take all things in the Ramayan or Mahabharat literally. As in much of poetry, many things are imaginative.
Everyone in the world knows that the first aeroplane in the world ( the Kitty Hawk ) was built by the Wright brothers in 1903. Hence we make ourselves a laughing stock before the whole world by claiming that there were aeroplanes in ancient India.
If there were aeroplanes in ancient India then there must have been engines in ancient India ( because an aeroplane requires an engine). In that case soldiers should have fought in tanks instead of in chariots and horses in the Mahabharat.
Similarly, the claim that there were guided missiles and atom bombs in ancient India,( because there is mention of brahmastra, agnyastra, narayanastra, etc in the Mahabharat and Ramayan ) is also nonsense. These were only poetic imaginations.
Such people who talk such nonsense do not know the real great scientific discoveries of our ancestors, e.g. the decimal system in mathematics, plastic surgery in medicine, etc I have mentioned about some of them in my articles ' The Decimal System in Mathematics ', " Panini, ' Nyaya and Vedanta ', and 'Sanskrit as a language of Science' on my blog justicekatju.blogspot.in