“Each and every custom and ritual of Hindus is steeped in science and every modern Indian achievement is, in fact, a continuation of our ancient India’s scientific achievements. We recently lost a renowned scientist, renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking. He also emphatically said on record that our Vedas might have a theory which is superior to Einstein’s theory of E=mc^2.”
These are the words of Union Minister for Science and Technology Harsh Vardhan. He has made this rather curious claim at the inaugural session of the 105th Indian Science Congress at Imphal on Friday, 16 March.
The Indian Express reported that when Dr Vardhan was asked the source of this information, no clear answer was given.
Alt News decided to look into the basis of this claim. We found that this theory that the Vedas could be the repository of knowledge superior to Einstein’s theory of relativity is not exactly new and has been floating in the public domain for some time now; for example, as posted below on a website www.serveveda.org which calls itself Institute of Scientific Research on Vedas. The article was posted in November 2013.
In order to fact-check the claim, Alt News searched for all the claims prior to 2011 about Hawking, Einstein and E=mc^2 and the Facebook page of hari.scientist shows up as the original source. This was originally pointed out by @sandygrains who is the science editor with the online news portal ThePrint. The above article from serveveda.org too was sourced from this Facebook page.
We also looked up Stephen Hawking’s website to see if there is any reference to the Vedas. We did not find a single mention.
The Facebook page cited above has only about 1,500 followers and masquerades as belonging to Professor Hawking. However, the handle of the page is @hari.scientist which clearly indicates that it is not Professor Hawking’s official page. The official Facebook page of Stephen Hawking can be accessed here.
The above Facebook post is also referred to in the serveveda.org article. Veda Kavi from serveveda had sent an email to Professor Hawking regarding the same. Mr Hawking, in his response, had expressed regret over his inability to respond to the specific claims attributed to him in the Facebook post of 2011.
That the page does not belong to Stephen Hawking but only has his name was confirmed by the admin of the page himself in a comment on the same post, which can be viewed below.
Einstein’s theory of relativity was transformative, completely altering the way humans look at astronomy and theoretical physics. Dr Harsh Vardhan’s ludicrous claim made at the inaugural session of the Indian Science Congress is not only ironical but also embarrassing.
(This story has been published in an arrangement with Alt News)