Photograph: Kind courtesy @drdineshbjp/Twitter
Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma claims that a technology similar to the test tube baby technique existed during the days of Ramayana and gave the example of goddess Sita's birth from a pitcher to substantiate his statement.
UP Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi said they supported the statement made by Sharma at a programme on Thursday night. A video of his comments was widely circulated on social media.
Sharma, who on Wednesday said that journalism had started during the times of the Mahabharata, said that Janak, Sita's father, had used a plough following which she was born from a pitcher.
"All of us know that Lord Ram returned from Lanka in Pushpak Vimaan. This proves that vimaan (aircaft) existed then. It is said Goddess Sita was born in a ghada (pitcher). At that point of time, some project of test tube baby existed," the BJP minister claimed on Thursday night.
"Janak (Sita's father) used a plough, and a baby came out from the pitcher. She became Sitaji. This is some kind of technology which is similar to today's test tube baby (technique)," Sharma said.
Tripathi defended Sharma, saying, "He has not made any controversial statement. We support the statement made by him."
"In fact, he has provided a glimpse into the Indian culture, which is presented in a distorted manner by a section of the media," Tripathi said.
Speaking at an event organised in Mathura to mark the 'Hindi Journalism Day' on Wednesday, Sharma had said the mythological character, Sanjaya, sitting at Hastinapur, narrated a bird's eye view of the war of Mahabharata, to Dhritarashtra.
"If this is not live telecast, then what is it," Sharma asked.
The deputy chief minister had also said that journalism had started during the times of the Mahabharata and he cited various instances from the Indian epics to buttress his claim.
The BJP minister equated another character, Narada, with the present-day Google.
"Your Google has started now, but our Google started a long time back. Narad Muni was the epitome of information. He could reach anywhere and transfer a message from one place to another by saying 'Narayana' three times," he said.
The BJP leaders have courted controversy by trying to link modern inventions with ancient India by claiming that advance medical procedures like cataract and plastic surgeries, theory of gravitation, nuclear tests and the Internet had all started during ancient times.
Sita was 'abducted' by Rama, says Gujarat board textbook
Sita was 'abducted' by Lord Rama, says a textbook of Class XII in Gujarat.
As the blooper in the English version of Sanskrit subject came to light, the Gujarat State School Textbook Board on Friday described it as a translation error and ordered an inquiry.
'There is (a) very heart-touching description of the message conveyed by Laxman to Ram when Sita was abducted by Rama,' reads a paragraph giving some basic understanding to students about the epic Raghuvansham written by celebrated Sanskrit poet Kalidasa.
This error figures in the textbook meant for English medium students of Class XII.
GSSTB executive president Nitin Pethani claimed that the word 'tyag' has been translated and printed as 'abducted' instead of 'abandoned' by those who were given the task of translation and proof-reading.
"It should have been printed as 'when Sita was abandoned by Lord Rama'. But, due to a translation mistake, it got printed as 'when Sita was abducted by Rama'.
"The word abandoned was replaced with abducted. This is a translation mistake, which is not there in the Gujarati textbooks," said Pethani.
"We will conduct an inquiry into the matter. If found guilty, we will blacklist the contractors who were given the task of translation as well as proof-reading. We will inform the school teachers to correct this mistake while teaching that chapter," he added.