Stephen Hawking must be rolling in his grave now. At the 105th Indian science Congress held at Imphal, India’s Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan said that the dearly departed Hawking had once remarked that the Indian Vedas have a theory that’s far superior to Einstein’s e=MC^2. When the media questioned the origin of the source, the minister asked the reporters to find it on their own.

Journalists, however, took to Twitter to thrash the minister.

Modi's science minister, ladies and gentlemen. He fondly believes Hawking said the Vedas might contain stuff like e=mc^2 and will tell India's greatest conclave of scientists that.What a complete embarrassment of a government, from beginning to end,” tweeted Mihir Sharma, a columnist for Bloomberg View, ridiculing the minister.

Sandhya Ramesh, a senior journalist who covers science, found the source: It’s a Facebook account of an Indian guy who uses the name, “Stephen Hawking.” The unverified Facebook account’s handle is @hari.scientist, and the source used by the Indian science minister was a seven-year-old post from this page which said:

It took me four minutes to fact-check, said Sandhya on Twitter. “I'm sure high ranking ministers are capable of employing people who could have done it quicker than that, but they live in a protected bubble, sadly,” she added.

A Times of India journalist pointed out that Vardhan is not only a science minister but is a qualified doctor. “If #Vedas are superior to everything else in the world, why didn't he do a degree in Vedas instead?

Where was the need to study modern medicine & surgery? Oh wait, did he do that from #RSS school?” tweeted Aarti Tikoo Singh.

Adding on Talveen Singh, columnist and author, pointed out that the constant harking back to India’s ‘glorious past’ indicates a deep inferiority complex. “The Minister of Science & Technology’s recent comment on the Vedas and Stephen Hawking is a fine example of this,” she said, asking if he should still remain in the ministry.

Kajal Sonawala, a research scholar, said that since Stephen Hawking is dead, “Modi’s Minister used him to base typical Brahiminical ego. 'Dr' has amazingly managed to deliver a ‘Science Congress’ free of science! What a shame! Hawking was a scientist not a sanghi to say Vedas might have a theory superior to Einstein’s law,” she tweeted.

Former minister criticizes Vardhan

Praful Patel, MP and former minister of Civil Aviation & Heavy Industries, said that it is appalling that India’s science minister quoted a fake #Stephen Hawking Facebook page to claim that the Vedas could contain more advanced scientific theories than Einstein’s. “We expect responsible and reliable comments from a minister while speaking on a public platform,” he said.

Shakespeare was ‘Seshappa Aiyar'

The incident led to a series of hilarious posts with one Indian citizen bringing Shakespeare into the tweet. “OMG. They have turned from Overhauling Indian History to challenging the Anthropological and Scientific theories of reputed authors. This reminds me of the claim made by a man in Pune a long time back that the real name of Shakespeare was ‘Seshappa Aiyar’!” tweeted Usha Padiyar, a retired doctor.

Note to parents

Souvik Khamrui, an engineer, suggested that parents must think twice about sending their child to a government-funded seminar or conference. “Union minister of science & technology himself is speaking such rubbish in a premier science conference. Think twice before sending your child to any program organized by this government. His/her scientific temper and cognition could be severely damaged,” he said.

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