Seeming to take a page out of Dina Nath Batra’s book, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has linked medical science to mythology, citing “plastic surgery” and “genetic science” to explain the creation of Lord Ganesh and Karna respectively.
Speaking at a function in Mumbai on Saturday, he said, “Medical science ki duniya mein hum garv kar sakte hain ki hamara desh kisi samay mein kya tha. Mahabharat mein Karna ki katha, hum sab Karna ke vishay mein Mahabharat mein padhte hain. Lekin kabhi humne thoda sa aur sochna shuru karen to dhyaan mein aayega ki Mahabharat ka kehna hai ki Karna maa ki god se paida nahi hua tha. Iska matlab ye hua ki us samay genetic science maujood tha. Tabhi to Karna, maa ki god ke bina, uska janma hua hoga. ( We can feel proud of what our country achieved in medical science at one point of time. We all read about Karna in Mahabharat. If we think a little more, we realise that Mahabharat says Karna was not born from his mother’s womb. This means that genetic science was present at that time. That is why Karna could be born outside his mother’s womb).”
According to the text of the speech posted on the PMO website, he said, “Hum Ganeshji ki pooja karte hain. Koi to plastic surgeon hoga us zamaane mein jisne manushya ke shareer par haathi ka sar rakhkar ke plastic surgery ka prarambh kiya hoga. (We worship Lord Ganesh. There must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being and began the practice of plastic surgery).”
Stressing on the need to improve healthcare facilities, Modi said India had “capabilities” in several fields during ancient times. “There must be many areas in which our ancestors made big contributions. Some of these are well recognised. If we talk about space science, our ancestors had, at some point, displayed great strengths in space science. What people like Aryabhatt had said centuries ago are being recognised by science today. What I mean to say is that we are the country which had these capabilities. We need to regain these,” he said.
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In his book, Tejomay Bharat, which was made compulsory reading in Gujarat schools, Batra, convenor of Shiksha Bachao Andolan Samiti, has said, “.America wants to take the credit for invention of stem cell research, but the truth is that India’s Dr Balkrishna Ganpat Matapurkar has already got a patent for regenerating body parts. You would be surprised to know that this research is not new and that Dr Matapurkar was inspired by the Mahabharata. Kunti had a bright son like the sun itself. When Gandhari, who had not been able to conceive for two years, learnt of this, she underwent an abortion. From her womb a huge mass of flesh came out. (Rishi) Dwaipayan Vyas was called. He observed this hard mass of flesh and then he preserved it in a cold tank with specific medicines. He then divided the mass of flesh into 100 parts and kept them separately in 100 tanks full of ghee for two years. After two years, 100 Kauravas were born of it. On reading this, he (Matapurkar) realised that stem cell was not his invention. This was found in India thousands of years ago.”
The book carries a customised message from Modi, as then Gujarat Chief Minister.