The 102nd Indian Science Congress is going to be held in Mumbai from 4th January, 2015
According to the abstract of a paper to be presented in it, the mention of 'vimaanas; or flying machines in several Sanskrit texts proves that ancient Indian rishis like Agastya and Bharadwaj had developed the science of aircraft construction and aeronautical engineering. This would be in line with the Prime Minister's statement that in ancient India our surgeons could do head transplant and genetic engineering.
However, no reply has as yet been given to my question : If there were aeroplanes in ancient India, there must have been engines in ancient India, because an aeroplane runs on an engine ( or more than one engine ). Then why was the Mahabharata war fought with chariots and horses, instead of with tanks, self propelled artillery, and motorized katyushkas ?
It is true that there is mention of vimaanas in our epics like the Mahabhatata. But these are epic poems, and in poetry a poet has, what is known as , poetic licence. In other words, he can exaggerate. So everything written in the Mahabharat or Ramayana should not be taken and understood literally.
There were certainly no aircraft in ancient India. Even a child knows that the first aircraft in the world was invented by the Wright brothers in 1903. Though it is true that Sushruta had invented plastic surgery in ancient India, this did not enable a surgeon to do head transplant.
I regret to say that these ' champions ' of Indian culture are largely ignorant of our culture and the real great achievements of our ancestors ( see my article ' Sanskrit as a language of Science ' ), but by making false and empty boasts ( see my blog ' Mixing the True with the Untrue ' ) they make us a laughing stock before the whole world.