After Rahul Gandhi, historian Ramachandra Guha takes potshot at Sushma Swaraj


It seems Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi wasn’t the only one taking a dig at External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s speech made at the UN General Assembly on Saturday.

Earlier on Sunday, Gandhi had tweeted, “Sushma ji, thank you for finally recognising Congress governments’ great vision and legacy of setting up IITs and IIMs.”

Noted historian, Ramachandra Guha, too targetted Swaraj with a sarcastic tweet. He wrote, “Am very pleased that @SushmaSwaraj told the world of the IITs and IIMs; and greatly relieved that she didn’t credit them to the Vedas.”

Guha’s tweet came just days after a top BJP minister in Narendra Modi’s cabinet, Satyapal Singh controversially asked Indian teachers to teach students about the Indian, who invented plane before the Wright brothers.

Speaking at an award ceremony for the first AICTE-ECI Chhatra Vishwakarma Award held on Tuesday, Singh had said, “Why are students not taught that before the Wright brothers, an Indian called Shivakar Babuji Talpade was the first to invent the airplane. This person invented the plane eight years before the Wright brothers. Are our students taught these things in IITs or not? They should be.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been dismissive of the previous Congress-led governments’ achievements, too had sensationally claimed in October 2014 that the genetic science existed even during mythological period.

He had said, “We all read about Karna in the Mahabharata. If we think a little more, we realise that the Mahabharata 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.”

He had gone on to add, “We worship Lord Ganesha. 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.”

According to a report by London’s The Guardian, as Gujarat chief minister, Modi also wrote the foreword to a book for school students in the state which maintains, among other things, that the Hindu God Rama flew the first aeroplane and that stem cell technology was known in ancient India.

Modi’s home minister, Rajnath Singh, had told students of a posh Delhi college that dhoti wearing Indian babas were knew more about science than NASA scientists.

As for the Congress-led governments’ achievement in the past, the first IIT in India was created in 1951 under Jawaharlal Nehru with a vision to create an autonomous educational institution. Since then, 15 more IITs have been established with all coming into existence under the Congress-led governments.

IIT Bombay was established in 1958, followed by those at Madras (1959), Kanpur (1959) and Delhi (1961). In 2012, The UPA 2 government had approved a scheme for setting up 20 IITs in PPP mode with an overall outlay of Rs 2,808.71 crore.

Some of the top names who graduated from IIT include Google’s global CEO, Sundar Pichai, Nandan Nilekani (co-founder of Infosys creator of Aadhar), Sachin Bansal (founder of Flipkart), Raghuram Rajan (former RBI governor), Nikesh Arora (Vice Chairman of SoftBank) and more crucially Manohar Parrikar (Goa chief minister and prominent face in the BJP).