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Archives for : March2018

Stephen Hawking said Vedas had a ‘theory’ superior to Einstein’s thesis, says Harsh Vardan

Jacob Koshy

Harsh vardhan
Union Minister for for Science and Technology Dr. Harsh Vardhan. File photo. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Union Science and Technology Minister, a medical doctor, however, didn’t clarify which specific Vedic “theory” he was talking about.
Union Science Minister Harsh Vardhan has claimed that the late cosmologist Stephen Hawking once said the Vedas had a theory superior to that of Albert Einstein’s famous equation, E=mc2.

Dr. Vardhan was speaking at the 105th edition of the Indian Science Congress, organised at the Manipur University here, and his address preceded the inaugural address of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was also on stage. “We recently lost a renowned scientist, cosmologist Stephen Hawking. He emphatically said on record that our Vedas might have a theory superior to that of Einstein’s E=mc2,” Dr. Vardhan said in his address.

E=mc2 is an equation that denotes the equivalence of mass and energy, and was first proposed by Einstein in 1905 as part of his Special Theory of Relativity. Dr. Vardhan, who’s also a medical doctor, didn’t clarify which specific Vedic “theory” he was talking about. When pressed for the source of this claim by Hawking, who died on Wednesday the 14th, he refused clarification. “You in the media should do some work and find out the source of this statement. When you have failed, then I shall disclose the source of my information,” he told a group of journalists.

No documented evidence

There’s no documented evidence for such remarks by Hawking.

Stephen Hawking is, however, on record denouncing astrology. “The reason most scientists don’t believe in astrology is that it is not consistent with our theories which have been tested by experiment,” Professor Hawking had said at the Albert Einstein memorial lecture in New Delhi in 2001, according to a report in The Hindu.

This isn’t the first time that the Indian Science Congress has witnessed bluster regarding the links between ancient Indian texts and modern astronomy. At the Science Congress in 2015, there were claims that the Vedic texts spoke of sophisticated airplanes.

A scientist-historian, who’s an expert on ancient astronomy and to its references in ancient Indian texts, said that Dr. Vardhan’s statement was “nonsensical” and it was unlikely that Hawking could have made such a link. The mass-energy equation was Einstein’s solution to reconciling the laws of electro-magnetic radiation with the laws of motion. “There have been philosophical musings about energy giving rise to creation but that doesn’t come under a scientific theory. And certainly no question of being superior,” Mayank Vahia, scientist at the Tata Insitute of Fundamental Research told The Hindu over phone.

Department of Scientific and Industrial Research

A search for the phrase “Stephen Hawking + Vedas” leads—as the first link—to a webpage of the Institute of Scientific Research on the Vedas. The first post has a submission by the organisation’s secretary, Sivaram Babu who claims Stephen Hawking has “referred the Vedic science books authored by Dr. Sivarambabu (Organizing secretary, I-SERVE) and said that the Vedas might have a theory superior to Einstein’s law E=MC2.”

Turns out, this reference to “Stephen Hawking’ links to a 2011 post on a fan-page maintained by a ‘hari.scientist’ with the handle ‘Stephen Hawking.’ The late scientist’s original Facebook page is Stephen Hawking @stephenhawking.

I-SERVE says it’s recognized by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Govt. of India, as a SIRO (Scientific and Industrial Research Organization).

DSIR is one of organisations under the charge of Dr. Vardhan.

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Man Moves Supreme Court For Biometric Details Of His Dead Father From UIDAI

Santosh Min B said he wanted the biometric details as the data would be of no use to UIDAI after the death of his father and that there could be chances of data misuse and abuse.

Man Moves Supreme Court For Biometric Details Of His Dead Father From UIDAI

The man demanded biometric details from UIDAI as there could be chances of data misuse. (File)

NEW DELHI:  In a rare case, a human resources manager from Bengaluru moved the Supreme Court on Thursday seeking a direction to the UIDAI to return biometric data collected for Aadhaar card of his father who died.

Santosh Min B said he wanted the biometric details as the data would be of no use to UIDAI after the death of his father and that there could be chances of data misuse and abuse.

Mr Santosh, who works with an ayurvedic clinic, linked his father’s death to the humiliation that he felt when he tried to file his life certificate at a provident fund office in Bengaluru. The system could not authenticate his identity due to faded fingerprints and a cataract surgery.

A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra gave the petitioner two-minutes to argue his case in which he said that the Aadhaar scheme is like an “undeclared emergency”.

“This court may direct the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to hand over my dad’s biometric in a printed form, so that I can keep it for posterity,” he told the bench that comprised justice AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.

He also sought abolishing of the Aadhaar scheme and said that “his father had passed away on December 31, 2016, the dark day in our history, as on that day demonetisation ended”.

The bench interrupted him and said, “We will not allow you to give any speech. If you want you can argue on question of law, but you can’t be allowed to give a speech”.

Santosh, who appeared in person before the court, said that he had received a half written letter of his father N Bhanu Vikaraman for the Prime Minister in January this year.

In the letter, his father had written about the “harassment” a sick and elderly person faces during filling of life certificate form at provident fund offices throughout the country.

“In imposing the Aadhaar, the government of the day wanted to keep track of every single paise earned by the citizen and on other hand political parties can receive funds anonymously through electoral bonds,” Santosh said in his submission.

He said that since his father is dead now, the biometric details would be of no use for the UIDAI and moreover there were chances of their misuse and abuse.

The bench, took on record his submissions and posted the matter for further hearing on March 20.

The bench, is hearing a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and its enabling Act.

Senior advocate KV Vishwanathan, appearing for activist Aruna Roy, continued his arguments today and said that the use of the Aadhaar infrastructure by private entities is unconstitutional and authorising the use of the “Aadhaar number” as the sole proof of identity for an open-ended and unspecified set of laws or contracts, defeats the principle of informed consent at the time of enrolment.

“The broad and unlimited scope of activities covered under section 57 of the Act and the kind of private entities permitted to use Aadhaar is entirely disproportionate, beyond the Aims and Objectives of the Act, and without any compelling State interest,” he said.

KV Viswanathan said that the Act also fails to specify the purpose for which the Aadhaar number may be used to establish identity, and whether it is necessary, given the alternative, existing modes of identification.

“Finally, no procedural safeguards govern the actions of private entities, and no remedies exist for authentication failures or service denial,” he said.

Attacking the Aadhaar Act of 2016, the senior lawyer argued that section 7 of the Act was unconstitutional and violates Article 14.

“The requirement under section 7 for every person to undergo authentication to avail benefits/services/ entitlements, falls foul of Article 14 since, first, such mandatory authentication has caused, and continues to cause, exclusion of the most marginalised sections of society,” he said.

He added that this exclusion is not simply a question of poor implementation that can be administratively resolved, but stems from the very design of the Act which is the use of biometric authentication as the primary method of identification.

“In questions of infringement of fundamental rights, courts have to decide on the proportionality of an imposition with greater scrutiny, when the primary decision maker (the State and UIDAI) did not give due weight to the competing balancing rights at stake,” he said and concluded his arguments.

Senior advocates Anand Grover and Meenakshi Arora also addressed the court for the petitioners and termed the Aadhaar and its enabling Act as unconstitutional and in violation of fundamental rights.

Yesterday, the top court was told that the collection of biometric details of citizens by UIDAI from 2010 onwards till 2016, when the enabling Aadhaar law came into force, was “illegal” and “invalid” and the collected data deserved to be destroyed.

The Supreme court had earlier extended the March 31 deadline for mandatory linking of Aadhaar to avail various services and welfare schemes run by the government till it delivered its verdict on the validity of the 12-digit biometric number and its enabling law.


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EXPOSED- Fake Fingerprint Racket For Aadhaar Authentication In Rajasthan

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The #Aadhaar boomerang: How the emerging regime could hurt the BJP govt

With the BJP being in power both in Centre and most of the states, who do you think will face the voter’s ire if Aadhaar-linked subsidies don’t reach the beneficiaries?



After several nerve-racking months of delay, a five-judge Supreme Court Bench delivered an interim order on the Aadhaar issue. Of course, this is not the final word. That is expected only later in the year. Yet, the interim order can describe the current state of play.


The order is so intriguing that even days after the interim ruling, neither party — those who oppose the very idea of Aadhaar as well as those defending its universal usage — is sure whether it is winning or losing the debate. That’s because the SC has, for the most part, made a clear distinction. If a person is getting social welfare from the government, he/she would have to get an Aadhaar.


On the other hand, if a service is not linked to a government subsidy — say an existing bank account or mobile phone number or even the Permanent Account Number — then one doesn’t have to get an Aadhaar straightaway or get it linked by March 31. They can rest easy till the Court comes up with the final order. A curious little exception has been made for opening new bank accounts and availing passports on a Tatkal basis as both these services still mandatorily require Aadhaar.

Overall, this is a neat enough distinction. The relatively better-off Indians can sit back and relax. This is the class that has prioritised issues such as privacy, security of data and the freedom of choice. They seem to have been heard, at least for the time being. No more mandatory Aadhaar for them, unless the government can convince the Court otherwise. The other group includes the economically and socially marginalised people. They obviously prioritise delivery of benefits. Privacy, choice, and security of personal data are unlikely to be their main concern.

On the face of it, the interim ruling would appear to be a snub for those fighting against the very idea of Aadhaar. That’s because many consider the basic technical operations of Aadhaar — such as collection of biometrics — as unconstitutional and illegal. There are others who question Aadhaar on the grounds that it violates an individual’s right to privacy and a life of dignity. They have apprehensions about the state’s ability and intent to conduct

unauthorised surveillance. Others question the infallibility of technology and how its failures could lead to exclusion of the needy especially when Aadhaar is linked to their legal entitlements. Then, there are those who question whether a government can — in a manner of speaking — violate one’s fundamental right to privacy as it dispenses social welfare to that person.

Lastly, some like former Finance Minister P Chidambaram question the manner in which the existing Aadhaar Act was passed in Parliament as a money Bill. As things stand, most of these worries are unlikely to derail the Aadhaar project. And that should be a cause for celebration for the BJP government and the Unique Identification Authority of India since they were pushing for Aadhaar to be the centrepiece of everything possible in a person’s life.

Frankly, if the government’s push is accepted in toto, parents can consider forgoing naming their kids and just wait for the UIDAI to generate the Aadhaar number for the new-borns. But there’s a slip here. While there is no point speculating what the apex court may finally say, the fact is this: If the Court stays on with this neat little distinction, the BJP government may find that it has lost out on both fronts.

If Aadhaar is not made mandatory for non-subsidy related services, it is likely that most people who do not depend on subsidies — the ones with the purchasing power in the economy — will stop using Aadhaar, thanks largely to the growing concerns about data privacy. On the other hand, the government would be left with the onerous task of making Aadhaar work effectively for various social welfare schemes.

Now, most of the evidence suggests that Aadhaar-related delivery is pretty shoddy. With the BJP being in power both in Centre and most of the states, who do you think will face the voter’s ire if Aadhaar-linked subsidies don’t reach the beneficiaries?

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India – Counsellors video call to deaf-mute girl for 14 hrs to prevent suicide

MP sign language experts prevent suicide on video-call in Rajasthan

Karishma Kotwal

MP sign language experts prevent suicide on video-call in Rajasthan
INDORE: Gyanendra Purohitand his wife Monica, counsellors and sign language experts who work with Indore police, were turning in for the day on Thursday when they got a video call at 9pm. What they saw sent a chill down their spines: a young girl stood on a bed, with a noose tied around her neck. She couldn’t speak, but through signs said that it was her birthday and she was going to make it her “death day”.

All through the night, Purohit frantically communicated with the Rajasthan girlthrough signs, praying that the internet line holds. He got other deaf-and-mute persons from across the country to call her and assure her that she wasn’t alone.Together, they stalled her long enough for Rajasthan police to identify her, track down her house in Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh district and break down the door to save her on Friday morning. When police burst into her room – witnessed live by Purohit and his team 1,000km away in Indore – she still had the noose around her neck. It had been 14 hours of nerve-wracking counselling.

Purohit spoke to TOI on Friday about the hair-raising rescue. It actually started at 10pm on Tuesday (March 13) when he got a video call from the 26-year-old seeking his help.

“She told me that she was raped by her father for 16 years before being forcibly married off. She was raped for the first time when she was only 10,” he said. Purohit and wife Monica counselled her over the next two days.

Then, at 9pm on Thursday, Purohit’s phone buzzed again. “I saw her standing on the bed with a dupatta around her neck. It was tied to the ceiling fan. She kept conveying that she was going to commit suicide since we had not provided immediate help to her. I was shocked but kept communicating,” said Purohit. They learnt she had stolen a phone from a relative to make the call.

He and Monica took turns ‘talking’ to her, while simultaneously coordinating with other deaf-mute people they knew and asked them to call the girl. This way, they ensured she was never alone or tired of speaking to one person. “She got calls from different people who reassured her and promised help and justice, but she never untied the noose,” said Purohit. “Rajasthan police did not take the matter seriously and it took a lot of time to convince them to rescue the girl,” said Monica.

Purohit asked Indore police to talk to their Rajasthan counterparts and it was around 11.30am on Friday that Rajasthan cops finally broke down the door. “She still had the noose around her and was preparing to jump. Had they been late by even a second, the girl couldn’t have been saved,” said Purohit.

The girl has now been sent to a women’s shelter.

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