March 17, 2018

From Hari to Hawkings: The politics of 'Chinese Whispers'

If I were to advocate a particular theory all my life, and some ignorant bubblehead, after my demise, declared that I proclaimed something absolutely contrary to it, what would I do?  Well, practically, nothing! Because the dead, unfortunately, cannot defend themselves (the likely reason why that someone would be abusing the opportunity). But if I was vested any semblance of power by the cosmic universe, I would use it all to haunt that opportunistic manipulator for the rest of my time, making his days as miserable as possible.
But enough said about me, and my wannabe afterlife  shenanigans.
Let's talk about what really happened, and the reason for my preposterous consideration.

It has just been a couple of days since renowned physicist Stephen Hawkings passed away, and the pseudo-intellectual political poltergeists in India have already started cashing out on promote their one major agenda, (no points for guessing), religion!

Now we all know that India has this way of turning everything into a religious matter. Be it the beef ban, clubbing scene for women, Darwinism theory of evolution, or the opportunity to juice up whatever little mileage that can be got from a dead scientist, who has been a legendary inspiration to millions around the globe, a politically charged Mind in India will find a way to make sure it all bottoms down its advantage using religion as a crutch.

So what happened was this. At the 105th edition of the Indian Science Congress, we heard the minister of science and technology, Dr Harsh Vardhan, eulogise the great scientist in an unique manner; by mentioning a rare nugget of his contribution to the field of science religion.

Dr Vardhan went ahead to announce that Hawkings had emphatically said on record that our Vedas might have a theory superior to Einsteins e=mc^2, equation of relativity.

When the media in the audience enquired about the source of his statement, the minister did what any self respecting Indian politician would do. He dodged the bullet by asking  the media to do their homework themselves.

However, it was soon enough that the Twitterati did their homework, and realised that this teacher was going dramatically out of syllabus. In fact, not just that, he was following some misguided textbook to quote.

And so like any self respecting social-media addict would do, they decided to unleash their wrath on Twitter.
However, when a religious brigade starts, there are always people waiting to jump on. Some to start a fire and some to douse it.
There are rationalists and loyalists. Those who will defend without reason, and those who may reason but not defend. The Twitter wars never stop. And the public statement in question will be forgotten only when another outrageous statement takes its place. Which, by the way things are going, will not be too long away.
The source of the statement made by the minister, however, turned out to be a fan page by a man named Hari using the handle 'Stephen Hawking'.
Now cmon, falling for something like that! Aww...the Internet is definitely killing our grey cells, isn't it?

Imagine what the great scientist sitting somewhere amidst the stars in a parallel universe, must be thinking of this conundrum down here?
I'd read somewhere that Hawkings, known for his wit, had a high standard of humour, and if someone cracked a poor joke, he would express his disapproval by rolling his wheelchair over their foot.

If only he were alive today, we all know who would have been dancing around with a major limp...

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