Pseudoscience moves from fringe to the mainstream
India has a mixed relationship with science.
On the one hand, it has a rich tradition of outstanding scientists - the Higgs boson particle, for example, is named partly after an Indian physicist and Einstein's contemporary, Satyendra Nath Bose. Particle physicist Ashoke Sen, meanwhile, is the recipient of Fundamental Physics Prize, the world's most lucrative academic award.
But it also has a long tradi- tion of replacing science with myths, leading to a fringe culture of pseudoscience.
Many believe under Narendra Modi's Hindu nationalist BJP party, pseudoscience has moved from the fringe to the mainstream.
Mr Modi himself set the tone in 2014 with his outlandish claim that cosmetic surgery was practised in India thousands of years ago.
Many of his ministers followed suit with similar claims. India's top science summit also started inviting academ- ics with Hindu nationalist leanings who have made equally bizarre claims.
Such claims usually hark back to an imagined glorious Hindu past to bolster religious nationalism. The BJP and its hard line allies have for a long time mixed mythology and religion to bolster political Hinduism and nationalism. Adding science to the mix, say critics, will only help propagate quack science and erode scientific temper.
Also, as economist Kaushik Basu says: "For a nation to progress it is important for people to spend time on science, mathematics and literature instead of spending time showing that 5,000 years ago their ancestors did science, mathematics and literature."