IIT Bombay unimpressed with Pokhriyal's Indian pride speech

Updated: Aug 11, 2019, 07:56 IST | Pallavi Smart

HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' tries to urge students to remain in India to help in development with unverified truths; attendees take to Twitter to laugh out loud

IIT Bombay unimpressed with Pokhriyal's Indian pride speech
Nandan Nilekani was awarded the of Doctor of Science degree at the convocation by Minister of Human Resource Department, Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' and Dr Subhasis Chaudhuri, director of IIT Bombay. Pic/Datta Kumbhar

It was a day of laughter at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, thanks to pearls of wisdom dropped by the Minister of Human Resource Department, Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank'. Some of them were—"NASA has confirmed that if at all, a robot that is exactly like a human needs to be developed, there is no option rather than using Sanskrit, because it is a scientific language where you read exactly what you write"; "No treatment can be complete without Ayurvedic medicines, which is why all hospitals need to have an Ayurvedic department now"; "Sage Charak discovered the Atom". The students of technology giggled away at the 57th convocation ceremony of the famed institution on Saturday morning. It did not take long for many of the attendees to take to Twitter and other social media platforms to joke about it.

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The minister, who was chief guest at the event was addressing the graduating batch of the institute. In an effort to encourage the bright minds to work and live in the country, Pokhriyal spoke about the ancient past of India. "When there was nothing, we had higher educational institutions of class such as Takshsheela, Nalanda and Vikramsheela. Everybody used to come to us for knowledge. We have to take India back to this position as world leader. The path that leads to this dream will be due to bright minds like you," said Pokhriyal, appealing to IITians to be a part of 'Make in India'. He also spoke about thinking about what can aid the "development" of the country is very important.

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Remembering Late Manohar Parrikar (chief minister of Goa) as a friend, Pokhriyal spoke about how he feels overwhelmed that he is in IIT Bombay, where Parrikar was once a student. In an attempt to inspire and cheer up the batch of students passing out, Pokhriyal also read out a list of names of distinguished alumni from IITs across India. Soon, social media started buzzing with comments on the speech. "Minister lists out IIT alumni names from Wikipedia without fact checking if they are from IIT Bombay," read one of the tweets. There was no stopping after that. Other tweets read—"Poor chap just believed all that WhatsApp junk"; "the minister seems to be victim of hoax on NASA believing Sanskrit to be most suitable language for programming"; "time to get fact checkers to validate the speech before it hits the floor?"

'Degree without any examination'

Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys, was conferred with the honour of Doctor of Science degree at the convocation. Nilekani, who is alumnus of the IIT Bombay, managed to get a good applause with his remarks on how this exactly doubles the number of degrees he has received from IIT Bombay. "This one without any exam," said Nilekani. The 57th convocation of IIT Bombay saw a total of 2,407 degrees being awarded to students.

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