Politician ruthlessly mocked after claiming 'Ancient India' invented internet

Politician ruthlessly mocked after claiming 'Ancient India' invented internet
Photo credit: Twitter/ Biplab Dep

A high-ranking official in India is being ridiculed online for claiming that the internet and satellite technology was invented in ancient India.

Biplab Deb, the chief minister of the north-eastern state of Tripura, used an example from the ancient Hindu story Mahabharata to make his point at a public event on Tuesday.

But he doesn't have many backers - with his name now trending on Twitter as Indians ridicule him.

"Internet and satellite communication had existed in the days of Mahabharata. How could Sanjaya (the charioteer of King Dhritarashtra in the epic) give a detailed account and description to the blind king about the battle of Kurukshetra? It means internet was there, the satellites and that technology was there in this country at that time," Mr Deb said, according to the Times of India.

Mr Deb said that while European nations and the United States may claim to have invented the internet, the technology mostly began in India and was built by its people.

"Internet and satellite system had existed in India lakhs of years ago. The richest culture belongs to our nation and I feel proud of it," Times of India reported him as saying.

"Even today in internet and software technology, we are ahead. See Microsoft, it may be a US company but most of its engineers are all from our country."

He's been criticised on Twitter for being "anti-illectual" and "regressive" in his views.

"Rather than solve today's problems they're busy romanticizing a fictional past that never existed. Pathetic and embarrassing," said economist Rupa Subramanaya. 

"The chief minister of India's Tripura state says that his country has been using the Internet since the era of the Hindu epic Mahabharata.

"So I think that would mean around the 10th century BC," said academic Arif Rafiq. "No wonder India leads the world in trolls."