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A glass-like material based on technology found in an ancient Sanskrit text that could ultimately be used in a stealth bomber (the material cannot be detected by radar) has been developed by a research scholar of Benaras Hindu University. Prof M A Lakshmithathachar, Director of the Academy of Sanskrit Research in Melkote, near Mandya, told Deccan Herald that tests conducted with the material showed radars could not detect it. “The unique material cannot be traced by radar and so a plane coated with it cannot be detected using radar,” he said.
The academy had been commissioned by the Aeronautical Research Development Board, New Delhi, to take up a one-year study, ‘Non-conventional approach to Aeronautics,’ on the basis of an old text, Vaimanika Shastra, authored by Bharadwaj. Though the period to which Bharadwaj belonged to is not very clear, Prof Lakshmithathachar noted, the manuscripts might be more 1,000 years old. The project aims at deciphering the Bharadwaj’s concepts in aviation.
However, Prof Lakshmithathachar was quick to add that a collaborative effort from scholars of Sanskrit, physics, mathematics and aeronautics is needed to understand Bharadwaj’s shastra. The country’s interest in aviation can be traced back over 2,000 years to the mythological era and the epic Ramayana tells of a supersonic-type plane, the Pushpak Vimana, which could fly at the speed of thought. “The shastra has interesting information on vimanas (airplanes), different types of metals and alloys, a spectrometer and even flying gear,” the professor said. The shastra also outlines the metallurgical method to prepare an alloy very light and strong which could withstand high pressure.
He said, Prof Dongre of BHU had brought out a research paper Amshubondhini after studying Vaimanika Shastra and developed the material. “There have been sporadic efforts to develop aeronautics in the country’s history. There has never been a holistic approach to it. Vaimanika Shastra throws up many interesting details that can benefit Indian aviation program,” the director added.
Prof Lakshmithathachar rubbished the tendency among certain scholars to discount such ancient Sanskrit texts and said, “Why would our scholars want to cheat future generations? Unless it was important, nothing was written in the old days. The fact that there exists manuscripts indicates the significance.” The academy has also embarked on other projects including ‘Indian concept of Cosmology’ with Indian Space Research Organization, ‘Iron & Steel in Ancient India — A Historical Perspective’ with the Steel Authority of India Limited, and ‘Tools & Technology of Ancient India.’
(source: Stealth bomber from shastra - deccan herald November 2, 02, not available online anymore, archived on a web site).