IIT Kharagpur to teach Vastu Shastra to students - what in the name of science

One can only hope that a Vastu puja will eliminate the 'doshas' that have sullied the ignited minds of the institution.

 |  4-minute read |   17-04-2017
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If you thought we Indians still believe in superstitions, the day doesn't seem far when it will be taught as a subject of science in Indian schools and colleges.

Or has the process already begun?

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, is soon going to introduce Vastu Shastra in its curriculum for both undergraduate and post-graduate students.

According to a report in The Times of India, faculty members feel there is no reason why students shouldn't be conversant with ancient Indian architectural traditions. More so, when students are taught concepts prevalent in the West.

The faculty members also believe that Vastu studies are not rooted in religion.

Instead, they believe, "ancient Indian concepts have a scientific basis and introducing students to these will open up new vistas". Of course, we couldn't agree more.

Interestingly, Vastu Shastra is a code, very similar to Chinese Feng Shui, that guides one towards the spiritually favourable way of laying out a building.

And spirituality is science. Right?

Wrong.

Ardent followers of the ancient Indian "science" of Vedic origin themselves believe it to be something that involved building homes in sync with natural forces.

Therefore, a Vastu-perfect home is supposed to bring in prosperity, good thought (if only they could be more specific about the two words) and sound health to residents.

So there are certain principles considered "Vastu-logically correct" for designing/making a house/building. And our modern-day Vastu experts have come up with all kinds of principles for all kinds of constructions — from Vastu-compliant bedrooms for couples (for marital bliss) to Vastu-perfect septic tanks.

For instance, it is believed that since the septic tank holds all kinds of negative energy (doesn't matter that human excreta is considered to be high in nutrients and organic matter), if it is located "incorrectly it will definitely interfere with positivity of the house and thereby making its residents suffer a lot".

Let's see some of the ill-effects of a septic tank when located "incorrectly".

septic_041717050424.jpg Screenshot: www.vastushastraguru.com

While you might be laughing your head off, the Ranbir and Chitra Gupta School of Infrastructure Design and Management (RCGSIDM) of IIT Kharagpur is serious about Vastu and its effects. It recently held its first workshop on the subject — Vastu in Global Perspective — in Kolkata, which according to The Times of India article, attracted Vastu experts from across the country.

"Times are changing and across the globe there is a renewed interest in ancient Indian knowledge. So, it is natural that we will tweak our syllabus to include Vastu in architecture and infrastructure classes," Joy Sen, head of RCGSIDM and a faculty member of the architecture department, was quoted as saying.

But it's not surprising that such a great idea (to include Vastu in the curriculum) originated from nowhere, but the IIT. What's worse is that it has emanated from the prestigious IITs. Last year, scientists and medical experts floated 40 proposals, including setting up a “gau vigyan (cow science) university” and researching the “anti-cancer” properties of cow urine, at a workshop organised by the IIT-Delhi.

The programme was reportedly aimed at instituting a project to validate the health benefits of Panchgavya (a concoction prepared with cow urine, dung, milk, curd and ghee).

On a much serious note, the proposal to introduce Vastu Shastra in the curriculum doesn't just sound ludicrous, but could also pose a serious threat to students' careers, giving precedence to mere beliefs over evidence and objectivity.

As part of the proposal, students will have to write assignments and tests on the Vastu concepts taught to them.

"Vastu Shastra has its beginnings in Rig Veda and is scientific in its tenor. Today, the whole world is looking at green living, thanks to the way we are suffering due to erratic concretisation. The concept of Vastu revolves around the healthy relationship of nature and infrastructure, hence its modern relevance," Sen was quoted as saying at the same workshop.

Well, there is nothing more to say. Perhaps, one can only hope that a Vastu puja will eliminate the "doshas" that have sullied the ignited minds of IIT Kharagpur. 

Also read: Why IITs can't match world-class universities

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