Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma addresses a press conference in Lucknow on Jan 8, 2017
[File Photo] Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma addresses a press conference in Lucknow on Jan 8, 2017IANS

Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma is in the eye of a storm after he claimed at a journalists' meet that Sita – the wife of Lord Rama in Ramayana – was a test-tube baby.

Sharma has since become the butt of jokes on social media, with many on Twitter comparing him to fellow BJP leader and Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb, who had claimed that India had internet in the times of the Mahabharata.

Sharma also joined the long list of BJP leaders who continue to claim India had made unheard-of progress in the field of science and technology in ancient times.

A history of Sharma-isms?

The latest claim by the Uttar Pradesh deputy chief minister seems to have been made the same day he had said journalism existed in the times of the Mahabharata, and the divine sage Narada was " our Google."

Sharma was reportedly addressing a gathering of journalist on Wednesday, May 30, on the occasion of Hindi Journalism Day when he claimed: "When Sita was born there must have been something like a test-tube baby. Janak (her adoptive father and a king) ploughed the land and a baby came out of an earthen pot, she became Sita. This means technology similar to a test-tube baby must have existed."

This was the same event where Sharma claimed that Sanjaya, the charioteer of the blind King Dhritarashtra, saw "live telecast" of the battle in Kurukshetra while sitting in Hastinapur, and narrated the incidents to the monarch.

Sharma also reportedly told the journalists: "Your Google has started now, but our Google started a long time back. 'Narad Muni' was the epitome of information. He could reach anywhere and transfer a message from one place to another by saying 'Narayana' three times."

BJP leaders' mythological farrago

Sharma seemed to be only adding to the number of BJP leaders who had made outrageous claims about India's apparent technological advances in recent times.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, for example, seemed to have inspired Sharma's ideas on Narad. Or maybe they were inspired by a common source.

Even Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu – a BJP man before he was elected to the position – claimed recently that Indians knew how to perform plastic surgery in ancient times!

And then there was Satyapal Singh, an IPS officer-turned-politician who – as Union minister of state for human resource development – claimed that Charles darwin was wrong because no one had seen apes evolving into humans!

Given the manner in which BJP leaders are going, the list seems only set to expand.