While the first workable internet in the world came up in the late 1960s, it looks like India was way ahead in time, at least in Tripura chief minister Biplab Deb's head. Speaking at a Regional Workshop on Computerisation and Reforms in Agartala, Deb said that internet was invented in India hundreds of years ago.
"Internet and satellite communication had existed in the days of Mahabharata. How could Sanjaya (the charioteer of King Dhritarashtra) give a detailed account and description to the blind king about the battle of Kurukshetra? Deb said during the workshop, according to ANI.
"It means internet was there, the satellites and that technology was there in this country at that time."
And it looks like he genuinely meant it, as he went on to say that the United States and European nations may say that they invented the internet, but India had started using the technology long ago. "Internet and satellite system had existed in India during lakhs of years ago," the BJP leader added.
"The richest culture belongs to our nation and I feel proud of it. Even today in internet and software technology, we are ahead. See Microsoft, it may be a U.S. company but most of its engineers are all from our country."
Deb explained that India was extremely advanced in terms of technology, but it fell back later on. It is now slowly gaining momentum according to him and PM Narendra Modi's push to digitization will boost the nation in a big way.
We are lucky enough to have a guardian-like Prime Minister," he said.
Twitter users are now having a ball taking digs at Deb. One user commented: "Why didn't Pandavas play online poker then? Draupadi would have been spared."
Here are a few reactions
Internet existed during the Mahabharata: Biplab Deb (CM, Tripura)— Jet Lee(Vasooli Bhai) (@Vishj05) April 17, 2018
Of course it did.
That's how Kunti downloaded Karana from Sun.
So when did India actually get a taste of the internet?
Internet was launched in India in 1986 through the Educational Research Network (ERNET). Through this, the internet was made available only to educational and research institutions. ERNET was initiated by the Department of Electronics (DoE) and received financial support from the Government of India and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Eight institutions – NCST Bombay, Indian Institute of Science, five Indian Institutes of Technology at Delhi, Mumbai, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Chennai, and the DoE in New Delhi – were able to use the technology.
On August 14, 1995, the state-owned Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) launched internet services for the public. At the time VSNL had a monopoly as private firms were not allowed in the sector. The internet service came at a steep price. Individual users had to shell out at $160 for 250 hours at a speed of 9.6 kbit/s, while institutions paid $500 for the same time and speed.
The service was initially available in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Chennai and later in Pune and Bangalore.