Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another Ramar Pillai?

I don’t know how many of you remember Ramar Pillai.  In 1996, Ramar Pillai became one of the most widely recognized Indians when he converted ordinary herbs soaked in water into petrol.  It looked like he solved the problem of energy for India forever.   It was a story too good to be true but Indians lapped it up without scrutiny.  Ramar Pillai created a mega sensation amongst Indians and Non-Resident Indians.  He was hailed as an Indian genius, a product of India without trace of western education or influence, someone who solved a mega problem with tools that were easily available to a village boy in India. 

When I wrote a small note of criticism on Ramar Pillai and his claims, when he was at the zenith of his popularity being feted by the Chief Ministers of India including renowned scientists, many Indian readers berated me for being a party pooper.  I was told to shut up.  ‘Why could you not just celebrate when Indians do well?  Are you only looking for bad things about India? Why can’t you recognize our achievements when they actually happen?’ they asked me.  

After few years, in 2000, it became clear that herbal petrol of Ramar Pillai is a hoax.  He turned out to be a charlatan, a cheap magician who conned an entire nation because it was hungry for hard-to-find achievements.  Ramar Pillai turned out to be a reprieve for a civilization that was bereft of any greatness in the recent past.  Indians were hungry for achievements and Ramar Pillai came into cash in on that popular sentiment.   

A 10th grade student without any formal education creates petrol out of few herbs, while the rest of the world was spending billions of dollars to create the same fuels.  It fit exactly with the Indian idea of their own country and own greatness – we can do wonders without toil, just by sitting under a banyan tree meditating upon our philosophies, reusing our herbs and reinterpreting ancient texts.  We don’t need a formal education because it is a Western imposition onto us; we have our own set of knowledge which comes from our villages, from our ancient traditions, our gurus, our godmen, our shastras and our mantras.   We don’t work with our hands because that’s menial, relegated to lower castes.  Instead we ideate.  We think of an idea and behold it becomes reality – that’s the Indian way of doing quantum physics, meditating and conceptualizing, using only our brain, while these Westerners have to build Large Hadron Collider spending billions of dollars.

The hoax of Herbal petrol should have served a lesson to Indians who are quick to celebrate, but ten years later, looks like we have another Ramar Pillai.  He comes in the form of the “world’s youngest postgraduate” Tathagat Avatar Tulsi.  He finished high school at age of 9, did BSc at age of 10, and MSc at age of 12 for which he holds the Guinness World Record.  He got his PhD from Indian Institute of Science at 21.  He is now being paraded as the Indian answer to the geniuses of the world, a pure product of Indian methods, which involves astrology, and other Indian pseudo-sciences.  

Tathagat’s father, Tulsi Narayan Prasad, is now credited with creating a ‘programmed child’ to create a genius son using astrology and eugenics.  Tulsi Narayan is a practitioner of ‘astro-genetics’ and claims he has manipulated his timing of sex to determine the sex of the ‘to-be-born’ child.  He proudly says that he was keen on “producing a genius child”.

Tulsi Narayan and his kid Tathagat is lapped up by Indians the same way Ramar Pillai was coveted by them.  The term Astro-genetics looks sophisticated to the less sophisticated Indian middle class.  His theories on ‘programming and producing a child genius’ have many takers in the rapidly growing middle class Indians who are keen on producing child CEOs, child Doctors, and spelling bee winners.   His astrological calculations on producing male-children will be a mega hit for those Indians who don’t want female children.

Tathagat, according to a dictionary on Hindu names, means a child who has a quick mind with the ability to accomplish a great deal in a short period of time.

The modern Indian parents want their kids to succeed fast and quick.   They want to ‘program’ their kids so that they accomplish everything before they turn 16.  They want their kids to achieve superdom with lessdom. 

"It's a science called eugenics," Tulsi Prasad said, explaining the way his genius child was conceived. "By employing it, we can ensure that the child achieves the desired traits. As I knew what we wanted, we followed the prescription for a genius mind..."

Tulsi Narayan claims he practices eugenics.  Eugenics is a discredited practise, used by Nazis attempting to produce the best race by ensuring copulation between healthy adults.  Those theories resulted in murdering six million Jews and few million Slavs, gypsies, old, cripple, handicapped, and mentally ill people.   Only Indians, who subscribe to supremacy theories can actually celebrate and embrace Tulsi’s theories.

Wrong story for Indians

This story sends out all the wrong signals.  It will tell Indians parents that astrology works, and that one can conceive a male child relying on the position of planets.  It will tell Indian parents that they can actually ‘program a child’, that they can ‘produce a genius’. 

There are many kids out there who are capable of finishing MSc by age of 12.  The only reason they don’t do MSc is because not every parent is a Supreme Court advocate like Tulsi Prasad who can coerce the institutions to give out degrees.   Tathagat is more a product of greed and avarice of a deluded parent and not a product of good position of stars and planets.  He may or may not be genius – only time will tell.  But the mere fact that he has finished his PhD at an early stage doesn’t qualify for the title of genius.  

I am afraid that this story will unnecessarily encourage achievement-hungry parents to force and compel their kids into a life that will steal away their childhood.  I am afraid that some parents will set lofty targets for their kids to become geniuses, to get recognition, and thereby put undue pressure on the kids.


  1. "the mere fact that he has finished his PhD at an early stage doesn’t qualify for the title of genius. "

    Why not? Who do you think is a genius? At least you have to admit that Tathagat Tulsi is a prodigy.

    Agreed, In India you can get a M.SC by 12, since Indian colleges and universities focus on rote learning. So one can top his batch simply by mugging last 10 years Q&A.

    But you can't get a PH.D that easily. That too from from IISC. Neither can you become a faculty at IIT. Tathagat had to carry out his research in world class insttutions. This is totally different from Ramar Pillai, who had no credibility.

    "that they can ‘produce a genius’. "

    It's not impossible. Astrology was founded with that purpose- how to give birth to higher souls.Unfortunately most of it is now lost. If you have time please visit the following link which will explain how Jesus and Buddha was born:

  2. Sujai,

    1.You say the Ramar Pillai hoax happened in 1996.Were you blogging then ? Just wondering because you talk about 'many Indian readers'.May be your note got published in a newspaper or on one of those early web sites?

    2.You say, "Ramar Pillai turned out to be a reprieve for a civilization that was bereft of any greatness in the recent past."

    Just one charlatan, and you brand an entire civilization (to which you belong, btw) as 'bereft of any greatness'.You think India has stolen nuclear secrets the way China and Pakistan did? You think ISRO depended on US for its space achievements?What about the process innovation of IT outsourcing?Ok..let me not list the achievements because they are too well known.Pray tell me, what is the rationale for this 'racial shame' that you feel?Will you agree that the US is a nation of crooks because of all the misdemeanours on Wall Street?Will you accept the Swiss are an immoral nation because of their banking laws? Get some perspective mate !

    3.I am reading about this prodigy only now on your blog.Yet to figure out if his PhD is genuine, but I don't think I will even try to find out.The news in itself has no relevance for me.But to equate Eugenics with only the Nazis shows that you have a very superficial understanding of the concept.The Nazi practice of Eugenics brought it into disrepute, but since the 1990s, an ethical re-evaluation of the concept is being attempted, especially as one of the ways to understand and improve the human gene and address genetically transferable diseases.Going by the excerpt you posted, I think the boy's dad also does not understand Eugenics.But then, it is our choice whether to treat him as a scientific expert or not.We both are Indians and we don't seem to agree with him, right? So, what does that say about Indians on the whole? Nothing.There will always be some people who will believe any statement with a new scientific term in it.Just like there will always be people who will choose to attribute any negative act/statement by any Indian to the whole nation or civilization.Such is life !

    4.Astrology and Astro-genetics - basically if a person trusts astrology they will believe every thing an astrologer says.If he/she does not believe in it, they will ignore. World over, people believe in such pseudo sciences and India is no exception.Tarot reading, tea leaves reading, Sun signs, Palmistry, Octopus predictions etc etc - these are found throughout the developed and developing world.Why talk as if Indians are the only gullible people around?

  3. In India you can get a M.SC by 12, since Indian colleges and universities focus on rote learning. So one can top his batch simply.

  4. I couldn’t have expressed myself better about what I thought of this father and his story of astro-eugenics!!!!!!!!

  5. I'm tired of Indians lapping up all these stupid pseudo-"sciences" such as astrology!!

    great post!

  6. an indian
    space achievements"
    What space achievements? Chandrayaan? We are only copying USA. No new idea/invention has took place in modern India.

    have you ever read about the chandrayan misssion?
    what made you believe that it is copy of USA?

    do you know that phots taken from indian satellites are much more clearer than any of the other nations satellite including USA?
    do you know that PSLV launches that ISRO carry out is most cheapest in the world?

    Innovation? Don't make me laugh. Indian IT is not information TECHNOLOGY......
    what make you think that service is inferior to that of product design?
    if i see the world all companies are focussing more on service now..and by the way significant chunk of employees at microsoft and intel are INDIANS.

    38% of doctors in USA are Indians.

    12% scientists in USA are Indians.

    36% of NASA scientists are Indians.

    34% of Microsoft employees are Indians.

    28% of IBM employees are Indians.

    17% of INTEL scientists are Indians.

    13% of XEROX employees are! Indians
    and at NASA also more tha 15%.

    do you know who started hotmail?
    do you know who was crator of pentium chip?

    and these are the word from the genius himself
    "We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.”
    -- Albert Einstein

    The truth is India is a 3rd world country.....
    yes I agree with this point but that is not all...we can certainly improve.
    but your labelling of anything and everything reminds me of a story where a persons keeps complainig that everything is black, till he realises that he is wearing a black goggle. your situation is something like that. parden my langauage but may be your family is third class...or may be your mother is third class...

    our space program, or Bollywood- all are minimum 30 years behind USA.....
    this is again nothing but program i have already written above.
    yes few bollywood movies might be copy of hollywood. but do you know how many movies bollywood churn out? do you know how many percentage are copy of hollywood?
    by the way do you know how many percentage of movies in hollywood are copied from rest of the world?
    you will be surprised once you know that hollywood copies more than bollywood.
    and school text-- can you give one example which is 30 years back to that of usa?
    in fact subjects taught in indian colleges are much superior to that of most of USA.

    cheer for SUJAI....yes we will cheer for him and his company.
    but isnt it irrelevent here

  7. @anonymous Indian

    I guess you are more like a guy who does not want to accept that India lags behind USA and wants to give reasons for that belief.

    NASA 15% people are Indians, do you know that if u want to be in NASA, u need a green card or a US citizenship, and if u have a US citizenship, then even if u are Indian born, u are a US citizen. similarly, is true with other firms.

    Hollywood, who told you tat it copies more than bollywood. now this is a statement, u are making just to make it, just dont wanna accept the truth.

    and regarding the blog, I was not knowing such details Sujai, thanks for telling all this, this is really true that many Indian people do believe in all this.

  8. Shounak:
    Sujai sir i agree with you that we Indians are hungry about hard to find achievements,Indian parents are achievement hungry and we believe in pseudo sciences and even take pride in them.
    I do not believe in racism and i know you don't too.
    but so many things wrong with our civilization??
    does that mean some civilizations are superior to us??
    and if we draw this conclusion then aren't we racists ourselves??

  9. an indian
    are you saying that once you get green card or become american citizen you no longer have the so called traits that indians have?
    if you agree NASA does high quality selection,at least few indians have that quality.

    i also does believe that india is behind USA. in fact much behind but that does not mean that every indian is hopeless and is behind every american or any other country?

    my simple belief is that there are geniusses in every group of people whether based on country or religion ans similarly there are dumb stupid people.

    so please just do not generalise the things.
    labelling the whole country people hopeless or achievemnt hungry is not correct.

  10. "Animals flourish in Forest
    Indians flourish in the West"

    @ Kumar Narasimha ,
    Can you mention any significant contribution India has made to the world in the 63 years since independence? Mention a single Indian, born post-independence, who did something really great, carrying out his research IN INDIA(and not in some foreign university, like Dr.Hargovind Khurana who is BTW an US citizen now)

    "space achievements"
    What space achievements? Chandrayaan? We are only copying USA. No new idea/invention has took place in modern India.

    " innovation of IT outsourcing"
    Innovation? Don't make me laugh. Indian IT is not information TECHNOLOGY but information SERVICE. IT is not product-based but service based. We are only serving the MNCs. Outsourcing is nothing but cheap labour to the west. Sujai earlier wrote a blog on it.

    "let me not list the achievements because they are too well known"
    let me not list the achievements because there are none

    The truth is India is a 3rd world country with 3rd class minds, 3rd class politicians, 3rd class judiciary(just take the case of Bhopal Gas tragedy, or 1984 sikh riots, or Babri demolition, or Gujrat riots) and 3rd class movies.

    Be it our school textbooks, our space program, or Bollywood- all are minimum 30 years behind USA.

    @Anonymous(an indian)
    1."what make you think that service is inferior to that of product design?"
    The same reason that makes an architect superior to a majdoor.

    2."38% of doctors in USA are Indians.

    12% scientists in USA are Indians.

    36% of NASA scientists are Indians.

    34% of Microsoft employees are Indians.

    28% of IBM employees are Indians.

    17% of INTEL scientists are Indians.

    13% of XEROX employees are! Indians
    Read my comment at the top.The credit goes to USA for nurturing talent irrespective of color,caste or religion.
    Michaelangelo found a rock and turned it into beautiful statue of David. Will the credit go to him or the mine-owner from whose mine the stone was obtained?
    In India talent (unles it's a genius like Tendulkar or Anand) is stunted because of politics,religion, caste or state.Even our president Mr.K. R. Narayanan had to suffer caste oppression as he is a Dalit.

    3.""We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.”
    -- Albert Einstein"

    I am talking about India POST-INDEPENDENCE.Einstein is talking about Indians 5000 years ago. How many Indians can you name, post-independence, who have left their mark on the world stage in any field-literature, arts, sports,science?

    4."may be your family is third class...or may be your mother is third class..."
    Yeah, you are the example of typical Indian-engaging in personal attacks. People like you chased genius like M F Hussain out of the country and got Salman Rushdie banned. India does not deserve genius as long as there are samples like you.

    5."in fact subjects taught in indian colleges are much superior to that of most of USA."
    Right. that's why no one IN INDIA has won the nobel in the last 63 years. In fact forget about nobel-how many inventions/ ideas have emerged from these "superior Indian colleges"?

    @ Sujai,
    Please delete my previous comment

  11. I think you should try to be more objective by refuting the work of Tathagat rather than making a melodramatic comparison with ramar pillai.
    Given that he has worked with
    H. R. KRISHNAMURTHY, Physics, IISc
    Apoorva Patel, Physics, IISc along with Lov Grover, he may not be simply discounted. He may not be as great as projections are but he may be a decent scientist at a age of 21. However it seems the article didnt try to substantiate the claim by looking into his publications that are available online.

  12. see girls are bad ,astro eugenics says that ...
    There is nothing special about einstein or newton ,their parents performed coitus at the right time and bingo a genius is born ...

    all those sick kids who die at 10 years old in africa are retard babies ,born of inferior eugenics...

    ask shri tahthgats father ,the 12 th avatar of lord vishnu ...

  13. Thats it that stupid girl in office refuses to marry me ,i will tell her we can make a baby like tathagat tulsi ..

  14. sujai anna,

    It may be possible to get phd's at a young age ,however india's miracle is not tathaghat tulsi ,but he is shri shri prahlad jani the yogi who can live without eating food ,even DRDO has authenticated is achievements...

  15. @scripthost

    Please see what Indian Rationalist Association has to say about prahlad jani.

  16. Manu ji ,
    on Weekends i am in sarcastic mode....thats why the double shri ...

  17. Later it dawned upon me that something like that could have been the reason for your double shree.

  18. @Anon:

    "Just one charlatan, and you brand an entire civilization (to which you belong, btw) as 'bereft of any greatness'..."

    Anon, how dare you put Sujai as part of Indian civilization?
    He considers himself above petty Indians.

    Haven't you heard of house niggers? Sujai is one of them. House nigger philosophy goes like this- White man hate native. Native bad. Me good native. Me also hate bad native.

  19. Here's one more charlatan... The Great, His Highness, Lord of the Internet, Ankit Fadia ... there are plenty of charlatan to be found in a country of a billion strong people.

  20. Finally someone said it. Indians try so hard to overcompensate for a massive hive-mind inferiority complex, it becomes ridiculous and embarrassing for those Indians who really are working hard. Goddamnit! There are people who've worked all their lives to give the world some great number theoretic constructs. We had Narendra Karmarkar. We had S Chandrashekhar. But we popularise how we built the damn Simputer which was a collossal joke.

    It's a well-known fact in academic circles that a new idea or concept that is scientifically sound, is shot down by our system unless it has a prior art by a foreign author. Unless that idea involves "Vedic maths" or "Vedic solution to life's problems", etc.

    I think I'm going to follow your blog like a dedicated obsessive after this article - you said stuff I've been saying since... well since I was able to read and write. Your sub-title is as appropriate as any, "People live ..."

  21. Before Ramar Pillai, in the mid eighties, there was Paramahamsa Tiwari and his 'Space Power Generator' which was claimed to be essentially a perpetual motion machine which could extract energy out of empty space. I remember it receiving a lot of publicity in the Indian press.

  22. Read the article:

    1. Vedic rishis set yogic techniques and sanatan kriya, which when followed can enable safe procreation. Parents often wish to decide everything about their child even before conception......However, there are certain basic guidelines that can be followed for children of a particular pravriti......
    a) Brahma sandhya occurs an hour before and after sunrise. Positive forces are at their peak. Since this period is the best time for communion with higher energies, trying to conceive during these periods is encouraged as being conducive to good health and happiness....
    b) tantrik sandhya till the positive and negative forces are equal in strength. This sandhya is said to aid material gain, and a child conceived during this time is believed to be strong in the material aspect....
    c)The last and fourth sandhya occurs at midnight, when negative energies are going down and positive energies are going up. Interaction with the spirit world is very easy during this time. Children conceived during this time are believed to be level headed and with potentiality to interact with the world of ether.

    (world of ether? what is that? hasn't science proved long ago that there is nothing called ether?)

    2." all lokas or dimensions of existence and yugas or dimensions of time, as per revelation of ancient yogis, exist as energy forms."

    What kind of nonsensical mumbo-jumbo is this?

    Powerful media groups like Times Of India and Hindustan Times publishes( i.e. they support) non-scientific claims of people like Yogi Ashwini, SriSri(?)Ravishankar and Sadhguru(?) Jaggi Vasudeva.

    Sorry Sujai- I don't think rational thinkers like you have got any chance.

  23. Why USA is superior:

    Unintelligent people both in West and East don’t matter. Only intelligent people matter.And intelligence comes from people and not from countries what countries do is they provide a system and a platform for intelligence to flourish which is what the West (read America) does.

    If a country which was formed barely 200 years ago(USA got independence in 1776) without any so called rich heritage, culture and tradition and even then if it can surpass civilizations formed thousands of years ago by leaps and bounds it is obviously due to a system it adapted of holding a mans self esteem and an individuals pride as the highest objective of a free society.

    Great men were born all over the World. But most of them landed up in America and that’s not for Americans but its for the American system.

  24. Very nicely written. I lived in China for couple of years. In Chinese Zodiac there are twelve signs. Each year has a specific zodiac sign. Dragon Year is special year in China. It was felt that people born in Dragon Year are more superior and have qualities that are far superior than those born in other zodiac signs. It was quite easy to conceive a child in Dragon Year. Well guess what, many Chinese got this brilliant idea. There was population explosion in Dragon Year. These kids would face huge problems everywhere. There is high competition wherever they went. Soon people realized that Dragon Year is not quite the year to conceive children.

    On similar lines, for me Tuesday is the best day. I chose to Travel on Tuesday, go for visa on Tuesday etc etc. It is easier to get things done on the most in auspicious day. Try it out for yourselves!

  25. I completely agree with your argument. This is very rare to find as stupid Indians, will not get rational reason into their head. For them voodoo is the way of living. Kudos. great story.

    Anshu Dutta

  26. God save us from these rubbish claims.

    What next these people will market a yantra in teleshopping and we will have testimonials from parents who said they had 9 girls and had given up hope when they wore the yantra given by this tulsi clan and they were blessed with twin boys who are smart and sweet and eat food regularly and take care of the whole family and one son is going to be cricketer and the other is going to be a movie star and both are getting offers in these area!

    Why doesn't the media tear them apart.

  27. What if there is no libido when the celestial bodies work toward the making of a brain child?

    Have your Viagra handy...

  28. Doing something a few years early doesn't mean you are genius, but you are just fast!

    I wonder why media just idolizing this person who did not give any special input of his own to science or India.

    a very later cheers!

  29. wake up people.... If you really think the fuel was a hoax...
    how come the world intellectual property organization approved his work and patented it which is accepted all over the world...

    Its the Indian government and the politicians who are trying to make this as a hoax... you know why..
    Every day we fill our bike with a fossil fuel named petrol which our country buys from foreign nations for a certain price and sells it to us. As of now the petrol price is 70 rs per litre, but no one knows how much our government is buying that for from the Gulf countries. Actually a big sum of profit goes to our government in that deal. They don't want it to get affected. This is a monopoly game played by the oil industries all over the world and the governments. Even the media won't do anything as they are on the government's side. Unless every citizen wakes up and raise the voice against them, no one can help us from the skyrocketing oil expenses.

  30. Great Post! Thanks

  31. Agree with Jact Roberts.
    Going even ahead from that, everything can be found out by meditating. Nothing truely exists other than the self. If you don't understand this its only because you are a mediocre. Get that straight into your head and stop shouting at things you don't understand.

  32. Hi Sujai,
    Nothing truely exists other than the self. The hardest of toils and highest of arts is to unlearn the hotwired program in you.
    If you don't understand the above statements, know that you are a mediocre and stop shouting at things you don't understand.

  33. First Habitable-Zone Super-Earth Discovered in Orbit Around a Sun-Like Star-Finding out Uranus spin among the planets [Incident: 130302-000056]

    Along the plane of planetary boundary scattering and radiation with reference to sun as as the principle source that form the hologram affine points correspondingly on the palm print in a way shows the point of attraction along the gravity lines information in designing the curve of the brain line that swings between Mercury and moon blanced by combination of Jupiter, Saturn and sun mounts that decides the fate of the brain line.An increased mercurial gravity was very well observed in case of palm print of Dr.Meyer ,the Chicago poisoner with reference to previous investigation of Newyork times during 1893.
    The spinning orientation of a plane tray boundary such as axis of spin and pole axis is differentiated typically expressed in case of Uranus boundary which spins perpendicular the pole axis.

  34. Fantastic post, great analysis. Very true, I completely agree with you

  35. Nice post mate, pretty much sums it all up. "common sense" ain't that common in India I guess.


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