Indian parliament plagued by Forward hoaxes

Just yesterday while reading this news in Times Of India, I realized that I received this mail years back and it was proved to be hoax.


The news went like – 36% of scientists at NASA are Indians: Govt survey.


Of course, any Indian will get interested in reading more of this news after going through such interesting title and getting into detailed news, you get to know that there are 34% Indian employees at Microsoft and 17% at Intel. Voila what a feeling you get specially knowing that these all facts are provided by our own minister of state for HRD, D Purandeshwari in Rajya Sabha (Parliament House).


Just imagine, how thrilled you will feel when you will be getting a similar mail with title – Be A Proud Indian with lot and lot of facts listed down in subject. One such mail I had received in year 2005 and along-with many facts, it contained lot of false data. Find the content of mail below with the link over Internet. And after about three years to that, our minister is presenting all those numbers as facts without checking their truthfulness. Three years is quite long time. Even if minister had figured out that it is 3 years old data, he might had refrained from sharing it but looks like he was in very much hurry to share them in defense of the country’s higher education system and the state of research.


I wouldn’t be getting into details about minister even knowing about him more than average but these are we Indians who select such leaders and should be ready to bear with such statements.


Here is the excerpt of news –


36% of scientists at NASA are Indians: Govt survey

NEW DELHI: If you thought that Global Indian Takeover was just a hollow cliche leaning on a few iconic successes like Pepsi’s Indra Nooyi, Citibank’s Vikram Pandit and steel world’s Lakshmi Mittal, there is a slew of statistics now to give it solid ballast.

The extent to which desis have made an impact in the US was reeled off in the Rajya Sabha — as many as 12% scientists and 38% doctors in the US are Indians, and in NASA, 36% or almost 4 out of 10 scientists are Indians.

If that’s not proof enough of Indian scientific and corporate prowess, digest this: 34% employees at Microsoft, 28% at IBM, 17% at Intel and 13% at Xerox are Indians.
And the House of Elders also heard some startling facts about a country that’s still stuck with a Third World tag — 20% of gold in the world is used by Indians and nine out of 10 diamonds used in the world are made in India.

The figures of Indian successes were given to the Rajya Sabha on Monday by D Purandeshwari, minister of state for HRD, in defence of the country’s higher education system and the state of research.
Purandeshwari said that although a lot needed to be done to encourage research, it was wrong to run down the country’s higher education system since most Indians who excelled abroad were products of Indian institutions.

He said there was no slackness in research and the number of PhD holders had gone up from 17,898 two years back to 18,730 last year.


It also raises the finger on our media, as how much reliable it is. A newspaper like Times Of India which boasts of being the most read English daily in India prints out such news without any pre-research and next day it publishes the outcome from junta and blames minister for all the confusion. Then I recall the quote from Die Hard 4.0 said by Matt Farrell that all the news are fabricated and shouldn’t be trusted.


You can see the heated responses of newspaper readers from all over the world over comments section of same news.


Here is the news printed by Times Of India next day declaring it as a hoax –


India rising in US: Govt falls victim to net hoax

WASHINGTON: It’s an Internet myth that has taken on a life of its own. No matter how often you slay this phony legend, it keeps popping up again like some hydra-headed beast.

But on Monday, the Indian government itself consecrated the oft-circulated fiction as fact in Parliament, possibly laying itself open to a breach of privilege. By relaying to Rajya Sabha members (as reported in The Times of India) a host of unsubstantiated and inflated figures about Indian professionals in US, the government also made a laughing stock of itself.

The figures provided by the Minister of State for Human Resource Development Purandeshwari included claims that 38 per cent of doctors in US are Indians, as are 36 per cent of NASA scientists and 34 per cent of Microsoft employees.

There is no survey that establishes these numbers, and absent a government clarification, it appears that the figures come from a shop-worn Internet chain mail that has been in circulation for many years. Spam has finally found its way into the Indian parliament dressed up as fact.

Attempts by this correspondent over the years to authenticate the figures have shown that it is exaggerated, and even false. Both Microsoft and NASA say they don’t keep an ethnic headcount. While they acknowledge that a large number of their employees are of Indian origin, it is hardly in the 30-35 per cent range.

The story has attracted withering scrutiny and criticism on the Times of India’s website, with most readers across the world trashing it. "The minister should be hauled up by the house for breach of privilege of parliament (by presenting false information based on hearsay). We Indians are undoubtedly one of the most successful ethnic groups in USA, be it in Medicine, Engineering, Entrepreneurship. BUT, that does not translate to those ridiculous numbers that have been presented….this is a circulating e-mail hoax," wrote in Soumya from USA, who said he worked at the NASA facility in Ames, California, and the number was nowhere near what was mentioned in the figures given to Parliament.

"This minister (D.Purandeshwari, Minister of State for HRD)… should be held accountable for misleading the members of parliament and the citizens of India. This just shows how illiterate and mentally defunct the current Indian govt. is," wrote Anand from Melbourne.

Purandeshwari is not the first minister to use the dubious figures in a system where politicians depend heavily on their bureaucrats to furnish facts, figures, and speeches. Former home minister L.K.Advani used the same figures in a speech some years back on a visit to Washington DC.



Here is the original mail (with source) which I had received about three years back (news content in the end) –


Be A Proud Indian


Q. Who is the co-founder of Sun Microsystems?
A. Vinod Khosla

Q. Who is the creator of Pentium chip (needs no introduction as 90% of the
today’s computers run on it)?
A. Vinod Dahm

Q. Who is the third richest man on the world?
A. According to the latest report on Fortune Magazine, it is Aziz Premji,
who is the CEO of Wipro Industries. The Sultan of Brunei is at 6th
position now.

Q. Who is the founder and creator of Hotmail (Hotmail is world’s No.1 web
based email program)?
A. Sabeer Bhatia

Q. Who is the president of AT & T-Bell Labs (AT & T-Bell Labs is the
creator of program languages such as C, C++, Unix to name a few)?
A. Arun Netravalli

Q. Who is the GM of Hewlett Packard?
A. Rajiv Gupta

Q. Who is the new MTD (Microsoft Testing Director) of Windows 2000,
responsible to iron out all initial problems?
A. Sanjay Tejwrika

Q. Who are the Chief Executives of CitiBank, Mckensey & Stanchart?
A. Victor Menezes, Rajat Gupta, and Rana Talwar.

Q. We Indians are the wealthiest among all ethnic groups in America, even
faring better than the whites and the natives.

There are 3.22 millions of Indians in USA (1.5% of population). YET,
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.

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