Rajaram as "Scientist"

Steve Farmer saf at SAFARMER.COM
Wed Aug 9 23:17:44 UTC 2000

I apologize to everyone that by accident yesterday I sent a
private message -- obviously intended for an individual
Indologist, and NOT for the whole List -- to everyone in
Indology. The message counted as my second message of the day, so
I've had to wait 24 hours to post my apology. I immediately wrote
the List Owner to ask him to remove the message from the List
Server, but received an automatic reply that he'll be out of the
office until August 16th.

The private message had to do with the Rajaram mess. I was
trying to pass on a hunch to the recipient that N.S.
Rajaram's claims to being "one of America's best-known workers in
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics" for over a decade (in the
80s) was just as empty as his claims that he and his
collaborator N. Jha had "deciphered" the Harappan script.

The note was written quickly and was backed by only hearsay
evidence. I would never make such claims publicly without
checking the evidence.

Now I've done that; my hunch was right. Rajaram's boasts that he
was "one of American's best-known workers in Artificial
Intelligence and Robotics" for over a decade have no more
credibility than his claims about his "horse seal" discovery. The
emptiness of these boasts is noteworthy since it
shows that Rajaram's twisting of reality go much further than his
manufacturing evidence in his "horse seal" and in his Harappan

Those latter claims have already been handily debunked. The
evidence was reviewed at two websites (now linked: hit "Reload"
or "Reset" in your browser) that Prof. Witzel and I posted yesterday:



The debunking of Rajaram has been rough, but it is fully
documented and well deserved. Rajaram has made *big* claims
that he and his (and previously unknown) collaborator Natwar Jha
have made "the most significant historical achievement of our
times." N.S. Rajaram's autobiography informs us that their
decipherment of the Indus Valley script "is recognized [by whom?]
as the most important breakthrough of our time in the study of
Indian history and culture."

Those are hardly trivial claims.

See this at:


M. Witzel and I have shown how specious those claims are, and have
highlighted the rightwing politics that motivate Rajaram's work.
Rereading his autobiographical claims yesterday made me think how
*other* boasts made there might lull unsuspecting readers into
thinking that his claims about "cracking" Harappan had genuine
value. Rajaram's autobiography adds:

  For more than ten years, [Rajaram] was one of America's
  best-known workers in Artificial Intelligence and
  Robotics. He has been an advisor to several high
  technology companies in America and Europe. He has
  also been a consultant to NASA.

Rajaram may very well have been a contract worker for NASA, since
the Agency has tens of thousands of people who work in that
capacity for NASA subcontractors. (I have a dozen friends in that
category.) But was Rajaram indeed a famous researcher at one
time, who for "more than ten years" was "one of America's
best-known workers in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics"? I
asked my NASA friends who have worked for years in artificial
intelligence and robotics. They had never heard of Rajaram. That
was the hunch that I passed on to the intended recipient of my

I suggested that I'd check things out further. I did that today:
The hunch was correct. In a word, Rajaram's claim to have been a
famous researcher in AI and robotics is as empty as his "horse
seal" hoax.

There's no need to take this on my word: Test the evidence for
SCIENCE -- the field's fullest bibliography. It is drawn from
1200 *separate* bibliographies, and is accessed, on the average,
over 200,000 times a month by researchers in computer science. It
is an amazing resource. (Too bad nothing this
sophisticated exists in the cultural sciences):


When you get there, reset "Results" (set by default at "Citation"
in the drop-down list) to "BibTex" to return the fullest
information. Then type "Rajaram" in the search field and hit "Search."

When you get the results, scroll down the other "Rajaram" entries
(other people), just looking for "N. S. Rajaram." When you see
his name, click on it in the link. It will yield full entries on
all of Rajaram's referenced studies in the field.

You will find bibliographical listings of two minor engineering notes:

(1) A three-pager in SIGSAM Bulletin (an engineering bulletin) in
May, 1980.

(2) A one-page note in InTech (put out by the Instrument Society
of America) from April, 1987.

That's it! The bibliographical database might miss something, but
not much. And it NEVER misses anything important. To put it
lightly, these skimpy notes hardly support Rajaram's boast that
"For more than ten years, he was one of America's best-known
workers in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics"!

These claims are as worthy of a horse-laugh as his bogus "horse seal."

If you want to compare Rajaram work in these fields with people
who in the same decade WERE "America's best-known workers in
Artificial Intelligence and Robotics," type in (in the same
Search Engine) any one of the names I list below. These names
represent a few of the people in these fields whose works I've
read (and I'm *hardly* an expert in artificial intelligence).

Sometimes references will pop up that simply *refer* to these
writers, even though they aren't the authors of the cited works.
This is because they *were* the "best-known workers in Artificial
Intelligence and Robotics" in this decade, and their writings
are touched on in the cited works. (No references of this
sort pop up for "N. S. Rajaram.")

If you test this data yourself, don't type in the first names
I've included in parentheses for reference purposes, but just the
last names: Search engines are tricky. Again, under "Results,"
select "BibTex" to get the fullest information:

Sejnowski (Terrence)
Hopfield (John or J. J., Hopfield networksj, etc.)
Hinton (Geoffrey or G.E.)
Pylyshyn (Zenon)
Rumelhart (David, D.E.)
McClelland (James, James L., J.L.)
Feldman (Jerome)
Feigenbaum (Edward A., E.A., etc.)
Churchland (Paul or Patricia)
Winograd (Terry)
Poggio (Tomaso, T.)
Minsky (Marvin)
McCarthy (John, J.)

The list could be much longer: There is nothing like a dose of
evidence to undercut Rajaram horse-hype.

If you want a taste of what kind of "science" Rajaram currently
is involved in, check out the hilariously funny (not by
intention) review that he recently published on a book entitled
_Vedic Science_. The review, entitled "Science in the Vedas," is
posted at:


Here we find that the Rigveda contains hidden references to
antimatter, electrical forces, provides the correct the speed of
light, and supplies further information on particle physics and
gamma-ray bursts that take place

  three times a day. This is exactly
  the frequency given in the Rigveda in at least
  three passages. (3.56.6, 7.11.3, 9.86.18). The second
  of these tells us: "O Agni! We know you have wealth
  to give three times a day to mortals."

There is more "wealth to give" in Rajaram's science: Those
ancient (pre-Harappan!) Rishi and Rigveda redactors were
scientists no less profound than Rajharam himself! A good sampler
of Rajaram-level science shows up in the following passage from
his review (where Rajaram gently corrects the author's Sanskrit
by applying Panini's rules):

  This is a profoundly different cosmic view, which
  the author supports with the help of Rigvedic passages
  including 2.20.7 and 6.47.21. The latter may be read
  as: "Everyday Indra removes half of the people, similar
  to the other half but black in color, born in his house."
  (The author uses the past tense, which I have rendered
  into the present following Panini's rule for the Vedic
  usage: chandasi lung lat litah.) The author goes on to
  observe:"Indra is considered responsible for killing the
  black people in the Rgveda. As matter and antimatter are
  attracted towards each other due to the opposite nature of
  electric charge resulting in annihilation, electric force
  is indeed responsible for this phenomenon."

  So black refers to antimatter! In addition to the author's
  remarkably original reading of an obscure passage, it
  highlights the utter superficiality of European Indologists
  and their Indian followers in giving such passages a racial
  meaning. If the author's insights can be supported, this
  is the kind of knowledge that was lost over the millennia.
  There is evidence however, that some fragments of it
  survived as late as the time of Sayana (1315 - 87). In
  his Rigveda Bhashya he gives a value for the velocity
  of light that in modern units works out to 186,000 miles
  per second. So it is not easy to dismiss the author's
  interpretations as speculation, obtained by 'retrofitting'
  modern scientific findings on to the Vedas. In any event,
  the Vedic cosmology worked out by the author has important
  differences with modern theories of the universe.

Don't miss other Rajaram scientific insights at:


Sorry again for the erroneously sent personal message to this
List yesterday. With this note, I hopefully *will* permanently
retire from the Rajaram debunking business -- putting his "horse
seal" out to pasture -- to get back to serious work.

Steve Farmer

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