Made To Order - The Child Prodigy
by Anurag Sharma
Remember Tathagat Avatar Tulsi, the child prodigy from Bihar?
The wonder kid claimed to have the know-how to facilitate rain at a place of
choice and the amount pre-decided. He worked on building a “cloud bank”. He has
a dream to run the automobiles on gas made from the human excreta. He also
claimed to have modified Einstein's equations of gravitation and discovered a
new fundamental particle to explain dark matter in the universe.
Tathagat Avtar Tulsi is the youngest matriculate in India. He was included in
the team of 17 young scientists selected by the Department of Science and
Technology (DST) to meet Nobel laureates in 2001. He was the only one who did
not go through the rigorous selection procedure applied for the other 17
The prodigy returned from the meet with physics Nobel Laureates in Germany and
got mired in controversy about him being a wrong choice and the department being
duped by Tulsi and his father. The DST has been shocked to learn that India's
“Boy Wonder” is not what he claims to be. It says Tulsi and his father Narayan
Prasad, used the occasion for self-publicity, making a nuisance of themselves
before the Nobel laureates, embarrassing the rest of the Indian team and
bringing disgrace to Indian science.
“We realise it was a mistake,” V. Ramamurthi, DST secretary admitted when told
that fellow scientists in the Indian delegation found the child prodigy to be a
fake, like Ramar Pillai who, five years ago, claimed he could turn water into
petrol by mixing it with a secret herb. “To me, he looked like a kid who was
forced to mug up a lot of physics,” P.P. Rajeev, a research scholar in the Tata
Institute of Fundamental Research and one of the members of the team said. “He
was just using some jargons without knowing their meanings.”
Tulsi who, after his German trip, visited the Indian news agency PTI with his
father and a handful of German newspaper clippings, refused to show his book on
“electro-gravity unification”, claimed to have written when he was 10 or his BSc
or MSc certificates from Patna university—which he says he got without attending
a single laboratory class.
Mr. Tathagat Avtar Tulsi and his father filed a defamation suit against the
Union of India and others, including the publisher of national newspapers before
the court of the Sub-Judge, Patna claiming Rs. 510 million in relation to
articles published in the papers after August 8, 2001 (Title Suit No. 206 of
IIT refused his application. Slipping into a bout of depression, the boy who
says he was made a ‘prodigy’ by the media, shot back to limelight when he was
allowed and cleared the test to become the country’s youngest Ph.D student.
Claimed to be born on Sep. 09, 1987, Tulsi is in IIS Bangalore doing his PhD
since August 2002.
Tulsi definitely doesn’t sound as cocksure now as he did five years ago. He says
he’s in no rush to complete his Ph.D. “With my BSc and MSc I had to read and
understand given material. That was different. But a Ph.D requires me to think.
So I’m not working with any time frame in mind, though I should be able to
finish in three years,’’ he says, still tempted to put a number to it.
His father claims to have a rare “sutra” in his hand that is a dream
come true for the human civilization. The father of the wonder boy, Mr Tulsi
Narayan Prasad, claims that Tathagat is the outcome of his research that can
produce ‘wonder kids’ like him. According to some news paper reports, the
formula is available for sale. That explains why his father pushed him too hard
to break records with enormous help from the politicians like Laloo Prasad
© Anurag Sharma