The hosting of the lecture, presented by Anand J Bodas, a retired principal of a pilot training facility, had recently attracted criticism from some scientists who said it undermined the empirical evidence on which the Congress was founded. Drawing upon ancient Vedic texts to support the view that there was flying technology in ancient India, Bodas said, "There is a reference to ancient aviation in the Rigveda."
He spoke of the "huge" aeroplane which flew in ancient India. "The basic structure was of 60 by 60 feet and in some cases, over 200 feet. They were jumbo planes," he said. "The ancient planes had 40 small engines. Today's aviation does not know even of flexible exhaust system." The ancient Indian radar system was called apparently rooparkanrahasya. "In this system, the shape of the aeroplane was presented to the observer, instead of the mere blimp that is seen on modern radar systems," he said. Bharadwaj's book mentioned a diet for pilots. It contained milk of buffalo, cow and sheep for specific periods, he said.
The pilot's dress cloth came from vegetation grown underwater, he added.
Indian Science Congress Association (ISCA) which hosts the annual event, is a premier scientific organisation of India with a membership strength of more than 30,000 scientists. It was founded in 1914 with the objective to "advance and promote the cause of science in India."