Indian nationalists peddle something worse than snake oil. It's the The Cow Dung Cure for Coronavirus.

Swami Chakrapani Maharaj, president of the Hindu Mahasabha—a century-old organization that advocates Hindutva (or “Hinduness”)—declared that “consuming cow urine and cow dung will stop the effect of infectious coronavirus.” The swami added that a “person who chants ‘om namah shivay’ and applies cow dung” on his body “will be saved.” The Sanskrit chant is a salutation to Shiva, a Hindu deity.

The swami is a prominent figure in hard-line Hindu circles and has an ideological affinity with Mr. Modi.

Since the Hinduist Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP, ascended to national power in 2014, its views have infiltrated textbooks and even scientific discourse. Mr. Modi has suggested that ancient Indians had test-tube babies. Citing the case of Karna—a hero of the “Mahabharata,” a Hindu epic from the third century B.C.—Mr. Modi told a gathering of doctors in 2014 that since Karna was “not born from his mother’s womb” (in Mr. Modi’s version of the myth), this had to mean that “genetic science was present at the time.Referring to Ganesha, the elephant-headed god, he said, there “must have been some plastic surgeon at that time who got an elephant’s head on the body of a human being.

Mr. Modi is too smart to believe all this. He spoke those words because he knew they would delight his nationalist base. His fellow travelers routinely resort to pseudoscientific assertions in the service of Indian glory. Among the claims: Indians beat Pythagoras by 300 years to the theorem that bears his name; nuclear weapons were used in the great war depicted in the “Mahabharata”; and ancient Indians flew airplanes.

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