The Indian Heritage
Many renowned people involved in the field of historic’s and architecture believe that- “Many of the advances in science that we consider today, have been made in Europe were in fact made in India centuries ago.”
Science and technology in ancient India covered many major branches of human knowledge and activities, including mathematics, astronomy and physics, metallurgy, medical science and surgery, fine arts, mechanical and production technology, civil engineering and architecture, shipbuilding and navigation, sports and games
India indeed is blessed with a vast and rich heritage, a fact illustrated by the various numbers of structures of magnificent architectural and cultural establishments here. Classical Indian astronomy documented in literature spanning the Maurya to the Mughal periods. Linguistics first arose among Indian grammarians who were attempting to catalog and codify Sanskrit’s rules. Modern linguistics owes a great deal to these grammarians, and to this day, for example, key terms for compound analysis such as bahuvrihi are taken from Sanskrit.
Many authors of classical Indian mathematics are scholars like Aryabhatta, Brahmagupta, and Bhaskara II. Indian mathematicians made early contributions to the study of the decimal number system, zero, negative numbers, arithmetic, and algebra. In addition, trigonometry was introduced into ancient India through the translation of Greek works, was further advanced in India, and, in particular, the modern definitions of sine and cosine were developed there.
Ayurvedic practice was flourishing during the time of Buddha and in this period the Ayurvedic practitioners were commonly using Mercuric-sulphur combination based medicines. An important Ayurvedic practitioner of this period was Nagarjuna, a Buddhist herbologist, famous for inventing various new drugs for the treatment of ailments. A number of Indian theories on physics have attracted the attention of Indologists. The concept of the atom in ancient India derives from the classification of the material world in five basic elements by Indian philosophers. This classification existed since Vedic times (c. 1500 BCE). The elements were the earth (prithvi), fire (agni), air (vayu), water (jaal) and ether or space (aksha). The elements were associated with human sensory perceptions: smell, touch, vision, taste and ether/ space respectively. Later, Buddhist philosophers replaced ether/space with life, joy and sorrow. Ancient India’s development in chemistry was not confined at an abstract level like physics, but found development in a variety of practical activities.
Metallurgy has remained central to all civilizations, from the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, and later. It is believed that the basic idea of smelting reached ancient India from Mesopotamia and the Near East. In ancient India, the science of smelting reached a high level of refinement and precision. In the 5th century BCE, the Greek historian Herodotus observed that the Indian and the Persian army used arrows tipped with iron.
India’s urban civilization is traceable to Mohenjodaro and Harappa, now in Pakistan, where planned urban townships existed 5000 years ago. From then on, Indian architecture and civil engineering continued to develop, and was manifested temples, palaces and forts across the Indian peninsula and neighbouring regions. Architecture and civil engineering was known as sthapatya-kala, literally “the art of constructing.
Thus with such a vast and rich heritage, we must not only be proud to be Indians, but must also strive to protect our heritage. India is truly an example of unity in diversity no wonder it is called God’s on country!