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India has always been perceived as a poverty stricken country
were livestock roam freely on the roads. The people of India
are thought to be mostly uneducated. Those fortunate enough
to be part of the educated lot, would definitely be software
developers or working at a call centre.
This is my attempt to show that India is, has been and always
will be a lot more.
“In religion, India is the
Mark Twain, American Author 1835-1910
The four religions born in India - Hinduism, Buddhism,
Jainism, and Sikhism, are followed by 25% of the
Indian Mythology such as Ramayana & Mahabharata ,
convey subtle facts, rules and maxims to guide our
“ India was the motherland of our race and Sanskrit the
other of Europe‟s languages. India was the mother of our
philosophy, of much of our mathematics, of the ideals
embodied in christianity.. Of self government and
democracy. In many ways, Mother India is the mother of us
-Will Durant (American historian 1885 to 1981)
Buddhism and Jainism) are
replete with philosophies
that advocate renunciation.
The Hindu Philosophy of
in the dictum; 'Jagat Mithya
Brahman Satya' which
means the world is an
illusion, the supreme is the
India has never invaded any country in its 10 000
years of history
“India conquered and dominated
China for 20 centuries without
ever having to send a soldier
across her border”
-Huh Shih (Former ambassador of china to USA)
The constitution of modern India has granted the freedom
of worship to members of all faiths. India is a 'Soverign,
Socialist, Secular Democratic Republic. To us, the term
'secular' means 'religious tolerance'. Religious tolerance in
India is not a gift of modern times, it has existed in ancient
India, though it suffered an eclipse during the medieval
ages under hostile alien rule and later under colonial rule.
“Hindu Muslim Sikh Isai, Apas mein
hum bhai bhai”
Translation: Hindu, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians are all brothers
“We owe a lot to the Indians,
who taught us how to count,
without which no worthwhile
scientific discovery could have
been made. “
The value of "pi" was first calculated by the Indian
Mathematician Budhayana, and he explained the concept of
what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. In 1999 British
scholars published Budhayana's work which dates back to the
6th century; which was long before the European
Zero was invented by Aryabhatta. In India. basic calculations
including multiplications and divisions were carried out with
zero from as early as 9th century A.D.
Bhaskaracharya of 12th century was the next great
mathematician after Aryabhatta. He accurately calculated the
time taken by the earth to orbit the Sun hundreds of years
before the astronomer Smart. According to his calculations,
Earth takes 365.258756484 days to orbit the Sun.
Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus also originated in India.
Quadratic Equations were used by Sridharacharya in the 11th
century. The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used
were 106 whereas Indians used numbers as large as 10^53 (i.e.
10 to the power of 53), with a prefix from 5000 B.C. during the
Vedic period. Even today, the largest prefix used is yotta:
“Ancient Indian theories lacked
empirical base, but the brilliant
imaginative explanations of the
physical structure of the world,
and in a large measure, agreed
with the discoveries of modern
Sage Kanaada conjectured for
the first time some elements of
theory of atoms in 5th century
B.C. His real name was
'Ulook‟ (owl). He used to write
throughout the day time, and at
night he used to pick up
particles from jungles for a
living. Hence he may have got
the name Kanaad (Kan means
particle). He put forward the
theory that every substance
was made of atoms.
From the Vedic times, around 3000
B.C. to 1000 B.C., Indians (Indo-
Aryans) have classified the material
world into four elements viz. Earth
(Prithvi), fire (Agni), air (Maya) and
To these four elements was added a fifth one viz. ether or Akasha. According to
some scholars these five elements or Pancha Mahabhootas were identified with
the various human senses of perception; earth with smell, air with feeling, fire
with vision, water with taste and ether with sound.
Indian Nobel Prize-winning
Chandrasekhar discovered the
Chandrasekhar Limit. If a
star‟s mass is lesser than the
Chandrasekhar Limit it will
shrink to become a white
dwarf. If it is greater than the
limit, the star will explode,
becoming a supernova.
The empirical nature of chemistry is also reflected in the word
we use for substances i.e. Padartha which is a combination of
two words Pada meaning 'step' and Artha which itself means
'meaning'. Thus the word Padartha can be literally translated to
'meaning in steps'. Perhaps, this reflects the fact that in
chemistry, knowledge is acquired step by step through
The Iron Pillar at Delhi, is
estimated to have been cast about
1500 years ago. The Pillar
weighing around 6 tonnes, has
been standing in open air for
more than a millennium. Though
it has been exposed to heat, dust
and rain, it has not rusted. Such
advancement in metalugry was
not achieved by anyone at that
The process of crystallization of sugar from sugarcane juice
was discovered in India during the Gupta period (350 AD).
India is in a way
synonymous with spices;
Pepper, Ginger, Cloves,
Cardamom, Cumin, etc., have
all been processed and
exported from India since
ancient times. In fact, spices
were so valuable in the west
that when the trade routes
were disrupted by wars,
spices were sold by weight in
exchange for gold.
Aryabhatta is believed to have been born in 476 A.D. in a town
called Ashmaka which is in the state of Kerala in present day
India. He studied astronomy at the University of Nalanda at a
very young age. He made significant contributions to the field
The following were contributions made by him…
The circumference of earth is 40,075km. Aryabhatta calculated
the circumference of the earth to be 39,736km. It is amazing to
see that is calculations were so close to accuracy with the basic
technology available at that time.
'Arybhatiya' is a poem in which Aryabhatta presented his work.
In the poem he has mentioned that “Eventhough we feel that
the sun and stars are rotating around us in fact, they are fixed
and the earth is rotating around them.” This proves that he was
centuries ahead of others.
He has mentioned in his work that the moon and other planets
do not have its own light but reflect light from the sun.
He recognized that the planets‟ orbit is elliptical.
Aryabhatta calculated that there are 365 days, 6 hrs, 12 minutes
and 30 seconds in one year.
Aryabhatta's Magnum Opus, the Aryabhattiya was translated
into Latin in the 13th century. Through this translation,
European mathematicians got to know methods for calculating
the areas of triangles, volumes of spheres.
Since Vedic times, Indians had been required to recite the
Vedas. In those days, the Vedas were passed down from one
generation to the next through memory (Smriti) and were learnt
through hearing (Shruti). Even today the Vedas are traditionally
learnt by recitation.
The first visual art created in the Indian sub-continent were
primitive cave or rock paintings. These paintings at Ajanta and
Ellora depict Buddhist tales from the Jatakas. Though the
paintings are nearly 1500 years old, the paint has retained its
colour and much of its lustre.
Sanskrit is known to be the mother of all languages.
According to a report in Forbes magazine July 1987, Sanskrit
is the most suitable language for computer software because of
its high regularity.
Many historians, notably D.D. Kosambi, Debiprasad
Chattopadhyaya and Adya Rangacharaya, have referred to the
prevalence of ritualism amongst Aryan tribes in which some
members of the tribe acted as if they were wild animals and
some others were the hunters. Those who acted as animals like
goats, buffaloes, reindeer, monkeys, etc. were chased by those
playing the role of hunters and a mock hunt was enacted.
In such a simple and crude manner did the theatre originate in
India nearly 4000 years ago in the tribal Aryans of Rig Vedic
The game of Snakes & Ladders was created by the 13th century
poet saint Gyandev. It was originally called 'Mokshapat'. The
ladders in the game represented virtues and the snakes
indicated vices. In time, the game underwent several
modifications, but its meaning remained the same, i.e. good
deeds take people to heaven and evil to a cycle of re-births.
Chess originated in ancient India and was known as "Chatur-
Anga" Meaning 4 bodied, as it was played by 4 players. From
this name we have its current name "Shatranj.
The other term Astapada meaning eight steps, which was also
used to describe this game in ancient India, perhaps was a
description for the eight steps (Squares) which the modern
Chessboard, has. The modern Chessboard is chequered with 64
(8 x 8) squares in all, with eight squares on each side. The old
English word for chess which is Esches, possibly stems from
this eight squared aspect of the game as did the Sanskrit word
Cards were known as Krida-patram in ancient India .These
cards were made of cloth and depicted motifs from
the Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc . A tradition carried on today
with floral motifs and natural scenery.
Kalaripayat from Kerala was
transmitted to China by a sage
named Boddhidharma in the 5th
century. The Chinese called him
Po-ti-tama. He taught this art in a
temple. This temple is today
known as the Shaolin temple.
Thus martial arts which is
identified with the far-east actually
originated from India.
India had made great progress in medicines too. We had
tradition of medicines since 3000 B.C. but, we believed that
„human beings get diseases due to ghosts‟. Understanding the
body and scientific treatment commenced from Vedic times.
This knowledge is known as AyurVed (knowledge of Life).
Sushruta is regarded the Father of Surgery. Over 2600 years
ago Sushrata & his team conducted complicated surgeries
involving cataract, artificial limbs, cesareans, fractures, urinary
stones and also plastic surgery and brain surgeries.
Usage of anaesthesia was well known in ancient Indian
medicine. Detailed knowledge of anatomy, embryology,
digestion, metabolism, physiology, etiology, genetics and
immunity is also found in many ancient Indian texts.
One of the more known India
contribution is yoga (The art
of Well-being). Originating in
India, yoga is now a world-
wide form of exercise and
The World's First Granite
Temple is the Brihadeswara
Temple at Tanjavur, Tamil
Nadu. The shikhara of the
temple is made from a single
80-tonne piece of granite.
This magnificent temple was
built in just five years,
(between 1004 AD and 1009
AD) during the reign of
A little less known fact about India is that the first garden-tomb
in the world was built in India. It was built as a tomb for
Emperor Humayun, which also houses the graves of his wife
and other Mughals.
The earliest known reservoir and dam for irrigation was built in
The Taj Mahal is considered one of the Seven
Wonders of the World. It was built by Mughal
Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his wife.
The oldest building in
Asia the Sanchi Stupa is
in India. The Dome of
Mosques in Islamic
Architecture is derived
from the Stupa.
An important endowment of India, Vāstu śāstra,
“science of construction“ is now gaining popularity
The Art of Navigation & Navigating was born in the river
Sindh over 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is
derived from the Sanskrit word 'NAVGATIH'. The word navy
is also derived from the Sanskrit word 'Nou‘.
Sanskrit and Pali literature has innumerable references to
the maritime activity of Indians in ancient times. There is
also one treatise in Sanskrit, named Yukti Kalpa Taru
which has been compiled by a person called Bhoja
Narapati. The Yukti Kalpa Taru gives sufficient
information and date to prove that in ancient times, Indian
shipbuilders had a good knowledge of the materials which
were used in building ships.
A fresco from a cave in Ajanta, painted sometime during A.D, 630.
Source: Ajanta, The Colour and Monochrome Reproductions
The early Hindu astrologers are said to have used the magnet,
in fixing the North and East, in laying foundations, and other
religious ceremonies. The Hindu compass was an iron fish that
floated in a vessel of oil and pointed to the North. The name of
this Hindu compass was “Maccha Yantra” meaning fish
instrument. This also happens to be the name Molesworth gave
to the mariner's compass.
“ If I am asked which nation
had been advanced in the
ancient world in respect of
education and culture then I
would say it was India”.
-Max Muller (German Indologist)
The Kama Sutra is an ancient
Indian Hindu text widely
considered to be the standard
work on human sexual
behavior in Sanskrit literature
written by Vātsyāyana.
Contrary to popular belief,
Kama sutra is not just an
exclusive sex manual; it
presents itself as a guide to a
virtuous and gracious living
that discusses the nature of
love, family life and other
aspects pertaining to pleasure
oriented faculties of human
The world's first university was established in Takshila in 700
BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied
more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the
4th century was one of the greatest achievements of ancient
India in the field of education.
USA based IEEE has proved, what has been a century
old suspicion in the world scientific community, that
the pioneer of wireless communication was Prof.
Jagdish Bose and not Marconi.
When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000
years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley
Indus Valley Civilization). The city was built in a grid form where
the roads ran from north to south and east to west, which is how
the modern cities are designed.
“It is already becoming clearer that a chapter which has a
western beginning will have to have an Indian ending if it is
not to end in the self- destruction of the human race… At this
supremely dangerous moment the only way for salvation for
mankind is the Indian way”.
-Dr. Arnold Toynbee ( British Historian 1889-1975)