Remembering the great past
(Facts about India):
The achievements made by India today are very much lopsided; they undermined the character and role of India in the bringing up of universal peace and prosperity. Indians fail to give due place to their own vitality. Today’s generation of India is taught all things under the sky except about their own home. Here I am giving a collection of points about India (almost all of them are through foreign entities) that I got through various sources. Thanks to all.
The following facts are for those who believe that those who bother to know about the Self stay behind others in the material or technological developments. The fact is where the Self is realized or sought, the scope for innovations and inventions is even more than ever.
World History Facts About India:
These facts about India were recently (year 2006) published in one of the German Magazines which deals with World History
- India never invaded any country in her last 1000 years of history.
- India invented the Number System.
- Zero was invented by Aryabhatta. (Aryabhata(476BC) was the first to discuss spherical astronomy and calculate position of planets, eclipse points and the circumference of earth. He postulated heliocentric theory even 1000 years earlier to Copernicus.)
- The place value system, the decimal system was developed in India in 100 BC.
- 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 CE was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
- Sanskrit is the mother of all the European languages.
- Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software – a report in Forbes magazine, July 1987.
- Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans.
- Charaka, the father of medicine consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago.
- Today Ayurveda is fast regaining its rightful place in our civilization.
- Although modern images of India often show poverty and lack of development.
- India was the richest country on earth until the time of British in the early 17th Century.
- Christopher Columbus was attracted by her wealth.
- The art of Navigation was born in the river Sindh 6000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word NAV GATIH. The word navy is also derived from Sanskrit ‘Nou’. (Yet, they never invaded neighboring lands nor subjugated other cultures.)
- Bhaskaracharya calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun, hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart.
- Time taken by earth to orbit the sun: (5th century) 365.258756484 days.
- The value of “pi” was first calculated by Budhayana.
- He explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem.
- He discovered this in the 6th century long before the European mathematicians.
- Algebra, trigonometry and calculus came from India. (The very words Geometry and Trigonometry are derived from Sanskrit words geomiti and trikonamiti.)
- The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Hindus used numbers as big as 10**53 (10 to the power of 53) with specific names as early as 5000 BCE during the Vedic period.
- Even today, the largest used number is Tera: 10**12(10 to the power of 12).
- Quadratic equations were propounded by Sridharacharya in the 11th century.
- According to the Gemological Institute of America, up until 1896, India was the only source for diamonds to the world.
- The earliest reservoir and dam for irrigation was built in Saurashtra.
- Chess (Shataranja or AshtaPada) was invented in India.
- Sushruta is the father of surgery.
- 2600 years ago he and health scientists of his time conducted complicated surgeries like cesareans, cataract, artificial limbs, fractures, urinary stones and even plastic surgery and brain surgery.
- Usage of anesthesia was well known in ancient India.
- Over 125 surgical equipments were used.
- Deep knowledge of anatomy, physiology, etiology, embryology, digestion, metabolism, genetics and immunity is also found in many texts.
- When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus Valley Civilization).
Other facts worth knowing:
- Yoga has its origins in India and has been existing for over 5,000 years.
- Martial Arts were first created in India, and later spread to Asia by Buddhist missionaries.
- Varanasi, also known as Benaras, was called “the Ancient City” when Lord Buddha visited it in 500 B.C., and is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world today.
- “Bharathanatiyam” originated from Tamil Nadu, India, is supposed to be the oldest document dance form. It dates back to nearly 1500 B.C.
- Over 2500 years ago, Indian farmers had discovered and begun farming many spices and sugarcane. People in India had also invented, by about 500 BC, the process to produce sugar crystals. In the local language, these crystals were called khanda which is the source of the word candy.
- Ancient Indians had good knowledge of chemistry. Dyes, perfumes and bhasmas (for medical use) were also prepared. Iron Pillar erected by Raja Chandra Verma in Delhi stands rust-free for more than 1500 years. Such metal treatment was not known to western world till the discovery of stainless steel.
- Kanada (6th century BC) had propounded that Paramanu (atom) forms dwinuka (molecules). He also discovered that the density of molecules is peculiar to each matter and so an object weighs less in water than in air, even earlier to Archimedes.
- Brahma gupta(628 AD) postulated that any integer divided by zero yields infinity.
- Panini (6th century BC) devised the first ever grammar treaties.
Sayings on India’s contribution:
“We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.”
– Albert Einstein
“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”
– Mark Twain
“India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border.”
– Hu Shih, Former Ambassador of China to U.S.A.
“India – The land of Vedas, the remarkable works contain not only religious ideas for a perfect life, but also facts which science has proved true. Electricity, radium, electronics, airship, all were known to the seers who founded the Vedas.”
-Wheeler Wilcox (American poet)
“The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity is of wonderful structure, more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin and more exquisitely refined than either.”
– Sir William Jones (British Orientalist, 1746-1794)
“The surgery of the ancient Indian physicians was bold and skilful. A special branch of surgery was dedicated to rhinoplasty or operations for improving deformed ears, noses and forming new ones, which European surgeons have now borrowed.”
– Sir W. Hunter (British Surgeon, 1718-1783)
“Many of the advances in the sciences that we consider today to have been made in Europe were in fact made in India centuries ago.” – Grant Duff, British Historian
“Indian cities are prosperous and stretch far and wide. There are many guest houses for travelers. There are hospitals providing free medical service for the poor. The viharas and temples are majestic. People are free to choose their occupations. There are no restrictions on the movement of the people. Government officials and soldiers are paid their salaries regularly. People are not addicted to drinks. They shun violence. The administration provided by the Gupta rulers is fair and just.”
– Chinese traveler Fa-Hien during the reign of Chandragupta II. Fa-Hien was in India during 399 AD to 414 AD.
“Indians have in general superior endowments in reading, writing and arithmetic than the common people of any nation in Europe.”
– Warren Hastings
“In the great books of India, an empire spoke to us, nothing small or unworthy, but large, serene, consistent, the voice of an old intelligence, which in another age and climate had pondered and thus disposed of the questions that exercise us.”
– R.W Emerson (American Essayist, 1803-1882)
We all know that India is very strong and ancient in her religious ideologies. At the times when India was strong in her religious values, she also had been equally strong in all other aspects of life such as engineering, mathematics, astronomy, medical sciences, chemistry, poetry, administration and what not. If we give due respect and place to our vitality, then all other quality achievements will follow like a shadow.
The English historian and broadcaster Michael Wood (born in 1948), after visiting so many places in the world, says in his ‘The story of India’ that Tamil Nadu is the only place in the world where the ‘Classical Civilization’ still survives. The reason is, the Tamil people preserved substantial elements of their past belief, culture, music, literature and other arts despite the strong influences of the modern-globalised world. But the fact we have to see here is, he used the word ‘survives’. He didn’t use the word ‘flourishes’ or even ‘lives’.
There is no pride to this nation when her more ancient and rich civilasation ‘survives’ somewhere somehow in her landscape. The Indian civilization which envisages humanity, introspection and intellectual richness, should flourish in all parts of this nation in its true colour and phenomenon. We need to preserve our civilization. This doesn’t mean that we should not accept new things. For example, we can accept new styles in clothing. But, they shouldn’t propel others to make mean and horrid ideas. This is what I call ‘our civilisation’.
So far as the innovations do not devastate the environment and mental health, we can accept them. This rule applies to the old traditions too. This is good not only for India, but for the whole world.