Will Durant said in his The Story of Civilization, “..India has sent to the West such gifts as grammar and logic, philosophy and fables, hypnotism and chess, and above all numerals and the decimal system. She was the mother of our philosophy..of much of our mathematics..of the ideals embodied in Christianity..of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all.” Despite Bharata’s extraordinary cultural history and civilisational landmark achievements being well documented by well-known Western scholars, accurate knowledge of the country’s history has seldom entered public domain in west. And it is by deliberate design and not by innocuous default. Following handful of Bharatiya / Hindu landmark verticals must be known to all in west with a sense of gratitude that they must ingratiate within their inner beings.
Bharatiya / Hindu Numeral System :
Numbers that we all practise today are a Hindu invention. Often referred to as Arabic numerals as Arab traders brought the mathematical concepts to the West, this historic path-breaking invention of Hindu-s replaced cumbersome Roman numeral system in use in West till then, stands loftily as one of the greatest human inventions of all time. “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.
Ingenious Hindu system succeeded where efforts of other civilisations failed, now underpins foundation of modern mathematics and infinite applications in our routine lives. Number of other vital mathematical principles also have their roots in Bharata whose scientific texts and discoveries were regularly studied by foreign scholars, from Greek philosophers to Arab mathematicians, from British inventors to Nazi and Cold War era rocket / nuclear scientists. “Nearly all the philosophical and mathematical doctrines attributed to Pythagoras are derived from India.” Ludwig von Shroeder.
Carburised Steel :
Hindu-s have always been pioneers in metallurgy as we had mastered production of high quality steel more than two thousand years ago even before the process was unravelled in Britain and other European countries. Legendary Wootz steel of ancient Bharata was a cause of astonishment to other civilisations from Greece to Persia and Arabia to Rome. It was so advanced and precious that it was selected by King Porus as a gift over gold and silver. Barely seven decades after independence, India has again become a world leader in metallurgy and high quality steel production.
Contribution To Western Philosophy :
Historians are well aware that ancient Greeks and Romans were infatuated with Bharata. Greeks marvelled over technology in ancient Bharata, town planning, state craft, actively sought new ideas / thoughts from our Vedic scriptures / philosophers as well as by learning at universities like Taxila and Nalanda. Many scholars have underscored significant contribution of Hindu-s to ancient Greek philosophy, often depicted as foundation of western philosophy. In a comprehensive analysis in ‘The Shape of Ancient Thought’, Thomas McEvilley detailed how Hindu wisdom directly influenced key facets of Pre-Socratic Greek philosophy. “Is it not probable that the Brahmins were the first legislators of the earth, the first philosophers, the first theologians – The Greeks, before the time of Pythagoras, travelled into India for instruction.” Voltaire.
Clothing The World :
Another revolutionary Hindu contribution was development, production and use of cotton textile for clothing. Ancient Greeks were not even aware of cotton, draped animal skin until the war of Alexander that introduced to them cotton clothing. “Hundreds of years before the Christian era, cotton textiles were woven in India with matchless skill, and their use spread to the Mediterranean countries.” The Columbia Encyclopedia. One of the pillars of British wealth as a so-called modern nation and foundation of their industrial revolution was directly derived from knowledge and experience of high quality textiles production gained in India as well as criminal destruction of Bharata’s pioneering textile enterprise. Dan Nadudere stated in his book The Political Economy of Imperialism, “It was by destroying the Indian textile industry that the British textile industry ever came up at all.” British historian Michael Wood’s The Story of India must be watched for better understanding of their demeaning acts. “If I were asked under what sky the human mind has most fully developed some of its choicest gifts, has most deeply pondered on the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions, I should point to India.” Max Mueller.
Ancient Democracy :
Ancient republic of Athens has long been considered as the oldest non-tribal, organised democracy in the world. Racist European ‘historians’ distorted and re-wrote history of Hindu-s and other colonial events. They malevolently distorted dates of life and death of Gautama Buddha to make it appear as if he lived after Pericles and Socrates, suppressed widely known references to the existence of ancient Hindu republics as Gana–Sangha (equal assembly) and Gana–Rajya (equal government). Similarly, history of the ancient republic of Vaishali dates back to 600 BCE, highly sophisticated by then, almost a century before institution of Athenian republican democracy, was also ‘adjusted’ to support colonial propaganda of the day. Ironically, ancient Greece demonstrated adoration and attraction towards Hindu-s and their achievements. However, legacy of the distorted version of history still exists today. “Through such chronological manipulations, the threat that the Indian past presents to the Greek miracle [as postulated by European supremacists] is defused by chronology.” Thomas McEvilley. Another distinguished and widely known ancient form of Hindu democracy is ‘Pancayata System’ literally meaning an ‘assembly of five’ wise and respected elders. Unlike ancient city and state level republics, Pancayata-s as grassroots of democracy happen to be more than three thousand years old, have survived rise and fall of intermittent conquests, are still a central feature of contemporary democratic apparatus. “India was the mother of..village communities of self-government and democracy.” Will Durant.
Lunar Water :
Chandrayaan-1, first dedicated lunar mission of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) discovered water on moon in 2008/2009. ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) carried both ISRO and NASA instruments. Indian ‘Moon Impact Probe’ first detected existence of lunar water. It was achieved three months before NASA’s ‘Moon Mineralogy Mapper’ (also part of Chandrayaan-1) did the same breakthrough to which discovery of lunar water is often wrongly attributed. “We want to thank ISRO for making the discovery possible. The moon till now was thought to be a very dry surface with lot of rocks.” Jim Green, NASA Director.
Einstein’s Quantum Statistics :
German scientists have long been considered to be world’s most ardent Indologists. “It [The Upanishads] is the most satisfying and elevating reading which is possible in the world; it has been the solace of my life and will be the solace of my death.” Arthur Schopenhauer. Prominent German Physicist Albert Einstein to Nazi inventors who migrated to USA / USSR, were eager students of Sanatana texts such as Upanishad-s. Such texts were often referred to during 20th Century invention race for nuclear technology, space rockets, jet engines and even mind introversion methodologies, described in Bharata’s ancient Sanatana texts. “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. Satyendra Nath Bose is one of modern science’s unheralded heroes. His work provided foundation for Quantum Statistics, later endorsed, developed and published by Einstein; Nobel Prize 2001 for Physics was awarded to German and US scientists for their study of condensates, first conducted by and even named after Bose; widely covered ‘God Particle’ also known as Higgs-Boson, should have been rightly named as Boson-Higgs Particle for ground-breaking contributions of SN Bose to Particle Physics. SN Bose was never given his due in Physics for his discoveries. “Gravitation was known to the Indians before the birth of Newton. The system of blood circulation was discovered by them centuries before Harvey was heard of.” P. Johnstone.
Radio / Wireless Communication :
Guglielmo Marconi has for long been regarded as the inventor of wireless radio communication. Then he received Nobel Prize 1909 in Physics for contributions to wireless telegraphy. However, first public demonstration of Radio Waves for communication was made by a Bharatiya scientist, Jagadish Chandra Bose. Bose first demonstrated use of radio in Calcutta in 1895, two years before a similar demonstration by Marconi in England. More than a century after the feat, JC Bose has been belatedly credited for the landmark invention. Bose’s revolutionary discovery is the foundation of technology applied in mobile telephony, radars, satellite communication, radios, television broadcast, WiFi, remote controls and countless other applications that play a central role in our daily lives. “The inventor (J.C. Bose) has transmitted signals to a distance of nearly a mile and herein lies the first and obvious and exceedingly valuable application of this new theoretical marvel.” The Daily Chronicle, England, 1896.
Zero (0) :
Hardly any introduction is required for ‘Zero’, one of the most important inventions ever. This mathematical digit and concept also has a direct link to the ancient philosophy of ‘No-Thingness’, is one of several examples of integration of Science, Mathematics with Adhyatma in ancient Bharata. “In the whole history of mathematics, there has been no more revolutionary step than the one which India made when they invented zero.” Lancelot Hogben. Several other specialised disciplines of Mathematics such as Calculus, attributed to Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz hitherto, were in reality developed by Bharatiya Mathematicians centuries before Newton & Leibniz’s could. Similarly, Pythagorean Theorem had been developed in ancient Bharata a century before an almost identical discovery in Greece.
“The study of mathematics in the West has long been characterized by a certain ethnocentric bias, a bias which most often manifests not in explicit racism, but in a tendency toward undermining or eliding the real contributions made by non-Western civilizations. The debt owed by the West to other civilizations, and to India in particular, go back to the earliest epoch of the “Western” scientific tradition, the age of the classical Greeks, and continued up until the dawn of the modern era, the renaissance, when Europe was awakening from its dark ages…Due to the legacy of colonialism, the exploitation of which was ideologically justified through a doctrine of racial superiority, the contributions of non-European civilizations were often ignored, or, as George Ghevarughese Joseph argued, even distorted, in that they were often misattributed as European.” Dr. David Gray.
Complex Hydraulic Engineering :
Since the time of Indu Valley civilisation more than 5,000 years ago until British invasion in 17th century, Bharata had a vast and highly sophisticated network of canals, well laid out irrigation, water management and sewage systems. These systems were so advanced that they were designed to automatically self-clean blockages as well as odour. World’s first flush toilets were also in use in ancient Bharata over 3,000 years ago, remained an essential feature in every home of Indu Valley Civilisation, largest ancient civilisation in the world. System of canals that existed for thousands of years, was lifeline of what was world’s largest economy till British Occupiers destroyed it. According to American historian David Hatcher Childress, plumbing-sewage systems in ancient Bharata were so sophisticated that they are still superior to those in many developed countries today. Large public baths were also in existence in Indu Valley Civilisation, thousands of years before creation of similar Roman baths. “A wonder to modern-day researchers, the cities [were] highly developed and advanced. A remarkable early example of city planning.” David Hatcher Childress.
Edmund Burke, a prominent British politician and founder of Conservative Party, repeatedly condemned the damage that British dominion did to Bharata, specifically mentioned callous destruction of ancient reservoir systems which succeeded for thousands of years in preserving fertility of dry regions, people self sufficient, nourished and prosperous. “In the happier times of India, a number almost incredible of reservoirs have been made in chosen places throughout the whole country. There cannot be in the Carnatic and Tanjore [alone] fewer than ten thousand of these reservoirs of the larger and middling dimensions.” Edmund Burke.
From advanced understanding of human nervous system, muscles and organs to vaccination techniques; from a huge collection of naturally sourced medicines to holistic preventative care and from fortifying immunity to mastery of digestive and metabolic systems, ancient Bharata had shaped very foundations of modern medicine and healthcare. “Indian medicine dealt with the whole area of the science. Much attention was devoted to hygiene, to the regimen of the body, and to diet. Arabic medicine was founded on the translations from the Sanskrit treatise, made by command of the Kaliphs of Baghdad, 750-960 AD. European medicine, down to the 17th Century, was based upon the Arabic; and the name of the Indian physician Charaka repeatedly occurs in the Latin translations.” Sir William Hunter, British Historian. Contrary to popular misconceptions, several herbs and spices used in Bharatiya cuisine were not merely added to preserve or leaven food but also to combine preventative care too. Hindu system of medicine Ayurveda, propagates holistic life-style so as to avoid any menical attention at all. More than 2,000 years ago, principal contributor to Ayurveda articulated, “It is more important to prevent the occurrence of disease than to seek a cure.” Acarya Caraka, Father of Ayuraveda.
Concepts, operative methodologies and specialised tools of surgery used in ancient Bharata more than 2,000 years ago, postulated during early Vedic period are still under development in Europe. From Plastic Surgery to highly developed midwifery, from anaesthesia to advanced childcare procedures, ancient Bharatiya skills constitute foundation of modern surgery. Under Emperor Asoka raised a vast network of animal hospitals in which specialised veterinary surgery was also in vogue. “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 borrowed.” Sir William Hunter.
Religious Tolerance :
While Sanatana Hinduism does not encourage conversion of faith at all, Buddhism historically sought to proselytise through peaceful persuasion. Bharata does not have a dubious history of conversion of faith through coercive means and the nation is identified by their pluralistic tolerance. Hinduism and Buddhism have been spectacularly successful in disseminating their message from ancient Bharata to vast swathes of Far East, Indonesia, Japan, from Thailand to China. “It is an undoubted fact that in India, religions and philosophical thinkers were able to enjoy perfect, nearly absolute freedom for a long period. The freedom of thought in ancient India was so considerable as to find no parallel in the West before the most recent age.” Max Weber, German Sociologist. “India conquered and dominated China culturally for 20 centuries without ever having to send a single soldier across her border”. Hu Shih, Philosopher & Former Chinese Ambassador to the United States.
Accomodative disposition towards all faiths is central to Sanatana Hindu ethos. India, a predominantly Hindu nation of 1.2 billion people, had a Sikh Prime Minister who constitute merely 2% of the total population; country had several Christians as Chief of Air Staff out of a community that constitute only 2.3% population; till recently, country had a Muslim President in APJ Abdul Kalam whose community make 14.6% of the population; Ratan Tata is one of the world’s most prominent businessmen from Parsi community that make merely 0.006% of the entire population. Historically, Bharata has also been an abode for persecuted refugee minorities of Zoroastrian Iranians i.e. Parsis and Jews too. “The Bene Israel flourished for 2,400 years in a tolerant land that has never known anti-Semitism, and were successful in all aspects of the socio-economic and cultural life of the people of the region.” Avotaynu (the Jewish genealogical magazine).
Compassion / Empathy :
More an ancient contribution than a discovery, compassion and empathy have been fundamentals of culture and history. These are integrated into the core of Sanatana Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism, encompassing entire world. Hindu-s have never invaded any country in their entire known history and their entire warfare had been limited to defending themselves effectively. All this, in spite of having been most powerful economy in the world for almost entire recorded history. “India will teach us the tolerance and gentleness of mature mind, understanding spirit and a unifying, pacifying love for all human beings.” Will Durant, American Historian.
Another ancient, historical and cultural contribution of Hindu-s to the world is gender equality. Gender equality has been a cornerstone of ancient Hindu scriptures and life with women possessing joint ownership of property rights with men and liberty to divorce. Ancient institution of ‘Swayamvara’ was a practice wherein a potential bride selected her husband in a congregation of suitors with the aim to win her over. ‘Swayam’ in Samskrita means Self and ‘Vara’, option to chose. Ancient text of Kama Sutra, guide to harmonious relations, graceful co-existence etc. is highly evolved. Contrary to western perception of the text being merely a ‘sex manual’, Kama Sutra postulates equality of all dimensions between man and woman. ‘Kama’ means desire which constitutes a very important pillar of human life demanding deft handling. It was authored when Europeans were barbarians and it took centuries before they could think of any such code of conduct. Several matriarchal communities having descent and inheritance through maternal lineage, have existed in ancient Bharata for thousands of years. Matrilineal communities in contemporary India include Nairs, Bunt and Khasi. Khasi women are still known to be married to multiple husbands which led Khasi men to fight for their rights. Virtue of gender equality was destroyed with Islamic invasions and British domination of the nation.
“India of the Vedas entertained a respect for women amounting to worship. Here is a civilization, which places the woman on a level with the man and gives her an equal place in the family and in society.” Louis Jaccoliot, French Author.