One envisions ancient Roman and Greek civilizations with many of the scientific foundations leading up to contemporary society, but the ancient world of India played an exceptional role in contributing to the knowledge of our present day applications of science and culture. The Sanskrit language, known as the mother of all languages, allowed spread of the accomplishments from the erudite in India to far corners of the globe.
Civilization owes the development of the decimal system to ancient India in the fifth century A.D. This is My India describes the ancient handwriting evidence that showed India used the decimal system for centuries prior to the appearance of the numerical expressions in the West. A mathematic scholar by the name of Aryabhatta not only came up with mathematical equations to explain the rotation of the earth on its axis, but also declared the shape of the earth to be round. Indian scientists became the first society to use the zero as a number. Historians indicate Arabs intermingled with India and spread the mathematical concepts to the western world.
The Indian History Organization reveals the progressive nature of the civilization living in the Indus Valley in northwestern India. The people constructed buildings of brick, created roadside drainage systems and designed multilevel homes. Archaeological excavations started in the 1920s in this region of the Harappan Civilization and continue to occur with breakthroughs as recent as 1999. The excavation results counted a total of 1,052 cities and settlements found in India and present day Pakistan. The meticulous layout of the communities suggests knowledge of advanced urban planning and efficient government. The organization of the cities represents the first evidence of urban planning by a society. Compared to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia in the same time frame, the civilization built no mammoth structures usually reserved for religious rituals or monarchy dwellings. The Indus Valley civilization appears notably egalitarian.
Persians and Arabs ascribe the roots of the game of chess to the Indian people. According to ArtsSmith International, the word chess derives from the Sanskrit term, caturanga. The game purports to teach values of valor, decision-making, foresight, endurance, circumspection and bravery required for military mental ability. Caturanga refers to an “army of four divisions or four corps.” Buddhist pilgrims, Silk Road travelers and traders spread the game to the Far East and to the west through Persia to present day Europe. Europe in the 10th century modified the game to what we know as modern chess.
The Life Positive Foundation ascribes the discovery of zinc, iron and other ores to early Indus Valley civilizations. Archaeological excavation uncovered iron objects dating back by radiocarbon to ancient times. Implements include such domestic items as knives, daggers, arrowheads, bowls, spoons, saucepans, axes and chisels. The ancient artisans extracted metals from their ores to create useful objects. Indian craftsperson later produced steel by combining iron, charcoal and glass in a crucible mold and heating the mixture until substances combined. The knowledge of metallurgy led to later advances in chemistry.
Socyberty ascribes the field of Plastic Surgery to the ancient surgeon, Sushruta, believed to be a contemporary of the mathematician, Aryabhatta. The ancient civilization in India utilized deforming a criminal’s body as a system of punishment. Historians translating documents from Sanskrit indicate the practice on offenders possibly led to improvements in Sushruta’s surgical techniques. He became skillful at Plastic Surgery and his services moved to non-offenders. Sushruta, considered the father of surgery, contributed not only to the field of surgery, but also to anesthesia by administering herbal wines to dull the senses during surgery. The documentation of his medical work later underwent translation into Arabic and European languages.