It’s unfortunate but true when some people still think of India as the land with snake charmers performing in crowded marketplaces or someone walking on hot coals. Nowadays it is the hotbed where foreign companies have their customer service call centers since India is the largest English speaking nation. What many people do not realize it has an ancient civilization dating back before 3100 B.C.
During these ancient times India was responsible for the origination of many inventions we still use today in education and technology. A quote from Max Mueller sums up what India has contributed to the world “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.”
According to an article from ABC News the game of chess originated in India 1,500 year ago by an Indian Brahmin. Even in ancient Persian (Iranian) texts from 531 A.D. it states the game was invented in India. The Indian King Balhait was discouraged when his subjects were resorting to gambling. King Balhait ordered the Brahmin to design a chess game called chaturanga to help strengthen his people’s intelligence. Now in modern India they are producing world champion chess players.
Math may not be a favorite subject in school for many, but its origins date back to ancient India. As far back as 2000 B.C. during India’s Vedic times the concept of zero, geometry, algebra and algorithms was already established. One of India’s greatest mathematicians gave the value of Pi – 3.1416 and the formulated math tables called the “Tables of Sine.” Brahmaguptha developed the rules of operation for “zero” with his theories of the addition or subtraction of zero from or to any quantity (either negative or positive) has no effect. The product of any quantity with zero always gives zero. Bhaskara’s contribution to algebra was the cyclic method or the “inverse cyclic” method as well as differential calculus.
Two ancient Indian astronomers, Varahamihira and Aryabhatta, were strong believers that planet Earth was spherical. They had one of the earliest theories on gravity where it was a force that kept the bodies stuck to earth. Another ancient Indian astronomer Bhaskaracharya from the 5th century had already calculated the time it took earth to orbit the sun at 365.258756484 days.
As far back as 2,600 years ago Sushruta, considered the greatest physician in ancient India, used anesthesia for a variety of complex surgeries such as cataracts, fractures, plastic surgery, artificial limbs, urinary stones, brain surgery and cesareans. It is commonly thought plastic surgery is a new medical specialty though it dates back 4,000 years ago in India.
5,000 years ago along the banks of the river Indus and throughout northern and western India they had devised one of the most sophisticated water supplies and sewage systems in the world. Covered drains were built underneath the streets within well-planned cities. Some of the oldest water harvesting tanks was cut into rocks to provide drinking water that is still in use today.
Indian scientific discovery – The legacy, WorldColleges.info
Ancient India Facts, CulturalIndia.net
Amanda Onion, “Scientists Find Oldest Chess Piece,” ABCNews.go.com
“Chess in India,” Indianetzone.com
Takao Hayashi, “Aryabhata (Indian astronomer)”, Britannica.com
Sanjay Saraf, MS, MCh and Ravi S. Parihar MCh, “Sushruta: The first Plastic Surgeon in 600 B.C.,” ISPub.com
Water Conservation, Envis.Mahasrashtra.gov