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15 Indian Inventions & Discoveries That Shaped the Modern World.

Indian Inventions & Discoveries

 

India was the mother of our race and Sanskrit the mother of Europe’s languages. She was the mother of our philosophy, mother through the Arabs, of much of our mathematics, mother through Buddha, of the ideals embodied in Christianity, mother through village communities of self-government and democracy. Mother India is in many ways the mother of us all.”

One of the oldest civilizations in the world, the Indian civilization has a strong tradition of science and technology. Ancient India was a land of sages and seers as well as a land of scholars and scientists.

ancient Hindus had established a civilization, known as the Harappan culture. A vast number of statements and materials presented in the ancient Vedic literatures can be shown to agree with modern scientific findings. Let’s explore the great cultural wealth of this knowledge...

1. Zero:

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when India invented zero, the world learned to count. Yes, it's true! Indians were the first to use Zero as a symbol and also in arithmetic operations as well. In the earlier times, a blank space was used to denote zero, later when it created confusion a dot was used to denote zero which can also be founded in Bakhshali manuscript. In 500 AD circa, Indian scientist Aryabhata gave a new symbol for zero (0). Aryabhatta worked on the place value system and discovered zero for the very first time, making use of letters to indicate numbers and pointing out qualities. It was in India that the number system was discovered and Aryabhata is credited with the invention of Zero!

Little needs to be written about the mathematical digit ‘zero’, one of the most important inventions of all time. Mathematician Aryabhata was the first person to create a symbol for zero and it was through his efforts that mathematical operations like addition and subtraction started using the digit, zero. The concept of zero and its integration into the place-value system also enabled one to write numbers, no matter how large, by using only ten symbols.

2. Democracy

Ruins of Vaishali (source)
The Greek republic of Athens is always regarded as the oldest non-tribal, organized democracy in the world. But historians know about the ancient Indian republic of Vaishali which dates back to 600 BCE, which is almost a hundred years before the institution of Athenian democracy. But the modern-era colonial propaganda neglects this fact.
Rather than that, the most ancient form of Indian democracy is the “panchayat” system which dates back more than three thousand years ago. It literally means “assembly of five”, whereby five leaders combine to govern the society.
Thomas McEvilley says, ““Through such chronological manipulations, the threat that the Indian past presents to the Greek miracle [as postulated by European supremacists] is defused by chronology.”
Will Durant says, “India was the mother of village communities of self-government and democracy.”

3. The Game of Chess

The Game of Chess

The game of chess was invented in India and was originally called Ashtapada (sixty-four squares). "Ashtapada" Sanskrit for spider -"a legendary being with eight legs" was played with dice on an 8x8 checkered board. There were no light and dark squares like we see in today's chess board for 1,000 years. Other Indian boards included the 10×10 Dasapada and the 9×9 Saturankam. Later this game came to be known as chaturanga. The Sanskrit name Chaturanga means 'quadripartite' — the four angas (divided into four parts).

In 600 AD this game was learned by Persians who named it Shatranj. Shatranj is a foreign word among the Persians and the Arabians, whereas its natural derivation from the term Chaturanga is obvious. Again affix the Arabic name for the bishop, means the elephant, derived from alephhind, the Indian elephant. Even the word 'checkmate' is derived from the Persian term Shah Mat which means 'the king is dead!’

4.  Clothing the world:                                    

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Another revolutionary Indian contribution was the development, production and use of cotton textiles for clothing. The Ancient Greeks were initially not even familiar with cotton, instead often wearing animal skins until the wars of Alexander the Great, during which they discovered and started using Indian garments, which essentially clothe all of us today.
“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.
For us in Britain, it is important to be aware that one of the pillars of our wealth as a modern nation, and a foundation of our industrial revolution, was directly derived from knowledge and experience of high quality textiles production and trade gained in India, as well as what many economic historians argue was the deliberate dismantling of India’s pioneering textiles industry. In his book The Political Economy of Imperialism, Dan Nadudere states that “It was by destroying the Indian textile industry that the British textile industry ever came up at all.”
For a broader understanding of an India that few of us are aware of, I would recommend watching the brilliant British historian Michael Wood’s The Story of India.
“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.

5. Vedic roots of Mathematics

 Vedic roots of Mathematics

Did you know that Geometry, Trigonometry, Calculus and Algebra are studies which originated in India? The word Geometry seems to have emerged from the Sanskrit word gyaa-miti which means "measuring the Earth". And the word Trigonometry is similar to tri-kona-miti meaning "measuring triangular forms". The treatise of Surya Siddhanta describes details of Trigonometry, which were introduced to Europe 1200 years later in the 16th century by Briggs. All Hindu as well as Buddhist mandalas and yantras are complex forms of Geometrical shapes.

6. Water on the Moon:

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One of Independent India’s most notable contributions to modern space exploration occurred between 2008 and 2009, with Chandrayaan-1, the Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) first dedicated lunar mission.
ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) carried both ISRO and NASA instruments, of which the Indian ‘Moon Impact Probe’ first detected the presence of lunar water. This was achieved three months before NASA’s ‘Moon Mineralogy Mapper’ (also part of Chandrayaan-1) made the same breakthrough, to which the discovery of lunar water is often 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.

7. Rulers:

Ruler
Rulers were made from Ivory and were in use by the Indus Valley Civilization in what is today's Pakistan and Northwestern India prior to 1500 BCE. Excavations at Lothal (2400 BCE) have yielded one such ruler that calibrated to about 1/16 of an inch—less than 2 millimetres and was it was 4400 years old. Even the weights and measures of the Indus civilization reached far and wide to Persia and Central Asia, where they were further modified. Later in 1851, Anton Ullrich invented the folding ruler while a few years later in 1902, Frank Hunt made the flexible ruler.

8. Binary Numbers

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Binary numbers is the basic language in which computer programs are written. Binary basically refers to a set of two numbers, 1 and 0, the combinations of which are called bits and bytes. The binary number system was first described by the Vedic scholar Pingala, in his book Chandahśāstra, which is the earliest known Sanskrit treatise on prosody ( the study of poetic metres and verse).

9. Squat toilet or Flush toilets:

Image result for Ancient toilets that used water were used in the Indus Valley Civilization.

Ancient toilets that used water were used in the Indus Valley Civilization. The cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro had a flush toilet system in almost every house in place, attached to a sophisticated sewage system from the 3rd millennium B.C. The sanitation devices were first of its kind and the Indus Valley Civilization contains what is the world's earliest known system of flush toilets. The houses during the Indus Valley had a washing platform and a dedicated toilet or a waste disposal hole. The toilet holes were flushed by emptying a jar of water, drawn from the house's central well, through a clay brick pipe, and into a shared brick drain, that would feed into an adjacent soak pit (cesspit). The soak pits would be periodically emptied of their solid matter, possibly to be used as a fertiliser.

10. Wireless Communication/Microwave communication: 

Image result for Jagadish Chandra Bose. Bose first demonstrated the use of radio in Calcutta, in 1895, two years before a similar demonstration by Marconi in England.
For a long time Guglielmo Marconi has been credited as the inventor of wireless radio communication.  Marconi received the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics for contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy. But... the first public demonstration of the use of radio waves for communication was made by the renowned Indian scientist, Jagadish Chandra Bose. Bose first demonstrated the use of radio in Calcutta, back in 1895, two years before a similar demonstration was made by Marconi in England. This revolutionary demonstration by Bose formed the foundation of the technology used in mobile telephony, radars, satellite communication, radios, television broadcast, WiFi, remote controls and countless other applications that today play a central role in our daily lives. The crescograph which is a device for measuring growth in plants was also invented by the Bengali scientist Jagadish Bose in the early 20th century.

11. A Theory of Atom

acharyakanad
Photo Source
One of the notable scientists of the ancient India was Kanad who is said to have devised the atomic theory centuries before John Dalton was born. He speculated the existence of anu or a small indestructible particles, much like an atom. He also stated that anu can have two states — absolute rest and a state of motion. He further held that atoms of same substance combined with each other in a specific and synchronized manner to produce dvyanuka (diatomic molecules) and tryanuka (triatomic molecules).

12. Carburized Steel

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India is supposedly one of the pioneers in metallurgy and had been producing top quality steel way back, two thousand years back than the time when Michael Faraday demystified the real process. The Indian Wootz Steel is considered to be legendary, and many great civilizations – from Ancient Greece to Persia, from Arabia to Ancient Rome – were so astonished by it. Even King Porus selected it as a gift to offer Alexander the Great, instead of picking the common gold and silver.
High-quality steel is still a major raw material in the modern world of production and industries. After the independence, India has again become the world leader in metallurgy and production of high-quality steel.

13. The Heliocentric Theory

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Photo Story
Mathematicians of ancient India often applied their mathematical knowledge to make accurate astronomical predictions. The most significant among them was Aryabhatta whose book, Aryabhatiya, represented the pinnacle of astronomical knowledge at the time. He correctly propounded that the Earth is round, rotates on its own axis and revolves around the Sun i.e the heliocentric theory. He also made predictions about the solar and lunar eclipses, duration of the day as well as the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

14. Seamless Metal Globe

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Photo Source Left/Right
Considered one of the most remarkable feats in metallurgy, the first seamless celestial globe was made in Kashmir by Ali Kashmiri ibn Luqman in the reign of the Emperor Akbar. In a major feat in metallurgy, Mughal metallurgists pioneered the method of lost-wax casting to make twenty other globe masterpieces in the reign of the Mughal Empire. Before these globes were rediscovered in the 1980s, modern metallurgists believed that it was technically impossible to produce metal globes without any seams, even with modern technology.

15. Plastic Surgery

06 - Susruta
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Written by Sushruta in 6th Century BC, Sushruta Samhita is considered to be one of the most comprehensive textbooks on ancient surgery. The text mentions various illnesses, plants, preparations and cures along with complex techniques of plastic surgery. The Sushruta Samhita ’s most well-known contribution to plastic surgery is the reconstruction of the nose, known also as rhinoplasty



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