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The History of Indian knowledge that some people deliberately try to hide and neglect

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Rahul Raj
Poet. Engineer. Story Teller. Social Media Observer. Started Bhak Sala on facebook

Even if we deny that Binary Notations were independently invented and introduced in India, even if we refuse that there are recurring discussions by Pingala around laghu and guru in the śatapatha brāhmaṇa, we would surely agree to the fact that we are living within a binary social system of a group that says Indians did everything and a group that says Indians did nothing.

While some funny culture boasting people share unresearched, half-baked and wrong stories of inventions done by ancient Indians, many other people try to hide and neglect the real inventions. Basking in the glory of the past may not drive our future, but discrediting the history to accomplish a hidden hateful agenda is far more harmful.

In one of his tweets, Shashi Tharoor rightly points out deliberate discrediting of past by a few groups of organized hateful individuals:

The outrage started because Dr Harsh Vardhan stated that “Our scientists discovered Pythagoras theorem, but we very sophisticatedly gave its credit to Greeks.”

However, the outrage against credit-discredit was shrewdly channelized into an organized attack against ancient culture. OpIndia.com did some research on the contribution of science by ancient Indians.

Here are some of our findings:

Pythagoras Theorem: Pythagoras (c. 570 – c. 495 BC) theorem states that the square of the hypotenuse (the side opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides. Interestingly, 400 years before Pythagoras was born, the Sulba Sūtra talked about relationship between diagonals and sides of right-angled geometrical objects. It said, “A rope stretched along the length of the diagonal produces an area which the vertical and horizontal sides make together.” There are references of similar theorems in Chinese history too. The Chinese were using it as “Gougu Theorem” around (202 BC to 220 AD).

The Baudhayana Sulba Sutra (dated between the 8th century BC and the 2nd century BC) contains a list of Pythagorean triples discovered algebraically, a statement of the Pythagorean theorem, and a geometrical proof of the Pythagorean theorem for an isosceles right triangle. The Apastamba Sulba Sutra (ca. 600 BC) contains a numerical proof of the general Pythagorean theorem, using an area computation. Details can be easily found in several international research works.

Sulva_Sutra

Trigonometry: Early references of trigonometric functions can be found in astronomy related texts in which maths was used. Usage of geometry is mentioned in the works of early Greek Mathematicians. However, the first documentation of the sine of an can be seen in the works of Aryabhata in (around 500-600 AD) and Bhaskara (around 1150 AD).

Aryabhata, Brahmagupta and Bhaskara also established and documented many formulas on Arithmetic Progression, Estimation of pi, Astrology, Continued Fractions, Quadratic Equations, Sums-of-Power Series, etc.

trigonometry

We would suggest the blinkers-covered junta to go beyond Manoj Kumar song (Jab zero diya mere bharat ne, mere bharat ne, mere bharat ne). The contribution of Aryabhata is no less than contributions by Euclid or Diophantus.

The Iron Pillar of Delhi: The Iron Pillar of Delhi is still considered as one of the most fantastic metallurgical compositions. The 7.3 m tall column has withstood corrosion for the last 1600 years. Several theories around material factors and environmental factors are proposed to explain this phenomenon, however, even after lots of national and international research works, there is no satisfactory explanation as to why the pillar has never rusted.

Scientists across the globe tried to replicate this phenomenon, but failed to create it. Not only this, the finest Damascus steel was made by a process known only to Indians. The original Damascus steel-the world’s first high-carbon steel was a product of India known as wootz. Wootz is the English for ukku in Kannada and Telugu, meaning steel. Indian steel was used in Persia and Arabia for making swords in ancient times. Ktesias at the court of Persia (5th c BC) mentions two swords made of Indian steel which the Persian king presented him. Even in 1800s, when Europeans tried to create Wootz with their knowledge of metallurgy, they failed to produce it.

Iron_pillar_delhi

The Fibonacci sequence: The Fibonacci sequence is named after Leonardo of Pisa, who was known as Fibonacci. In 1202, Fibonacci introduced this sequence in his book Liber Abaci. Though, Fibonacci is credited for this series, the sequence had been previously described in Indian mathematics. Long before the Europeans started working on the sequence, it was applied to the metrical sciences in ancient India.

Researchers, scientists and anthropologists have provided details of Fibonacci sequence used in ancient India – Pingala (200 BC), Virahanka (c. 700 AD), Gopāla (c. 1135 AD), and Hemachandra (c. 1150 AD). A clear reference of the series with formula is mentioned in a quotation by Gopala (c. 1135 AD) who refers the work of Virahanka (c. 700 AD). Both these people existed before Fibonacci.

Fibonacci_India

Calculus: There are hints of Differential and Integral Calculus in the works of Eudoxus (c. 408−355 BC), Archimedes (c. 287−212 BC), Liu Hui (3rd century AD), Aryabhata (5th century AD). However, concepts of limits, infinitesimals, differentials and integrals were faintly discussed in details.

A detailed discussion around Taylor series and infinite series approximations is documented in texts of The Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics. Mathematicians from the Kerala school of astronomy had also written about infinite series for sin x, cos x, and arctan x. It is important to note that these forms the base of modern calculus. Even the first similar discussions by European mathematicians started 200 years after this period.

Cataract Surgery: Several ancient documentation around Cataract Surgery are reported in Egyptian and Babylonian histories. Some research works claim that the oldest documented case of cataract history was reported in a famous and small Egyptian statue from the 5th dynasty (about 2457-2467 B.C.). Some papers also claim that the earliest records are documented in The Bible and The Red Sea Scrolls.

However, most of the researchers agree that the earliest form of cataract surgery, now known as ‘couching‘, was first found in ancient India by the Indian physician Sushruta (ca. 800BC) in his work the Compendium of Sushruta or Sushruta Samhita. His verses describe an operation in which a curved needle was used to push the opaque phlegmatic matter (kapha in Sanskrit) in the eye out of the way of vision. The phlegm was then blown out of the nose. The eye would later be soaked with warm clarified butter and then bandaged. It is further documented that this method was propagated from India to China, the West and the Middle East

sushrut

Plastic Surgery: Modi might have been wrong in saying that Ganesha’s head was a result of Plastic Surgery, or maybe he meant it figuratively, but he wasn’t off the mark. Sushruta was the first to practice Rhinoplasty in India, in around 800 BC. In his book, which could be the oldest Surgical Textbook, the Sushruta Samhita, a procedure for repairing damage caused by the severance of the nose, is discussed. This can be said to be the equivalent of the “free flap” used in reconstructive surgical techniques nowadays. This technique was also adopted by Allied surgeons in World War I.

plas
(Picture sourced from a twitter post by @WrongDoc)

I’d like to make it clear that I’m not putting out these facts to hint that we Indians have been pioneers in science and technology, but to dispel the “left-liberal” assumption that India was a continent of darkness, and light came in only after European invaders landed on our shores.

We don’t need to gloat in past and imagine ourselves as world leaders. The reality is – we are not. We have to work hard, and we have to acknowledge that other communities have achieved a lot. There is no room or reason for chest thumping.

But we also need to ask why does this chest thumping happen? Who created this vacuum where the chest-thumpers moved in?

The answer lies in the left-liberal monopoly over narrative and academics. They denied and erased ancient knowledge and created a system where an average Indian student had no idea about such facts. Even a left-leaning newspaper like The Hindu published an article about this “neglect of knowledge traditions”.

It’s intriguing why they did that. It’s another topic to analyze what benefits or goals the left-liberal intelligentsia was seeking in portraying India as a region of darkness.

But in the modern era of easy information flow, this suppression of facts was caught. And once your credibility goes for a toss, others, even if far less credible, move in to replace you. And that’s how the chest-thumpers moved in.

You suppressed the information that there was an Indian who attempted to fly an aircraft before the Wright brothers. Since you didn’t tell people even about the “attempt”, the chest-thumpers changed that into “success”.

It’s human nature. If you keep something secret, people will start imagining things. And the left-liberals have to explain why they kept these things secret? Why were they deliberately trying to hide it? What goals were they seeking?

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Rahul Raj
Poet. Engineer. Story Teller. Social Media Observer. Started Bhak Sala on facebook

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