Essay About Science And Technology Of Ancient India

The history of science and technology in the Indian Subcontinent begins with prehistoric human activity in the Indus Valley Civilization to early states and empires.[1] Following independence, science and technology in the Republic of India has included automobile engineering, information technology, communications as well as space, polar, and nuclear sciences.

Prehistory[edit]

See also: List of Indian inventions and discoveries

By 5500 BCE a number of sites similar to Mehrgarh had appeared, forming the basis of later chalcolithic cultures.[2] The inhabitants of these sites maintained trading relations with Near East and Central Asia.[2]

This was developed in the Indus Valley Civilization by around 4500 BCE.[3] The size and prosperity of the Indus civilization grew as a result of this innovation, which eventually led to more planned settlements making use of drainage and sewerage.[3] Sophisticated irrigation and water storage systems were developed by the Indus Valley Civilization, including artificial reservoirs at Girnar dated to 3000 BCE, and an early canal irrigation system from c. 2600 BCE.[4]Cotton was cultivated in the region by the 5th–4th millennia BCE.[5]Sugarcane was originally from tropical South and Southeast Asia.[6] Different species likely originated in different locations with S. barberi originating in India, and S. edule and S. officinarum coming from New Guinea.[6]

The inhabitants of the Indus valley developed a system of standardization, using weights and measures, evident by the excavations made at the Indus valley sites.[7] This technical standardization enabled gauging devices to be effectively used in angular measurement and measurement for construction.[7]Calibration was also found in measuring devices along with multiple subdivisions in case of some devices.[7] One of the earliest known docks is at Lothal (2400 BCE), located away from the main current to avoid deposition of silt.[8] Modern oceanographers have observed that the Harappans must have possessed knowledge relating to tides in order to build such a dock on the ever-shifting course of the Sabarmati, as well as exemplary hydrography and maritime engineering.[8]

Excavations at Balakot (c. 2500–1900 BCE), present day Pakistan, have yielded evidence of an early furnace.[9] The furnace was most likely used for the manufacturing of ceramic objects.[9]Ovens, dating back to the civilization's mature phase (c. 2500–1900 BCE), were also excavated at Balakot.[9] The Kalibangan archeological site further yields evidence of potshaped hearths, which at one site have been found both on ground and underground.[10]Kilns with fire and kiln chambers have also been found at the Kalibangan site.[10]

Based on archaeological and textual evidence, Joseph E. Schwartzberg (2008)—a University of Minnesotaprofessor emeritus of geography—traces the origins of Indian cartography to the Indus Valley Civilization (c. 2500–1900 BCE).[12] The use of large scale constructional plans, cosmological drawings, and cartographic material was known in India with some regularity since the Vedic period (2nd - 1st millennium BCE).[12] Climatic conditions were responsible for the destruction of most of the evidence, however, a number of excavated surveying instruments and measuring rods have yielded convincing evidence of early cartographic activity.[13] Schwartzberg (2008)—on the subject of surviving maps—further holds that: 'Though not numerous, a number of map-like graffiti appear among the thousands of Stone Age Indian cave paintings; and at least one complex Mesolithic diagram is believed to be a representation of the cosmos.'[14]

Archeological evidence of an animal-drawn plough dates back to 2500 BCE in the Indus Valley Civilization.[15] The earliest available swords of copper discovered from the Harappan sites date back to 2300 BCE.[16] Swords have been recovered in archaeological findings throughout the Ganges–JamunaDoab region of India, consisting of bronze but more commonly copper.[16]

Early kingdoms[edit]

The religious texts of the Vedic Period provide evidence for the use of large numbers.[20] By the time of the last Veda, the Yajurvedasaṃhitā (1200-900 BCE), numbers as high as were being included in the texts.[20] For example, the mantra (sacrificial formula) at the end of the annahoma ("food-oblation rite") performed during the aśvamedha ("an allegory for a horse sacrifice"), and uttered just before-, during-, and just after sunrise, invokes powers of ten from a hundred to a trillion.[20] The Satapatha Brahmana (9th century BCE) contains rules for ritual geometric constructions that are similar to the Sulba Sutras.[21]

Baudhayana (c. 8th century BCE) composed the Baudhayana Sulba Sutra, which contains examples of simple Pythagorean triples, such as: , , , , and [22] as well as a statement of the Pythagorean theorem for the sides of a square: "The rope which is stretched across the diagonal of a square produces an area double the size of the original square."[22] It also contains the general statement of the Pythagorean theorem (for the sides of a rectangle): "The rope stretched along the length of the diagonal of a rectangle makes an area which the vertical and horizontal sides make together."[22] Baudhayana gives a formula for the square root of two.[23] Mesopotamian influence at this stage is considered likely.[24]


The earliest Indian astronomical text—named Vedānga Jyotiṣa— attributed to Lagadha, is considered one of the oldest astronomical texts, dating from 1400–1200 BCE (with the extant form possibly from 700–600 BCE),[25] it details several astronomical attributes generally applied for timing social and religious events. It also details astronomical calculations, calendrical studies, and establishes rules for empirical observation.[26] Since the Vedānga Jyotiṣa is a religious text, it has connections with Indian astrology and details several important aspects of the time and seasons, including lunar months, solar months, and their adjustment by a lunar leap month of Adhikamāsa.[27]Ritus and Yugas are also described.[27] Tripathi (2008) holds that "Twenty-seven constellations, eclipses, seven planets, and twelve signs of the zodiac were also known at that time."[27]

The EgyptianPapyrus of Kahun (1900 BCE) and literature of the Vedic period in India offer early records of veterinary medicine.[28] Kearns & Nash (2008) state that mention of leprosy is described in the medical treatise Sushruta Samhita (6th century BCE). The Sushruta Samhita an Ayurvedic text contains 184 chapters and description of 1120 illnesses, 700 medicinal plants, a detailed study on Anatomy, 64 preparations from mineral sources and 57 preparations based on animal sources.[29][30] However, The Oxford Illustrated Companion to Medicine holds that the mention of leprosy, as well as ritualistic cures for it, were described in the Hindu religious book Atharva-veda, written in 1500–1200 BCE.[31]

Cataract surgery was known to the physician Sushruta (6th century BCE).[32] Traditional cataract surgery was performed with a special tool called the Jabamukhi Salaka, a curved needle used to loosen the lens and push the cataract out of the field of vision.[32] The eye would later be soaked with warm butter and then bandaged.[32] Though this method was successful, Susruta cautioned that it should only be used when necessary.[32] The removal of cataract by surgery was also introduced into China from India.[33]

During the 5th century BCE, the scholar Pāṇini had made several discoveries in the fields of phonetics, phonology, and morphology.[34]Pāṇini's morphological analysis remained more advanced than any equivalent Western theory until the mid-20th century.[35]Metalcurrency was minted in India before the 5th century BCE,[36][37] with coinage (400 BCE—100 CE) being made of silver and copper, bearing animal and plant symbols on them.[38]

Zinc mines of Zawar, near Udaipur, Rajasthan, were active during 400 BCE.[39][40] Diverse specimens of swords have been discovered in Fatehgarh, where there are several varieties of hilt.[41] These swords have been variously dated to periods between 1700–1400 BCE, but were probably used more extensively during the opening centuries of the 1st millennium BCE.[42] Archaeological sites in such as Malhar, Dadupur, Raja Nala Ka Tila and Lahuradewa in present-day Uttar Pradesh show iron implements from the period between 1800 BCE and 1200 BCE.[43] Early iron objects found in India can be dated to 1400 BCE by employing the method of radio carbon dating.[44] Some scholars believe that by the early 13th century BCE iron smelting was practiced on a bigger scale in India, suggesting that the date of the technology's inception may be placed earlier.[43] In Southern India (present day Mysore) iron appeared as early as 11th to 12th centuries BCE.[45] These developments were too early for any significant close contact with the northwest of the country.[45]

Post Maha Janapadas—High Middle Ages[edit]

The Arthashastra of Kautilya mentions the construction of dams and bridges.[46] The use of suspension bridges using plaited bamboo and iron chain was visible by about the 4th century.[47] The stupa, the precursor of the pagoda and torii, was constructed by the 3rd century BCE.[48][49] Rock-cut step wells in the region date from 200-400 CE.[50] Subsequently, the construction of wells at Dhank (550-625 CE) and stepped ponds at Bhinmal (850-950 CE) took place.[50]

During the 1st millennium BCE, the Vaisheshika school of atomism was founded. The most important proponent of this school was Kanada, an Indian philosopher who lived around 200 BCE.[51] The school proposed that atoms are indivisible and eternal, can neither be created nor destroyed,[52] and that each one possesses its own distinct viśeṣa (individuality).[53] It was further elaborated on by the Buddhist school of atomism, of which the philosophers Dharmakirti and Dignāga in the 7th century CE were the most important proponents. They considered atoms to be point-sized, durationless, and made of energy.[54]

By the beginning of the Common Era glass was being used for ornaments and casing in the region.[55] Contact with the Greco-Roman world added newer techniques, and local artisans learnt methods of glass molding, decorating and coloring by the early centuries of the Common Era.[55] The Satavahana period further reveals short cylinders of composite glass, including those displaying a lemon yellow matrix covered with green glass.[56]Wootz originated in the region before the beginning of the common era.[57] Wootz was exported and traded throughout Europe, China, the Arab world, and became particularly famous in the Middle East, where it became known as Damascus steel. Archaeological evidence suggests that manufacturing process for Wootz was also in existence in South India before the Christian era.[58][59]

Evidence for using bow-instruments for carding comes from India (2nd century CE).[60] The mining of diamonds and its early use as gemstones originated in India.[61]Golconda served as an important early center for diamond mining and processing.[61] Diamonds were then exported to other parts of the world.[61] Early reference to diamonds comes from Sanskrit texts.[62] The Arthashastra also mentions diamond trade in the region.[63] The Iron pillar of Delhi was erected at the times of Chandragupta II Vikramaditya (375–413), which stood without rusting for around 2 millennium.[64] The Rasaratna Samuccaya (800) explains the existence of two types of ores for zinc metal, one of which is ideal for metal extraction while the other is used for medicinal purpose.[65]

The origins of the spinning wheel are unclear but India is one of the probable places of its origin.[66][67] The device certainly reached Europe from India by the 14th century.[68] The cotton gin was invented in India as a mechanical device known as charkhi, the "wooden-worm-worked roller".[60] This mechanical device was, in some parts of the region, driven by water power.[60] The Ajanta caves yield evidence of a single roller cotton gin in use by the 5th century.[69] This cotton gin was used until further innovations were made in form of foot powered gins.[69] Chinese documents confirm at least two missions to India, initiated in 647, for obtaining technology for sugar-refining.[70] Each mission returned with different results on refining sugar.[70]Pingala (300-200 BCE) was a musical theorist who authored a Sanskrit treatise on prosody. There is evidence that in his work on the enumeration of syllabic combinations, Pingala stumbled upon both the Pascal triangle and Binomial coefficients, although he did not have knowledge of the Binomial theorem itself.[71][72] A description of binary numbers is also found in the works of Pingala.[73] The Indians also developed the use of the law of signs in multiplication. Negative numbers and the subtrahend had been used in East Asia since the 2nd century BCE, and Indian mathematicians were aware of negative numbers by the 7th century CE,[74] and their role in mathematical problems of debt was understood.[75] Although the Indians were not the first to use the subtrahend, they were the first to establish the "law of signs" with regards to the multiplication of positive and negative numbers, which did not appear in East Asian texts until 1299.[76] Mostly consistent and correct rules for working with negative numbers were formulated,[77] and the diffusion of these rules led the Arab intermediaries to pass it on to Europe.[75]

A decimal number system using hieroglyphics dates back to 3000 BC in Egypt,[78] and was later in use in ancient India where the modern numeration system was developed.[79] By the 9th century CE, the Hindu–Arabic numeral system was transmitted from India through the Middle East and to the rest of the world.[80] The concept of 0 as a number, and not merely a symbol for separation is attributed to India.[81] In India, practical calculations were carried out using zero, which was treated like any other number by the 9th century CE, even in case of division.[77][82]Brahmagupta (598–668) was able to find (integral) solutions of Pell's equation.[83] Conceptual design for a perpetual motion machine by Bhaskara II dates to 1150. He described a wheel that he claimed would run forever.[84]

The trigonometric functions of sine and versine, from which it was trivial to derive the cosine, were used by the mathematician, Aryabhata, in the late 5th century.[85][86] The calculus theorem now known as "Rolle's theorem" was stated by mathematician, Bhāskara II, in the 12th century.[87]

Indigo was used as a dye in India, which was also a major center for its production and processing.[88] The Indigofera tinctoria variety of Indigo was domesticated in India.[88] Indigo, used as a dye, made its way to the Greeks and the Romans via various trade routes, and was valued as a luxury product.[88] The cashmere wool fiber, also known as pashm or pashmina, was used in the handmade shawls of Kashmir.[89] The woolen shawls from Kashmir region find written mention between 3rd century BCE and the 11th century CE.[90] Crystallized sugar was discovered by the time of the Gupta dynasty,[91] and the earliest reference to candied sugar comes from India.[92]Jute was also cultivated in India.[93]Muslin was named after the city where Europeans first encountered it, Mosul, in what is now Iraq, but the fabric actually originated from Dhaka in what is now Bangladesh.[94][95] In the 9th century, an Arab merchant named Sulaiman makes note of the material's origin in Bengal (known as Ruhml in

View of the Ashokan Pillar at Vaishali. One of the edicts of Ashoka (272—231 BCE) reads: "Everywhere King Piyadasi (Ashoka) erected two kinds of hospitals, hospitals for people and hospitals for animals. Where there were no healing herbs for people and animals, he ordered that they be bought and planted."[11]
Ink drawing of Ganesha under an umbrella (early 19th century). Carbon pigmentInk, called masi, and popularly known as India ink was an admixture of several chemical components, has been used in India since at least the 4th century BCE.[17] The practice of writing with ink and a sharp pointed needle was common in early South India.[18] Several Jain sutras in India were compiled in Carbon pigmentInk.[19]
The Hindu-Arabic numeral system. The inscriptions on the edicts of Ashoka (1st millennium BCE) display this number system being used by the Imperial Mauryas.
The iron pillar of Delhi (375–413 CE). The first iron pillar was the Iron pillar of Delhi, erected at the times of Chandragupta II Vikramaditya.
Model of a Chola (200–848) ship's hull, built by the ASI, based on a wreck 19 miles off the coast of Poombuhar, displayed in a Museum in Tirunelveli.
Akbarnama—written by August 12, 1602—depicts the defeat of Baz Bahadur of Malwa by the Mughal troops, 1561. The Mughals extensively improved metal weapons and armor used by the armies of India.

India - Progress in Science & Technology

1515 WordsJul 27th, 20107 Pages

INDIA’S PROGRESS IN THE FIELD OF SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

A New Frontier
The tradition of science and technology (S&T) in India is over 5,000 years old. A renaissance was witnessed in the first half of the 20th century. The S&T infrastructure has grown up from about Rs. 10 million at the time of independence in 1947 to Rs. 30 billion. Significant achievements have been made in the areas of nuclear and space science, electronics and defence. The government is committed to making S&T an integral part of the socio-economic development of the country.
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India has the third largest scientific and technical manpower in the world; 162 universities award 4,000 doctorates and 35,000 postgraduate degrees and the Council of Scientific and…show more content…

The INSAT series of satellite launched earlier are performing well and provide vital services for telecommunications, television, meteorology, disaster warning and distress detection. The latest INSAT series include new features like Ku-band transponders and mobile satellite services transponders.

The remote-sensing satellites, launched in 1988 and 1991, have already become the mainstay of the natural resource management system of the country.

The projected launch of advanced remote sensing satellites will not only enhance the scope of their application, but will also offer commercial service to other countries.

The Indian achievement in the application of space-based remote sensing technology has led a US company to enter into an agreement for marketing the data from Indian satellites globally.

India's progress in space technology has attracted worldwide attention and demand, with leasing agreements for marketing of IRS data and supply of space hardware and services. India also believes in co-operation in space with agencies all over the world. A high-level UN team selected India for setting up a UN Centre for Space Science and Technology Education. India is on the threshold of achieving self-reliance in the launch capability. It will be a befitting tribute to the father of the Indian space programme, Dr. Vikaram Sarabhai, whose 80th birth anniversary was observed in August 1996.

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