Indian Culture: Science and Technology in India: Experimentation and Observation

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  • Indians have a desire to know the unknown, accompanied with experimentation and observation.

  • Development of science in ancient India where religion and science worked in close proximity. In Ancient India Mathematics was called ganita which includes Arithmetic, Geometry , Algebra, Astronomy. Arithmetic was called as pattin ganita (calculations on board) and anka ganita ( calculations with numbers)

  • Geometry and Algebra were called as Rekha ganita and Bija ganita, respectively.

  • Astronomy in Ancient India was studied in a text called Jyotishvedanga which established systematic categories . Though the basic problem of astronomy were taken up by Aryabhatta whose text Aryabhatta contains 121 verses containing separate sections on astronomical definitions, position of planets, movement of sun and moon, calculation of the eclipses. He gave astronomy a scientific outlook deviating from the Vedic astronomy. Astrology and horoscope were studied in Ancient India.

studied in Ancient India

Studied in Ancient India

  • Mathematics can be easily seen in the town planning of Harappa Civilization . Mathematics developed as separate stream of study in third century AD. Indian mathematics is supposed to be originated FROM sulvasutras . The concept of Acute, Obtuse and Right Angle was introduced BY APASTAMBA in second century BC which helped in construction of Fire Altars where kings used to offer sacrifices. Zero was discovered in India in the second century itself in the book “Brahmagupta’s Brahmasputa Siddhanta’ and hence BRAHMAGUPTA was considered the man who discovered ZERO.

  • Medicines were mentioned firstly in Atharva Veda for diseases like Fever, Cough, diarrhoea, sores and others . The diseases were said to be caused due to demon entering the body therefore magical charms were remedies for the same. It was 600 BC the period of rational science where Taxila and Taranasi were the centres of medicine and learning. Charaksamhita by Charak and Sushrutsamhita by Sushruta were important texts in the field. Sushruta was pioneer the field of Surgery and considered it as “the highest division of the healing arts and least liable to fallacy”. He mentions method of operations, bone setting, cataract and 121 surgical instruments.

  • Metallurgy was also present in India as it could be seen in the glazed potteries and bronze or copper artefacts that were found in excavations of Indus Valley Civilization. The Vedic people were aware of fermenting grains and fruits, tanning leather and the process of dyeing. The Iron Pillar of Qutub Minar is also an example of high quality of alloying and a two-metre-high bronze image of Buddha at Sultanganj.

  • Geography was studied to understand the relation between the constant interaction of man and nature . Ancient Indians were not familiar with the voyages and navigation, but trade exist in that time as there were remains of dockyard in Lothal (aside in Gujarat).

  • Scientific and technological developments in medieval India were along two lines : one with already existing courses and other which came up as a influence of Islamic and European influence.

  • Medieval period witnessed the entry of Muslims in India. The educational pattern of Arab was adopted, and classical Indian methods received a setback. Maktabs and Madarsas came into existence and received royal patronage. Madarsa were opened at numerous places including Sambal and Agra where they were headed by two brothers Sheikh Abdullah and Sheikh Azizullah. Learned men from Arabia,Persia and Central Asia were invited to educate in Madarasas.

  • Subjects like Arithmetic,Mensuration,Geometry,Astronomy,Accountancy,Public Administration and Agriculture were added in the primary school courses.

  • Large workshops called Karkhanas were opened for manufacturing equipments for royal household and governmental departments. These Karkhanas provided Technical and Vocational training to people who turned out to be Artisans and Craftspersons who later opened their own independent Karkhanas.

  • Various work on Mathematics were produced during this time like Ganitakaumudi And Bijaganitavatamsa by Narayana Pandit ; Lilavati Karamdipika and Lilavati Vyakhya by Gangadhara ; Tantrasamgraha by Nilakantha Somasutvan. Tajik was compiled by Nilakantha Jyotirvida who introduced Persian technical terms . Mathematics was made as a subject by Akbar.

  • In the field of Biology Mrga-paksi-sastra was compiled by Hamsadeva; Jahangir’s Tuzuk-i jahangiri recorded his observation and experiments on breeding and hybridisation.

  • In the area of Chemistry Paper was produced in Kashmir, Sialkot , Patna and Mysore .The application of Chemistry was also used in making Gunpowder ,explosive composition and (Attar) perfumes.

  • Mehendra Suri developed an astronomical instrument. ‘Yantraja’ during Firoz Shah Reign . Kamalakar studied Islamic astronomical ideas as he was head of Islamic Knowledge. Five Astronomical observatories were setup in Delhi, Ujjain, Varanasi, Mathura and Jaipur by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh-II of Jaipur.

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