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SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN INDIA
Like people in any other part of the world Indians too, have a rich legacy of scientific ideas. A desire to now the unknown, accompanied with experimentation and observation have always generated scientific temper. This has led to the assumption that truth lay in the real world with all its diversity and complexity. It has been the responsibility of scientists to unravel the mystery behind the truth and utilise available resources for the progress of humanity. ln the following pages you will be reading about this continuous search for knowledge and truth leading to discoveries and inventions and their application in day-to-day life in India
DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE IN ANCIENT INDIA Mathematics has been called by the general name of Ganita which includes Arithmetic's, Geometry, Algebra, Astronomy and Astrology. Arithmetic is called by several names such as Pattin Ganita (calculations on board), Anka Ganita (calculations with numerals). Geometry is called Rekha Ganita (line works) and Algebra, Bija Ganita (seed analysis), Astronomy and Astrology are included in the term Iyotisa. . India has a rich heritage of science and technology. The dependence on nature could be overcome by developments in science. In ancient India, religion and science worked in close proximity.
Astronomy .Astronomy made great progress. The movement of planets came to be emphasized and closely observed. -Jyotishvedanga texts established systematic categories in astronomy but the more basic problem was handled by Aryabhatta (499 AD His Aryabhattiya is a concise text containing 121 verses. . It contains separate sections on astronomical definitions, methods of determining the true position of the planets, description of the movement of the sun and the moon and the calculation of the eclipses
- All these observations have been described by Varahamihira irn Panch Siddhantika which gives the summary of five schools of astronomy present in his time. Aryabhatta deviated from Vedic astronomy and gave it a scientific outlook which became a guideline for later astronomers. - Astrology and horoscope were studied in ancient India. Aryabhattas theories showed a distinct departure from astrology which stressed more on beliefs than scientific explorations.
Mathematics The town planning of Harappa shows that the people possessed a good knowledge of measurement and geometry. - By third century AD mathematics developed as a separate stream of study. Indian mathematics is supposed to have originated from the Sulvasutras Apastamba in second century BC, introduced practical geometry involving acute angle, obtuse angle and right angle. This knowledge helped in the construction of fire altars where the kings offered sacrifices
- The three main contributions in the field of mathematics were the notation system Vthe decimal system and the use of zero. The notations and the numerals were carried to the West by the Arabs. These numerals replaced the Roman numerals. Zero was discovered in India in the second century BC Brahmagupta's Brahmasputa Siddhanta is the very first book thaft mentioned 'zero' as a number, hence, Brahmagupta is considered as the man who found zero. He gave rules of using zero with other numbers. Aryabhatta discovered algebra and also formulated the area of a triangle, which led to the origin ofTrignometry.
The Surya Siddhanta is a very famous work. Varahamihira's Brihatsamhita of the sixth century AD is another pioneering work in the field of astronomy. His observation that the moon rotated around the earth and the earth rotated around the sun found recognition and later discoveries were based on this assertion Mathematics and astronomy together ignited interest in time and cosmology. These discoveries in astronomy and mathematics became the cornerstones for further research and progress.
Medicine During vedic times, Dhanvantri was the god of medicine Diseases, cure and medicines were mentioned for the first time in the Atharva Veda. F ever, cough, consumption, diarrhoea, dropsy, sores, leprosy and seizure are the diseases mentioned. - The diseases are said to be caused by the demons and spirits entering one's body. The remedies recommended were replete with magical charms and spells.
From 600 BC began the period of rational sciences. -Takshila and Taranasi emerged as centres of medicine and learning. -The two important texts in this field are Charaksamhita by Charak and Sushrutsamhita by Sushruta How important was their work can be understood from the knowledge that it reached as far as China, Central Asia through translations in various languages
Geography The constant interaction between man and nature forced people to study geography Though the people were clear about their own physical geography, that of China and also the Western countries, they were unaware of their position on the earth and the distances with other countries. Indians also contributed to shipbuilding. In the ancient period, voyages and navigation was not a familiar foray for the Indians However, Lothal, a site in Gujarat has the remains of a dockyard proving that trade flourished in those days by sea. In the early medieval period with the development of the concept of tirtha and tirtha yatra, a vast mass of geographical information was accumulated.
.A large number of karkhana (workshops) were maintained by the kings and the nobles to supply provisions, stores and equipment to roval household and government departments. The karkhanas not only worked as manufacturing agencies but also served as centres for technical and vocational training to young men Muslim rulers attempted to reform the curriculum of primary schools. Some important subjects like arithmetic, mensuration, geometry, astronomy, accountancy, public administration and agriculture were included in the course of studies for primary education. Though special efforts were made by the rulers to carry out reforms in education, yet science did not make much headway during this period. Efforts were made to seek a kind of synthesis between the Indian traditional scientific culture and the prevalent approach to science in other countries. by between daring this period. Eiforta cation, yet science did
Biology Hamsadeva compiled Mrga-pasi-sastra in the thirteenth century which gives a general, though not always scientific account of some of the beasts and birds of hunting .Akbar showed special interest in producing good breeds of domestic animals, elephants and horses. Jahangir, in his Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri, recorded his observations and experiments of weeding and hybridisation. He described about thirty-six species of animals His court artists, specially Mansur, produced elegant and accurate ortraiture of animals, some of which are still preserved in several museums and private collections. As a naturalist, Jahangir was interested in the study of plants and his court artists in their floral portraiture describe some fifty-seven plant:s
Mathematics Brahmagupta the great 7th century mathematician has given a description of negative numbers as debts and positive numbers as fortunes, which shows that ancient Bharatiyas knew the utility of mathematics for practical trade. . In the early medieval period the two outstanding works in mathematics were Ganitasara by Sridhara and Lilavati by Bhaskara.
Medicine There was an attempt to develop specialised treatises on different diseases The Sarangdhara Samhita recommends use of opium for medicines. The rasachikitsa system, dealt principally with a host of mineral medicines including metallic preparations. The Tuhfat-ul-Muminin was a Persian treatise written by Muhammad Munin in seventeenth century which discusses the opinions of physicians The Unani Tibb is an important system of medicine which flourished in India in the medieval period.
Ali-bin-Rabban summarized the whole system of Greek medicine as well as the Indian medical knowledge in the book Firdausu-Hikmat. The Unani medicine system came to India along with the Muslims around the eleventh century and soon found a congenial environment for its growth Firoz Shah Tughlaq wrote a book.Tibbe Firozshahi.The Tibbi Aurangzebi, dedicated to Aurangzeb, is based on Ayurvedic sources
Agriculture In the medieval period, the pattern of agricultural practices was more or less the same as that in early and early ancient India. - Some important changes, however, were brought about by the foreigners such as the introduction of new crops, trees and horticultural plants. - The principal crops were wheat,rice,barley,millets,pulses, oilseeds, cotton, sugarcane and indigo. The Western Ghats continued to yield black pepper of good quality and Kashmir maintained its tradition for saffron and fruits.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN MODERN INDIA Before considering the progress of science and technology in India since independence, it is necessary to understand what we mean by the terms science and technology. Science can be defined as any systematic activity that seeks to gain knowledge about the physical world. Technology is that activity which seeks to put this knowledge to productive use. As these definitions show, science and technology are clearly interlinked in the present day world
Agriculture It is mainly because of the application of modern science and technology in agriculture that India is able to produce 135 million tonnes of foodgrains today as compared to 50 million tonnes thirty years ago. These applications range from the cultivation of hybrid seeds to energy management in agriculture and post-harvest technology. In these efforts the Indian Council for Agricultural Research has played a leading role. Through seventy three agricultural, thirty two veterinary, eight agricultural engineering and one dairy colleges, the ICAR has been playing a key role in the scientific education of the farmers as well as others engaged irn different sectors of agriculture, animal husbandry, fisheries and forestry The challenges that lie ahead in agriculture are in the areas of increasing the yields of rice, pulses, oilseeds and many cash crops; initiating plantations and promoting social forestry; and shifting from agriculture based on chemical fertilizers to organic fertilizers.
INDUSTRY It is in the field of industry that modern science and technology made its earliest and most - In India the government has consistently tried to use modern science and technology for Two government organisations, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and revolutionary impact. industrial development. Defence Research and Development Orgnisation (DRDO) cover between them a wide range of science and technology research for civil and defence purposes. - A large number of items have emerged from CSIR laboratories for industrial production, such as, indigenous aqricultural machinerv. chemicals, druqs and pesticides, products in the areas of food technology, furnished leather goods, glass and ceramics, colour television, and receiver sets. The research carried out in the field of coal, such as, upgrading of coal and extraction of electricity from coal has been effectively utilized. In the area of defence, India's own technological capability has increased considerably. The most recent example of such capability is the advanced research that is now being done to produce missiles in India. Some missiles have already been tested for further development.
SPACE TECHNOLOGY .The Indian space programme is directed towards the goal of self-reliance in the use of space technology for national development. Over the years, the space programme has established itself with a succession of achievements They include the launching of the first Indian space satellite Aryabhatta in 1975 and then Bhaskara I and Bhaskara II from the Soviet Union, the Rohini satellite on India's own SIV-3 rocket and the Apple satellite on the European Arianne rocket.
A far reaching experiment in education through satellite, SITE, was conducted in India in 1975. Subsequently, INSAT I-IB, launched in 1983, provided radio, television, telecommunication and meteorological services. A perspective of major space mission planned for the decade 1985-95 aims at using space technology for nationwide application in communication, survey and management of natural resources and meteorology
Medical and Health Sciences In the field of medicine there have been many achievements. Major advances have been made in preventing and treating various diseases. Small pox has been eradicated Treatment of diseases like tuberculosis, malaria, filaria, goitre, and cancer has been considerably improved. Research is being carried out to control communicable diseases. Research based activities have already increased life expectancy appreciably and death rate has declined, while schemes such as the immunisation programme have reduced infant mortality considerably Improved medical facilities in the form of government-run hospitals and dispensaries, research councils, and primary health centres for rural areas are also being provided.
SCIENTIST OF ANCIENT INDIA
ARYABHATTA Aryabhatta was a fifth century mathematician, astronomer, astrologer and physicist. He was also a pioneer in the field of mathematics. He wrote Aryabhattiya, which is a summary of mathematics of his time. It has four sections. In the first section he describes the method of denoting big decimal numbers by alphabets. - In the second section, we find difficult questions from topics of modern day Mathematics such as number theory, geometry, trigonometry and algebra. - Aryabhatta and Zero : He showed that zero was not just a numeral but also a symbol andaa concept. He found out the exact distance between the earth and the moon. The discovery of zero also opened up a new dimension of negative numerals. The remaining two sections of Aryabhattiya are on astronomy, also called Khagol- shastra, (Khagol was the famous astronomical observatory at Nalanda, where Aryabhatta studied)
MAHAVIRACHARYA: There is an elaborate description of mathematics in Jain literature (500 B.C-100 BC). Jain Guru Mahaviracharya wrote Ganit Sara Sangraha in 850A.D which is the first textbook on arithmetic in present day form The present method of solving Least common Multiple (LCM) of given numbers was also described by him. Therefore, long before John Napier introduced LCM to the world, it was known to Indians. Also, Jain gurus knew how to solve quadratic equations. They have also described fractions, algebraic equations, series, set theory, logarithms and exponents in a very interesting manner.
KANAD . Kanad was a sixth century scientist of Vaisheshika School of -He develped atomic theory which matches with any modern atomic -According to Kanad, material universe is made up of kana philosophy, one of the six systems of Indian philosophy. theory (anu/atom), which cannot be seen through any human senses. These cannot be further subdivided. Thus, they are indivisible and indestructible.
VARAHAMIHIRA - Varahamihira was a well known scientist of the Gupta period. - Varahamihira was one of the nine gems, in the court of Vikramaditya. Varahamihira's predictions were so accurate that king Vikramaditya gave him the title of 'Varaha' . Varahamihira made contributions in the fields of hydrology, geology and ecology. Termite theory: He was one of the first scientists to claim that termites and plants could be the indicators of the presence of underground water.He gave a list of six animals and thirty plants, which could indicate the presence of water. He gave very important information regarding termites (Deemak or insects that destroy wood), th t they go very deep to the surface of water level to bring water to keep their houses (bambis) wet. Earthquake cloud theory: Contribution to the world of science is given by Varahmihira in his book Brhat Samhita.The thirty second chapter of this samhita is devoted to signs of earthquakes - the influence of planets, undersea activities, underground water, unusual cloud formation and abnormal behaviour of animals - Varahamihira's contribution is worth mentioning in Jyotish or Astrology. He deveoped the science of astrology as is used in present form
NAGARJUNA Nagarjuna was a tenth century scientist with work in alchemy. used in making imitation jewelry. extraction of metals like gold, silver, tin and copper. -Till today, his technology of making material with gold like shine is . In his book, Rasaratnakara, he has also discussed methods for the
Medical Science was highly developed in ancient times. Ayurveda, an indigenous system of medicine that was developed in Ancient India. The word"Ayurveda"literally means the science of good health and longevity of life. It is the oldest medical system of our planet. Susruta, Charak, Madhava, Vagbhatta and Jeevak were notable ayurvedic practitioners of ancient India. The oldest medical book of the world - Atreya Samhita. Charak is called the father of ayurvedic medicine and Susruta the father of surgery
Charak: - Charak is considered the father of ancient Indian science of medicine He was the Raj Vaidya (royal doctor) in the court of Kanishka. His book, Charak Samhita is an elaborate book on medicine. It has the description of a large number of diseases and gives methods of identifying their causes as well as their treatment. In Charak Samhita, more stress has been laid on removing the causes of disease rather than simply treating the symptoms of illness. - Charak also had knowledge of the fundamentals of Genetics. The modern day genetics was started by Mendel