Monday, January 15, 2007

Did India Civilize Europe?, author-publisher, Rs 690, 334 pp

jan 15th, 2007

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Manju

Paramesh Choudhury: Did India Civilize Europe?,
author-publisher, Rs 690, 334 pp

Here is a book which shows through reproduction of
excerpts from treatises by various scholars and
historians that India, along with China, was at one
stage the most civilised nation. He quotes W. Brennand
to justify his statement: "No nation in existence can
afford to compare to latter [India] in many tenets of
science, with its earliest theories and cosmography,
without a smile at the expense of ancestors, but the
Hindus, in this view, may, with not a little
justifiable pride, point to their science of
astronomy, arithmetic, algebra, geometry and even of
trignometry, as containing within them evidence of a
traditional civilisation compared formally with that
of any other nation in the world."

Brennand had said in his book Hindu Astronomy that
Chinese religion resembled that of the Indian Vedas
and like the Hindus, they had the same days of the
week. The moon and five planets were looked upon as
the appointed rulers in successive order at par with
their respective names. They had the same divisions of
the ecliptic—12 parts or signs of Zodiac to divide a
year into 12 months with the sun moving through the
successive signs during successive months. Brennand
had also said, "Another division of the ecliptic was
into 28 parts to form the extent of the same number of
constellations or asterisms—spaces to allow to make a
daily round in its monthly course round the heavens.
These are called Nacshatras in the Indian astronomy
designated as Sieu in the Chinese. It was the diligent
use which the Hindu astronomers made of these
Nacshatras, in the progress of their astronomy, that
gave them the superiority were all other ancient

With the discovery of several bronze articles from
Mohenjo-daro, it is believed that the West learnt
metallurgy and steel-making from India, which used
bronze in its most intricate form not later than the
Indus Valley civilisation. Bronze axe-adaze, very fine
and about 10 inches long with a hole through the
middle of the head, capable of holding a handle, is
the first socketed implement to be found in
Mohenjo-daro. A bronze figure of a dancing girl is a
very fine example of the Indus Valley civilisation.
Pear-shaped furnaces were also unearthed at
Mohenjo-daro. Traces of a kiln, measuring 4 ft, 8
metres in diameter and a rough column in the centre,
which probably suggested a roof, was also found here.

The author says that India was about a millennium
earlier than China in the use of iron, i.e. 1400 BC.
The iron pillar in Delhi supports this theory of
advanced technology in ancient India. According to
Sayyed Ahmed Khan, an Indian historian, the pillar, 8
metres tall and weighing 7 tonnes and hundred per cent
pure, was made by Raja Mahadev in 896 BC. A maximum
temperature of 1527°C is required to melt pure iron.
Undesirable elements like corrosion must be removed
and the process of doing so is so difficult that it is
doubtful if modern science is capable of it. Yet the
Indians knew it 2,000 years ago. There is no other
example of such an iron column in the world.

India knew about steel as told by Ctesias who has said
that swords made of Indian steel were presented to
Alexander by Malli and Oxadracae in 325 BC. "Indian
steel had such a dazzling brightness that it reflected
an image clearly as a looking glass." Even Colonel
Yule quoted Ramusio stating that "Ondanique or
Humdwaniy, i.e. Indian steel was of superior value and
excellence. In the days of yore, a man who possessed a
mirror or swords of Ondanique regarded it as he would
have some precious jewel."

Even in surgery India was ahead of other nations.
Rigveda mentions the use of an artificial limb as a
substitute for a limb accidentally lost. The
Mahabharata mentions that when Parikshit, the king of
the Kurus, became certain of his approaching death by
snake-bite due to a curse uttered by a sage, he tried
to protect himself by the constant attendance of a
number of physicians, who were well-supplied with
antidotes. The Hindus also believed that the surgeon's
knife was not always necessary and suggested the use
of poultices, cauteries and other external
applications. Sushruta, the surgeon, had remarked that
"of all cutting instruments and their substitutes
caustics (or vegetable alkalis) are the most
important, because by means of them, deep and
superficial incisions and scarfications may be made,
and derangement of the three humours (air, bile and
phlegm) may be rectified", adding that "with regard to
surgical treatment, actual cautery is said to be
superior to caustics, inasmuch as diseases treated
with actual cautery do not reappear, and because it
can cure diseases which are incurable by medicines,
instruments and caustics."

The author then goes on to explain how Europe learnt
medicine from India, as also the rocket and missile
technology, the concept of uran khatola or aeroplanes,
textiles, shipbuilding, etc. He concludes by saying
that today the Western world finds itself at the
crossroads and is desperately looking for a new
philosophy "to get rid of the ecological crisis which
threatens man's existence on earth." He suggests that
Nature must be treated as a person and "to acquire
such a capacity, we must have a recourse to Indian
philosophy which terms such a 'commodity' culture or
materialism as something demonic." He suggests that
since the world community has come to be dominated by
the struggle for economic power, "instead of common
existence, power has become supreme". What power means
is conquest and "all conquest is destructive".

(Paramesh Choudhury, 9 Antonybagan Lane, Kolkata-700

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