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Introduction to Hindu Culture|
According to American Historian Will Durant The Story of Civilizations - Our Oriental Heritage ISBN: 1567310125 1937 p.391-396:
"From the time of Megasthenes, who described India to Greece ca 302 B.C., down to the eighteenth century, India was all a marvel and a mystery to Europe. Marco Polo (1254-1323) pictured its western fringe vaguely, Columbus blundered upon America in trying to reach it, Vasco da Gama sailed around Africa to rediscover it, and merchants spoke rapaciously of "the wealth of the Indies."
" It is true that even across the Himalayan barrier India has sent to us such questionable gifts as grammar and logic, philosophy and fables, hypnotism and chess, and above all our numerals and our decimal system. But these are not the essence of her spirit; they are trifles compared to what we may learn from her in the future. As invention, industry, and trade bind the continents more closely, and shall absorb, even in enmity, some of its ways and thoughts."
"The indications are that Mohenjadaro was at its height when Cheops built the first great pyramid; that it had commercial, religious and artistic connections to Sumeria and Babylonia...as Sir John Marshall believes, Mohenjadaro represents the oldest of all civilizations known."
The medieval Arab scholar Sa'id Ibn Ahmad al-Andalusi (1029-1070) wrote in his Tabaqat al-'umam, one of the earliest books on history of sciences:
"The first nation to have cultivated science is India. ... India is known for the wisdom of its people. Over many centuries, all the kings of the past have recognized the ability of the Indians in all the branches of knowledge... The kings of China have stated that the kings of the world are five in number and all the people of the world are their subjects. They mentioned the king of China, the king of India, the king of the Turks, the king of the Persians, and the king of the Romans... They referred to the king of India as the "king of wisdom" because of the Indians' careful treatment of ulum (sciences) and all the branches of knowledge. ... The Indians, known to all nations for many centuries, are the metal (essence) of wisdom, the source of fairness and objectivity. They are people of sublime pensiveness, universal apologues, and useful and rare inventions. ... To their credit the Indians have made great strides in the study of numbers and of geometry. They have acquired immense information and reached the zenith in their knowledge of the movements of the stars (astronomy).... After all that they have surpassed all other peoples in their knowledge of medical sciences.."
Sir William Wilson Hunter author of the book, The Indian Empire, said India," has even contributed to modern medical science by the discovery of various chemicals and by teaching you how to reform misshapen ears and noses. Even more it has done in mathematics, for algebra, geometry, astronomy, and the triumph of modern science -- mixed mathematics -- were all invented in India, just so much as the ten numerals, the very cornerstone of all present civilization, were discovered in India, and are in reality, Sanskrit words."
Beginning with the earliest known Indian civilization, the Indus Valley, with its pottery wheel, cotton textiles, Indus script, and two wheeled carts, there is a good deal of material and texts to work from. By the beginning of the third millennium B.C. in India, as in China, Egypt, and Mesopotamia, scientific development was well advanced. Excavations carried on at the sites of the Indus civilization have revealed remnants of an ancient civilization unsurpassed in civil engineering accomplishments, particularly baths and drainage. Whilst much is known of the hygienic measures of the period, little is known of the scientific knowledge upon which it was based. From the town Planning and Great Baths of Indus Valley it is evidence in the neat arrangement of the major buildings contained in the citadel, including the placement of a large granary and water tank or bath at right angles to one another. The lower city, which was tightly packed with residential units, was also constructed on a grid pattern consisting of a number of blocks separated by major cross streets. Baked-brick houses faced the street, and domestic life was centered around an enclosed courtyard. The cities had an elaborate public drainage system, Sanitation was provided through an extensive system of covered drains running the length of the main streets and connected by chutes with most residences. In the valley of the Indus River of India, the world's oldest civilization had developed its own system of mathematics.
This civilization is known for its well planned cities, brick built houses, excellent drainage system and water storage tanks. Benjamin Rowland (1904-1972) author of Art and Architecture of India wrote: "Indeed it could be said that the population of the Indus cities lived more comfortably than did their contemporaries in the crowded and ill-built metropolises elsewhere. People were literate and had their own script. Dance and music formed essential part of their daily life."
They had wide main streets and were magnificently laid out in grid form, reflecting careful town planning. They had sewers, municipal water systems, public baths, and well-fortified citadels. The private houses were well built, of fine solid baked bricks which have not crumbled over the centuries. Many of them were two stories high, and had seat latrines and chutes for refuse. Homes were built around courtyards. The people of the Indus Valley civilization had an advanced technology. They knew how to make cotton cloth and copper and bronze castings and forgings. Some of their art objects have a wonderful simple realism. The torso of one small dancing figure is so unbelievably alive that one can almost feel the easy muscles at work under the smooth skin.
(source: India: A World in Transition - By Beatrice Pitney Lamb p. 20).
[ Last edited by changabula at 2007-6-21 06:12 AM ]