Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Wonder that was India

Dina Nath Mishra

According TO Will Durant, Muslim invaders inflicted on India the worst bloodbath mankind suffered in history. Yet they could not defeat the 'Indian Mind'.

Indians dismissed the invaders as mlaychchas, intellectually maintaining their superiority. But the British colonial rule enslaved the English educated Indian mind in a well-thought strategy by Lord Macaulay. As he states: "We must, at present, do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern - a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect."

Macaulay's education system brain-washed the Indian mind, created myths including that of an Aryan invasion of India which survives even now after 80 years of its demise, courtesy the Marxists.

Guided by Karl Marx, the Marxists, have dissipated the glory of ancient India systematically. In his column 'Secular Sermon', commentator Amulya Ganguli objects to Vice President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat for referring to the pushpak viman and missiles in the ancient Indian context. An enraged Ganguli writes: "Since this is a free country, no one can stop an outfit from propagating such absurdities. The loony fringe is a feature of all democracies. But anyone who is living on tax-payers' money should refrain from pursuing the party line, especially if it is a ludicrous one."

Ganguli also quotes from The Wonder that was India to drive home his point. But in the same book A L Basham states: "Most great discoveries and inventions Europe is so proud of would have been impossible without a developed system of mathematics and this would have been impossible if Europe had been shackled by the unwieldy system of Roman numerals. The unknown man who devised the new system was from the world's point of view the most important son of India. His achievement, though easily taken for granted, was the work of an analytical mind of the first order, and he deserves much more honour than he has so far received."

British historian Grant Duff once said: "Many of the advances in the sciences that we consider to have been made in Europe were made in India centuries ago."

But the Ganguli mindset suffers from deficiency of national self-esteem. I recall a controversy when Dr M M. Joshi was introducing Astronomy in university education. The secular brigade used scientist Jayant V Narlika to denounce it. Narlikar may have reservations about astronomy but being a true scientist he is not a negationist.

In The Scientific Edge, Narlikar has written: "No description of ancient Indian mathematics can be complete without reference to the Shulva Sutra, which belongs to the literature of Vedic times (c.1500-c.200). Shulva Sutra contains, for example, Pythagoras' theorem but not the proof of the theorem, as Euclid's Elements does. Nevertheless, as a correct result, the statement should be renamed as the Shulva theorem." Ganguli admits Indian achievements but these he says were in the "intellectual and spiritual fields not science". I want to know if the achievements mentioned above fall under spiritual category or science.

Ancient Sanskrit literature is full of descriptions of flying machines, vimanas, Maharishi Agastya and Bharadwaj had developed a lore of aircraft construction. Agastya Samhita described hydrogen balloons - the process of extraction of hydrogen from water is described in elaborate detail. Vaimanika Shastra by Maharishi Bhardwaj describes aeronautics, including the design of aircraft, the way they can be used for transportation.

It is interesting to note that Shachi Rairikar responding to Ganguli wrote: "It is interesting to note that the Academy of Sanskrit Research in Melkote, near Mandya, had been commissioned by the Aeronautical Research Development Board, New Delhi, to take up a one-year study on 'Non-conventional Approach to Aeronautics', on the basis of Vaimanika Shastra. As a result of the research, a glass-like material which cannot be detected by radar has been developed by Prof Dongre, a research scholar of the Benaras Hindu University. A plane coated with this unique material cannot be detected by a radar."

A decade back there was an international aeronautic conference. The conference was amazed to note the similarities of Vaimanika Shashtra of ancient India and the modern one of the West.

A closed mind would not even try to look at that.

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