Bharat: Source of Science behind Modern Technology part 1

Bharat: Source of Science behind Modern Technology part 1

Bharat: Source of Science behind Modern Technology part 1

Bharat is a country were science is tradition and traditions are scientific. The moderntechnologies derive from their source from the science of Bharat. Much of ancient Bharat’sscience lies idle in the National Museums and records of ASI, waiting to for modern-dayIndians to dwell upon it, know what was Bharat and how it has shaped modern technology.

Medical Sciences

  • Sushruta (600 BCE), the father of surgery, has described 60 types of upkarma fortreatment of wound, 120 surgical instruments and 300 surgical procedures, andclassification of human surgeries in eight categories. This number has now expanded toinclude close to 2 million medical devices with advanced technology.
  • Rishi Sushrutra, in his Sushrutra Samhita, has detailed out Rhinoplasty as atechnique. The text mentions more than 15 methods to repair the broken nose.These include using a flap of skin from the cheek or the forehead, which is akin tothe most modern technique today. There also references in Sushrutra Samhita to thetechnique of moulding false legs with iron, now common as the prosthesis.
  • Today, the world has categorised tuberculosis into the categories of PulmonaryTuberculosis (primarily affecting the lungs) and TB outside the lungs. The basis forthis lies in a 3500-year-old text. In the RigVeda (10.163.1-6), there is a description ofthe disease tuberculosis that has percolated to, and is to be removed from the limbsof human body such as eyes, head, arms, lungs, heart, and etc.
  • The treatment for Epilepsy, a central nervous system disorder, involves medicationand in some cases by surgery, devices or dietary changes. The Charaka Samhita(Chap X) provides various dietary changes for the treatment of the same.
  • With the pandemic ravaging the hospitals and curative healthcare systemsthroughout the world, the Indian system of medicines, which relies on preventionand promotion, can be effective for the same. A holistic approach to healthcare isevident from the following statement of Charaka (father of Ayurveda):
“A Physician who fails to enter the body of a patient with the lamp of knowledge andunderstanding can never treat diseases. He should study all the factors, including theenvironment, which influence a patient’s disease, and then prescribe the medicine. It is moreimportant to prevent the occurrence of a disease than to cure it”

Hydraulics and Civil Engineering:

  • One of the earliest known rain-water harvesting practice was carried out during theIndus Valley Civilisation by the Harappans. The mammoth rock-cut reservoirs ofDholavira (3000-1500 BCE), measuring 73 .5 x 29.3 m, were constructed in a way thatnot a single drop of rainwater was wasted. This was coupled with prevalence ofaqua-ducts to facilitate transport of water from these reservoirs to the city. Rainwater harvesting is instrumental even today to make every house water positive. Reservoir at Dholavira Aqua-ducts
  • The Kallanai Dam, one of the world’s oldest irrigation dams (dates back to 2000years), was constructed by Karikala Chol across the Kaveri river in Tamil Nadu.Constructed using roughly cemented stone, the dam till date has required littlemodifications and continues to irrigate close to 1 million hectare of land. Thismarvellous piece of engineering is an inspiration to modern-day engineers whoconstruct dams with a usual life of 100 years.
  • Suyya (855 AD), a civil engineer from Kashmir, has known to be a blessing amidrepeated cycles of flood and famine in the valley. He built embankments on both thesides of the Sutlej river and dredged it, making it deeper to prevent floods. He builtcircular embankments around the villages to keep the water out. Embankmentconstruction, even today, is instrumental in controlling and regulating the flow ofrivers.
  • The water purification system of Sringaverapura in Prayagraj was engineered in 1stcentury CE to manage the water needs of the entire city. The water from the riverGanga was steered through a series of 4 tanks, each tank having a series of stairs with an objective of slowing down the pace of water resulting in debris settlement.This method of purification forms the basis of water treatment even today.
  • The stepwells of Rajasthan and Gujarat were the most efficient way of large scalewater conservation in the drought prone states. The Chand Baori (Rajasthan) andRani ki Vav (Gujarat) are two such marvels. Stepwells was a community asset thatwere used for drinking water, gathering, bathing, etc. The increasing depth of thestepwells was associated with a decline in temperature, providing a cooling effect during the scorching heat. The swimming pool of the Pearl University in Jaipur hasbeen designed on similar lines as that of a stepwell.

Bharat’s ancient scientists did not limit themselves to just science. They broadened theirhorizons to develop science into sustainable way of life. This civilisation dating back to16,500 years, could meet the challenges of time due to prevalence of its scientific traditions.How well one can restore that ancient wisdom will be a prominent deciding factor that willguide India’s future endeavours.