"The Wonder that was India"

Sunday, August 15, 2010 9 Comments

While our India is celebrating 64th Independence Day, this post is to ponder on "The wonder that was India".  The title stolen from the A.L. Basham, a noted historian, who authored many books on India.

"Was", I used it intentionally, as I turn back and look at the History of India, I realise with sadness, how we dragged our Country from riches to rags and from literacy to illiteracy.

A little research in the internet gave me a summary of great contributions, India had done to this world. Interestingly all of these contributions are ancient.

1. Number Zero was invented by Aryabhatta(476-550)
2. Number System developed by Bhaskara I (600-680)
3. The value of "pi" was first calculated by Baudhayana (1114-1185) and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. He discovered this long before the European mathematicians.
4. The World's first University was established in Takshila in 7th Century of BC.
5. The World’s first residential University was established in Nalanda. It had dormitories for students. It accommodated over 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers.
6. Indians invented the Science of Astronomy during the Gupta period. The book Surya Siddhanta is treated as major reference book of Indian Astronomy written during Gupta Period (280 – 550). Through this book Aryabhatta was first to hold that the earth is a sphere that rotates around its own axis. He also discovered the causes of solar and lunar eclipses, and methods to predict their occurrence.
7. In 5th Century, Bhaskaracharya calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun hundreds of years before it was calculated in west. Time taken by earth to orbit the Sun: 365.258756484 days.
8. Ayurveda (5000 BC during Vedic period) is perhaps the most important contribution to medicine that India has made. It means 'way of life' in Sanskrit..
9. This ancient text on sexual love- Kama Sutra, was written by Vatsyayana in the mid-4th century.
10. Patanjali gave the knowledge of Yoga in 150 BCE, it helps to keep a healthy body and sound mind.
11. Swastika, was first found in the Indus Vally Civilization. The difference between Indian Swastika and Nazi Swastika.

12. Chess was originated in India during Gupta empire (280 – 550).

You might consider it boring, to go through the various links cited here.  But, I would request my readers to check the back links provided here, to know the culture, heritage, art, architectural rich India and pass on to our younger generations.

This is just not to bask in our past glory, but to create an awareness on what India was once and how to stop her from getting decayed.  Wherever we turn there's bribery, corruption, political fights, crime, child labour.  A little fight from us, would guide and make India, a better place to live.  Then, we can ponder on "The wonder that is India" and "The wonder that would be India"

I know, it's almost a copy paste article, but I wanted to write this for myself, for silently witnessing India rotting little by little.

I started my day by watching our national flag being hoisted by our Prime Minister at Red Fort.  As always I stood, my eyes prickled with tears and goose bumps on my skin, as I sang aloud our national anthem,

Uchchhala-Jaladhi Taranga
Tava Subha Name Jage
Tava Subha Ashisa Mage
Gahe Tava Jaya Gatha.
Jana-Gana-Mangala Dayaka, Jaya He
Jaya He, Jaya He, Jaya He,
Jaya Jaya Jaya, Jaya He"

I recalled the days, when we used to reach for our bags, when we sang the last line :) But, I taught my son not to do that. Those few moments I wanted him to think of India, her freedom fighters, the blood shed for us to enjoy the freedom. Hope and wish, he follows that. 

Watched the film "Gandhi". I think, I would have watched it atleast 20 times, still I never get tired watching it.  "Vaishnavo Janato" at the end of the film, make my throat tight with unshed tears.

Evening was the best part as Suresh and me, went to a concert at the Eliot's beach.  Times of India's "Times Chennai Festival".  A live performance by U. Srinivas on Mandolin (Five strings to heaven), Vikku Vinayakram, grammy award winner on Ghatam (percussion) and his son Selvaganesh on Ganjeera (percussion).. Selvaganesh, included us on the show, taught us, even those who doesn't know a great deal about ragas and thaalas to participate and contribute to the show. We learnt, the best percussion of all is our hands and it's amazing to create music by just clapping hands. We clapped where we should and felt content and elated at the same time....two hours - the rhapsody, the magic was a fitting end of the greatest day of the year.

Music mends heart, mind and soul. I was triffle down, the past few days and today I should say the music healed everything. I was sitting on the sand at a corner and didn't carry a webcam. Shot the final piece, "Raghupathi raghava" with my hand phone and amidst zilch lighting and mine is not a great phone to capture videos, yet the moment mattered and wanted to share with you guys, this video. Don't mind the poor quality, please :)


Its11.04 PM on 15th August 2010, when I completed the post and waiting for the video to get uploaded. The day is complete for me.  Waiting for tomorrow and I am ready to face more challenges with a smile asusual on my face...

Mera Bharath Mahan!


Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard. Google

9 Candles:

Opaque said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

Viji said...

@Ajey The pleasure is mine... Have a wonderful week and a great day!

Wasn't it 64th independence day?

I remember studying these facts in science books. Nice of you to refresh us..

Viji said...

Hi Saba,
Thanks for dropping in... yes, it is 64th Independence day. As Birthday's go, i took it for 63rd. Stands corrected...will change it. Felling little ashamed to :)

Viji said...

:) Devs... you are a consistent reader of my blog and patient enough to read whatever I write... thanks for everything dear...

Anonymous said...

Good one for good occasion.

Its our natural tendency to talk about our past glory (I agree this post is not for that) and never work to bring back them. And our India's curse is the instinct of servility to anything that we consider as foreign and high in status above us .(It may be cinema stars, cricketers, politicians or any such shit). And another thing is our principle of "Kiss up and kick down". I don't know whether you have witnessed it or not, but I have witnessed it all during all these days. Lets see what happens..

Satya said...

This a lovely post ... i knew that our ancient indians had discovered a lot of things..but some of it is very new to me...

i chanced upon your blog accidentally...you got a beautifull space with lot of nice topics ...

if u get time do visit my blog


Viji said...

@teabench: Krishnan, thanks for your comment... hopeless hoping is what we have and let us continue to do it. :)
@Satya happy that you stumbled in to my blog. You made my day! Will definitely visit your space regularly and try to win my man's heart again and again ;) already he had lost his for the past 16 years :D Not a great cook myself but passably ok...

wisdom comes with experience

At one, I learnt crawling was fun. At forty one, I still feel crawling is fun #blamemykneesnotme