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India

India once led the world in science, don’t go by bizarre Science Congress claims

  • Ancient Indian researchers and philosophers have made many contributions to science the world has benefited from
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 17 January, 2019, 5:03pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 17 January, 2019, 5:51pm

With regard to “Defying Gravity” (January 13), while I obviously do not support some of the outlandish claims made in the recent Indian Science Congress, the basic thrust of your correspondent seems to be in negating that ancient India did contribute immensely to science and astronomy.

For example, more than 2,500 years back, Sushruta and Charak pioneered the work of plastic and cataract surgery. Long before Galileo (mentioned in your article) came into the picture, astronomer Aryabhata had already written about the earth going round the sun; the philosopher Yajnavalkya, who came before him, also spoke of heliocentrism. India is said to have also invented the numerical system and the zero.

Alternative facts: how Hindu nationalists attempt to redefine science

I am aware that there are competing claims on these and it's not my intention to discount them, but we can’t forget that ancient India possessed many famous universities which saw students attending from all parts of the world.

Nalanda (established in the fifth century), drew even famous Chinese scholars such as Xuanzang and Yijing who have attested to the fact that besides Buddhism and Hinduism, innumerable other subjects were also taught, including science, medicine and maths.

Gordhan Gurnani, Kwun Tong