Proud to be an Indian

March 9, 2004

[An article we found in one of New Delhi's two major papers that would make any Hindu "homer" proud. Despite this, most of the items below match my understanding and highlight India's critical contributions to civilization – Ed]

From the oldest to the finest – India is home to these and more. Discover the many facets of India through this column.

• India is the world’s largest, oldest, continuous civilization.
• India never invaded any country in her last 1,000 years of history [Pakistan and Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) may have something to say about this. I need to read more about their 1971 war – Ed]
• India is the world’s largest democracy.
• Varanasi, also known as Benares, was called “the ancient city” when Lord Buddha visited it in 500 BC and is the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world today.
• India invented the number system. Zero was invented by the mathematician Aryabhatta.
• The world’s first university was established in Takshashila in 700 BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects.
• Sanskrit is the mother of all the European languages. Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software (a report in Forbes magazine, July 1987).
• Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans. Charaka, the father of medicine consolidated Ayurveda 2, 500 years ago.
• India was the richest country on earth until the time of the British invasion in the early 17th century. [Poor Portugal – their invasion doesn’t even merit a mention and they were exploiting India a century or so before Britain did – Ed]
• The art of Navigation was born in the river Sindhu 6,000 years ago. The very word Navigation is derived from the Sanskrit word Navgatih. The word navy is also derived from Sanskrit Nou.
• Bhaskaracharya calculated the time taken by the earth to obit the sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart.
• The value of pi was the first calculated by Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean Theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century, long before the European mathematicians.
• Algebra, trigonometry and calculus [?! So much for Isaac Newton - Ed] came from India. Quadratic equations were by Sridharacharya in the 11th century. The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 10^6 whereas Hindus used numbers as big as 10^53 (10 to the power of 53) with specific names as early as 5000 BC during the Vedic period. Even today, the largest used number is Tera 1012 (10 to the power of 12).
• IEEE has proved that the pioneer of wireless communication was Prof. Jagdish Bose and not Marconi. [And here I though it was a Russian inwention – Ed]
• The earliest reservoir and dam was built in Saurashtra.
• Chess (Shataranja or AshtaPada) was invented in India.
• Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2,600 years ago, he and health scientists of his time conducted complicated surgeries like caesareans, artificial limbs, fractures, urinary stones and even plastic surgery and brain surgery. Usage of anaesthesia was well known in ancient India.
• When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley (Indus valley civilization).
• The four religions born in India, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, are followed by 25 per cent of the world’s population.
• India has the second largest pool of scientists and engineers in the world.
• India is the only country other than US and Japan, to have built a super computer indigenously.
• There are 3.22 million Indians in the US (1.5 per cent of the population). And:
• 38% of doctors in US are Indians
• 12% scientists in US are Indians
• 36% of NASA scientists are Indians
• 34% of Microsoft employees are Indians
• 28% of IBM employees are Indians
• 17% of INTEL scientists are Indians
• 13% of Xerox employees are Indians