History of Indian science and technology

History of Indian science and technology

thumb|200px|right|Hand-propelled_wheel_cart,_Indus_Valley_Civilization_(3000–1500_BCE)._Housed_at_the_National Museum, New Delhi.]
thumb|right|200px|The_Pundit (explorer) and Indian cartographer Nain Singh Rawat (19th century CE) received a Royal Geographical Society gold medal in 1876.]

The history of science and technology in India begins in the pre-modern era. Archaeological evidence from Mehrgarh (7000 BCE) shows construction of mud brick houses and granaries. Farming, metal working, flint knapping, tanning, bead production, and dentistry, are known to the people of Mehrgarh. The more advanced Indus Valley civilization yields evidence of hydrography, metrology and sewage collection and disposal being practiced on a sizable scale.

Great attention to medicine, astronomy and mathematics is seen during the Vedic period (1500 BCE—400 BCE)—which also witnesses the first inquiry being made into the field of linguistics by the 5th century BCE scholar Pāṇini. Construction of stepwells and stupas, use of diamond as a gemstone, and plastic surgery operations become visible during later periods.

During the classical period of Indian mathematics (400 CE to 1200 CE), important contributions are made by scholars Aryabhatta, Brahmagupta, and Bhaskara II. Indian mathematicians made early contributions to the study of the decimal number system, zero, negative numbers, arithmetic, and algebra.

Of note is the advent of Islam—with which Persian irrigation technologies are introduced in India—leading to advanced irrigation systems aiding the growth of medieval material culture. Weavers from Central Asia are employed by Zayn-ul-Abidin—the 15th century ruler of Kashmir. During the British Raj, education in English led to the movement of Indian scholars into European institutions to produce qualified candidates for the Indian Civil Services.

Mehrgarh culture—Indus Valley Civilization (7000 BCE—1500 CE)

The inhabitants of Mehrgarh (7000–3300 BCE) lived in mud brick houses, stored their grain in granaries, fashioned tools with local copper ore, and lined their large basket containers with bitumen. They also cultivated six-row barley, wheat, jujubes and herded sheep, goats, and cattle. Residents of the later period (5500 BC—2600 BC) put much effort into crafts, including flint knapping, tanning, bead production, and metal working. The site was occupied continuously until about 2600 BC.Possehl, Gregory L. (1996)] Mehrgarh has yielded evidence of dentistry being practiced as far back as 7000 BCE.Coppa, A. et al.] This earliest form of dentistry involved curing tooth related disorders with drills—operated, perhaps, by skilled bead craftsmen. [BBC (2006). [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4882968.stm "Stone age man used dentist drill"] .] Modern reconstruction of this ancient form of dentistry has showed that the methods used were reliable and effective. [MSNBC (2008). [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12168308/ "Dig uncovers ancient roots of dentistry"] .]

Cotton was cultivated by the inhabitants of the early Indus Valley Civilization by the 5th millennium BCE4th millennium BCE. [Stein, page 47] Sugarcane was originally from tropical South Asia and Southeast Asia. Different species likely originated in different locations with "S. barberi" originating in India and "S. edule" and "S. officinarum" coming from New Guinea. [http://www.siu.edu/~ebl/leaflets/sugar.htm Sharpe, Peter (1998). "Sugar Cane: Past and Present". Illinois: Southern Illinois University.] ]

Irrigation was developed in the Indus Valley Civilization by around 4500 BCE. The size and prosperity of the Indus civilization grew as a result of this innovation, which eventually led to more planned settlements making use of drainage and sewers.Rodda & Ubertini, page 279] Sophisticated irrigation and water storage systems were developed by the Indus Valley Civilization, including artificial reservoirs at Girnar dated to 3000 BCE, and an early canal irrigation system from circa 2600 BCE. [Rodda & Ubertini, page 161] By 2800 BCE private bathrooms, located on the ground floor, were found in nearly all the houses of the Indus Valley Civilization. Pottery pipes in walls allowed drainage of water and there was, in some case, the provision of a crib for sitting. "Western-style" toilets were made from bricks using toilet seats made of wood on top. The waste was then transmitted to drainage systems. Large scale sanitary sewer systems were in place by 2700 BCE. The drains were 7-10 feet wide and 2 feet below ground level.Teresi, pages 351-352] The sewage was then led into cesspools, built at the intersection of two drains, which had stairs leading to them for periodic cleaning. Plumbing using earthenware plumbing pipes with broad flanges for easy joining with asphalt to stop leaks was in place by 2700 BCE.

The inhabitants of the Indus valley developed a sophisticated system of standardization, using weights and measures, evident by the excavations made at the Indus valley sites.Baber, page 23] This technical standardization enabled gauging devices to be effectively used in angular measurement and measurement for construction. Calibration was also found in measuring devices along with multiple subdivisions in case of some devices.

The world's first dock at Lothal (2400 BCE) was located away from the main current to avoid deposition of silt. Modern oceanographers have observed that the Harappans must have possessed knowledge relating to tides in order to build such a dock on the ever-shifting course of the Sabarmati, as well as exemplary hydrography and maritime engineering. This was the earliest known dock found in the world, equipped to berth and service ships.Rao, pages 27–28]

The earliest furnace was excavated at Balakot–a site of the Indus Valley Civilization–dating back to its mature phase (c. 2500-1900 BC). The furnace was most likely used for the manufacturing of ceramic objects.citation|last=Dales|first=George|title=Excavations at Balakot, Pakistan, 1973|journal=Journal of Field Archaeology|volume=1|issue=1-2|year=1974|pages=3-22 [10] ] Ovens, dating back to the civilization's mature phase (c. 2500-1900 BC), were also excavated at Balakot. Archeological evidence of an animal-drawn plough dates back to 2500 BC in the Indus Valley Civilization.citation|title=Thematic evolution of ISTRO: transition in scientific issues and research focus from 1955 to 2000|first=R.|last=Lal|journal=Soil and Tillage Research|volume=61|issue=1-2|date=August 2001|pages=3-12 [3] ] The earliest available swords of copper discovered from the Harappan sites date back to 2300 BCE. Swords have been recovered in archaeological findings throughout the Ganges-Jamuna Doab region of India, consisting of bronze but more commonly copper.Allchin, pages 111-112]

Vedic period (1500 BCE—400 BCE)

The religious texts of the Vedic Period provide evidence for the use of large numbers. By the time of the last Veda, the "IAST|Yajurvedasaṃhitā" (1200-900 BCE), numbers as high as 10^{12} were being included in the texts.Hayashi, page 360-361] For example, the "mantra" (sacrificial formula) at the end of the "annahoma" ("food-oblation rite") performed during the "aśvamedha" ("horse sacrifice"), and uttered just before-, during-, and just after sunrise, invokes powers of ten from a hundred to a trillion. The Satapatha Brahmana (9th century BCE) contains rules for ritual geometric constructions that are similar to the Sulba Sutras. [Seidenberg (1978)]

Zinc mines of Zawar, near Udaipur, Rajasthan, were active during 400 BC.Craddock 1983] Diverse specimens of swords have been discovered in Fatehgarh, where there are several varieties of hilt. [F.R. Allchin, 111-112] These swords have been variously dated to periods between 1700-1400 BCE, but were probably used more extensively during the opening centuries of the 1st millennium BCE.Allchin, page 114] Archaeological sites in India, such as Malhar, Dadupur, Raja Nala Ka Tila and Lahuradewa in present day Uttar Pradesh show iron implements from the period between 1800 BC - 1200 BC.Rakesh Tewari] Early iron objects found in India can be dated to 1400 BC by employing the method of radio carbon dating.Ceccarelli, page 218] Some scholars believe that by the early 13th century BC, iron smelting was practiced on a bigger scale in India, suggesting that the date the technology's inception may be placed earlier. In Southern India (present day Mysore) iron appeared as early as 11th to 12th centuries BC; these developments were too early for any significant close contact with the northwest of the country.Drakonoff, page 372]

Baudhayana (c. 8th century BCE) composed the "Baudhayana Sulba Sutra", the best-known "Sulba Sutra", which contains examples of simple Pythagorean triples, such as: (3, 4, 5), (5, 12, 13), (8, 15, 17), (7, 24, 25), and (12, 35, 37)Joseph, page 229] as well as a statement of the Pythagorean theorem for the sides of a square: "The rope which is stretched across the diagonal of a square produces an area double the size of the original square." It also contains the general statement of the Pythagorean theorem (for the sides of a rectangle): "The rope stretched along the length of the diagonal of a rectangle makes an area which the vertical and horizontal sides make together." Baudhayana gives a formula for the square root of two.Cooke, page 200]

The Egyptian "Papyrus of Kahun" (1900 BCE) and literature of the Vedic period in India offer the first written records of veterinary medicine. [Thrusfield, page 2] Kearns & Nash (2008) state that the first mention of leprosy is described in the Indian medical treatise "Sushruta Samhita" (6th century BCE).Kearns & Nash (2008)] However, "The Oxford Illustrated Companion to Medicine" holds that the mention of leprosy, as well as ritualistic cures for it, were described in the Hindu religious book "Atharva-veda", written by 1500–1200 BCE before the "Sushruta Samhita". [Lock etc., page 420]

Cataract surgery was known to the Indian physician Sushruta (6th century BCE). The Indian traditions of cataract surgery was performed with a special tool called the "Jabamukhi Salaka", a curved needle used to loosen the lens and push the cataract out of the field of vision. The eye would later be soaked with warm butter and then bandaged. Though this method was successful, Susruta cautioned that it should only be used when necessary. Greek philosophers and scientists traveled to India where these surgeries were performed by physicians.Finger, page 66] The removal of cataract by surgery was also introduced into China from India. [Lade & Svoboda, page 85]

The study of linguistics in India dates back at least two and one-half millennia.Encyclopedia Britannica (2008). "Linguistics".] During the 5th century BCE, Indian scholar Panini had made several discoveries in the fields of phonetics, phonology, and morphology. Metal currency was minted in India before 5th century BCE,Dhavalikar (1975)] Sellwood (2008)] with coins of India (400 BCE—100 CE) being made of silver and copper, bearing animal and plant symbols on them.Allan & Stern (2008)]

Brahmanic hospitals were established in what is now Sri Lanka as early as 431 BCE. The Indian emperor Ashoka (ruled from 273 BCE to 232 BCE) himself established a chain of hospitals throughout the Mauryan empire (322–185 BCE) by 230 BCE.Piercey & Scarborough (2008)]

Post Maha Janapadas period (400 BCE—200 CE)

The "Arthashastra" of Kautilya mentions the construction of dams and bridges. [Dikshitar, pg. 332] The use of suspension bridges using plaited bamboo and iron chain was visible in India by about the 4th century. [Encyclopedia Britannica (2008). "suspension bridge".] The "stupa" (3rd century BCE), the precursor of the pagoda and torii, is constructed.Encyclopedia Britannica (2008). "Pagoda".] [http://www.aisf.or.jp/~jaanus/ Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System (2001). "torii".] ] Rock-cut step wells in India date from 200-400 CE. Subsequently, the wells at Dhank (550-625 CE) and construction of stepped ponds at Bhinmal (850-950 CE) takes place.Livingston & Beach, page xxiii]

Indigo is used as a dye in India, which was also the earliest major center for its production and processing.Kriger & Connah, page 120] The "Indigofera tinctoria" variety of Indigo was domesticated in India. Indigo, used as a dye, made its way to the Greeks and the Romans via various trade routes, and was valued as a luxury product. The cashmere wool fiber is also known as "pashm" or "pashmina" for its use in the handmade shawls of Kashmir, India. [Encyclopedia Britannica (2008). "cashmere".] The woolen shawls made from wool in Kashmir region of India find written mention between 3rd century BC and the 11th century CE.Encyclopedia Britannica (2008). "Kashmir shawl".] Jute is cultivated in India.Encyclopedia Britannica (2008). "jute".] Crystallized sugar was discovered by the time of the Imperial Guptas Adas, page 311] , and the earliest reference of candied sugar come from India.Kieschnick (2003)]

By the beginning of the Common Era, glass was being used for ornaments and casing in South Asia. Contact with the Greco-Roman world added newer techniques, and Indians artisans mastered several techniques of glass molding, decorating and coloring by the early centuries of the Common Era.Ghosh, page 219 ] Satavahana period of India further reveals short cylinders of composite glass, including those displaying a lemon yellow matrix covered with green glass."Ornaments, Gems etc." (Ch. 10) in Ghosh 1990] Wootz originated in India before the beginning of the common era. [Srinivasan & Ranganathan] Wootz steel was widely exported and traded throughout ancient Europe, China, the Arab world, and became particularly famous in the Middle East, where it became known as Damascus steel. Archaeological evidence suggests that this manufacturing process was already in existence in South India even before the Christian era.Srinivasan 1994] [Srinivasan & Griffiths]

During the Imperial Guptas, the Indian court physician Sushruta performed plastic surgery operations.Wolpert, page 193.] The earliest evidence for using bow-instruments for carding comes from India (2nd century CE).Baber, page 57 ] Early diamonds used as gemstones originated in India.Wenk, pages 535-539] Golconda served as an important center for diamonds in central India. Diamonds then were exported to other parts of the world, including Europe. Early references to diamonds in India come from Sanskrit texts.MSN Encarta (2007). [http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761557986/Diamond.html "Diamond"] .] The "Arthashastra" mentions diamond trade in India.Lee, page 685 ]

Among other scholars of this period who contributed to mathematics, the most notable is Pingala (fl. 300-200 BCE), a musical theorist who authored a Sanskrit treatise on prosody. There is evidence that in his work on the enumeration of syllabic combinations, Pingala stumbled upon both the Pascal triangle and Binomial coefficients, although he did not have knowledge of the Binomial theorem itself.Fowler, page 11] Singh, page 623-624] The first description of binary numbers is also found in the works of Pingala. [Sanchez & Canton, page 37] The use of negative numbers was known in early India, and their role in situations like mathematical problems of debt was understood. Bourbaki, page 49] Consistent and correct rules for working with these numbers were formulated. The diffusion of this concept led the Arab intermediaries to pass it to Europe.

Early Common Era—High Middle Ages (200 CE—1200 CE)

The decimal number system originated in India.Ifrah, page 346] Other cultures discovered a few features of this number system but the system, in its entirely, was compiled in India, where it attained coherence and completion. By the 9th century CE, this complete number system had existed in India but several of its ideas were transmitted to China and the Islamic world before that time.Britannica Concise Encyclopedia (2007). "algebra"] The concept of 0 as a number, and not merely a symbol for separation is attributed to India. Bourbaki, page 46] In India, practical calculations were carried out using zero, which was treated like any other number by the 9th century CE, even in case of division. Indian scholar Brahmagupta (598–668) was able to find (integral) solutions of Pell's equation.Stillwell, pages 72-73] The earliest conceptual design of a perpetual motion machine dates back to 1150, by an Indian mathematician-astronomer, Bhaskara II. He described a wheel that he claimed would run forever. [Lynn Townsend White, Jr..]

The trigonometric functions of Sine and ' [Versine] , from which it was trivial to derive the Cosine, were discovered by the Indian mathematician, Aryabhata, in the late 5th century. [J. J. O'Connor and E.F. Robertson (1996), [http://www-gap.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/HistTopics/Trigonometric_functions.html Trigonometric functions] , "MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive"] [Harvard reference | last=Pingree | first=David | authorlink=David Pingree | title=The logic of non-Western science: mathematical discoveries in medieval India | journal=Daedalus | volume=132 | issue=4 | year=2003 | pages=45-54 | url=http://www.questia.com/googleScholar.qst?docId=5007155010 | page=45 Quote: "Geometry, and its branch trigonometry, was the mathematics Indian astronomers used most frequently. In fact, the Indian astronomers in the third or fourth century, using a pre-Ptolemaic Greek table of chords, produced tables of sines and versines, from which it was trivial to derive cosines. This new system of trigonometry, produced in India, was transmitted to the Arabs in the late eighth century and by them, in an expanded form, to the Latin West and the Byzantine East in the twelfth century."] The calculus theorem now known as "Rolle's theorem" was first stated by the Indian mathematician, Bhāskara II, in the 12th century. [citation|first=T. A. A.|last=Broadbent|title=Reviewed work(s): "The History of Ancient Indian Mathematics" by C. N. Srinivasiengar|journal=The Mathematical Gazette|volume=52|issue=381|date=October 1968|pages=307-8] In the 12th century, Bhāskara II developed the concept of a derivative and a differential representing infinitesimal change.George G. Joseph (2000), "The Crest of the Peacock", pp. 298-300, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0691006598]

The first iron pillar was the Iron pillar of Delhi, erected at the times of Chandragupta II Vikramaditya (375–413). [Balasubramaniam, R., 2002] The Rasaratna Samuccaya (800 AD) explains the existence of two types of ores for zinc metal, one of which is ideal for metal extraction while the other is used for medicinal purpose.Craddock, page 13]

The origins of the spinning wheel are unclear but the device was probably invented in India. ["spinning wheel" in Britannica Concise Encyclopedia (2007). 1994-2008 Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.] [Encyclopeedia Britnnica (2008). "spinning] The device certainly reached Europe from India by the 14 century CE. [MSN Encarta (2008). [http://encarta.msn.com "Spinning] ] Ajanta caves of India yield evidence of a single roller cotton gin in use by the 5th century CE.Baber, page 56] This cotton gin was used in India until innovations were made, in form foot powered gins. The cotton gin was invented in India as a mechanical device known as "charkhi", more technically the "wooden-worm-worked roller".Baber, page 57] This mechanical device was, in some parts of india, driven by water power. Chinese documents confirm at least two missions to India, initiated in 647 , for obtaining technology for sugar-refining.Kieschnick, page 258] Each mission returned with different results on refining sugar.

The earliest record of inoculation and variolation for smallpox is found in 8th century India, when Madhav wrote the "Nidāna", a 79-chapter book which lists diseases along with their causes, symptoms, and complications. He included a special chapter on smallpox ("masūrikā") and described the method of inoculation to protect against smallpox.Hopkins, page 140]

Muslin was named after the city where Europeans first encountered it, Mosul, in what is now Iraq, but the fabric actually originated from Dhaka in what is now Bangladesh. [ [http://banglapedia.search.com.bd/HT/M_0427.htm Muslin] , "Banglapedia". Asiatic Society of Bangladesh (2008)] citation|first=S.|last=Ahmad|title=Rise and Decline of the Economy of Bengal|journal=Asian Affairs|volume=27|issue=3|pages=5-26|date=July-September 2005] In the 9th century, an Arab merchant named Sulaiman makes note of the material's origin in Bengal (known as "Ruhml" in Arabic).

European scholar Francesco I reproduced a number of Indian maps in his magnum opus "La Cartografia Antica dell India".Sircar 328] Out these maps, two have been reproduced using a manuscript of "Lokaprakasa", originally compiled by the polymath Ksemendra (Kashmir, 11th century CE), as a source. The other manuscript, used as a source by Francesco I, is titled "Samgrahani".

Late Middle Ages—Early Modern Era (1200 CE—1757 CE)

The infinite series for π was first stated by Madhava of Sangamagrama (c. 1340-1425) and his Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics. He made use of the series expansion of arctan x to obtain an infinite series expression, now known as the "Madhava-Gregory series", for pi. Their rational approximation of the "error" for the finite sum of their series are of particular interest. They manipulated the error term to derive a faster converging series for pi. They used the improved series to derive a rational expression, 104348/33215 for pi correct up to nine decimal places, "i.e." 3.141592653 .Roy, Ranjan (1990), "Discovery of the Series Formula for pi by Leibniz, Gregory, and Nilakantha", "Mathematics Magazine" (Mathematical Association of America) 63 (5): 291-306] The "Yuktibhasa", written by Jyesthadeva of the Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics in "circa" 1530, is widely considered to be the first textbook on calculus.cite web| publisher=Canisius College |work=MAT 314|url=http://www.canisius.edu/topos/rajeev.asp| title=Neither Newton nor Leibniz - The Pre-History of Calculus and Celestial Mechanics in Medieval Kerala| accessdate=2006-07-09] cite web| publisher=School of Mathematics and Statistics University of St Andrews, Scotland |work=Indian Maths|url=http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/HistTopics/Indian_mathematics.html| title=An overview of Indian mathematics| accessdate=2006-07-07] cite web| publisher=Prof.C.G.Ramachandran Nair |work=Government of Kerala — Kerala Call, September 2004|url=http://www.kerala.gov.in/keralcallsep04/p22-24.pdf| title=Science and technology in free India| accessdate=2006-07-09] cite book | author =Charles Whish | year = 1835 | title = Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland | ] An early version of the Mean value theorem was first described by Parameshvara (1370–1460) from the Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics in his commentaries on Govindasvāmi and Bhāskara II. [J. J. O'Connor and E. F. Robertson (2000), [http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~history/Biographies/Paramesvara.html Paramesvara] , "MacTutor History of Mathematics archive"]

One of the main achievements of Indian mathematics was the development of the series expansions for trigonometric functions (sine, cosine, and arc tangent) by mathematicians of the Kerala School in the fifteenth century CE. Their work, completed two centuries before the invention of calculus in Europe, provided what is now considered the first example of a power series (apart from geometric series).Stillwell, page 173]

Shēr Shāh of northern India issued massive silver currency bearing Islamic motifs, later imitated by the Mughal empire. The Chinese maerchant Ma Huan (1413-51) noted that gold coins, known as "fanam", were issued in Cochin and weighed a total of one "fen" and one "li" according to the Chinese standards.Chaudhuri, page 223] They were of fine quality and could be exchanged in China for 15 silver coins of four-"li" weight each.

Considered one of the most remarkable feats in metallurgy, the Seamless celestial globe was invented in Kashmir by Ali Kashmiri ibn Luqman in 998 AH (1589-90 CE), and twenty other such globes were later produced in Lahore and Kashmir during the Mughal Empire. Before they were rediscovered in the 1980s, it was believed by modern metallurgists to be technically impossible to produce metal globes without any , even with modern technology. These Mughal metallurgists pioneered the method of lost-wax casting in order to produce these globes.citation|first=Emilie|last=Savage-Smith|title=Islamicate Celestial Globes: Their history, Construction, and Use|publisher=Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.|year=1985]

It was written in the "Tarikh-i Firishta" (1606-1607) that the envoy of the Mongol ruler Hulegu Khan was presented with a dazzling pyrotechnics display upon his arrival in Delhi in 1258 CE.Khan, pages 9-10] As a part of an embassy to India by Timurid leader Shah Rukh (1405-1447), 'Abd al-Razzaq mentioned naphtha-throwers mounted on elephants and a variety of pyrotechnics put on display.Partington, page 217] Firearms known as "top-o-tufak" also existed in the Vijayanagara Empire of India by as early as 1366 CE. From then on the employment of gunpowder warfare in India was prevalent, with events such as the siege of Belgaum in 1473 CE by the Sultan Muhammad Shah Bahmani.khan, page 10]

Fathullah Shirazi (c. 1582), a Persian-Indian polymath and mechanical engineer who worked for Akbar in the Mughal Empire, invented the autocannon, the earliest multi-shot gun. [Bag (2005)] In "A History of Greek Fire and Gunpowder", James Riddick Partington describes Indian rockets, mines and other means of gunpowder warfare:Partington, page 226]

By the 16th century, Indians were manufacturing a diverse variety of firearms; large guns in particular, became visible in Tanjore, Dacca, Bijapur and Murshidabad.Partington, page 225] Guns made of bronze were recovered from Calicut (1504) and Diu (1533).Partington, page 226] Gujarāt supplied Europe saltpeter for use in gunpowder warfare during the 17th century.Encyclopedia Britannica (2008). "India."] Bengal and Mālwa participated in saltpeter production. The Dutch, French, Portuguese, and English used Chāpra as a center of saltpeter refining. [Encyclopedia Britannica (2008). "Chāpra."]

The construction of water works and aspects of water technology in India is described in Arabic and Persian works. During medieval times, the diffusion of Indian and Persian irrigation technologies gave rise to an advanced irrigation system which bought about economic growth and also helped in the growth of material culture.Siddiqui 1986] The founder of the cashmere wool industry is traditionally held to be the 15th century ruler of Kashmir, Zayn-ul-Abidin, who introduced weavers from Central Asia.

Colonial British Era (1757 CE—1947 CE)

The early volumes of the "Encyclopedia Britannica" describe cartographic charts made by the Dravidian people of India.Sircar 330] By the end of the 18th century the postal system in India had reached impressive levels of efficiency. According to British national Thomas Broughton, the Maharaja of Jodhpur sent daily offerings of fresh flowers from his capital to Nathadvara (320 km) and they arrived in time for the first religious Darshan at sunrise.Peabody, page 71] Later this system underwent complete modernization when the British Raj established it's full control over India. The Post Office Act XVII of 1837 provided that the Governor-General of India in Council had the exclusive right of conveying letters by post for hire within the territories of the East India Company. The mails were available to certain officials without charge, which became a controversial privilege as the years passed. On this basis the Indian Post Office was established on October 1, 1837.Lowe, page 134] The British constructed a vast railway network in India, but it was considered to serve a strategic purpose in addition to the commercial purpose. [Seaman, page 348]

In "Encyclopedia Britannica (2008)", Stephen Oliver Fought & John F. Guilmartin, Jr. describe the gunpowder technology in 18th century India:Encyclopedia Britannica (2008). "rocket and missile system".]

The British education system, aimed at producing able civil and administrative services candidates, exposed a number of Indians to foreign institutions.Raja (2006)] Sir Jagadis Chandra Bose (1858–1937), Satyendra Nath Bose (1894–1974), Meghnad Saha (1893–1956), P. C. Mahalanobis (1893–1972), Sir C. V. Raman (1888–1970), Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar (1910–1995), Homi Bhabha (1909–1966), Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887–1920), Vikram Sarabhai (1919–1971), Hargobind Khorana (1922–), and Harish Chandra (1923–1983) are a few of the notable scholars of this period.

In 1899, the Bengali physicist Jagdish Chandra Bose announced the development of an "iron-mercury-iron coherer with telephone detector" in a paper presented at the Royal Society, London. [Bondyopadhyay (1988)] He also later received US patent|755840, "Detector for electrical disturbances" (1904), for a specific electromagnetic receiver. The crescograph, a device for measuring growth in plants, was invented in the early 20th century by the Jagdish Chandra Bose. [cite web|url=http://www.edsanders.com/bose|title=Jagadis Bose Research on Measurement of Plant Growth|accessdate=2008-08-05] [Geddes, pages 173-176]

Physicist Sir C. V. Raman was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930 for his discovery that 'when light traverses a transparent material, some of the light that is deflected changes in wavelength'. This phenomenon of Raman scattering and Raman effect are attributed to him.Encyclopedia Britannica (2008). "Raman, Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata"] The Saha ionization equation equation, derived by Meghnad Saha in 1920, conceptualizes ionizations in context of stellar atmospheres. [Narlikar, page 188] Introduced in 1936 by statistician P.C. Mahalanobis, the Mahalanobis distance is based upon the correlation between variables, and is used to identify and analyze differing pattern with respect to one base. [ Taguchi & Jugulum, pages 6-7] Astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1983, for his calculations, which eventually contributed to the understanding of supernovas, neutron stars, and black holes.' [Encyclopedia Britannica (2008). "Chandrasekhar, Subrahmanyan"]



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External links

* [http://countrystudies.us/india/101.htm "India: Science and technology". U.S. Library of Congress.]

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