Written by Manya Pandey, a first-year undergraduate student.
This week India is celebrating its 75th year of Independence and a lot of events are being organised under “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav” which translates to “an eternal celebration of freedom” and it’s really something to celebrate about, because we’ve come a long way.
We are proud of India’s accomplishments. Did you know that India owns the cheapest space probe in the world that has been orbiting Mars for 7 years!
Also, India is where these common things were invented – diamonds, chess, yoga and even shampoo!
The word shampoo comes from the Hindi word, chāmpo (that dates back to 1762). Champo means a head massage.
Indian “champo” was usually given with some sort of hair oil, or a concoction of herbs like neem leaves, soapberries and gooseberries (very natural and healthy days). The colonial traders in India discovered all these practices and herbs amidst their stay and took them back to Europe where they introduced their newly learned hair treatment named it shampoo.
Interestingly, a lot of English words are derivatives of Hindustani or Hindi language. To list a few- Thug from the Hindi word “Thag”, Bandana from a tie and dye process called “bandhana”, Pyjamas from the word payajama, Jungle, Jail and the list could go on.
- Thug from the Hindi word “Thag”
- Bandana from a tie and dye process called “bandhana”
- Pyjamas from the word payajama
- Juggernaut – which means a huge, powerful, and overwhelming force – comes from Jagannath’ (which means ‘lord of the world’).
Here’s more about what India gave to the world
Buttons – Ancient Indians used seashells as ornamental buttons.
People from the Indus valley civilization, the oldest civilisation in India, invented buttons about 5000 years ago. That’s not all, they took it a step ahead and carved and shaped them to be sewn into their garments.
Oldest known surgery
The world’s first known surgeon was an ancient Indian physician named Sushruta, or Suśruta. He is referred to as the “Father of Surgery” , “Father of Plastic Surgery” as he is said to have invented and developed surgical procedures. His work , named, the Sushruta Samhita is considered to be one of the oldest texts in the world on plastic surgery. It is one of the most valuable ancient books on medicine.
Aryabhata, an ancient Indian philosopher came up with the concept of zero
While he is not officially credited for it, Aryabhata is recognised as the person who invented zero. The concept and understanding of zero as a ‘digit’ was first given by Aryabhata.
Chess has a long history, but it began in India
The Indian game of Chaturanga is seen as the predecessor of chess. It was around in India for a long time before reaching Persia, where it quickly became a princely tradition and came to be called “Shatranj”. From there it went to Spain and then to the rest of Europe.
Chaturaṅga is a Sanskrit word, which translates to “four divisions of the military”, namely: infantry, cavalry, elephantry, and chariotry. These pieces are now known as- pawn, knight, bishop, and rook, respectively.
Indians also came up with board games like carrom and ludo which was then locally called “Pachisi”.
First to mine diamonds
Diamond mining was first recorded at least 5,000 years ago in central India where rivers Krishna and Godavari deposited a lot of stones and minerals(still do). Some ancient records reveal how people in the olden days believed diamonds ward off evil. Chinese people used diamonds in jade cutting knives.
Interestingly, India remained the world’s only diamond supply for a long time until Brazil discovered diamonds in the 18th century.
Indians also came up with the concept of Atom way before any of the officially credited scientists did!
John Dalton, an English chemist is attributed for the discovery of atoms but an Indian scientist and philosopher named Kanada is said to have developed the atomic theory centuries way before Dalton was even born! He speculated about the existence of Anu or small indestructible particles (which is exactly what an atom is).
He even explained the properties of an atom or “anu” like it can exist in two states–absolute peace and a state of movement and that they could combine with each to form molecules. What about their accuracy? Spot on! They were each proven right by later scientific developments.
In truth, a lot had already been predicted by the Vedas (ancient Indian scriptures) but it is not credited for including Yoga
Meditation and yoga
You probably know about this one because India has now become the global ambassador of yoga. Thanks to the efforts of our current Prime Minister. Briefly, Meditation and yoga are the oldest Indian techniques found in Vedas that date back to around 5,000 to 3,500 BCE (it’s a really long time). They aim to control the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the body.Essentially it’s all about healing life from the core.
Did you know these facts about India?