What the Ancients Knew in India


This is a fascinating glimpse into the scientific and technological achievements of ancient India, which are still having an effect on the modern world today.

The host, Jack Turner, travels round the country and shows some of the finest works of the Indian mind, from Astonomy, Mathematics (with the invention of Zero) and Metal Working to Hydrology, Textiles and Medicine.

In Astronomy the Jantar Mantar in Jaipur ranks as one of the greatest and, until recent times, certainly the largest astronomical calculators on earth.

Underlying all computer technology and the whole of the information revolution is the concept of zero and placement, which were the work of Aryabhatta, an Indian mathematician of the 6th century.

The Indian wootz steel (taken over by the Arabs and refined as Damascene steel) was the finest of its kind in the ancient world, and gave rise to some remarkable claims about its properties.

The ability to preserve water flows during the monsoon so that they were available all year round, has just been rediscovered and has led to better water management in drought stricken areas.

The textiles of India, especially cotton, fueled the industrial revolution in the 18th century, and India is still one of the major textile exporters in the world today.

And increasingly wholistic medicine, based in large part on the theories of Ayurveda, is playing a significant role in modern health care.

Throughout the documentary the presenter is careful not only to show what the ancinets knew, but how that is still influencing developments today.

Watch the film and you may learn a lot about what underpins our technological advancements, and where they originated.


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