India was the mother of all civilization’ is often said by many. But little significant research or reliable writing has ever been done to substantiate this fact. “India’s Contributions to the West” primarily discusses how India has been a source of knowledge to the West over ages. Even the growth of modern sciences in the West, called the ‘Renaissance’ was a direct result of flow of Indian knowledge to the West.
Kanaka, an Indian scientist from the Sind province of India landed in the court of Caliph al-Mansur in Baghdad with a diplomatic delegation in 773 AD along with a treasure trove of Indian scientific manuscripts in Sanskrit. He discussed the contents of the book with the Caliph. The Caliph was amazed at the scientific knowledge of the books and immediately ordered translation of the books. Al-fazari and Yakun ibn Tariq became the first Arab students of Kanaka. This process sparked a fire of knowledge in the Caliphate.
Caliphs Haroun ar-Rashid and al-Mamun were successive Abbasid caliphs who promoted science and sent scientific expeditions to India in search of more manuscripts. Famour mathematician al-Khwarizmi was sent to India to study Indian science and mathematics. On return to Baghdad, al-Khwarizmi wrote a book which was known to Europe in its Latin translation, ‘Algoritmi de Numero Indorum’. This book became the hallmark for beginning of study of mathematics in Europe. The Abbasid Empire included Spain and many parts of East Europe. The caliphs opened up libraries and universities in the areas of Europe under their empire. The caliphs organized translation of those scientific texts into Latin. Thus his texts containing scientific writings of Aryabhat, Brahma gupta etc. reached Europe in Latin translation. These contained a lot of scientific material including even on gravitation. These sparked a light of knowledge in Europe which had that far been deprived of any scientific knowledge.
Indian knowledge was imported to Europe earlier also, especially by Pythagoras and later during the Hellenistic period. A part from modern science and mathematics, India influenced Western religion and philosophy as well. Modern psychology owes a lot to Indian religions. In fact West owes a lot to India in all branches of learning. The book touches these various issues in brief. The facts have been well substantiated with appropriate references.
About the Author:
Dr. Priyadarshi, MBBS, MD, MRCP (UK), a physician by education has studied history, philosophy, anthropology and many other branches of learning quite exhaustively and independently. As a student he had a distinguished career and he received distinction in physics and chemistry. He received higher training and specialization in UK and worked there for more than five years as a physician before finally deciding to return to India.
In the past he was successful in the Civil Services Examination of UPSC held in 1986 and was offered police post on which he worked for some time. He has an investigative temper developed as a result of his training in scientific research. He has applied the scientific research methods to history writing, which is acknowledge now to be a multi-disciplinary challenge and should not be confined only to the hands of traditional historians with little training in science.