My column: Once an Indian, always an Indian!

Once again this month of August is upon us, a time to celebrate and reminiscent in the south-Asian subcontinent and this month remains special in the heart of each and every Indian and Pakistani and their friends and family and well wishers.
It is natural to believe or like to believe that our country is best, but here are some facts in favour of India; which was devided into two nations 74 years ago by a government who believed in devide and rule only.
India invented the Number System. Zero was invented by Aryabhatta. The place value system, the decimal system was developed in India in 100 BC.
The World’s first university was established in Takshshila in 700 BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
Sanskrit is considered the mother of all higher languages. Sanskrit is the most precise, and therefore 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 2500 years ago. Today Ayurveda is fast regaining its rightful place in our civilization. It is the only system which takes the holistic view of the person being treated.
Although modern images of India often show poverty and lack of development, India was the richest country on earth until the time of British in the early 17th Century. Christopher Columbus was attracted by her wealth and was looking for route to India when he discovered American continent by mistake.
The art of Navigation was born in the river Sindh 6000 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 orbit the sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart. Time taken by earth to orbit the sun: (5th century) 365.258756484 days.
The value of “pi” was 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 came from India. Quadratic equations were propounded by Sridharacharya in the 11th century. The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 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: 10*12(10 to the power of 12).
According to the Gemological Institute of America, up until 1896, India was the only source for diamonds to the world.

The earliest reservoir and dam for irrigation was built in Saurashtra. According to Saka King Rudradaman I of 150 BC a beautiful lake aptly called ‘Sudarshana’ was constructed on the hills of Raivataka during Chandragupta Maurya’s time.
Chess (Shataranja or AshtaPada) was invented in India.
Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2600 years ago he and health scientists of his time conducted complicated surgeries like cesareans, cataract, artificial limbs, fractures, urinary stones and even plastic surgery and brain surgery.
Usage of anesthesia was well known in ancient India. Over 125 surgical equipments were used. Detailed knowledge of anatomy, physiology, etiology, embryology, digestion, metabolism, genetics and immunity is also found in many texts.
When many cultures were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in the Sindhu Valley Civilization.

Lekhni’s this issue is on the glorious heritage our soft power like philosophy art and culture , how India became the craddle of civilisation. India and its wins and failures, joy and sorrows of an average Indian, its struggle to freedom, we will talk about in the second issue, which will come out on 26’th of January. It is 74 years to that fateful day and we are about to celebrate 75 years of our freedom . Are we happy with our lot? Or is it still a mix bag like that fateful day which along with joy of our independence and freedom, brought tremendous amount of sorrow also .
Memories of many misfortunes floods in, when many lost everything in this struggle, their home, their identity everything. A mighty country was divided into two, many lost their lives, many were displaced, robbed, murdered, many never recovered from the trauma and our generation born in 1947 or after that does not appreciate or fully understands their pain and sacrifice.

It is a new wave now, a new page of history, a new life style. We all want to write our country’s fate with hope and aspiration… in our ex-priminister Nehru’s words: our very own ‘tryst with Destiny.’I will say Amen to that, but with caution and prudence, with love and care for each other.

How far have we come !

I often wonder what is ‘patriotism’, a blind faith and admiration of the country one is born in, or a loving and caring relation-ship with it, where one wants only the best , if one can manage and muster. One wants to improve it…live for it with every living breath and deed indeed, because it is one’s own identity… one’s very own love and pride!

After this ardent admission what else can I say except that this Issue of Lekhni is dedicated to our revered mother India, We are talking about our past, present and our dream India; not only all in its glory, hope and aspirations, but it’s weekness too. How we want to see it? We have not forgotten humanity too… remembering that we are the descendent and carriers of Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam tradition!

Are these political boundaries so important that even a brother cannot meet his own brother and they are treated like enemy? Why this is still a folly in human nature to pick up a fight , where it is not needed at all!

If we are talking about India and month of ‘Sawan’ it is a continuous joyful celebration of festivals, Once again heartiest congratulations to all our readers for all the joyous activities in this auspicious month of August: independence celebration, festival of Rakhi and Janmastami and teej and gangaur also.

Hope You will enjoy this special August issue of ‘Lekhni’, your reactions, thoughts and suggestions are eagerly awaited.

Take care and ‘Jay hind’
Shail Agrawal

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