India is the seventh largest country in the world and is also the second most populous. It may not be the birthplace of democracy, but it is considered the largest democracy in the world. Sacred temples, flavorful curries, Mahatma Ghandi, Mother Teresa, yoga and Bollywood movies often spring to mind when thinking about India. It’s also the homeland of some of the most influential people in the world today, including Vinod Khosia (co-founder of Sun Microsystems) and Vinod Dahm (creator of Pentium Chip). It’s a fascinating melting pot of history, religion, culture and energy that is unique to the country. It’s not surprising therefore, that the country has given much to the rest of the world. Here are some fascinating things that have originated from India, but are now appreciated the world over – 5 things you may not know India contributed to the world.
The ink that we today use for printing and drawing is known as India ink. Though the Chinese are credited with developing the process of making the ink, the materials of the carbon pigment are sourced in India, hence the name of the product. In the 4th BC, Indians called it masi, and the practice of writing using a sharp object was widely done in South India.
Who can imagine math without zero? As early as 498 AD, mathematician Aryabhata used it, which later evolved into the modern decimal based value. It comes from the Sanskrit word shoonya, which means empty, from which the Arabs coined the word safira, which translates to nothing. Later, the French referred to it as zero, while the Italians translated it as zefiro. Thanks to the Indians, calculus, algebra and trigonometry have evolved.
Did you know that the game of chess comes from India? In Sanskrit, the word chess means chatuuranga, which translates to “four members of an army.” Traditionally, this referred to foot soldiers, horses and elephants and their chariots. In modern times, these pieces evolved to become the pawn, knight, bishop and rook. The game dates back before the 6th century AD, more than 1,500 years ago during the Gupta Empire. It was introduced to Persia and later spread to the Muslim community before finding its way to the rest of Europe.
This small fastener dates back to more than 5,000 years ago. The first buttons came from the Mohenjo-daro in the Indus Valley and early versions were made from sea shells.
Egyptians may be known for having some of the best cotton, but it was in India that the modern day cotton gin traces its roots. Early gins with single rollers, which allowed for the making of cotton fabrics, were found dating back to the 5th century AD in the Ajanta Caves in Western India. Roman emperors called the spun cotton fabric “woven winds” and “cloth of running water.”