I am indeed happy that the National Academy of Science, India has decided to sponsor the publication by the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture of ‘Introduction to History of Science in India’ –a multivolume series commenmorating the centenary of Indian Science Congress Association and sesquicentennial Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda—one of the principal initiators of Institutional Science in India. This series , of which the present one is and introduction, I understand, would start with our science heritage followed by its growth in successive phases culminating in the present challenges, written in a language meant for the common readers.
I sincerely hope that this commendable venture would indeed generate interest and awareness of all concerned towards the basic objectives of Science—the search for eternal truth, enrichment of knowledge and alleviation of misery of the humanity as a whole.
The present volume provides with a glimpse of a few of our revered scientists who laid the foundation of modern science and explored new horizons in the field. I wish the venture a grand success.
The year 2013 marks the initiation of the centenary of the Indian Science. Congress Association, the first session of which was held in 1914, and was presided over by Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, a noted mathematician and the then Vice Chancellor, University of Calcutta, in British India. Incidentally, the year 2013 coincides with the 150th year of Swami Vivekananda whose thoughts also coincided with the beginning of Science Renaissance in Modern India. In fact the initiative of Swami Vivekananda led to the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore through the generous donation of Sir Jamshedji Tata.
In order to commemorate these historic events, coupled with the fact that our Hon 'ble Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh declared the year 2011 as the 'Year of Science', and declared 'Science and Technology for the future', as the theme of this Congress. Later, Science Academies in India called a meeting to discuss in detail the Prime Minister's message. It was proposed, along with other programmes, to bring out a comprehensive but easily understandable treatise for the general readers covering the 'History of Science in India'.
The National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI), Allahabad, decided to collaborate with, and entrust the preparation of this treatise spreading over different volumes, to Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata in view of their legacy of Swami Vivekananda; and also in view of their established experience in publishing such treatises as 'Cultural Heritage of India' in several volumes, among which one is entirely devoted to science.
The contents of the proposed volumes of 'History of Science in India' would cover the status of Science and Technology in India through successive phases of growth, the first phase covering:
i. Science in the historic past (but not prehistoric), such as the era of Aryabhatta, Charaka and Susruta, amongst others. In other words, this phase serves as an index of the legacy of Indian Science from the recent past.
ii. The second phase, the Renaissance Phase, includes the past 100 years or more of our scientific achievements, including the pre-Renaissance period. This phase covers the regime of the East India Company and colonial rule as well as a large number of scientists from Britain such as Sir Ronald Ross, William Carey, J. D. Hooker, Albert Howard, R. B. Seymour Sewell, N. Annandale, Sir Sidney Burrard, I. D. Simonsen, William Roxburgh and others people, who came to India to serve in different capacities in the government. During their stay, they not only served as torch bearers of Science but also created the infrastructure of science in several areas in the then British India, and became associated with the Indian Science Congress Association. It would be relevant to note too that Sir Lewis Leigh Fermor served as the first President of INSA in 1935, then termed as the National Institute of Sciences.
iii. The final or third phase would deal with the strategies adopted through Science and Technology in facing the present day challenges in life, such as hunger, diseases, pollution, education and other problems related to our existence. In fact, it is called 'Contemporary Science'.
The entire series starts with the present volume 'History of Science in India: An Introduction', which begins with an article on Swami Vivekananda's scientific temper and understanding of science. It covers also only the contributions, in brief, of some of the Indian scientists of the Renaissance phase. These savants of science were responsible for laying the foundations of modern science through their original contributions, discoveries, formulation of basic theories, as well as for building up schools of research, institutes, councils of research and science departments in this subcontinent. This volume, in fact, serves as a supplement to the Second Phase, that is, the Renaissance Period.
In this volume, only a few Indian scientists have been included, who, in addition to their eminence and contributions, established the science departments or institutes and/or were conferred on very high distinctions by the Academies and Associations of both India and abroad.
In order to meet the criteria listed above, the names of several doyens of science and their contributions during the Renaissance phase could not be included in this brief introductory volume much as we had wished it. But their contributions, in detail, would be dealt with in the respective subject-volumes of this series.
The year 2013 marks the initiation of the centenary of the Indian Science Congress Association, the first session of which was held in 1914, and was presided over by Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, a noted mathematician and the then Vice Chancellor, University of Calcutta, in British India. Incidentally, the year 2013 coincides with the 150th year of Swami Vivekananda whose thoughts also coincided with the beginning of Science Renaissance in Modem India. In fact the initiative of Swami Vivekananda led to the establishment of the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore through the generous donation of Sir Jamshedji Tata.
In order to commemorate these historic events, coupled with the fact that our Hon'ble Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh declared the year 2011 as the 'Year of Science', and declared 'Science and Technology for the future', as the theme of this Congress. Later, Science Academies in India called a meeting to discuss in detail the Prime Minister's message. It was proposed, along with other programmes, to bring out a comprehensive but easily understandable treatise for the general readers covering the 'History of Science in India'.
The National Academy of Sciences, India (NASI), Allahabad, decided to collaborate with, and entrust the preparation of this treatise spreading over different volumes, to Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata in view of their legacy of Swami Vivekananda; and also in view of their established experience in publishing such treatises as 'Cultural Heritage of India' in several volumes, among which one is entirely devoted to science. The contents of the proposed volumes of 'History of Science in India' would cover the status of Science and Technology in India through successive phases of growth, the first phase covering:
The entire series starts with the present volume 'History of Science in India: An Introduction', which begins with an article on Swami Vivekananda's scientific temper and understanding of science. It covers also only the contributions, in brief, of some of the Indian scientists of the Renaissance phase. These savants of science were responsible for laying the foundations of modem science through their original contributions, discoveries, formulation of basic theories, as well as for building up schools of research, institutes, councils of research and science departments in this subcontinent. This volume, in fact, serves as a supplement to the Second Phase, that is, the Renaissance Period.
There are two ways of writing history - one, the scholarly way, where the emphasis is on details, a thorough analysis of facts and figures, which allows one to draw firm conclusions. The intended audience there is the erudite peers, who can critically evaluate the conclusions, and either agree or disagree with. The other is to tell a story. In either case, the essential requirement of objectivity cannot be dispensed with; accuracy must be maintained, of course to the best of the historian's ability.
We have adopted the second path. To the best of our understanding, the purpose of the present series is to introduce the history of science in India to the general reader who is not expected to be an expert but has a general interest in learning about India's tradition in the practice of science as a noble human endeavour, and where we stand today in the global context. The editor-in-chief of the series, Prof. Arun Kumar Sharma, entrusted us with the task of putting together the part dealing with Physical Sciences section of the Part 1 of the first volume. Keeping the intended audience in mind, we chose to dispense with details and give a flavour of the evolution of physical ideas and activities done within the Indian context. Thus, there are almost no equations or figures, though at times this has put us in some difficulty. After all, let us recall the famous quote from Einstein: Physics should be made as simple as possible but not simpler. We have tried our best not to deviate from facts but in some instances, some generalisation or oversimplification might have crept in. Our apologies to the expert readers.
In choosing the topics for the recent activities in India, this limitation may have been the most prominent. Starting from the pioneering Physics researches in India by the likes of C. Bose, C. V. Raman, Meghnad Saha or S. N. Bose, the canvas of Physics research in India has broadened many-fold. Covering all of them adequately would have taken many more pages, many more years of effort and most importantly, much greater familiarity across the breadth of the various branches of Physics which any single (or two) individual(s) would be unlikely to possess. We thus tender an unconditional apology to our colleagues whose important works may have escaped mention here. The criterion we set for ourselves was to highlight the works of international standard that have been recognised to stand the test of time.
This work does not claim to be original or scholarly; we have often relied on other authors' works, which may not have been fully cited. Our apologies on this score too.
The chapters on mathematics covers history of mathematical studies and activities in Indian contexts. It is designed to remind a reader of the leading changes in mathematical thoughts. A critical hindsight into the days of mathematical antiquity enables a reader to construct afresh the historical endeavours. The interactive modes with mathematical personalities and communities abroad are also taken into account. Contemporary features of mathematical sciences, particularly basics of statistics and breakthroughs, are touched upon. About the Physical Science, in the suncentric earth, distance between moon and the sun from the earth is almost 100 times of the diameter of these bodies. In brief, historical scenarios in realms of mathematical and related sciences are found to be reassuring. The classic source materials and works on history of mathematics in the Indian setting are acknowledge. The spadework for developing this treatise was untiringly done by Sri Devaprasanna Sinha, the Research Associate, and a distinguished Computer Scientist, to whom I am greatful. Relevant materials at Indian National Science Academy and Dyal Singh Public Library have been of substantial use in this work, and I am immensely thankful to them.
Moreover, the authors are thankful to Dr. Sumona Mukherjee, who kindly wrote about the History of the Asiatic Society, and Science Academies of India that were designed to look into the interest of scientists and promote the excellence of science on this subcontinent.
As already implied above, we address ourselves in this volume primarily to high school and college students, and general readers having a rudimentary familiarity with the general concepts of science. If anyone, on reading this treatise, feels curious to read further on any of the topics, we will consider our efforts richly rewarded.
This volume traces the history of medicine in India from the earliest times down to the present day. Over the next twelve chapters, the journey of this most distinguished science is presented from remote antiquity to modern times. The task entrusted upon the author is a daunting one - to encapsulate the achievements of people engaged with of medicine over eight millennia, and present it in language easily understood by the young student and lay-reader.
The history of mankind started before humans appeared on the planet. Diseases too, predate human life. We can reasonably assume that in the distant past, humans suffered from diseases, deformities and disabilities. To address these, they would have resorted to an assortment of remedies known to them at the time. As the famous Indian historian, R. C. Majumdar, has put it; 'Medicine is a natural art born from the instinct of self-preservation. As in every other country, medical knowledge in India must have grown out of the sheer necessity of overcoming injury, sickness and pain'.
In Chapters Two and Four, we study material and literary evidence of medicine in prehistoric and ancient times. We discuss evidence garnered from Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic sites in India as also from archaeological finds from the Indus Valley Civilization or what is known today as the composite Sindhu - Saraswati culture. In Chapter Four we review medical references in Vedic literature and in the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Chapter Three is dedicated to primitive or tribal ethnomedicine. Over 650 indigenous tribes have survived in India to this day. They have lived, from times immemorial till recently, in remote forests and hilly tracts away from 'civilizing' influences. They have addressed health issues and survived over millennia using traditional health practices that combine occult rituals with herbal/folk medicine. They have deep knowledge of their environment, especially of the medicinal values of the flora and fauna of their surroundings. It is this knowledge we seek to study in this chapter.
Chapters Five, Six and Seven are dedicated to various aspects of A yurveda - conceptual, practical, and historical. Ayurveda was a fully developed medical system by 1000 BCE. We discuss the chequered history of Ayurveda in some detail, its highs and lows and its revival in modern times.
Chapter Eight discusses three very important systems of medicine that have come down to us from ancient times. These are the Yoga, Siddha and Sowa Rigpa (Tibetan) systems. Whereas certain aspects of the Yoga system were associated with physical postures, and exercises are universally popular and accepted today, Siddha is restricted to the Tamil-speaking areas in India and Sri Lanka. The Tibetan system of medicine, on the other hand, though it was originally followed by the Buddhists in Tibet, the Himalayan regions, parts of Siberia, China and Mongolia, is today finding a place among Indian and Western audiences.
Chapter Nine studies Unani medicine. Unani medicine has its origins in Ionia in Greece, and was brought to India by the invading Muslims. Unani took its root in Indian soil and flourished over the ages. It is today accepted as an Indian system of medicine; India is the largest exporter of Unani medicines among countries where such medicines are used.
Chapter Ten is a survey of the medical systems that existed in the world outside of the Indian subcontinent - Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Chinese, Greek, Hebrew, Roman, Arabic, European and Western medicine. Developments in Western medicine have been brought up-to-date till 2014.
Chapter Eleven focuses on Western medicine in India that was brought into the country by the Europeans during pre-colonial and colonial times. Western medicine dominates in India today as it does across the world. The chapter discusses the growth of modern medical education and institutions in the country leading up to the partition and independence of India from the British in 1947. Chapter Twelve highlights homeopathy - a separate system of medicine brought by Westerners to India. Homeopathy has received wide acceptance in the Indian public; there are around 187 learning institutions in homeopathic medicine in the country. Independence. It discusses health education and research, health programmes underway, the various professional bodies and medical societies, and the healthcare sector in India as it currently exists. It also discusses future challenges facing the country.
This book has been written essentially for the young Indian reader and laypersons. It is not a detailed reference work on the history of medicine in India; it is more a survey that provides essential information and important highlights. Should the reader be interested in pursuing a detailed study of different aspects of a particular system or different systems, there is a whole range of literature available for the purpose.
It is hoped this book will both inform and enthuse the reader.
History of Chemical Sciences in India is the third in the series of the 'History of Sciences in India' in eight volumes published by the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture, Kolkata. While taking up the responsibility, we hardly realized the enormity and complexity of the job. Because, Chemistry, the mother of all material and life sciences, may be said to be as old as civilization itself. As a matter of fact, though not by the name, the practice of chemistry in India dates back virtually to the Pre-Harappan period C4000 BCE), and since then it had a long history of development and prosperity till 1300 CE. Thereafter, it gradually declined and as such suffered a serious setback. It was not until the 19th century that it began to revive during the so-called renaissance period. Though the progress was slow until the mid-20 th century, chemical sciences in India after independence flourished as it did never before, achieving the global standard. Therefore, it was a daunting task to confine the long and chequered history of chemistry in India within its scope and limitation, particularly when this treatise is intended for beginners or those interested in science.
Fortunately, our task of compiling the glorious ancient and medieval history of chemistry has been made easier by the monumental and painstaking work of Acharya P. C. Ray's" History of Hindu Chemistry", revised by his worthy successor, Prof. P Ray, from which we freely borrowed often verbatim, and reproduced the rare and valuable illustrations. As a matter of fact, we also virtually followed the same pattern of our presentation.
As for the Pre- and Post Renaissance developments, particularly the Chemical Research, besides other resources including Wikipedia, we heavily relied on and freely drew from the relevant publications of Indian National Science Academy. It was not easy to select the chemists from among a large number of deserving ones. Nevertheless, quite reluctantly, we had to restrict to those, whose contributions have been recognized by INSA, the Apex scientific body in the country. On the other hand, attempts have been made to highlight the achievements in all the major areas. For the Contemporary Chemistry, in these days of specialization, we invited the experts in the relevant fields.
The book covers the three main periods, namely, (i) History-legacy of Chemistry from Prehistoric India (4000 BC.E) to the Iatrochemical period (1300 CE -1550 CE) and decline (ii) Pre-and Post Renaissance phase- mid- 19th-20th Century CE, (iii) Developments of Modern and Contemporary Chemistry in India. They are spread over 10 Chapters including the one devoted to "Evolution of Chemistry of Natural Products of plant origin" and allied "Application of Modern Physical Methods in Structure Elucidation of Organic Molecules". The last chapter summarizes the important role played by the research Institutions in the Growth of Chemical sciences in India.
Besides, we could not resist the temptation of incorporating as Appendix I the facsimiles of the 'Opinions on Vol. I (supplemented as far as practicable) and the Preface of the second edition of Vol. 11 of the rare copy of 'History of Hindu Chemistry', revised by Acharya P. C. Ray himself. Appendix 11 records a list of SS Bhatnagar Awardees in Chemistry with their citations from its inception up to date. After the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization (2500 -1800 BCE), the Aryans settled in India and with their advanced knowledge of the art of chemistry enriched the valley during the Vedic age (1500- - 600 BCE), so- called because of composition of all the four Vedas during this period.
It is remarkable that the technique of producing curd, and the. fermented liquors such as Soma, also known as Amrita (from the stem- juice of Soma plant), believed to ensure longevity, and Sura, a kind of beer (from barley grain), the oldest products of Biotechnology was known even as far back as the Rigveda era.
The highlights of the Physico-chemical theories of the Vedantic period emphatically testify the foresight and depth of knowledge of the ancient Hindu philosophers that had significantly contributed to the growth of scientific concepts and methodologies. Thus, Kapil 's concept of earth, water and air is akin to all the states of matter, i.e. solid, liquid and gas as we know it today. His perception of Paramanu as the smallest homogeneous indivisible element of any matter based on the theory of cosmogenesis of the Samkhya- Patanjali system, is amazingly the same as the atom of modem chemistry. So also his idea of molecules and compounds from atoms. Furthermore, his conception of different weight of an object depending on the density of the medium is the same as that of the Archimedes' principle established long after Kapil. The Nyaya-Vaiseshika Chemical theory, Molecular and Atomic motion (Parispanda) were all propounded during the Vedantic period. Weight of Air was determined, Weights and measures and Chemistry in the Medial schools were also introduced in this era.
However, the post- Vedic period, better known as Ayurvedic period, (600 BCE-800 CE) was the most flourishing era of Indian Chemistry. Among other things, the incredible iron pillar in Delhi near Kutab Minar constructed in the 4th century BCE and the gigantic upright copper statue of Lord Buddha, 80ft. high near Nalanda convent of Bihar built in the 7th Century CE bear enough testimony of the advanced knowledge of Indians in metals and metallurgy. The standard of purity of gold based of one to sixteen Kakanis ( copper content) is easily comparable to the modern day system of gold standard expressed in carats. The test streak of the standard gold in that era is also very similar to the modem technique of testing the purity of gold by touch stone. The chemistry of practical arts thrived during this and the medieval period.
Man quest for understanding the riddles of the universe and matter began almost with the dawn of civilization. Changes in composition of matters by the influence of external forces and creation of new entities by mixing two or more substances laid the foundation of the application of 'chemistry' in the development of human civilization.
The word chemistry is said to have roots in either ancient Egypt or Greece. Science historian Howard Markel discusses the word's origin, and the modern naming of the field of chemistry by Robert Boyle, the British natural philosopher and alchemist, in his 1661 treatise, The Skeptical Chymist.
Some historians claim an Egyptian origin based upon the Decree of the Roman Emperor, Diocletian (c. 300, CE). This decree ordered the burning of all Egyptian writings outlining the transmutation of gold and silver. Based on this edict as well as a series of hieroglyphic inscriptions, scholars as far back as Plutarch (46-120, CE) insisted that the root word, Chem, was derived from the name of ancient Egypt, the land of Khem, which means rich, black soil-the type that prospered near the banks of the Nile and was prized for its fertility, as opposed to the sands of the surrounding desert.
The "Science of Chem"-as Egyptian mythology suggests-was a heavenly gift to humankind from Osiris, the Egyptian god of light and wisdom, and his wife Isis, the goddess of magic, motherhood, and fertility.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, on the other hand, the word is more likely to be a child of the Greek, 'chemia'-for pouring or infusion. The ancient Greeks applied this term to what came to be known as pharmaceutical chemistry. Physicians of this era would extract the juices or infusions of plants for medicinal purposes.
The history of plant science deals with the initiation and development of different branches of botany. It includes studies on various divisions VIZ., cryptogams, phanerogams, taxonomy, anatomy, cytogenetics, plant physiology and biochemistry, palaeobotany, etc. The description of the history of plant science in India is initiated from the prehistoric period, much before the emergence of the Rig-veda, the first written work by man. Gradually, the historical development of this natural science had been attempted during Vedic and post- Vedic period, including the period of Rigveda and Atharvaveda, and also the Upanishads.
Indian botany found a remarkable development in the later half of the 18th century through the establishment of 'United Brothers'. This society enthusiastically collected plants, dried them, prepared herbarium specimens, and sent them to Europe for identification and description. In 1768, J. G. Koenig joined the society and made useful contributions to Indian botany. He was a student of Linnaeus. Much later, after the death of Koenig two other names became well known: J. G. Klein (1766 - 1821) and Dr. Benjamin Heyne (1770 -1819).
According to Prof. S. P. Agharkar, the initial document of the history and development of botany in India was first presented by Sir George King in his address at the meeting of the British Association of Advancement of Science delivered at Dover, UK in 1899. More or less, during this period, the Imperial Agricultural Research institute at Pusa, Delhi was established in 1904. The researches in mycology and economic botany were initiated there.
Research in plant science got impetus from 1910 onwards due to the establishment of teaching and research departments in various universities and colleges in India. The index of botanical research could be obtained from the proceedings of the Indian Science Congress which was first held during 1913. The areas covering at the initial stage were mainly morphology, taxonomy, plant geography, ecology, palaeobotany, plant physiology, anatomy and forest botany. But in the later phase it covered the plant groups (i.e. cryptogams and phanerogams), including biosystematics.
In this early phase of 21st century the plant science enters into the fields of other disciplines viz. genetics, biochemistry, biophysics, biotechnology and molecular biology forming a vast multidisciplinary subject.
In this volume an attempt has been taken to highlight different studies and observations in plant science related teaching and research work carried out in different institutes, universities, colleges and scientific societies of our country beginning from the period of initiation to the present time to give a comprehensive approach that may trace an outline of the history of plant science in India for general readers interested in Science.
Apreliminary idea about "Plant Science" needs to be briefly outlined. The corpus of plant science is composed of information belonging to the following three categories:
Ethnobotany deals with all elements of the wide spectrum of man- plant relationship. Communities of men from the prehistoric days started using various vegetal materials for survival and better living. They christened the plants in their languages. Gradually, they began to classify plants and their parts as edible, poisonous, narcotic, medicinal, fit for attire, useful in making shelter, furniture, equipment, and other such uses. Human society gradually started using herbs, foliages, flowers, fruits, and different plant products for beautifying self, decorating the habitat, performing religious rites, and other cultural activities. Man also developed techniques and methods for storage of plants and their products, their protection, and conservation. Thus, through observation and experiential knowledge, "ethnobotany" came into being.
With increased familiarity, keen observations, appropriate exercises and experiments, man acquired useful information about the following aspects of plants:
The corpus of these data constitutes 'core' or 'descriptive' botany. With the improvement in instrumentation and advancement of chemical technology new areas of study have opened during the 20th century that include.
Equipped with the fundamental data regarding plants and other materials, man has been making planned efforts to modify selected attributes of various species of plants with a view to enhancing the quality of human life. This has led to the development of 'applied' or 'economic' botany. Applied botany usually encompasses the following:
Some areas of ethnobotany and applied botany often coalesce-the fundamental difference being that while ethnobotany is based on observation and experience, and occasionally extends to the spheres of myth and religious beliefs, applied botany is dependent on experimental data.
The evidences obtained from tribal sources and archaeological findings indicate that all the above three areas developed in India since the prehistoric period. Hence, it is obligatory to trace the history of plant science in India from prehistoric days - the period characterized by the absence of having any written record. Before enumerating the information gathered from various sources pertaining to plant science of different periods, one should consider the necessity of studying the history of plant science.
PRESENT STATE OF KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE HISTORY OF PLANT SCIENCE IN INDIA
The history of plant science is, perhaps, the longest amongst the histories of all branches of science in India. While documentary evidence may be collected from the days of the Rig- Veda (at least before 1500 BCE), elements of the history of plant science can be obtained from the prehistoric period through archaeological remains and analytical studies of existing communities living in different climatic regions.
India is a tropical country containing segments of all climatic characteristics starting from littoral regions to alpine zones in the Himalayas. This country is endowed with a rich wealth of flora, accordance to different ecological areas. These areas have different species of plants and are populated by diverse groups of men. The attitude and utilization of plants by these diverse human communities vary considerably, extending the canvas of the history of plant science. In spite of all these, the history of plant science in India has not received appropriate attention, though some valuable pioneering works have been done by G. P. Majumdar, P. K. Gode, S. C. Banerji, K. L. Mehra, Mehra Homage, C. R. Karnick, M. A. Mehendale, M. Abdul Kareem, P. Sensarma, and others.
SOURCES OF INFORMATION REGARDING THE HISTORY OF PLANT SCIENCE IN INDIA
While information about the development of plant science in modem times can be obtained from many sources, e.g. herbaria, botanical gardens, museums, published reports and records, data regarding the prehistoric period, ancient period, and medieval period have to be collected mainly from the sources enumerated below.
India, being the seat of a very ancient civilization, has a repository of wealth in the form of written documents in several languages, viz., Prakrit, Pali, Sanskrit, and Tamil. The number of works in Sanskrit is greater than in any other language. Further, the Sanskrit texts belong to many categories. The Vedas and other components of Vedic literature represent the earliest phase of literary works. From Vedic times, a continuous stream of works written in Sanskrit, pertaining to different periods, is available. For these reasons, the Sanskrit works are considered more important in the study of science in ancient India.
INDIA has a glorious past in science, philosophy and literature. Some Western historians of Biology believe that the contributions of early Indians in Biology is not significant. However, Bhaduri, Tiwari and Biswas (1971) held that probably due to a lack of knowledge in Sanskrit and other Indian classical languages, the Western historians could not possibly comprehend the contributions of early Indians in Biological science. Indeed no sensitive Indian can ignore the vast wealth of fauna and flora that characterise biodiversity of India. A vast wealth of information thus remains imbeded in ancient literatures like Vedas,Vedantas, Upanishad, Puranas, especially Ramayan and Mahabharat, or in folk lore and archaeological records.
Ayurveda - the concept and practice of Hindu medicine that rests on Biology in general is a pertinent example.
The progress of Zoology in the medieval period was not at all encouraging. In India, the beginning of modem science including zoology probably started with the foundation of the Asiatic Society in 1784. The Imperial Indian Museum now known as Indian Museum was established in 1814 and together with the Asiatic Society, both became the seat of early exploration and studies in Zoology. Later, establishment of Indian Association for cultivation of Science (1876), Bombay Natural History Society (1883), and Zoological Survey of India (1916) vastly increased zoological study in India. Simultaneous establishment of universities and colleges, and introduction of zoology as a curricular subject at the graduate level increased the horizon of zoological study and research in India.
The present venture is an attempt to project a concise chronicle of zoology from early period till modem time. Classical Zoology has undergone a kind of metamorphosis by incorporating other related disciplines like biotechnology, molecular biology, biophysics, biochemistry, ethology etc. Zoology is now a multi disciplinary subject, and it is not easy to write a coherent and continuous depiction of the status and trend of development of zoology at one go.
INDIA is a mega-bio diversity country. Therefore, justifiably it is very rich in both flora and fauna. The richness of animal resources of India is largely due to its geographical position and the fact that it possesses ten different biogeographic zones offering all possible kinds of ecosystem. Zoo geographically India belongs to Oriental realm, but the Ethiopian, Palaearctic species and some belonging to other realms are also found here, possibly through introduction or migration. With varied physical features, the climate ranges here from temperate to arctic in the Himalayas to tropical and subtropical in its Indo-Gangetic plains and peninsular region. With sixteen types of varied forests and vast grass lands in between, the vegetative cover is rich to sustain diverse types of wildlife. Though the area of the country is only about 2.3% of world land resource (Miller, 2005), India harbours as much as 5% of all the known species of animals and plants (Jairajpuri, 1991). The Indian fauna is estimated to comprise a little over 65,000 species. Of these, the insects constitute about 40,000 species, molluscs a little over 5,000, mammals 372, birds 1228, reptiles 428, amphibians 205 and fishes 2546 -(ibid). This is a rough estimate, the real numbers are likely to be much higher. Many areas of the country, specially the north-eastern part which harbours a biodiversity hot-spot region are yet to be fully explored; also there are several animal groups especially the invertebrates, being minute and innocuous, escape easily the scrutiny of an observer and remains unidentified. Due to a lack of proper infrastructure, marine and intertidal species of India have received scanty attention, though the maritime cover of India is quite substantial. Indeed, the country-wide survey and study of wild life in India was initiated a little over hundred years ago, the period coinciding with the establishment of the Zoological Survey of India, the premier institute of the country to undertake systematic faunastic survey. It is a pity that Indians known to be nature lovers areoblivious to the richness of their natural wealth and did not keep a record of it over ages. It will be never known how many species of animals have become extinct even in the recent past. At present 81 species of mammals, 47 of birds, 15 of reptiles, 3 of amphibians and large number of butterflies, moths and beetles are listed as endangered (Jairajpuri, 1991), the actual figures are likely to be much more. Extinction of Cheetah in the last century symbolizes the sorry state of conservation of rare or endangered species!
Speciation and extinction are both natural phenomenon and product of evolutionary process; both progress at an extremely slow pace. Rate of speciation had always superseded background or natural extinction, even mass extinction of species. By and large presently only extinction of species is taking place and that too at an accelerated rate. According to an estimate, normally one species becomes extinct in a thousand year. But during 1600 CE to 1950 this number has increased to 10 animal species, and now possibly it has reached to one species or more per year (Jairajpuri, 1991). Another estimate claims the rate of premature extinction of species to be 0.1% to 1% a year (Miller, 2005). While pollution and certain other factors might promote extinction, no doubt it is the human activities that have caused maximum damage to biodiversity. According to an assessment made in 1986, about 80% of the original wildlife habitat has been highly degraded or lost in tropical Asia (Jairajpuri, 1991). With growing humanity reaching almost to the point of population explosion the conservation of wild life in developing countries, especially in India has become acute. In 1952, the Indian population was nearly 400 million. In 2004 (with 52 years of population control efforts) India was the world's second most populous country with population of 1.1 billion. With 17% of the world's people, having just 2.3% of world's forests, every individual competes, in fact struggles, for basic necessities of life like food and shelter and this directly or indirectly puts huge pressure on natural resources and the ecosystems. The domestic animals (the number of cattle's being astronomically high) requiring pasture and fodder and the pests they harbour together put extra pressure on fragile ecosystems and natural habitats of the wild animals. Indeed habitat loss due to human activities is the prime cause for extinction of animals. Much needed conservation of wild life in India is a multidimensional socio-economic problem and needs well thought out long term strategies to address the situation properly and meaningfully. Unfortunately, India did not have an Aristotle (384 - 322 BCE) or Pliny (23 - 79 CE). The former wrote ten volumes on the natural history of animals, while Pliny's 'Natural History' provides some insight into the anthropomorphism that characterized Roman perception of animal behavior (Dricakamer et al. 2002). Needless to say that most of their perceptions about wild life is no more tenable today. Still for many years their treatises served as the basis for human understanding of the natural world and initiated interest in animal study. Surprisingly no ancient text in India has dealt exhaustively with animals alone. Even in Panchatantra and Hitopodesh whose characters are mostly animals, political, social and moral percepts for humans were thrust upon animals. In the process animals lost their natural characteristics and became human puppets! Animals also have been branded wrongly: fox is a sly animal, crocodile is an idiot, wolf is cunning, crow is a spoiler, snake is devilish, etc. These human perceptions about the animals put a lasting impression on the minds of young readers. Two ancient texts, however, stand out against such inappropriate thinking, both the texts dealing with a common subject, i.e. elephant lore. Written about two thousand years ago, these are Matangalila by Nilkanta and Gajasastra by Palakapya (Brahmachary, 2012). The former came from south India while the latter originated in north-eastern India. Both these treatises contain among others, close observations about breeding behavior of specially the cow elephants, the relevance of which still holds for present day. However, these texts were about domestic elephants in stables of royalty and not of elephants in wild.
This volume deals with the history of earth-science which is a multi-disciplinary science stream within which geology, geography, oceanography and environment are included. The description of the history of earth-science is initiated from the period during 6000-1000 BCE. Gradually the historical development of earth-science during early Greco- Roman period is attempted. Varahamihira's Encyclopedia Virhat Sanhita demonstrated an important source for building the history of earth-science. Moreover, comprehensive ideas about earth -science during the Vedic period added to the effort to unravel the history. Kautilya's Arthashastra served as an essential source for historical development of the ideas regarding minerals, metals and alloys.
The history during the middle ages is highlighted by Al Biruni's contributions to earth-sciences. Moreover, throughout the middle ages the history of different exploration in the oceans made a mark in the development of earth-science. Considering the historical perspective of earth-science, emphasis has been given in this volume on the emergence of thinking about mineralogy during medieval times. The 17th century's great stride in geology through important events such as Bible's interpretation that the deluge formed world's geology and geography, constitute an important part of this volume. Emphasis has also been given on the Christian beliefs during the 17th century and the de bate between religion and science over the origin of the earth. Attention of the readers is drawn in this volume to Nicholas Steno's thinking regarding the origin of fossils and the birth of palaeontology during 18th century. 18th century's development in earth-science is also demonstrated through the publication "Treaties on the ocean" by Marsigli, the famous work of generation of ocean tides by Euler and Benjamin Franklin's interest in the mystery of the "Northern Lights". Moreover, the history of earth-science in the 18th century is marked by a rise in the interest of the minerals and the other components in the earth's crust. Special mention
has been made in this volume about the introduction of the concept of bio- geography and new theory of history of the earth during this century. This new theory accentuated the debate between Neptunian and Plutonist groups. The historical development of earth -science attained its acme during the 19th century by the propagation of the theory of uniforrnitarianism by Charles Lyell. 18th century also marked the birth of the field geology which culminated in the Cuvier's fundamental law on palaeontology, stratigraphy and introduction of the concept of extinction. 18th century is characterized by debates between the theories of catastrophism and uniforrnitarianism. 18th century is also important for the emergence of views on the earthquake and the character of the earth's interior. These views contributed much to the development of history of earth-science.
Early 19th century is characterized by the emergence of the concept of stratigraphy as a branch of earth-science. This volume embodies a detailed description of the scenario of the earth -sciences in India and contribution of the officials of the Geological Survey of India from the 18th century till date. The authors have also described the scenario of contemporary science from 20th Century till date. The 20th century is characterized by the development of the concept of Plate tectonic. Theory Supporting evidence of the idea of this theory comes from South American east coast and African west coasts and also from the matching of the rock formation along the edges. The plate tectonic theory in fact provides explanation for various types of global change-scale tectonic features. An attempt has been made to highlight teaching and research work carried out in different educational institutes and research organizations of our country in geology, geography, oceanography and environment during the contemporary period. Thus a comprehensive approach to delineate the history of earth -science is made in this volume so that it interests the general readers.
Science is a body of empirical, theoretical and practical knowledge about the natural world, produced by scientists through their observation, explanation and prediction of real world phenomenon. Science is continually refining and expanding our knowledge of the universe, and as it does, it leads to new questions for future investigation. People all over the world participate in the process of science. The history of science is the study of the historical development of science and scientific knowledge, including both the natural sciences and social sciences. Earth science is a multi-disciplinary science stream within which geology, geography, oceanography and environment are included.
Geology existed as a cloud of isolated, disconnected ideas about rocks, minerals and landforms long before it became a coherent science. More precisely geology is the scientific study of the origin, history and the structure of the earth. Geology provides essential theory and data that shape how society conceptualizes the earth. Individual theorists made important contributions in the field of geology. Geology was not systematically restructured during the scientific evolution.
Geography is derived from the Greek word Geographia a literal translation of which would be "to describe or write about the earth". In other words, Geography is the study of Earth's landscapes, peoples, places and environments. Geography provides an ideal framework for relating other fields of knowledge. Eratosthenes (276-194 BCE) was the first to use the word "Geography". The ancient Greeks considered the poet Homer as a founder of Geography. Cartography (or map making) was used as evidence in the past for recognizable practices of Geography prior to the use of the term.
Environment is a multidisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and biological sciences to the study of the environment, and the solutions of environmental problems. Environmentalists work on subjects such as understanding the processes of the earth and also environmental issues, which always include the interaction of physical, chemical and biological processes. "Environmental Science" and "Ecology" are often used interchangeably.
Oceanography, also called Oceanology or Marine science, is a branch of earth science that studies the ocean. It covers a wide range of topics; marine organisms and ecosystem dynamics, ocean current and waves and geophysical fluid dynamics, plate tectonics, the geology of the sea floor and fluxes of various chemical substances and physical properties within the ocean and across the boundary. In fact, these diverse topics reflect multiple disciplines that oceanographers blend to further knowledge of the World Ocean and understanding of processes within it. The historical record of oceanography is to narrate the events into three broad stages. The first stage includes the attempts made by the individual mariners to describe the Earth's oceans and landmasses. The second stage includes the systematic attempts made for applying a true scientific approach to investigate the oceans, while in the third stage the growth of modern oceanography, with the help of modern technology and collaboration of scientists in the international level, are included.
The caravan of human progress moves forward from age to age in each country, braving all kinds of obstacles to ensure the welfare of mankind. It is the indomitable spirit of some great personalities at different ages in different parts of our globe, that has helped humanity to overcome the grave challenges it has faced in its journey towards eternity. In the following pages I have attempted to tell the story - a saga of great innovative contributions of great minds from different parts of India in different time frames.
Indians excelled in town planning, civil Engineering and basic manufacturing technology during the Pre Vedic era. Indian minds contributed immensely to basic science, geometry, astronomy, medicine during the Vedic period. As a matter of fact the contributions of Aryabhatta, Susruta, Varahamihira, Bhaskara and many others had immense effects on our understanding of nature, both physical, chemical and biological. Due to urbanisation during the second phase of our history, engineering and architecture flourished to a considerable extent during the post Vedic period till about 1100 CE.
There was a period after the twelfth century when scientific and technological achievements reduced substantially due to various factors. However, the new ideas were still pouring in areas, such as astronomy, which may be seen from the observatories at Jaipur and Delhi. Also in civil engineering and Architecture, the tradition continued, and resulted in beautiful architectural wonders, such as Taj Mahal during the Mughal period.
Modern Science started taking its root in India in the 18th century after the arrival of the British East India Company. The establishment of the Asiatic Society of Bengal by Sir William J ones in 1784 was an outcome of the interest created at that time in scientific research. The Society has since then played a prominent role in the development of scientific activities in India.
The setting up of Indian Association for Cultivation of Science by Dr Mahendralal Sarkar and others was a landmark event in the initiation of modem scientific activities in India. The early initiatives of Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose and Acharya Prafulla Chandra Roy during late nineteenth century created two very successful Schools by the third decade of twentieth century - School of Physical Sciences and School of Chemical Sciences in India.
This paved the way for Indians to enter the world of modem science and engineering. It is extremely difficult to decouple Technology from Science, and today in twenty first century they are almost inseparable in many ways.
The stories of the great innings played by a large number of brilliant minds from Pre- Vedic days till today are truly exciting. The pages to follow contain glimpses of that panorama.
I will be happy if this saga can inspire some of our students and young minds to excel in our journey during the decades to come.
Biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology, all belong to the category of relatively modern area of the science of biology, compared to the other areas like Astronomy, Mathematics, Chemistry, and Physics. It was indeed a great feeling to go into the historical events starting from the prehistoric or Vedic ages and dig out information in support of how the knowledge of Biochemistry was developed through the persistent efforts of the people of that time. They were guided persuaded by an intense urge materials from natural environments for to use getting rid of various diseases without knowing their actual nature and implication. Since then, there was a long period of silence for reasons not known, though the chemistry part progressed to significant heights. The subject biochemistry started its journey in India initially in the form of physiological chemistry and classical biochemistry around the 1950s. Biophysics started earlier at the turn of the 20th Century through the efforts of Acharya J. c. Bose. The classical biochemistry got quick morphogenesis to modern biochemistry and molecular biology from the 1960s onwards. Even after such a delayed start, both teaching and research in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology took their speed in no time, and it thus helped to form the strong foundation of these subjects. By the devoted efforts of biochemists, biophysicists and molecular biologists, all these sub-areas very quickly entered their youth phase. In this path of progress, Government of India did play a significant role by taking much interest in building infrastructures and human resource development related to these areas. During last five decades, advancement of biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology has been very remarkable with the volumes of literature piling up with accelerated rate.
Prof. A. K. Sharma and his whole Editorial group have given us an opportunity to peep into almost all the laboratories/institutesl, Universitiesl Medical Colleges through various forms of literatures to dig out information and to record the progress in the form of a historical document. This also provided us with the opportunity of getting acquainted with all the activities including both teaching and research in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology that have progressed with time since their start. We feel it to be a process of in-depth learning about the subjects that have been handled by the biochemists, biophysicists and molecular biologists in India.
In the Introductory Chapter (Chapter I), we have made an attempt to develop the concept of biochemistry as a special branch of chemistry. This helps the intended young readers to enter easily into the subject of biochemistry, and gradually glide into the other areas like biophysics and molecular biology. In writing the next two chapters, we have followed the directions of the Chief Editor and Members of the Editorial Board. We have tried to maintain, at least for the initial phase, the chronology of development of the subjects in the Indian perspectives. We regret to express that we could not place on record about one of the oldest biochemistry department with name 'The University Department of Biochemistry' at Nagpur University established in 1946 by the whole-hearted effort of Dr. Madhab Chandra Nath. Dr. Nath had good connections with Kolkata because of his association with the School of Tropical Medicine and with the department of biochemistry of Calcutta University. He used to come almost every year during the initial beginning of the biochemistry department of Calcutta University to conduct M.Sc. (Biochemistry) final practical examination. One of the authors (NCM) tried to get detailed historical information about this old department by communicating with its present Head of the Department through emails but without success. From Google search too, no such information was available. We regret this omission.
As biochemistry and molecular biology are directly linked to all living systems, from higher animals and plants down to microbes, the areas of these subjects are very large. Moreover, with the passage of time, the volume of work in these areas including biophysics is increasing with almost exponential rate. In this situation of rapid growth of knowledge in these subjects, even in India, it appears to be a hard task to go into all the categories of work done, especially during the recent period of time. If any piece of work has been left out, this has happened unintentionally without having any bias. This is also due to the fact that we had to run up with the time- bound schedule. The writing of such a document needs more time to allow appropriate research and thinking to achieve readability. We are much thankful that even under compulsion, our efforts have given us the opportunity to widen the horizon of our knowledge about the work done and those being done in the different areas of biochemistry, biophysics, molecular biology and biotechnology within the country. This is, indeed, a kind of recapitulation of knowledge-based national heritage.
The word 'History' (Greek - historia, meaning "inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation") may be defined to imply its domain or discipline relating to the enquiry into the past to collect and organize information about various events or activities of the humans L According to this concept, writing of a history on any subject demands the availability of true documents in any form related to the past events of interconnecting nature, establishing continuity that gives and paves its way through success and/or failure. The absence of such documents beyond a certain point of time would classify it as 'Pre- History'. Different historians may extract knowledge from the same set of documents of the past judging from different angles and develop their perceptions which may differ from one another. Such accounts mayor may not be inspiring to the curious readers.
Actually, the subjects Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology have neither any pre- history nor any history in its true sense like other branches of science. From that perspective, writing a history on the development of the above subjects in India by the persons, who themselves nurtured science related to the above subjects in the laboratories, poses a unique challenge especially with regard to the methodologies to be used for such writing. The outcome of such an effort may appear as a certain form of scientific literature. However, irrespective of methodology, the purpose would be to provide salient information about how these subjects were taken forward by Indian scientists in their effort to acquire knowledge and understanding of the biological activities that help to maintain the living systems in their unique forms.
DEFINITION OF SUBJECTS
Chemistry as a subject has evolved from the ancient times in various ways. Precisely, we can define chemistry as the subject which involves studying both physical and chemical properties of elements and their compounds that occur in nature as well as those which can be made in the laboratory by using various chemical methods under different conditions and their utility for the benefit of mankind. This definition of Chemistry would help in the understanding of Biochemistry as a separate sphere of study.
Biology encompasses the study of various types of living systems like plants and animals including man, which could be broadly classified into unicellular and multicellular living objects. Compound microscope was invented by two Dutch spectacle makers, Zaccharias Janssen and his father Hans Janssen in 1590. Hooke, while examining very thin slices of bottle cork under a coarse, compound microscope, saw a multitude of tiny pores which he called cells. In 1675, Anton van Leeuwenhoek, using single lens microscope observed bacteria for the first time which we know now to be unicellular. Later, the cells were proposed to be the basic unit of all forms of living objects including plants and higher forms of animals by T. Schwann and M. J. Schleiden in 1839.
But long, long before the proposition of the above cell theory, when man became curious to know about nature and natural processes that were occurring in their surroundings they also began to study about themselves. In this direction, several great thinkers like Hippocrates (fourth century BCE), Aristotle (384-322 BCE), Herophilus (300 BCE), Erasistratus (250 BCE) by their significant efforts born primarily out of inquisitiveness, identified different internal organs and their functional roles in running the body. Jean Fernal (CE 1497-1558), a French physician, was the first to coin the term Physiologia (Greek word Physis meaning nature, and logia meaning study of) in 1525.The anatomical aspect of biology related to medicine was developed by the contributions of Andreas Vesalius (CE 1514-1564), Bartolommeo Eustachio (CE 1520- 1574) and many others, all during the 16th century CE. During the first half of the 17th century, William Harvey discovered the circulation of blood from the human heart to different parts of the body and established that in this act, the heart functions as a pump; he also studied in detail the mechanism of how the heart pumps blood out and in through different steps.Jan Baptista Van Helmont (CE 1577-1644), a Belgian chemist and physiologist tried to explain the phenomena behind all diseases as chemical changes. He also postulated that digestion was aided by a chemical reagent, or "ferment", within the body, particularly inside the stomach In this way, Van Helmont's idea came very close to our modem concept of an enzyme." Franciscus Sylvius, also known as Franz de la Boe (CE 1614-1672), a Dutch physician conceived the body as a chemical device and he founded the Iatrochemical School of Medicine, according to which all life and disease processes are based on chemical actions. This was followed by the researches done sequentially by Robert Hooke (CE 1635-1703), Francesco Redi (CE 1626-1697), Rene Antoine Ferchault de Reaumur (CE 1683-1757), Joseph Priestley (CE 1733-1804), Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (CE 1743-1794), Thomas Young (CE 1773-1829), James Prescott Joule (CE 1818-1889), Julius Robert von Mayer (CE 1814-1878), and Hermann Ludwig Ferdin and von Helmholtz (CE 1821-1895) all of which ultimately established the relation of chemistry and energy to the physiological processes.
The chemists believed that life-associated materials or molecules have some unique properties which are not found in non-living matter and that only living beings could produce those molecules of life. But this notion was dispelled by Friedrich Wohler who prepared urea, then known to be obtained from mammalian urine only, in the laboratory by heating ammonium cyanate in 1828.8 This discovery gave birth to a branch of chemistry, called organic chemistry which started dealing with the making of life-associated molecules in the laboratory outside the living cell. But how those compounds are synthesized within the living objects was not known.
After the discovery of Rabies vaccine by L. Pasteur around the middle of the 19th century, the chemical processes involved in the immunological events within the body were studied by Robert Koch, Paul Ehrlich and others around the second half of the 19th century.
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