Is ancient India overrated?
Atul Bansal, History Buff | ISROite | IITian | CSE Aspirant
Let us take the example of Ajanta Caves to understand this.
Ajanta Caves are a group of 29 caves dedicated to Buddhism, cut from a single granite rock mass of Sahyadri Hills (Western Ghats). They were cut from 2nd century BC to around 5th century AD by Buddhist monks by carving a U-shaped Cliff.
The caves were cut in a manner to align with key cosmological events.
Cave No. 19 and Cave No. 26 align perfectly with winter solstice and summer solstice respectively
Winter solstice - When Sun reaches southern most position as seen in Northern Hemisphere . It is usually around 22 December. It marks the beginning of northward movement or ascent of sun.
Summer solstice - When Sun reaches northermost position as seen from northern hemisphere. It is usually around 21 June. It marks the beginning of southward movement or descent of sun
On Winter solstice, Sun shines perfectly into Cave No. 19 and lightens Buddha’s statue. Buddha is shown in standing posture which symbolically means that force of divine sun is descending into a spiritually prepared person.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/47117.html 译者：Joyceliu
On Summer solstice, Sun shines perfectly into Cave No. 26 and lightens Buddha’s statue. Buddha is shown seated with his feet on pedestal. This shows ascendance of Buddha into heavens.
To put it differently, ancient Indians more than 1500 years ago, using simple tools like chisels and hammers, carved 29 caves from a single large hard rock mass in such a way that it perfectly aligns with sun’s rays on particular days.
This shows advanced knowledge of astronomy, civil engineering and architecture. Achievements in other fields were equally marvelling.
The achievements of Ancient India is not overrated but underrated.
Pak L. Huide, Undergrad at University of Toronto
Seriously? If anything, ancient India is sorely UNDERRATED.
I mean, I'm an ethnic Chinese living in Canada. But when I was growing up in Canada, I knew jackshit about India. Besides maybe curry.
I mean, people here have a vague understanding of Chinese history but they have NO idea about Indian history. For example, most people know that the Middle Kingdom is how China referred to herself but how many people know about Bharat? How many know about even the Guptas? People know that China was famous for ceramics and tea but how many people know about ancient India’s achievement in metallurgy? People know about the Great Wall, but how many know about the great temples of southern India?
This is partly due to the lackluster historical records that ancient Indians kept and also partly because modern Indians have a tendency to look down upon their ancient heritage and view western ideas and ideals as superior. China also has this problem but not nearly to the same extent.
Ancient India was a hub of culture and technology and the absolute capital of world spirituality. I could talk about India for hours but it's hard to type on the phone. In short, India is many things but OVERRATED is definitely not one of them.
Satyarth Routroy, Indian by birth, Indian by soul, Indian by heart.
- Is ancient India overrated?
On the contrary, ancient India is highly underrated.
We are one of the longest living continuous ancient civilization. But how many people around the world know that? Ancient India had been the hub of art, architecture, literature and technology- but most people are totally unaware of that. Forget about non-Indians, many Indians of the 21st century are unaware of our ancient and past glory.
The discovery that the earth is spherical is credited to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who was born in 384 BCE. However, very few people know that a man from ancient India established the idea of “spherical earth” during the 8th-9th century BCE. The man was called Yajnavalkya who first discovered that the earth is round. He was the first to propose the heliocentric system of the planets. In his work Shatapatha Brahmana, he proposed that the earth and the other planets move around the sun. He also calculated the period of one year as 365.24675 days. This is only 6 minutes longer than the current established time of 365.24220 days.
Take the example of Kung Fu. The whole world knows about the martial art called Kung Fu. The person who founded Kung Fu was none other than a prince of the Pallava dynasty from Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu who visited China during the 5th century CE. He became the 28th patriarch of Buddhism and established the Shaolin temple and founded the martial art which became world famous today. That prince was called Bodhidharma.
But how many people know about that Kung Fu and Shaolin was founded by an Indian? Precisely, if we Indians are unaware of our heritage, why should we expect that someone else will know about our history and achievement?
The achievements of ancient Indians are lost in obscurity. Our ancestors had invented many ways which eased the basic life of a common man. These inventions may seem primitive today, but we can’t ignore the fact that these were revolutionary achievements during their era.
The Indus Valley civilization is known for the broad and the sanitized drainage system which was no less than a miracle during those ancient times. But how many people know that the ancient Indians from Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) were the first to invent a flush toilet?
The people around the world use rulers to measure everything. How many people know that Indus Valley Civilization was the first to invent the rulers? A ruler has been found at Lothal which is 4400 years old. Not only this, the people of IVC were the first to invent buttons. The world knows that the Chinese discovered the art of weaving silk dresses. How many people know that IVC people were the first to weave dresses made of cottons.
The ancient Indians were first to invent the weighing scales. Archaeologists have discovered weighs and scales from the excavation sites of Harappa, Mohenjodaro, Lothal etc. These scales were extensively used for trading.