The Indian-subcontinent is home to the oldest continuing civilization in the world. A civilization that spans more than five thousand years and encompasses a wide range of religions, ethnicities and languages. A lot has changed in these five thousand years. People learned to write. Villages evolved into towns and cities. Artists gave form to abstract ideas. Scholars invented mathematics and explored sciences. Traders discovered distant lands. Philosophers questioned everything from life to god. And Statesmen developed rules for administration. Amidst all this activity, the Indian civilization rolled on – fueled by a thirst for knowledge and sustained by a culture of tolerance.
Commenting on India’s penchant for knowledge, Japanese philosopher Kakuzo Okakura (1862-1913) wrote:
“We catch a glimpse of the great river of science which never ceases to flow in India. For India has carried and scattered the data of intellectual progress for the whole world, ever since the pre-Buddhist period when she produced the Sankhya philosophy and the atomic theory; the fifth century, when her mathematics and astronomy find their blossom in Arya Bhatta; the seventh when Brahmagupta uses his highly-developed Algebra and makes astronomical observations; the twelfth, brilliant with the glory of Bhaskaracharya, and his famous daughter, down to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries themselves with Ram Chandra the mathematician and Jagdish Chandra Bose the physicist.”
Arun Shourie, a former newspaper columnist and a noted commentator on Indian current affairs, explains why tolerance is ingrained in the Indian psyche:
“The traditions of India were rich as can be. They had attained insights of the first water…And they were inclusive. A person devoted to a tree was not traduced as an ‘animist’, a person devoted to a bull or an elephant, or a lion or a snake or even the lowly mouse was not laughed away. The objects of his devotion were received with reverence – they became part of a pantheon.. Nor was this artifice. The inclusiveness flowed from deep conviction, from what had been experienced at the deepest.. But no one could impede reform by an appeal to ‘fundamentals’, for these fundamentals made the individual’s own experience the ultimate referent. That everything should reform and transform, the tradition regarded as natural. Differences were harmonized through discourse…”
Swaveda aims to be a repository of the amazing achievements of this civilization in the fields of Art, Governance, Literature, Mathematics, Medicine, Philosophy and Religion. Our goal is to become most comprehensive resource on Indian history. The site will highlight Indian arts and feature English translations of ancient Indian books. We hope that visitors to this site will walk away with an understanding of the extent to which ancient India advanced in the fields of arts and sciences.
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