Sunday, November 19, 2006

42. A BIG Q.

If one were to travel by a time machine and go back to the distant past, one may find so many striking aspects. The archaeological finds tell us that human life and culture existed even 400,000 years back. The great Indus Civilization had been there for millenia before Christ. Though India was not a single nation then, though its scattered parts were ruled by different dynasties, big and small, there had been great civilizations and great achievements in various fields.

Some such things are:

The sixth Century B.C. saw the rise of Buddhism. Though it failed to withstand the onslaught of brahminic Hinduism within India it crossed the borders of this land and got rooted in many eastern countries. It is always said that the two great religions till this day, Hinduism and Buddhism were given to the world by India.

Nalanda :Founded in the 5th Century A.D., Nalanda is known as the ancient seat of learning. 2,000 Teachers and 10,000 Students from all over the Buddhist world lived and studied at Nalanda, the first Residential International University of the World. The University flourished during the 5th and 12th century.

380-412 A.D. Chandra Gupta II. Under this emperor his kingdom witnessed unprecedented flowering of art, literature and sciences. Kalidas, the famous Sanskrit poet and dramatist, Aryabhatta, the famous mathematician and Varahmihir, a great astronomer adorned his court.
The fourth Century saw the rise of Pallavas in Deccan and their meteoric rise made art , culture, music, and architecture flourish. Mahabalipuram a.k.a. Mamallapuram with its shore temple and monolithic stone temples still stand as mute testimony to the greatness of the Pallavas, withstanding all natural havocs like the recent tsunami even.

985 A.D. The Chola Dynasty in Deccan rejuvenated the art, culture, architecture of this part of the land. Rajaraja Cholan, the Great (985-1014) built the Prahadeeswarar Temple in Thanjavur a.k.a. Tanjore. It was an architectural marvel. The cupolic dome at the top of the temple, is octagonal and rests on a single block of granite, a square of 7.8 m weighing 80 tons. It is still a wonder how did they raise such a monolithic stone of that size to that great height.
1336 A.D. The empire of Vijayanagaram had its own glorious period.

The traveler in the time-machine would have witnessed all this past glory till this 14th Century. At what quirk of fate, no one knows for sure, all these glorious past came to an abrupt end with this century.

At this point of time only the Western world began to develop in leaps and bounds through the Industrial Revolution. It mainly started in England and spread to all of West later.
To quote some developments:

16th - 17th C. The methods of making glass, clocks, and chemicals advanced markedly.
1760 – 1830: It was the period of agricultural revolution in England which changed the whole English countryside.

1705: steam engines were discovered and got manufactured in large numbers. 1750-1830: Revolution by technological growth made the cost of making cloth nine tenth cheaper. 1830 - a railway line was opened from Liverpool to Manchester 1831 Michael Faraday’s discovery of electricity.

There was no looking back from that point onwards for the West, while East stayed back. India with all its glorious past was left high and dry and the momentum which touched the West 500 years ago is yet to touch India.

The big question that could come to any body’s mind is how come India with such a glorious past could go to nothing in this period, from 1500 to 2000? Of course in the recent years India is rising up strongly in all spheres proving that people have been all along capable of rising to greater heights. But what happened to them in those dark years? Is it only because of successive invasions and finally colonization by British? It cannot be that alone. There has to be something more than that. Some logic is missing.

Anyone having an answer?