DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY IN MEDIEVAL INDIA
During the medieval period ( eleventh to eighteenth century) science and technology in India was influenced by two scenarios: First is the earlier ancient tradition and second is by Islamic and European tradition.
People were invited from Arabia, Persia and also from Central Asia to teach in the madarsas. Arithmetic, menstruation, geometry, public administration, astronomy, accountancy and agriculture were some subjects included in primary education. Although numerous efforts were made by the rulers of that time to reform the education system but science did not make much development.
Akbar was focused on producing different breeds of domestic animals including elephants and horses. Tuzuk-i-Jahangiri is a book of Jahangir which has records of his observations and experiments of weeding and hybridisation. About 36 species of animals were mentioned in this book. Jahangir was also interested in the study of plants.
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Lilavati Kammdipika, Suddhantadipika and Lilavati Vyakhya are the books written by Gangadhar in which he gave rules for trigonometrical terms such as sine, cosine tangent and cotangent. Navankura on the Bijaganit of Bhaskara-II is written by Krishna of the Valhalla family. It was translated by Faizi, at the behest of Akbar. Akbar also ordered to make Mathematics a subject of study in his regime. Brahmagupta, a seventh century mathematician described negative numbers as debts and positive numbers as fortunes, it represents that they were aware with the utility of mathematics for practical trade. In the early medieval period, the two outstanding works in mathematics were Ganitasara by Sridhara, which deals with multiplication, division, numbers, cubes, square roots, mensuration among others, and Lilavati written by Bhaskara.
During Tipu sultan’s regime, a paper-making factory was established in Mysore,
that produced a gold-surfaced paper. The Mughals were familiar with the technique of producing gunpowder with the use of saltpeter, sulphur and charcoal in different ratios for use in different types of guns. The casting of cannons was mentioned in Tuzuk-i-Baburi.
Ain-i-Akbari i gives a description of the ‘Regulations of the Perfume Office of Akbar’. The attar of roses was among the most famous perfumes. An astronomical observation post was established by Firoz Shah Tughlaq. In Daulatabad, an observatory was established by Firoz Shah Bahmani under Hakim Hussain Gilani and Syed Muhammad Kazimi. Both lunar and solar calendars were in use. Mehendra Suri, a court astronomer of Firoz Shah developed an astronomical instrument called Yantraja. Five astronomical observatories were set up by Sawai jai Singh, Maharaja of Jaipur in five different cities, i.e., Delhi, Ujjain, Varanasi, Mathura and Jaipur.
Sarangdhara Samhita recommended opium as a medicine. A new medicine system was introduced in India by Muslims during eleventh century, i.e., Unani medicine system. MajinyeDiyae by Hakim Diya Muhammad is a compilation of Arabic, Persian and Ayurvedic medical knowledge. The field of agriculture witnessed some important changes such as introducing of new crops, trees and horticultural plants. The principal crops during that time were wheat, rice, barley, millets, pulses, oilseeds, sugarcane, indigo and cotton. New and improved horticultural methods were adopted. In the middle of the sixteenth century, Jesuits of Goa introduced systematic mango grafting. In the field of irrigation, wells, tanks, canals, rahats, charas (bucket made of leather) and dhenkli, were used for lifting of water with the help of yoked oxen, which continued to be the means of irrigation.
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