618 – Intellectual Handicap

National Integration Through Thirukkural And Sanskrit

 Handicap of Intellect

There is a general perception disseminated by western educated Indian intelligentsia that anything originating from Foreign countries is  superior and everything from India is conservative and regressive. This is based on the carefully planned assault on the Indian education system by the British,  evident by the statement by Lord Macaulay about India in 1835 in British Parliament.

“I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”

Our school-history textbooks based on the above strategy, have largely ignored our ancient heritage and have denied the importance and prominence they deserved. Very little is taught about them in schools, despite it being called the golden age of India. It was an era where Science, Mathematics, Arts, Literature, prosperity, trade and all other fields thrived.

The glory of our past empires can be gauged by the fact the citizens were happy and prosperous and the rate of literacy was quite high. The acts of bravery, wisdom, value systems and the excellent rule of our ancient rulers, should have been part of our Indian folklore. Ironically, they are largely unknown to the present generation. They barely get mentioned in modern school texts.

Dr Kalam often rued that one major mental problem afflicting Indians is the lack of pride about our heritage and exhorts them to re-discover that heritage and re-connect with their roots. In his ‘Ignited Minds’ , Dr. Kalam, examines attitudes afflicting the Indians, and presents prescriptions for rapid growth of India to enable India, to emerge as a developed country.

Some of the well known Historical facts about India, which portrays its superiority on heritage, moral values and knowledge systems and about which every Indian should be proud of are:

  1. India never invaded any country in her last 1000 years of history.
  2. India invented the Number system. Zero was invented by Aryabhatta.
  3. The world’s first University was established in Takshila in 700BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4 th century BC was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
  4. Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computer software.
  5. Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans.
  6. Although western media portray modern images of India as poverty striken and underdeveloped through political corruption, India was once the richest empire on earth.
  7. The art of navigation was born in the river Sindh 5000 years ago. The very word “Navigation”  is derived from the Sanskrit word NAVGATIH.
  8. The value of pi was first calculated by Budhayana, and he explained the concept of what is now known as the Pythagorean Theorem. British scholars have last year (1999) officially published that Budhayan’s works dates to the 6th Century which is long before the European mathematicians.
  9. Algebra, trigonometry and calculus came from India. Quadratic equations were by Sridharacharya in the 11 th Century; the largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Indians used numbers as big as 1053.
  10. According to the Gemmological Institute of America, up until 1896, India was the only source of diamonds to the world.
  11. USA based IEEE has proved what has been a century-old suspicion amongst academics that the pioneer of wireless communication was Professor Jagdeesh Bose and not Marconi.
  12. The earliest reservoir and dam for irrigation was built in Saurashtra.
  13. Chess was invented in India .
  14. Sushruta is the father of surgery. 2600 years ago he and health scientists of his time conducted surgeries like cesareans, cataract, fractures and urinary stones. Usage of     anaesthesia was well known in ancient India .
  15. When many cultures in the world were only nomadic forest dwellers over 5000 years ago, Indians established Harappan culture in Sindhu Valley ( Indus Valley Civilisation).
  16. The place value system, the decimal system was developed in India in 100 BC.

Saint Thiruvalluvar in his couplet 618 says that handicap of the five senses, is not a curse. The biggest curse of one’s life is “Not learning the essentials” and “Not acting on what has been learnt”.

பொறிஇன்மை யார்க்கும் பழியன்று அறிவுஅறிந்து
ஆள்வினை இன்மை பழி.

Pori-yinmai Yaarkkum Pazhiyandru Arivu-arindhu
Aalvinai Inmai Pazhi

பரிமேலழகர் உரை:

பொறி இன்மை யார்க்கும் பழியன்று – பயனைத்தருவதாய விதியில்லாமை ஒருவற்கும் பழியாகாது; அறிவு அறிந்து ஆள்வினை இன்மை பழி – அறியவேண்டும் அவற்றை அறிந்து வினை செய்யாமையே பழியாவது. (அறிய வேண்டுவன – வலி முதலாயின. ‘தெய்வம் இயையாவழி ஆள்வினை உடைமையால் பயன் இல்லை’, என்பாரை நோக்கி, ‘உலகம் பழவினை பற்றிப் பழியாது, ஈண்டைக் குற்றமுடைமை பற்றியே பழிப்பது’ என்றார். அதனால் விடாதுமுயல்க என்பது குறிப்பெச்சம்.).

Sanskrit Translation by Shri S.N. Srirama Desikan

ஜ்ஞாத்வா யதா²வத்கார்யேஷு யத்ன: ஸ்வீக்ரியதாம் த்வயா |
விதி⁴னா நிஷ்ப²லே யத்னே ந நிந்த்³யத்ஸ்த்வம்  ப⁴விஷ்யஸி ||