March 09, 2006

Asia Times Letters


Frank [letter, Mar 8] would be advised not to stress the mathematical genius of feng shui, since for most people it is just plain superstition. The Indian counterpart is vastu shashtra. He would also be advised to note that Hindus had both a solar as well as a lunisolar calendar since Vedic times. He can further note that India was the birthplace of mathematics, including the zero, decimal system, numeric system, negative numbers, cosine, etc. I could add an [extensive] list of achievements in astronomy, medicine, navigation, irrigation and of course erotica. The point for Frank – and other condescending readers who believe that Indian architecture is European/Chinese and 600 years old – is that India and China share a very rich and long history. Comparisons are irrelevant. Oh, and as far as his unflinching support for the Khalistan movement, perhaps he'd like to come do some interviews in Punjab to find out where the Sikhs stand on the issue. The beauty of democracy, eh Frank?

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  1. Peter

    I would say it is Pakistan invented

    "zero, decimal system, numeric system, negative numbers, cosine, etc."

    Since, before British rule, India belongs to Pakistan.

    10 Mar 2006, 22:19

  2. So there was a country called Pakistan before 1947? More fool you!

    10 Mar 2006, 22:35

  3. stone

    There was no country called India before British colonization.

    11 Apr 2006, 15:54

  4. India as its current avatar didn't exist before the British colonial conquest. But it did exist as a civilisation for millenia. Remember, India is one of the four earliest human civilisations.

    11 Apr 2006, 17:16

  5. stone

    "Remember, India is one of the four earliest human civilisations."

    The earliest Indian civilisation was created by native people in the penisula of India, which has nothing to do with current Indian.
    Among the four earliest human civilisations, the one of China is the only one survived and last to now.

    12 Apr 2006, 19:26

  6. Err…India has always been an ameliorative civilisation (do you know what it means?)

    The earliest civilisation established till date was in the Indus Valley which was not in the peninsula but in the north west of India. However, recently some evidence of submerged cities have been found in the western and southern coasts. Some argue they were even older than the IVC.

    12 Apr 2006, 19:48

  7. Aruni is right. 'India' ought to be recognised in its pre-nation state form as a geo-political space. By the same token, it seems curious to claim an exclusive right to certain 'firsts' on the basis of national identities formed much, much later. Only at the most extreme level of abstraction could the Indus Valley civilisation, or the Vedic, Mauryan, Gandharan… be considered either modern Pakistani/Indian. Romilla Thapar's work confirms this fact, despite the best efforts of nationalists. The past is a distant country, as they say.

    24 Apr 2006, 18:31

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