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From: "Vrin Parker" <

Mailing-List: list
Date: Sat, 04 Dec 2004 19:13:07 -0000
Subject: [world-vedic] A web trove of India's glorious past
A `web trove' of India's glorious past
We are aware of the great Indian tradition and culture. But did you
know, blue jeans, the hallmark of American fashion, originated in
India? To learn more such interesting facts log on to
Atribute to Hinduism is a treasure trove of facts and figures which
can enhance our awareness, multifold, about the great Indian
traditions we have inherited from time immemorial. Among the numerous
nuggets of bewildering and fascinating details arduously compiled
here, the following stand out.
Did you know blue jeans, the hallmark of American fashion, originated
in India? Yes! Blue Jeans, one of India's lasting contributions to
western life, was the export of a thick cotton cloth known as
`Dungaree' which, in the sixteenth century was sold near the Dongarii
Fort in Bombay. Portuguese and Genoan sailors used this durable blue
broad cloth, dyed with indigo, for their bellbottom sailing pants.
We read, day in and day out, about the hue and cry over outsourcing to
This is nothing new, two thousand years ago the Senate in Rome passed
an ordinance forbidding senators from wearing togas made from Indian
cloth - a legal effort to slow the flow of gold coins pouring out of
Roman coffers into India. The finest Damascus steel, the world's first
high-carbon steel, was a product of India and was known as wootz, the
English word for ukku in Kannada and Telugu, meaning steel.
Indian steel was used for making swords and armour in Persia and
Arabia in ancient times. Ktesias at the court of Persia (5th century
BC) mentions two swords made of Indian steel which the Persian king
presented him. The pre-Islamic Arab word for sword is `muhannad'
meaning from Hind.
The Iron Pillar near the Qutb Minar was dug out in 1961 for chemical
treatment and preservation. The chemical analyses carried out revealed
that the pillar, despite exposure for 15 centuries, was astonishingly
pure or low in carbon compared with modern commercial iron. Likewise,
a slender iron pillar near the Mookambika temple located in Kollur in
Kodachadri Hills in Karnataka, a region which is subjected to heavy
monsoon rains, stands free of rust.
Those interested to know about the antiquity of Dwaraka could browse a
report and images on the latest excavations done by Dr S R Rao of the
Marine Archaeology Unit of the National Institute of Oceanography of
India. In his report Dr Rao observes: "The discovery of the legendary
city of Dwaraka which is said to have been founded by Sri Krishna, is
an important landmark in the history of India. It has set to rest the
doubts expressed by historians about the historicity of Mahabharata
and the very existence of Dwaraka city. It has greatly narrowed the
gap in Indian history by establishing the continuity of the Indian

civilization from the Vedic Age to the present day."

Ancient India's sea-faring capabilities have been much underestimated
by many Western scholars. Chinese literary texts refer to hectic
maritime and trade activity between India and China as far back as the
7th century BC. Indian traders would set sail from the port of
Mahabalipuram, carrying with them cinnamon, pepper and their
civilization to the shores of Java, Cambodia and Bali. Recent
excavations in Philippines, Malay Peninsula, and Indonesia confirm of
early and extensive trade which continued down to the historical
period. In the Hellenic world, the processions of Ptolemy Philadelphus
(285-246 BC) included these from India - women, hunting dogs, cows and
Indian spices carried on camels. And, many may be unaware that India
became the first power to defeat a European power in a naval battle
when Marthanda Varma, the ruler of Travancore, routed an invading
Dutch fleet in the `Battle of Colachel'.
At one can go on meandering through a
plethora of factual and fascinating details about Beginning of Indian
Scientific Thought, Concept of Time, Physics, Mathematics, Grammar,
Science, Education, Chemistry and metallurgy, Shipbuilding and
Navigation, Medical Science, Astronomy, Fables, Music and Games,
Martial Arts, Philosophy, Government and Constitution, Law, Democracy,
Logic in ancient India, Religion, Art and Architecture, Literature,
Textiles and much more. The website site has also cataloged thoughts
of world-renowned intellectuals regarding Hinduism, recommends books
for further reading, and provides useful links for further research.
This website has been recognized as a resource by many eminent
organizations and institutions, among them, The Yale Vedanta Society,
Princeton University, Cornell University, Glasgow University and
Encyclopedia Britannica.
If you wish to educate yourself or your children about the richness,
depth and sheer diversity of Indian spiritual and scientific
traditions is a great place to make a
beginning. A stupendous personal endeavour by Ms Sushama Londhe, this
website could go a long way to help remove some of the common
misconceptions and misinterpretations about our great legacy.
The author wishes to acknowledge the co-operation received from Ms
Sushama Londhe ( to write this article.