Where did the first smelting of zinc start at an industrial scale?
Who were the pioneers of town planning complete with residential complexes and wastewater system?
Where will you find rock cut structures with perfect geometrical proportions?
Who gave ‘zero’ to the world?
The answer to all those questions is India.
A new gallery at the National Science Centre in Delhi showcases these achievements through an exhibition called ‘Our Science and Technology Heritage’.
The gallery presenting 5,000 years of Indian heritage was inaugurated on Wednesday.
The idea behind it is to focus on the country's immense contribution to science and technology — in the fields of astronomy, chemistry, medicine, surgery, architecture and mathematics — that is not properly acknowledged.
NSC Director Shivprasad Khened said: “It is a common perception right from our school days that science started from Greece.
But how can we ignore that we have one of the oldest and highly-evolved surviving traditions, along with China.”
The gallery is spread over 1,600 sq feet and has been set up at the cost of Rs 60 lakh.
It uses beautiful true-to-life period settings, which have been recreated with fibre, objects and multimedia presentation, to showcase the advances.
Some exhibits have been made using moulds from the National Museum and others were made by artists from Krishnanagar near Kolkata.
The display comprises 15-odd sections divided as astronomy, Indus Valley civilisation, medicines and surgery, metallurgy, cotton gin (a machine that separates cotton fibre from seeds), water drawing technology, architecture, philosophy and musical instruments.
Studies have shown that India used a standard unit of length —angulam (close to an inch) — from the Indus Valley civilisation till the time when the Iron Pillar was constructed, a time span of almost 3,000 years,.
Secretary (Culture) Jawahar Sircar, after inaugurating the gallery, said: “We have to explain (to the world) what is the wealth of science and technology we had and continue to have.”