Medicine and Surgery in Ancient India

The earliest Indian medical system is found in the Vedic literature. One of the Upvedas deals with Ayurveda or medicine. The Vedic hymns mention such diseases as fever, cough, constipation, sores, diarrhoea, leprosy etc. They also suggest remedies for these diseases like prayers to the gods, magical charms and spells but gradually men discovered drugs and herbs for treatment of ailments. With the passage of time, medical science was taught as a special subject at centres of learning like Taxila and Varanasi. The famous experts of medical science were, Charaka, Susruta and Dhanvantri. Charaka wrote his famous work Charakasamhita in the second century A.D. He writes about various types of fevers, hysteria, tuberculosis etc. He also prescribes plants, herbs and various compounds for the treatment of diseases. During the Gupta Age, medical sciences were widely studied. The Indian surgeons were well-versed in the art of dissection, plastic surgery, veterinary surgery and even in specialised branches of surgery as that of eye, ear and nose. The great medical writer of the
period was Vagbhatta. He wrote Astanga Sangrah which is a systematic summary of Charaka and Susruta. Palakapya wrote Hastyaaurveda, a treatise on the diseases peculiar to the elephants and their treatment.
In the medieval period also the physicians made researches on the diagnosis and treatment of the diseases. Books were written on the anatomy of human body, giving the details about the bones, nerves, veins, arteries, muscles etc. In the modem age, Allopathy, Homeopathy, Unani and Ayurved all the systems of medicine have made progress in the country. During the modern age, many Indian scientists have contributed to the growth of medical science, notable among them are Jagdish Chandra Bose, P.C. Ray.

Chemistry, Metallurgy and Coins

The excavations at Harappa and Mohenjodaro indicate that science of metallurgy had developed during this period. The people used copper and bronze for making their tools. The Vedic Aryans tanned leather, fermented grains and fruit to make Sura. They could also dye cotton and wool. The science of metallurgy and chemistry flourished during the Gupta Age. The famous Mebrauli pillar shows the excellent skill of the metallurgists of the Gupta Age. The huge pillar is made of wrought iron, 24 feet high and weighs 6½ tons. It is so skilfully manufactured that in spite of its exposure for centuries to the sun and rain, it shows no signs of rusting and corrosion. The discovery of several huge copper statues of the Buddha also represent the triumph of the metallurgical excellence of the Gupta Age.

During the medieval period, the craftsmen developed the art of making glazed tiles, manufacturing of precious stones, polishing of glass and dissolving of metals. In the 16th century, cannons and guns were made of brass, bronze, iron and steel. The coating of copper utensils with tin was common. There was tremendous progress in the science of engineering as is evident from the construction of magnificent buildings, mosques, mausoleums, bridges, dams and canals. Textile industry also made much progress during this period.

British Period: The British rulers laid the first railway line in India in 1853. The first telegraph line was from Calcutta to Agra in 1854 A.D. They also established modern industries like Cotton Textile, Jute etc. They also established many chemical industries. They built numerous dams and canal irrigation works to improve agriculture and generate electricity