The principal objective of the Publication Division of the University of Calicut is to publish textbooks and other research-oriented and socially relevant books at a reasonable price without compromising on quality of production. The reading public, comprising mainly students and teachers, with overwhelming enthusiasm, has received all the books brought out so far.
This book, Indian Scientific Traditions (Prof. K. N. Neelakantan Elayath Felicitation Volume), edited by Dr. N. V. P. Unithiri, is the nineteenth book in Calicut University Sanskrit Series. The Publication Division acknowledges its profound gratitude to the Vice Chancellor, Members of the Syndicate and Dr. N. V. P. Unithiri for their v wholehearted co-operation in publishing this volume.
I have great pleasure to introduce the book, Indian Scientific Traditions, in felicitation of my colleague, Prof. K. N. Neelakantan Elayath, who is retiring from the Department of Sanskrit, University of Calicut, on 31 st March 2003. This is the nineteenth book in the Calicut University Sanskrit Series.
Sanskrit studies are generally confined only to Vedas, ltihasas, Puranas, Kavyas, Natakas, Alankarasastra, Vyakarana, Darsanas and like. It is not well known that Sanskrit has also a vast literature on scientific and technological subjects like astronomy and mathematics, architecture and engineering, medicine, chemistry and botany, music dance, law and politics. Of course, studies of medicine (Ayurveda) astronomy and mathematics (jyotissastra and ganita) were included e syllabi in ancient and medieval India. And now also the practice continued. But they have not been in the main stream. The result is: Scientists are not aware of the presence of this abundant literature in Sanskrit, and the Sanskritists are not competent to study and impart it e world of Scientists. So there should be a conscious effort on the of both the Scientists and Sanskritists to sit together and explore all bilities that this bulk of literature contains.
Now, not many studies on this literature have come out. Founders of science in Ancient India by Satya Prakas, A Concise History of e in India edited by D. N. Bose, S.N. Sen and BV Subbarayappa, Positive Sciences of Ancient Hindus by B. N. Seal, The History of Chemistry by P. C. Ray, The History of Hindu Mathematics by Datta and Sing, Science and Society in Ancient India by Debi Prasad Chattopadhyaya, Science in the Vedas by Hans Raj, Science in the Vedas by V. N. Sastri, Positive Science in the Vedas by D. D. Metha, Technical Literature in Sanskrit edited by S. Vekitasubramonia Iyer, Scientfic Heritage of India in two volumes (Mathematics and Ayurveda) edited by K. G. Poulose, Indian Astronomy by Subbarayappa et al, Historical View of Hindu Astronomy by J. Bently, Hindu Astronomy by W. Bernnand, Algebra with Arithmetic and Mensuration from the Sanskrit of Brahmagupta and Bhaskara by H.T. Colebrooke, The Science of the Sulbe- A Study in Early Hindu Geometry by B. Datta, Ancient Indian Mathematics and Vedha by L.V. Gurjar, Astronomy and Mathematics in Kerala by K.K. Raja, A History of the Kerala School of Hindu Astronomy by K.V. Sarma, Observational Astronomy in India by K. V. Sarma, A Critical Study of the Ancient Hindu Astronomy in the Light and Language of the Modern by D. A. Somayaji, The Elements of Plane Geometry in 48 Propositions from the Sanskrit Text of Aryabhata by Y. Sarkar, The History of Ancient Indian Mathematics by C. N. Srinivas Iyengar, An Encyclopedia of Hindu Architecture by P. K. Acharya, Indian Architecture (three volumes) by M. A. Ananthalwar and A. Rea, Elements of Hindu Iconography (two volumes) by T. A. Gopinatha Rao, Indian Architecture (two volumes) by Percy Brown, An Architectural Survey of Temples of Kerala by K. V. Soundararajan, Vastuvidyapravesika - A Text book of Vastuvidya and Vastuvidhanadipika - Design in Vastuvidya, both by Dr. Balagopal T. S. Prabhu and Dr. A. Achyuthan are among the prominent studies. Still there may be some more works in English and many in regional languages.
But, in the historiography of Science, no attempt was made so far, comparable to that done by Dr. Joseph Needham (1900-1995). His monumental project of SCC (The Science and Civilisation in China) has gained international reputation. Seventeen large volumes of this book have already been published. Some more volumes are under various stages of publication.
Taking Or. Needham as a model, the late Prof. Debi Prasad Chattopadhyaya launched a project to write a comprehensive History of Science and Technology in Ancient India. The first two volumes of the book had already been published in his lifetime. The third one, though very short, was also published posthumously. History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization (in several volumes, 43 volumes have already been completed), the General Editor of which is D. P. Chattopadhyaya, is especially to be remembered in this connection.
Department of Sanskrit, University of Calicut, has, since its inception in 1977, been showing interest in this subject. In M.A; M. Phil. and Ph.D. Programmes of the Department, technical literature in Sanskrit has also been included. Two National Seminars were organized by the Department, one on 1- 4 July, 2000 with the financial assistance of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India, and another on 5-6 November, 2002, with the financial assistance of Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapitha, Tirupati (Deemed University). We have now decided to bring out a collection of papers, most of which were originally presented in the above mentioned seminars.
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