The present volume gives a detail account of which were found in ancient Hindu states knowledge of metals of ancient Hindus particularly the knowledge of Iron. It has been now prove that the uses of iron were perfectly known to the Aryans.
As regards, Archaeological evidence one can see that ancient specimense of iron are so much abundant in India that an enumeration of that alone will convince any one to think seriously that India has always been a rich iron-producing contry. The great iron pillors of Delhi are well known to the scholar of ancient history. Above these iron pillor was noticed the Dhara to known as a reference. Mount Abu Pillars are also known as historic evidence of which evidence of which is nearly double as the Delhi will as and other is mount Abu Pillar.
The author has proved that the crucial process of making casted by means of cementation was really an Indian invention, and it was not till the 19th century that Mushet, rediscovered the process in Europe.
In adition, the present book with rare photograps and two valuable appendices alongwith general index are of great importance.
Dr. Radhey Shyam Shukla graduated from the Awadh University, Faijabad and did his M.A (1983), M. Phil (1984) and Ph. D (1990) from the University of Delhi.
Dr. Shukla has devoted his time and energy to the noble cause of promoting the Sanskrit language literature and culture. He has tirelessly contributed in different ways to the propagation of Indology. Moreover, he established the Pratibha Prakashan, which has published more than 300 Valuable books in the art, culture, language and literature.
Dr. Shukla is also associated with the leading institutions and organizations. He is the life-member of the All India Oriental Conference, Indian Archaeological Society, New Delhi, Indian Art History Congress, Guwahati and the worked Association of Vedic Studies Ways. He is the founder member of the Association of Indian Africanists. He has 3 books and 7 research papers to his credit.
My object in preparing this series of monographs is to study the knowledge of the ancient Hindus of the different metals and their compounds from ancient Sanskrit literature, medical and non-medical, and also from -analytical, archaeological and mineralogical sources. Dr. P.C. Ray, in his well-known "History of Hindu Chemistry," has collected a large amount of medical or rather medico-chemical Sanskrit literature bearing on the knowledge of the Hindus of the metals and their compounds, but I would like to submit that there are other sources, specially non-medical Sanskritic and archaeological literature, which would throw considerable light on the subject. It is my desire to bring together in a connected form the information 'on all these heads as far as practicable so that a more detailed history of Hindu Chemistry may be written afterwards.
So far as the present monograph is concerned, it embodies in an enlarged form a lecture delivered on the 7th January, 1914, at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science, Dr. P.C. Ray presiding. I have attempted to discuss at considerable length the question whether iron was known in the Vedic Age, and I hope I have been able to prove that the use of iron was perfectly known to the first Aryan settlers in India. Such a discussion might throw some light on the vexed question of the prior use of iron and bronze, though so far as India is concerned there was no bronze age, as bronze weapons are scarcely to be found in India. As regards archeological evidence, ancient specimens of iron are so very abundant in India that an enumeration of these alone will convince any one that India has always been a rich iron-producing country. The great iron pillar at Delhi is well known to all, but I would like to draw prominent attention of all students of science to the other two less-known iron pillars, viz. the one at Dhara, which is nearly twice as big as the Delhi pillar, and the other on Mount Abu. Nor must we lose sight of the gigantic iron beams at Konarka, recently brought to full view from drift sea-sand in which many remained buried for two or three centuries, as well as of the numerous iron beams at Puri and Bhubaneswar where as many as 239 pieces have been counted in the Puri Gunduchibari temple alone.
I believe that the theory of forging small blooms of wrought iron into entire beams and pillars is the real solution of the question how these beams and pillars could have been forged with hand labour. As regards the solution of the problem how these pillars have so long withstood, the rusting influence of wind and rain, my idea is that "low maganese with low sulphur and high phosphorus" in the composition of the iron has something to do with the ."corrosion-resistance"capacity of wrought iron. I also suspect that the pillars and beams were originally painted.
As regards the metallurgy of iron, wrought iron was produced in India by the direct process, i.e. directly from the ores in small blast furnaces without the intermediate production of cast iron, whilst the modern process may be called the indirect process in which wrought iron is prepared from cast iron which is first formed in modem blast furnaces.
I have devoted considerable space to the consideration of the manufacture of Indian steep which was certainly the material from which the famous Damascus blades were manufactured. It will be seen that the crucible process of making cast-steel by means of cementation was really an Indian invention, and that it was not till the nineteenth century that Mr. Mushet re-discovered the process in Europe.
In conclusion, I should take this opportunity of thanking Dr. Spooner, Superintedent of the Archaeological Department, Indian Museum Calcutta, for his permission to take photographs of the Budh-Gaya iron clamps and Dr. J.H. Marshal, Director of the Archaeological Department, Government of India, for his permission to reproduce the plates from the Reports of the Archaeological Survery of India. I am also indebted to the publishers Empress for their loan of the block, of the Bijapur Guns for use in this paper. Mahamahopadhyay Dr. Satish Chandra Vidyabhushan, Principal of the Sanskrit College, Calcutta, placed every, at my facility disposal, enabling me to study Vedic literature on the subject in the library of the College. I should also state that I was not aware of Sir Robert Hadfield's excellent papers on "Singhalese Iron and Steel of ancient Origin" in the Journal of the Iron and steel Institute and Proceedings of the Royal Society, and that my attention was drawn to the papers at the meeting in which my paper was read. I have incorporated in this paper Sir Robert's analysis of Ceylon iron, as Ceylon was only a part of Greater India in ancient times.
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