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India at 60…Growing and Shining (Part-I)
On 15th August 2006, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will address the nation from Rampant of Lal Quila, India will be completing its 59 years of Independence and will be entering into “Diamond Jubilee” year of its existence. Let the celebrations continue for centuries and keep the tri-color high. Before I proceed further I like to share with you the Speech of Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru delivered on 15th August 1947…Tryst with Destiny…
“Long years ago we made a tryst with destiny, and now the time comes when we shall redeem our pledge, not wholly or in full measure, but very substantially. At the stroke of midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.
A moment comes which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, then an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance. It is fitting that at this solemn moment we take the pledge of dedication to India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity. At the dawn of history India started on her unending quest, and trackless centuries are filled with her striving and the grandeur of her successes and her failures. Through good and ill fortune alike she has never lost sight of that quest or forgotten the ideals which gave her strength. We end today a period of ill fortune and India discovers herself again.
The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future? Freedom and power bring responsibility. That responsibility rests upon this assembly, a sovereign body representing the sovereign people of India. Before the birth of freedom we have endured all the pains of labor and our hearts are heavy with the memory of this sorrow. Some of those pains continue even now.
Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now. That future is not one of ease or resting but of incessant striving so that we might fulfill the pledges we have so often taken and the one we shall take today. The service of India means the service of the millions who suffer. It means the ending of poverty and ignorance and disease and inequality of opportunity. The ambition of the greatest man of our generation has been to wipe every tear from every eye. That may be beyond us but so long as there are tears and suffering, so long our work will not be over. And so we have to labor and to work, and work hard, to give reality to our dreams. Those dreams are for India, but they are also for the world, for all the nations and peoples are too closely knit together today for any one of them to imagines that it can live apart.
Peace has been said to be indivisible, so is freedom, so is prosperity now, and so also is disaster in this one world that can no longer be split into isolated fragments. To the people of India whose representatives we are, we make appeal to join us with faith and confidence in this great adventure. This is no time for petty and destructive criticism, no time for ill will or blaming others. We have to build the noble mansion of free India where all her children may dwell.”
Little known facts about India
1. The official Sanskrit name for India is Bharat.
2. INDIA has been called Bharat even in Satya yuga (Golden Age).
3. The name `India’ is derived from the River Indus, the valleys around which were the home of the early settlers. The Aryan worshippers referred to the river Indus as the Sindhu.
4. The Persian invaders converted it into Hindu. The name `Hindustan’ combines Sindhu and Hindu and thus refers to the land of the Hindus.
5. The number system was invented by India. Aryabhatta was the scientist who invented the digit zero.
6. Sanskrit is considered as the mother of all higher languages. This is because it is the most precise, and therefore suitable language for computer software. (a report in Forbes magazine, July 1987 ).
7. Chess was invented in India.
8. Algebra, Trigonometry and Calculus are studies, which originated in India. The’ place value system’ and the ‘decimal system’ were developed in 100 BC in India.
9. The first six Mogul Emperor’s of India ruled in an unbroken succession from father to son for two hundred years, from 1526 to 1707.
10. The World’s First Granite Temple is the Brihadeswara temple at Tanjavur in Tamil Nadu. The shikhara is made from a single ‘ 80-tonne ‘ piece of granite. Also, this magnificent temple was built in just five years, (between 1004 AD and 1009 AD) during the reign of Rajaraja Chola
11. India is…….the Largest democracy in the world, the 6th largest country in the world AND one of the most ancient and living civilizations (at least 10, 000 years old).
12. The 13th century poet saint Gyandev created the game of snakes & ladders. It was originally called ‘Mokshapat.’ The ladders in the game represented virtues and the snakes indicated vices. The game was played with cowrie shells and dices. Later through time, the game underwent several modifications but the meaning is the same i.e good deeds take us to heaven and evil to a cycle of re-births.
13. The world’s highest cricket ground is in Chail, Himachal Pradesh. Built in 1893 after levelling a hilltop, this cricket pitch is 2444 meters above sea level.
14. India has the most post offices in the world.
15. The largest employer in the world is the Indian railway system, employing over a million people.
16. The World’s first university was established in Takshila in 700 BC. More than 10,500 students from all over the world studied more than 60 subjects. The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education.
17. Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to mankind. The father of medicine, Charaka, consolidated Ayurveda 2500 years ago.
18. Although modern images & descriptions of India often show poverty, India was one of the richest countries till the time of British in the early 17th Century. Christopher Columbus was attracted by India’s wealth and was looking for route to India when he discovered America by mistake.
19. The art of Navigation & Navigating was born in the river Sindh 6000 over years ago. The very word ‘Navigation’ is derived from the Sanskrit word NAVGATIH. The word navy is also derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Nou’.
20. Bhaskaracharya rightly calculated the time taken by the earth to orbit the sun hundreds of years before the astronomer Smart. His calculations were – Time taken by earth to orbit the sun: (5th century) 365.258756484 days.
21. The Indian Mathematician Budhayana first calculated the value of “pi”, and he explained the concept of what is known as the Pythagorean theorem. He discovered this in the 6th century, which was long before the European mathematicians.
22. Algebra, trigonometry and calculus also originated from India. Quadratic equations were used by Sridharacharya in the 11th century. The largest numbers the Greeks and the Romans used were 106 whereas Hindus used numbers as big as 10*53 (i.e 10 to the power of 53) with specific names as early as 5000 B.C. during the Vedic period. Even today, the largest used number is Tera: 10*12(10 to the power of 12).
23. Until 1896, India was the only source for diamonds to the world. (Source. Gemological Institute of America)
24. The Baily Bridge is the highest bridge in the world. It is located in the Ladakh valley between the Dras and Suru rivers in the Himalayan Mountains. The Indian Army built it in August 1982.
25. Sushruta is regarded as the father of surgery. Over 2600 years ago Sushrata & his team conducted complicated surgeries like cataract, artificial limbs, cesareans, fractures, urinary stones and also plastic surgery and brain surgeries.
26. Usage of anesthesia was well known in ancient India medicine. Detailed knowledge of anatomy, embryology, digestion, metabolism, physiology, etiology, genetics and immunity is also found in many ancient Indian texts.
History of India (India before 1947)
Stone Age rock shelters with paintings at Bhimbetka in Madhya Pradesh are the earliest known traces of human life in India. The first known permanent settlements appeared over 9,000 years ago, and gradually developed into the Indus Valley Civilization, which began around 3300 BCE and peaked between 2600 BCE and 1900 BCE. Cities of this culture exhibit advanced urban features and scientific accomplishments such as superior civil drainage systems. It was followed by the Vedic Civilization, which laid the foundations of Hinduism and other cultural aspects. In Vedic classical texts and Hindu Mythology, the land is referred to as Bhāratavarsha. From around 550 BCE, many independent kingdoms and republics known as the Mahājanapadas spread across the country. The country was witnessing a complex religious culture, with the birth of Jainism and Buddhism. Ancient universities arose in Taxila, Nalanda, Pataliputra and Ujjain.
The empire built by the Maurya dynasty under Emperor Ashoka united most of modern South Asia. From 180 BCE, a series of invasions from Central Asia followed including the Indo-Greeks; Indo-Scythians; Indo-Parthians and Kushans in the northwestern Indian sub-continent. From the third century BCE, the Gupta Dynasty oversaw the period referred to as ancient India’s “Golden Age.” In the south, several dynasties, including the Chalukyas, Rashtrakutas, Cheras, Cholas, Pallavas and Pandyas prevailed during different periods. Science; Engineering; Art; Literature; Mathematics; Astronomy; Religion and Philosophy flourished under the patronage of these kings.
Following the invasions from Central Asia, between the tenth to the twelfth centuries, much of north India came under the rule of the Delhi Sultanate, Mughal dynasty and later the Marathas who gradually expanded their reign throughout the Indian subcontinent. Nevertheless, several indigenous kingdoms flourished, especially in the south, like the Vijayanagara Empire. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, several European countries, including Portugal, Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom, initially arrived as traders, later took advantage of the fractious nature of relations between the kingdoms, to establish colonies in the country. By 1856, most of India came under control of the British East India Company, with the capital at Calcutta. A year later, a nationwide insurrection of rebelling military units and kingdoms, known locally as the First War of Indian Independence (known as the Sepoy Mutiny In British texts) broke out, which failed even as it seriously challenged British rule. India thus came under the direct control of the British Monarch.
In the early twentieth century, a nationwide struggle for independence was launched by the Indian National Congress, led by Indians such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru. Millions of protesters would engage in mass campaigns of civil disobedience with a commitment to ahimsa – total non-violence. Gandhi would lead Indians in the Dandi Salt March to defy the salt tax, and an all-out revolt in 1942 demanding that the British Quit India. India gained independence on August 15th, 1947 – 565 princely states united with British-era provinces to form a united nation, but not before the Muslim-majority provinces were partitioned as a result of the separatist campaign led by the Muslim League to form Pakistan.
Years to Remember…India Before Independence
2500-1500 B.C :Indus Valley civilization.
1500-200 B.C :Aryan civilization.
2000-1000 B.C:Composition of the Upanishads and the great Epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.
600-500 B.C:Mahavir and Buddha lay down the principles of Jainism and Buddhism.
326 B.C :Alexander, The Great invades India
320 B.C :Chandragupta Maurya finds the Mauryan Dynasty.
273 B.C:Asoka ascends the throne of Magadha.
261 B.C :The Great Kalinga War that transforms Asoka.
60 B.C :Rise of the Satavahana Dynasty.
1-100 A.D : Jews and Apostle St.Thomas arrive in the Malabar Coast.
78A.D :The Saka era begins.
120-144A.D :Rule of the Kushan king, Kaniskha.
320A.D :Chandragupta-I finds the Gupta Dynasty
360 A.D :Samudragupta establishes a large Empire-the whole of northern India up to the Deccan.
375- 413A.D :Reign of Chandragupta 11,the golden age of Indian culture and literature.
405-11A.D :Fahien visits India.
1000 A.D :Founding of the Chola empire by Rajaraja Chola.
1026 A.D:Mahmud of Ghazni ransacks the Somnath temple.
1192 A.D:Muhammad Ghori defeats Prithiviraj. Paves way for Muslim rule.
1206 A.D :Qutb-ud-din Aibak establishes Slave Dynasty in Delhi.
1288 A.D:Marco polo visits India.
1290 A.D:Fall of the Slave Dynasty; Beginning of the Khilji Dynasty.
1483-1530 A.D:Reign of Mughal emperor Babur.
1498 AD :Vasco-de-gama lands at Calicut.
1469-1538 A.D:Time of Guru Nanak,the founder of Sikkhism.
1510 A.D:Goa captured by Portuguese.
1526 A.D:First battle of Panipat. Babar defeats the Lodis and establishes Mughal rule.
1556 A.D:Accession of Akbar.
1600 A.D:East India Company formed.
1632-1653 A.D:Shah Jahan builds the Taj Mahal.
1664 A.D :Shivaji becomes king in Delhi.
1739 A.D:Nadir Shah invades Delhi.
1742 A.D:French rule consolidated in Pondicherry.
1757 A.D:Battle of Plassey.
1831 A.D :Ranjit Singh mobilizes the power of Sikhs.
1834-35 A.D:Lord William Bentick becomes the first Governor General of India.
1853 A.D :First Railway between Bombay and Thana.
1857 A.D:The Sepoy Mutiny.
1858 A.D:Government of India passes from East India Company to the British Crown.
1885 A.D:Indian National Congress born.
1906 A.D:Founding of the Muslim League.
1911 A.D:Capital of India shifted from Calcutta to Delhi.
1920 A.D:Non-cooperation movement begins.
1930 A.D:Mahatma Gandhi leads the Dandi march in Ahmedabad.
1931A.D:Inauguration of New Delhi.
1947 A.D:India gets freedom. Nehru is India’s FIRST Prime Minister.
Identity of India
Anthem-“Jana Gana Mana”
Animal-Royal Bengal Tiger
For the remaining article read part-II
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