History of Indian Science

History of Indian Science & Technology:
Overview of the 20-Volume Series
By Rajiv Malhotra and Jay Patel


This chapter is intended to provide a background to the History of Indian Science and Technology (HIST) project. By describing the rationale and purpose of the HIST series, we hope to awaken the reader to the full implications of the series outside its scholastic usage. This chapter consists of the following sections:

Rationale behind Infinity Foundation's HIST projects.
Indian contributions to science and technology
Infinity's book series on History of Indian Science & Technology
Section I:   Rationale behind Infinity Foundation's Projects

Non-Western Knowledge Systems:

Modern Western technology has produced amazing achievements, but we must analyze the wider implications of such technologies and their notions of progress. These technologies often bring huge negative consequences that seem negligible in the short-term.   We need to dispassionately investigate whether there are alternative technologies that offer more sustainable progress for all, rather than only the privileged.

In search for such technologies, traditional knowledge or ?local knowledge' provides a pointer. Traditional knowledge is the technical, social, organizational and cultural collective memory of human responses to the complexities of life, and is a part of the great human experiment of survival and development. Western criteria should not be the sole benchmark by which non-Western cultural knowledge is evaluated. While Western intellectual discourse has marginalized the term 'traditional' with the connotation of 'pre-modern' in the sense of 'primitive' or 'outdated', many of the traditional sciences and technologies were quite advanced by ?modern' standards as well as better adapted to unique local conditions and needs than their later substitutes.

These traditional folk and elite sciences are intertwined with their distinct ancient cultures and...