Technological Advance in India

Technological discoveries and applications in India

The earliest evidence of technological progress in the Indian subcontinent is to be found in the remains of the Harappan civilization (4000-3000 BC). Archaeological remains point to the existence of well-planned urban centres that boasted of private and public dwellings laid out in orderly fashion along with roads and drainage systems complementing them. The drainage systems were particularly remarkable for the times since they were built underground and were constructed in a manner to allow for regular cleaning. Smaller drains from private homes connected to the larger public drains.

Larger private dwellings were invariably multi-storied and all homes were constructed from standardized fired bricks and provided for separate cooking areas and toilets. Storage facilities for grain and goods for trade were built as were public baths and other buildings intended for various public functions.

Urban centres were often planned near riverine or sea-ports. Accurate weights and measures were in use and ports such as Lothal were developed as export centres of early manufactured products from smelted copper and bronze. Kilns for smelting copper ingots and casting tools were in existence as were metal tools such as curved or circular saws, pierced needles and most significantly, bronze drills with twisted grooves. The drill enabled the production of items with unparalleled precision for the times and could be regarded as an ancient precursor of the modern machine tool.

There is also evidence of planned irrigation systems and it appears that fire and flood control measures to protect farms and villages were also in place. Artisans made use of the wheel and clay pottery was decorated in a variety of colors and designs. Cotton was grown and used to produce textiles.

Urban centres in the Harappan region traded with each other as well as with counterparts in Babylon, the Persian Gulf, Egypt and possibly the...