Ancient India’s Contribution to the World

Since millennia, the world has looked up to Aryavrata for the light of eternal wisdom and the philosophy of enduring compassion. Apart from the intangible spiritual bequests to the world, India had a blazing presence of excellence in almost all the arenas of human undertaking.

The following is a snapshot of some lesser known facts about India’s contribution to the world at large.

Shampoo: Yes! You read it right. Shampoo originates from the word “champo/champi.” Champi by itself relates to head massage with fragrant as well as herb infused oils. But this word gained wider traction with head massage from a decoction of traditional sub continental cleansers, like reetha, aamla and shikakai. The Europeans, who were definitely lagging in hygiene and related cleansers during this time, took readily to this decoction – which they pronounced as “shampoo.” Markets have never been the same after “champo” became shampoo!

Snakes and Ladders: Original known by name “Mokshapatt,” snakes and ladders was played in India as early as 2nd century BC. Originally, the game was used as a part of moral instruction to children. The squares in which ladders start were each supposed to stand for a virtue, and those housing the head of a snake were supposed to stand for an evil. The snakes outnumbered the ladders in the original game. The English took this game to England with some modifications. The modified game was named Snakes and Ladders and the number of ladders and snakes were equalized. In 1943, the game was introduced in the US under the name Chutes and Ladders.

Ink: Masi was a special deeply pigmented Indian Ink. The carbon pigment used in the ink was a combination of various ingredients and later made way to China. Several Indian documents written in Kharoshti script have been unearthed in the Chinese area of Turkmenistan.

Diamonds: You read it right! Yes, India was the sole supplier of diamonds in the world from at least 5000 years back. India remained the world’s only source of diamonds until the discovery of diamonds in Brazil in the 18th century. Golconda was an important mining centre and from here these sparkly stones made their way to other parts of the world.

Sugar: The word sugar comes from Sanskrit “Sharkaraa.” Shakkar too is modified version of sharkaraa. Sugar refining was well understood by the time of imperial Guptas and the travelling Buddhist monks took its manufacturing technology to China. As a result, there are at least two recorded missions to India from China, which came to understand the SOP! Come to think of it, what is world without sugar!

Share this