Many age-old concepts and theories are relevant even today and often form the basis of new-age science and technology
Can ancient theories be debunked simply because they weren’t created using a computer? An old timer despairs…
AD: Hi, you were planning to check out a new house — aren’t you going?
BC: I wanted to make sure that I set off at the right time, otherwise...
AD: Right time? Good heavens, don't tell me you believe in all that.
BC: Why, what’s wrong in it? It's not just a belief; it’s science.
AD: You're kidding! It's just a lot of old-fashioned notions.
BC: So anything that's modern and has to do with computers is logical — and anything that’s ancient is mere superstition, regardless of how accurate it might be. Is that what you’re trying to say?
AD: Well, if you choose to trust an almanac more than the latest technology.
BC: In fact, your new-age software and operating systems are released with so many bugs in them and need constant updates and patches. Compared to that, our ancient technologies and calculations are so accurate that they haven't needed upgrades ever since they were launched.
AD: But everything has to evolve.
BC: Thousands of years ago, we identified the concept of time as being cyclic and not linear. That not only helped us understand stars and constellations a lot better, but also enabled us to predict eclipses, full moon nights and the exact time of sunrise and sunset for the next thousand years. All of this was done without using complex computer systems and advanced software.
AD: I still can't believe that you take this ‘zodiac thing’ so seriously… But how did the old-timers do these calculations? Did they just sprout wings and indulge in space travel?
BC: They didn’t, but age-old texts mention special flying vehicles, called vimanas, that were designed to help them cover great distances. Of course, there are those who have their doubts about the existence of such flying machines.
AD: I still don't understand how.
BC: I was just making a point about how advanced people were back then. But it’s a fact that it didn't take complex algorithms or satellites launched into outer space for them to calculate this. It was all science and…
AD: So are you putting down current technology to make ancient science look good?
BC: Of course not — I'm saying that modern technology owes its existence to ancient civilisation.
AD: How is that?
BC: Sometime around 100 BC, a mathematician named Pingala came up with a binary numeral system, without which today's computers, mobile phones and other devices would be dummies.
AD: I've not heard of him at all.
BC: But I'm sure you would have heard about Panini, whose pioneering work in creating a structure for Sanskrit grammar paved the way for our modern computer programming languages.
AD: Yes, I've heard of that.
BC: And you can imagine what would have happened to computers and the binary language if we hadn't come up with the concept of zero.
AD: Sure, but...
BC: Wait, there’s more. Have you ever thought about where C and Java would be without the Fibonacci series?
AD: So how does that link back to our ancient systems?
BC: The series would not have been possible if Fibonacci had not adopted the Hindu-Arabic numeral system, which again, was the brainchild of our mathematicians.
AD: Looks like all our past glory has got lost with time...
BC: Speaking of time, ancient Indian scriptures have alluded to minute calculations involving nanoseconds, which today, serve as a measure of computer speed.
AD: At this rate, you will be telling me that today’s IT companies wouldn’t have been around if it were not for ancient science and technology.
BC: Well, considering the fact that we had come up with numbers as large as 10 to the power of 100 as early as the 5th century BC.
AD: That’s a googol, right?
BC: The name came much later, but just imagine — if we hadn’t calculated the number correctly, the world’s leading search engine would still be known as ‘BackRub’ instead of a misspelt version of googol.