History & Culture

History matters

D.K. Hari and Hema Hari  

Does history matter? Well, it should matter for us Indians, because we have an incredibly rich and largely untapped wealth of scientific knowledge stored away in our historical past. “Our travels abroad and exposure to different countries and cultures made us realise that we Indians haven’t yet explored our heritage rationally and scientifically. Consequently, we haven’t been able to benefit from this inherited knowledge,” begins D.K. Hari, who founded Bharath Gyan along with his wife Hema Hari.

Fifteen years ago, this high-flying MNC professional and his software engineer wife quit their careers to dig into ancient Indian civilisation and set up Bharath Gyan. Bharath Gyan has researched on over a hundred facets of Indian civilisation — from effective water-harvesting techniques and agriculture to the historicity of Rama and scientific accomplishments of those ages.

A scientific approach

Bharath Gyan collates research and collaborates with both modern and traditional scholars from countries such as England, Austria, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Cambodia and, of course, India. This includes scientists of institutions such as the famed CERN Laboratory in Geneva (known for its research on the Higg’s boson or God Particle); the likes of S.R. Rao, the pioneer of marine archaeology in India; and scholars such as Pushkar Bhatnagar, noted for his research on archaeo-astronomy.

The couple split their time between their Chennai home and a forest retreat near Bangalore, besides hectic travel across the world for presenting their findings at various conferences. Their research has taken them to 30 countries and 200-odd museums, including the East India Office Library Records in London. Historical Rama is perhaps one of the most intriguing of their research capsules, because it evaluates the historicity of Ram and the scientific understanding that prevailed in those times, as opposed to faith. This scientifically tempered research has earned them accolades all over the world and the couple presented this research at the Apparao galleries in the city recently.

Historical Rama

‘It thus happened’ (Iti-ha-asa or ‘Itihasa’) was how The Valmiki Ramayana and The Mahabharata were referred to down the millennia. “Manuscripts of scholars such as Alberuni who visited India in 1030 CE and Marco Polo’s travelogue (1271- 1295) refer to The Ramayana as historical texts,” points out Hari. Meanwhile, all geographical descriptions mentioned in The Ramayana turn out to be accurate. The Valmiki Ramayana contains many astronomical observations of the positions of the sun, moon and the planets Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, Mars and Mercury. “Finally, The Valmiki Ramayana mentions that Rama’s bridge to Lanka was 35 km long and 3.5 km wide (10:1 ratio) and layered with logs of wood over an underwater ridge, and topped by stones. A plane trip across the Palk Strait shows this 10:1 ratio, while underwater exploration here has unearthed botanical granules of precisely the same trees as mentioned in The Ramayana!” points out Hari.

“We have presented Historical Rama at universities across the globe, and everywhere, it is received with the same sense of awe at the advanced knowledge that ancient Indians had,” remarks Hari. Think of it. As many as 7,000 years ago, Indians had a fantastic understanding of astronomical bodies and their movements in space, and could even build a bridge across the sea! “We have just unearthed the tip of the iceberg. India has many more secrets to share,” he says.

For more, visit >www.bharathgyan.com.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 4:17:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/history-and-culture/history-matters/article5522782.ece

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