India: A Retrospective

India is the land of snake charmers, elephants, mystical fakirs, great mathematicians - and books. Nearly 4000 years ago when man was still figuring out the intricacies of language and script, we were writing epics and treatise on various subjects. The Vedas, the Ramayana, the Gita, the Mahabharata and the Kamasutra - books that are read even today - were all written more than 2000 years ago. Some of these ancient manuscripts can still be found in archives all over the world - with their ink intact and unfaded. The language of choice was Sanskrit - one of the oldest languages in the world and one which (according to Forbes magazine) is the best suited for software.

We did not stop at mere scribbling however. The ancient texts use several words for books - Granth, Pustak, Bhojpatra, Taamrapatra - leading us to believe that there were a variety of book types available. India was also the first to understand the concept of community education. Thus, Takshila and Nalanda - the first ever universities of the world, were set up roughly around 600 B.C. These universities were home to a large number of students from all over the world who came here to study and learn.

We continued our traditions of excellence, right through the mediaeval age where our poets and writers wrote and translated books, which are considered classics even today. Even so far back as the eighteenth century, India was exporting its printing - the first Persian newspaper, read widely in Iran was published from India in Calcutta.


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