# What has India contributed to this world?

Ricky

The Taj Mahalby Julian Yu on Unsplash

Has India made any significant contributions to this world throughout its history? Have Indians contributed anything to the USA?

What are some important contributions to mankind whose origins can be traced back to India? Has India invented anything that is helpful to the world even today? Let's find out.

Here are some of the contributions that India has made to this world.

### The number zero

The concept of using zero as a written digit was first invented in India. Although ancient Babylonians were the first ones to represent zero by using empty spaces in their number system, zero as a number was first developed in India.

Brahmagupta, an ancient Indian mathematician of the 7th century, was the first one to show that zero is a number having a null value with its unique properties. He was also the first one to prove that subtracting a number from itself results in zero.

From India, the number zero first migrated to China, and then to the middle east. The Arabs added zero to their numerical system in the shape of an oval similar to what we use today. From the Arab lands, zero reached Europe in the 12th century.

Fibonacci, an Italian mathematician helped make zero an important number through his contributions in the field of mathematics. Since then, zero has always played an important role in the lives of almost all people around the world.

### Shampoo

The English word “shampoo” is derived from the old Hindi word “chāmpo”, which means “to rub”. Ancient Indians used to make shampoos using a variety of herbs and their extracts.

The concept of shampooing was new to the colonial traders who arrived in India. After learning this process from the Indians, they loved cleansing their hair using Indian herbal shampoos during their daily bath.

Sake Dean Mohamed, an Indian traveler, was the first person to introduce the practice of shampooing in Europe. In 1814, he and his wife opened the first vapor masseur bath in England. The first shampoos in Europe were made with boiling soap in water and adding herbs to them.

The first liquid shampoo was invented by a German inventor named Hans Schwarzkopf in 1927. Shampoos started getting sold commercially in the 20th century. Nowadays, shampoos are sold almost everywhere around the world.

### Buttons

Buttons are an important part of clothing. Button-like objects used to fasten two pieces of fabric together were first discovered in the Indus Valley Civilisation. The Indus Valley Civilisation, located by the banks of the river Indus, was one of the earliest civilizations to ever exist. It existed on the Indian subcontinent 8,000 years ago.

The buttons discovered from the Indus Valley Civilisation were made from curved shells. They were used as ornamentations. The buttons are used to signify wealth and status in a person. The ancient Romans used buttons to fix clothing instead of pins.

Over the years, the button evolved from being a decoration to a more practical item. Buttons were still used only by rich people until the Industrial Revolution, where they became a common accessory in all clothing due to their mass production.

### Cataract surgery

The earliest form of cataract surgery was done around 2500 years ago by an ancient Indian surgeon named Sushruta. He practiced a form of cataract surgery known as couching. Couching is a form of surgery where a sharp needle is used to push the cataract to the bottom of the eye. The cataract was then removed manually.

He wrote about this procedure in his book “Sushruta Samhita”. This procedure got popular throughout the world after his book got translated into other languages. The removal of cataracts by surgery was first introduced into China by the Indians and later got widespread all around the world.

It was widely practiced in Europe, China, and parts of Africa. This method was used to treat cataracts for many centuries until modern cataract surgery was developed in the 19th century.

### Ruler

The ruler is an instrument that has been helpful to many people around the world. Rulers can be used for measuring distances or to draw straight lines in geometry, technical drawings, and many other things. The oldest ruler was a copper-alloy bar found by German assyriologist Eckhard Unger. However, that measuring rod didn’t have any decimal subdivisions in them.

Rulers with almost accurate decimal subdivisions were first used in the Indus Valley Civilization before 1500 BCE. These rulers were made of ivory and were very helpful in making the building and the houses of the Indus Valley Civilisation.

The Mohenjo-Daro ruler is divided into units corresponding to 1.32 inches and these are marked out in decimal subdivisions with amazing accuracy, to within 0.005 inches. Ancient bricks found throughout the region have dimensions that correspond to these units.

### Hindu-Arabic numerals

The conventional number system we use today was invented in India in the 7th century. The formulation of zero by Brahmagupta was very helpful in developing the Hindu-Arabic numerical system.

This numeral system soon reached the middle east after its development in India. Persian mathematician, Al-Khwarizmi wrote a book called “On the Calculation with Hindu Numerals”. His writings got popular and reached Europe.

Hindu-Arabic numerals, commonly known as “Arabic numerals” were introduced to Europe in the 10th century by Arabic speakers of North Africa. The first mentions of the numerals in Europe are found in the Codex Vigilanus of 976.

Fibonacci promoted the Indian numeral system in Europe with his 1202 book Liber Abaci. The popularity of these numerals was accelerated after the invention of the printing press. Nowadays, this system of numerals is the most commonly used in the world.

### Passport

Arthashastra, an ancient Indian book about statecraft, mentions that passes must be issued to every individual to enter and exit the country. Chapter 34 of the Second Book of Arthashastra talks about the duties Superintendent of Seals who must issue sealed passes before a person could enter or leave the countryside. This system of issuing passes soon got widespread throughout the world.

King Henry V of England is credited with inventing the first passport in the modern sense, as a means of helping his subjects prove who they were in foreign lands. The earliest reference to these documents is found in the 1414 Act of Parliament.

Since 1540, issuing travel documents in England became a duty of the Privy Council of England, and it was around this time that the term “passport” was used. In 1920, the idea of a worldwide passport standard was formed in the aftermath of the First World War. This idea was advocated by the League of Nations, a body tasked with maintaining world peace.

### Plastic surgery

Various techniques of plastic surgery were being carried out in India in 800 BCE by the Indian surgeon Sushruta. Sushruta is considered the "Father of Plastic Surgery".

Sushruta's book, Sushruta Samhita documented many instructions for performing a variety of surgical procedures - including three types of skin grafts and reconstruction of the nose. This book also contains the first written record of a forehead flap rhinoplasty, a technique still used today.

In this process, a full-thickness piece of skin from the forehead is used to reconstruct a nose. At that time, people who needed these surgeries were usually those who had their noses cut off, which was a common punishment for theft or adultery in ancient India.

### Wireless communication

Guglielmo Marconi was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1909 for his contribution to the development of wireless telegraphy. However, the first public demonstration of radio waves for communication was not made by him.

The first demonstration was shown by an Indian named Sir Jagdish Chandra Bose in 1895, two years before Marconi’s demonstration in England.

Sir Bose was posthumously credited more than a century later for his contribution. His discovery helped a lot in developing modern wireless communication. Sir Bose is also regarded as the father of wireless communication.

### Chess

Chess is one of the most popular indoor games in the world today. It is played by millions of people around the world. According to the website named chess.com, there are more than 600 million chess players in the world.

The origins of the game of chess we play today can be traced back to 6th century India. This game was originally called Chaturanga. The game was invented after the youngest prince of the Gupta Empire was killed in a battle. The brother of the dead prince thought of a way to explain the scene of the battle to their grieving mother who had no idea how her son died.

He made a board game out of it and this game soon became popular throughout India. It spread to Persia(Iran) where it got its present terminology. The word chess is derived from the Persian word shah, which means “king”, and the word checkmate is derived from the Persian word shah mat which means “the king is dead”.

After the Arabs conquered Persia, they became engrossed in this game and the Caliphs themselves became avid players. This game reached the eastern parts of Asia via the silk road and the East Asians developed local variants of this game.

From the middle east, chess finally reached Europe in the 10th century. This game took its present form only after reaching Europe. Royal families got engrossed in this game. This game was seen as a tool for military strategy and a benchmark for genius people.

Chess was considered as a game for the clever. The International Chess Federation (FIDE) was founded in 1924 to act as a governing body for international chess competitions and to determine the world champion.