The ‘Traditional knowledge system’ (TKS) is Now an Accepted phrase to explain various scientific systems of the indigenous communities the world- over. These systems are now establishing their credentials to supplement the 'modern sciences' in various areas. Nevertheless, there still exists a stubborn resistance to accept these as the authentic sciences for want of the much-emphasised empirical evidence, notwithstanding the fact that the TKS has already passed through many tests of time and has sustained generations of people through the millenniums.
Motivated by the urge to make the achievements of Indian traditional knowledge system (ITKS) available to the readers the world-over, the US-based Infinity Foundation, headed by Rajiv Malhotra conceived an ambitious project: The History of Indian Science and Technology (HIST), with the objective to make available to the common readers the well-researched and comprehensive literature on the achievements that India and the Indian cultural diaspora made in the past. However, that remained suppressed or ill-represented under the systematic colonial strategy. The objective is not to find fault with the colonial system for all those failings, but to discover objectively those precious nuggets of that knowledge system for the benefit of common readers in the simple diction, without technical jargon and academic stiffness, so that:
(a) The genius of Indian civilisation is properly redefined and understood.
(b) The distortions perpetuated by the colonial system are removed.
(c) The Indian knowledge system (ITKS) is objectively highlighted and the contrived western notions dispelled.
(d) The Indian Traditional Knowledge System (ITKS) is introduced in the education system and legitimised in the socioeconomic planning.
To that end, HIST has already brought out ten volumes on various ITKS topics on the international standard and many more are under way.
The HIST has also been organising seminars at various places in the country from time to time with the objective to inculcate interest among the academics for the rich Indian traditional knowledge and to find out potential scholars desirous of carrying out studies under the HIST programme. So far, it has organised eight such conferences at various universities and other institutions. The last one was organised in the Indus University complex at Ahmadabad from 9th to 11th October 2014. In that international conference, many scholars presented their papers on different aspects of the Indian Traditional Knowledge System. Out of those, a selective collection of 14 papers, authored by the scholars experienced in different areas of specialisation, has been included in this volume.
The papers have been arranged with a view to give a sequential idea of how the Science and Technology evolved in the Indian subcontinent form the prehistorical times to our age. Accordingly, starting with Prof. Vibha Tripathi's paper on the ancient ceramic technology, Dr. Pranav's high tin-bronze processing in the eastern part of this subcontinent and Prof. Thakuria's stone jars in the northeast, we proceed to know what Prof. Joglekar & Dr. Goel tell about tile ancient animal husbandry in the Indian subcontinent. Besides that, Sila Tripati tells us about the ancient maritime activities in Odisha.
Trilok Rathi has very logically discussed the scientific base of the Indian calendar, called Samvatsar in his paper: Scientific Features of Samvatsar.
Dr. Vasudha Pant has discussed the multidisciplinary implications of agriculture in Uttarakhand, while Dr. Jaideep Negi speaks about the traditional agrarian economy in Himachal Pradesh. Tobdan has provided us with some of the exotic cuisines of the trans-Himalayan region.
Prof. Madhu Jain traces the evolutionary course of Indian sari from the primitive age to our times, and in that process she also provides variegated forms of the regional varieties.
Dr Pankaj Gupta and Vijay Sharma discover the exotic world of folk healers in the western Himalayan region in their well-worked paper. Similarly, Mrs. Kanchani Prova Koch and Dr. Pankaj tell us about relevance of the ethnoveterinary practices Uttarakhand.
Prof. S. P. Shukla discusses the ancient secular architecture in India in his paper, while Dr. O. C. Handa provides a panoramic view of the Himalayan domestic architecture.
The most significant achievement of the Eighth HIST conference at Ahmedabad was that the Infinity Foundation and Indus University resolved to carry on the HIST programme collectively under the banner of Indus-Infinity Foundation. I hope, under the auspices of Indus-Infinity Foundation, the HIST programme shall progress vigorously towards its cherished objective.
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