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The Delhi Sultanate

Closer contact with W enabled new developments in astronomy like astrolabe,
sun dial. However, much of it remained fueled by astrology.
Under Firuz, many Sanskrit works, including those on astronomy, were
translated into Persian.
Medical Science
Though the dominant school was Greek school, a conscious effort was made
to encourage Ayurvedic school.
Firuz setup hospitals where commoners were treated for free.
The Mughals
Industrial Technologies
Iron Smelting
Iron has a high melting point (1540 C) but iron oxide has a lower one (800
C). Indians used to heat iron oxide @ 1100 C and obtain pig iron. But the
drawback of this technique was that lot of iron goes waste in the slag. But it
yielded iron of high purity.
Indians used follow cire perdue casting i.e. a wax prototype is made first, then
a mould is made using clay. Then it is fired in heat and the wax melts and
comes out through a hole @ the bottom. Then molten metal is poured in.
Sirpur in MP and Chola period yield numerous bronze images made using
this technique. A text Abhilashitarth Chintamani written by a Chalukyan ruler in
12th cent AD is considered to be an authoritative text on the technique. The
temples in S India provided a great boost to casting.
A sanskrit text Shukraneeti throws light on the canon making technique of the
Under Akbar, light weight cannons were invented which could even be
disassembled and carried on horse backs.
Zinc Smelting
Zawar (near Udaipur) was a major zinc smelting site since ancient India and
continued up to 19th cent AD. The technique used here since ages was later
patented in England in modern times.
Textiles Making


Cotton textiles was the main industry. Though India held important position in
silk and woolens as well but it was not as widespread as cotton. Silk textiles
were earlier made in Gujarat, Lahore and Agra and later in Kashmir, Bengal and
Benaras. Woolens were made in Kashmir.
Issue with finding details of cotton textiles production technology is that
contemporary sources mainly dealt with elites. So they either ignore cotton
textiles or talk about it mainly from a consumer's point of view. Our most
important sources in knowing about cotton textiles technology is Nuskha
Khutasatul Mujarrebat and Bahar-i-Azam written in 18th cent AD.
After weaving the cloth used to be taken for coloring. Here the original color of
the cloth was removed by mixing it with some chemicals and evaporating it.
Then fresh color used to be applied. Color production and application
techniques had been standardized by this time. Alternative styles like Bandhej,
block printing etc. also were used. Burhanpur and Ahemdabad were major
centers of coloring and printing.
Commercial Technologies
Road Making
Indians never made pucca roads like Romans despite having the technology
because it was not conducive for the movement of bullock carts which were the
main mode of cargo transportation in those days. Roads had adequate facilities
for travelers and their maintenance was the responsibility of the provincial
Bridge Making
Under Babur and Humayun make shift bridges were made by lining up boats
and stitching them. Later on permanent bridges using pillars and arches were
built. Some bridges also used ropes and wooden planks. Some used wooden
planks directly.
Postal System
It was based on the famous Barid system of the sultanate era. Horses and
runners were used. Babur had outposts established after every 36 miles. Akbar
established a post after every 6 mile.
Ship Making
Ship making got a boost due to trade and naval requirements. For instance in
1574 navy was used in Patna against the Afghan rebels, in 1590 it was used in
Thatta against the rebels. In 1662 mughal governor Mir Jumla used it against

the Assamese rebels and later it was used to drive Arkanese pirates out of the
port of Chittagong by Saista Khan.
European and Arabian records tell us that large ships up to 1000 - 1200
tonnes were built in India. Due to scarcity of timber ships couldn't be made in
Arabian coastal areas. So the trade in Arabian sea was carried on mostly in
ships built in the western coast of India. But on the eastern coast the Indian
ships of Chola period gave way to Chinese junk ships.
But the ships made on western coast didn't use iron screws and rivets but
used stitching technology. Smaller wooden planks were placed on top of the
adjacent wooden planks and holes were bored and coir ropes used to stitch
them together. These ships are considered to be inferior to the junk ships made
in China. So with time Indians had to adopt the screw and rivet technology to
keep up.
For waterproofing the base and the hull, Europeans used a resin or tar to fill
the gap between the adjacent wooden planks. Indians however used to place
the adjacent planks so close to each other that it used to keep the water out.
Ropes used in the ships were made of coir in India instead of hemp as in
Europe. Coir ropes needed to be immersed in salty water from time to time to
maintain their strength.
Initially Indian ships didn't have decks but later decks and cabins came up.
Rudders were employed and they used ropes to give direction to the ship. They
used to employ divers to free the anchor from the base whenever it got stuck.
Indians didn't use mariner's compass. But they used to rely on sun, star
positions, planetary positions and winds for directions. With time they evolved
this knowledge into making compass cards. Indians also used cartography and
made maps of the coastal areas of west coast, SL and coromandel coast.
Agricultural Technologies
Measurement Techniques
Ilahi-gaj was developed. The earlier measure sikandar-gaj used to change in
length when wet.
Cultivation Techniques
India can't be said to be backward in agriculture techniques in the age.
Techniques like crop rotation, drill sowing and dibbling were practiced. Artificial
irrigation was used as well in the form of persian wheel.
Why S&T lagged behind?

Casteism, illiteracy were not the reasons as this was the condition common in as
(a) Cultural
Inability to delink science from religion. European science had grown when it
was fed from religion.
Rationalism was frowned upon by the religious philosophy.
(b) Political
The state system prevalent. Rulers had no interest in technologies benefitting
the artisans. So business oriented inventions didn't take place.
(c) Social
Education was in religious control.
DD Kosambi believes it was a result of caste system and indifference of the
elites towards technological changes.
(d) Economic

Irfan Habib believes it was because of abundance of unskilled labor in India.