What The Ancients Did For Us: The Indians

What The Ancients Did For Us: The Indians

2005, History  -   111 Comments
Ratings: 8.25/10 from 108 users.

What The Ancients Did For Us - The IndiansIndia is one of the oldest and richest civilizations in the world. It is home to the world's first planned cities, where every house had its own bathroom and toilet five thousand years ago. The Ancient Indians have not only given us yoga, meditation and complementary medicines, but they have furthered our knowledge of science, maths - and invented Chaturanga, which became the game of chess.

According to Albert Einstein, they "taught us how to count", as they invented the numbers 1-9 and 'zero', without which there would be no computers or digital age. Unfairly we call this system of counting Arabic numbers - a misplaced credit.

Two thousand years ago the Indians pioneered plastic surgery, reconstructing the noses and ears on the faces of people who had been disfigured through punishment or warfare. They performed eye operations such as cataract removal and invented inoculation to protect their population from Smallpox, saving thousands of lives. (Excerpt from Open Learn)

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Ambehabati` arumugam
2 years ago

The f**king british are nation destoryers.

naveen citianksreedevan
4 years ago

India shyting brics since 1969 -and that was the last time they served chardonnay wine in Hotel california. I hope the songwriter was correct. welcome to sht holew india. sch a fcked up place..plenty of cows o the road anytime of the year you can get no milk only pollution.last thing i rememebr i was running to a loo had to piss my feeling and win the pissing contest

naveen citianksreedevan
4 years ago

try to moderate crimes of leadrs u digita imptent

naveen citianksreedevan
4 years ago

moderate the criminals in government yo digital ho's

naveen citianksreedevan
4 years ago

India is a land of immoral politician, illegitimate citizens,liars. No use blaming British and writing a books about it by the likes Of MP sashi tharoor or other Hindu fanaics. Look at hs character first. Can you blame Britihs if Primeinster indira gandhi was actually a slt? sh was an immorla character. devadasi. prostitute in a temple.
what about MK stalin, his half brothers and sisters? What about Modi? who can we blame for sch immoral indians?

These fellows are fraud doing too many crimes. they have only copied western government system without understand it. there is CBI whici is politicla tool employing immoral cops who are then used to blackmail rivlas for money and covering crimes.
India can change once all these career politician, federal bankers, CBI ar all buried dead or alvie -which ever is easier. Modi is the most shameless gu ever to walk Delhi.

5 years ago

After reading most all the comments, only 2 have good principle or understanding or wisdom that a person should take note of:

Agree with @mac moy #3: The weasels who want to take advantage, jam peoples from 2 incompatible societal types together to weaken it, just as happening now in Europe and attempted in USA and Canada with Islamic and Western societies. The bankster elite (Rothschilds, Rockefeller, et al) desire to reshape the world to their liking, to their advantage, so get their Progressive-Socialist-Communist minions who are at the helm of nations, to allow in the barbarian Muslim Brotherhood and similar, to WEAKEN their countries. This weakening is required in order for the people to fall for their rotten plan of Socialist-Communist rule. First by aggregating into 3 or so world economic socialist-communist zones and eventually the one world enslavement (communist) govt where your whole life will be restricted to what they dictate. Will they succeed? Unknown. Possibly if all people can do is blame each other for what this so called elite group of manipulators is attempting; and succeeding so far to do.

Agree with @Annalene: "Get over yourself, every nation has it's demons and others to blame for their circumstances." Even the Brits were invaded by the Normans of the now French region. And so the invaded become the invaders. The Colonies now the USA terrorized by the Brits now terrorizing the Middle East. The arrogant Zionist Jewish leadership who call the non Jew: "goyim", is where Muhammad likely learned their similar "infidel". The Jews also terrorize the Middle East. In part one cannot blame some of what they do in response but they also do too many unprovoked wrong things as do the muslims. The Brits are likely doing something nefarious there as well. Russia is involved to some degree. Apparently the bankster elite is trying for WW3. China would not allow North Korea to have nuclear weapons if it didn't want them to be doing what they are doing, threatening its nearest Western countries.

Also there was a discussion of Pride and Ego. The puffery one feels at anything is ego, even a job well done. You should do a good job because it is the right thing to do, NOT because you get a good feeling. That is the evil that Do-gooders cause around the world. They consider themselves "helping" and "feel good" about it, when they are actually causing harm. Such as sending too much food to a poor country, wiping out the local farmers (which means most of their economy) and empower the Warlords who steal most of it and hold that power of life and death over all those in their area who must have that food to live. If you see fit to help someone, you should do it because they actually need it and it is the right thing to do, not because you get a good feeling or feeling of satisfaction about it. Results matter. See to it the results are good. Sickos whose hidden ego needs to feel good and could care less about the results and claim, "see what good I did over there" and pat themselves on the back.

Every culture, religion, person, has its good points and bad. Some more than others. I can see some have fallen prey to the major media and govt school propaganda regarding "Christians". If they are doing evil they are NOT Christians. They are hiding behind it, just like mafia going to church to absolve their sins. What a joke. If you don't judge Christ by Christians then you may learn something from him. There are people who claim they are from any of the various religions who have done evil things. The reason the major media is against Christianity now, is the same as mentioned above. The bankster elite owned professors at universities and bankster owned major media must drive people away from religion, being Christianity in the USA, in order to weaken the nation, weaken the family, weaken the people, as in post WW1 / pre WW2 Germany, which Hitler was pissed about, those banksters being Rothschild Jews and minions. If Churchill wasn't either minion or a dumbass, he would have fought with Hitler, to defeat Stalin a far worse villain than Hitler who of course had issues. Churchill saw Hitler as an industrial export competitor who was eating his lunch and wanted him taken out. Very small evil mind. Yet like throughout history, the worst are revered. None of them should be revered. Not Churchill, not Stalin, not Roosevelt nor Eisenhower.

Today we have the minions of the bankster elite controlling the USA military and CIA and look what they have done and still do around the world. When the banksters own "defense" companies, as they do in the usa and israel, war is very profitable. AS Major General Smedley Butler stated (some meaning similar to) War is a racket. Until you take the profit out of war, we will have war. These banksters also own the oil companies. A large part of the very large oil consumption of the usa goes to the military to secure oil, to fight wars, to secure oil, ...

When will it end? If people truly cared about their children, they would educate themselves about such things and prevent it so their children won't have to suffer as the young soldiers do today.

Know thyself. Those who offend you may not be your enemy. Those who are nice to you may not be your friend. And most important, no govt is your friend, despite all the govt school indoctrination and limited info - agenda driven propaganda the news pounds into you continually. Politicians are like diapers and need changing with regularity for the same reason.

We can thank those who came before us and taught us things. If they are prideful, we can realize that eventually these things would be discovered anyway. Often people from different part of the country or world come up with the same invention at nearly the same time or within 5 years. However, one must be very careful about what they are learning. Is it truly worthwhile and beneficial? Much of what is taught in schools these days other than math, is not. Is the technology leading to the weasels of the world being able to monitor everything you write, say, and do, worth the risk of what they want to do with that, which is to enslave you?

Oh yes, it is to protect against terrorism! What a joke. The police in the usa kill far more than the terrorists do. And of course they are trained by govt. So who is the real terrorist, the real enemy?

I hope I survive after writing such things!

7 years ago

Thanks for making this great documentary. Until recently, the western civilizations have failed to recognize the contribution of ancient Harrapan culture and scientific innovations of India. Harrapans had sanitary system and metal work figured out 4500 years ago. We Indians are peace loving people and hence perished at the hands of military superior western invaders in last 1000 years. It is well said that the history is written by winners. Uncountable monuments and art work were destroyed to belittle the richness of Indian culture.

7 years ago

India was a systematic and organized civilization for thousands of years till the British came. The caste system was created to segregate community according to occupation and it worked where the whole country lived in harmony. It is known that India was so advanced and developed that not one single Indian was suffering. As some would know, each caste has its own specialty in occupation. It was created by the king from the advise of Munivars (Siddar), these are the wise advisers for the King. They are the ministers whom create and manage Education, Innovation and Medicine. The parliament was first created in India thousands of years ago which is used now in India.

It was known that India was so rich that Columbus was looking for it as the land of Gold. Subsequently, the British have go invade India in order to be rich and famous now. Not only rich, they invaded the innovations and educational system. There are 4 Sangams (Historical Literature) that was recorded of the whole history and secrets of ancient India. After the invasion of British, Sangam 1 and 2 is no more available. And now UK is the most richest and a hub for Education. Many of us did not realize that many ancient system and teachings are still being practiced in India as daily life e.g. Tumeric is a part of food ingredient which is a medicine.

Indians was using Cloves as a main ingredient thousands of years in Chicken Curry, which connects to recently spread Bird Flu and the medicine for this now discovered in USA are made of Cloves. Onion increases hair growth used in Indian dishes. Tomatoes are used too in Indian dishes which enhances healthy skin. Many more discoveries in many subjects are being used as a daily life routines in India. The British wanted to compress India and they complicated the whole system which is now a crashed just like a virus that crashes a computer. India will reign again as the intelligence are inthe genes. It evolutes to the new environment using the same power. I am happy as now the world is looking up to the creators of civilization. Its all about learning not compressing. Civilization rise and fall at its peak time. India and China had its days and fell. Now China has rose and will be followed by India. A simplest evidence, the longer the civilization, the more population the country will have.

Shubham Sharma
8 years ago

Hey you Marcus ...what are you saying that British made indians civilized. Oh you have mentioned that they gave railways etc. etc.
But you didn't mentioned that they looted all the wealth from India and now today have kept the Kohinoor with them, what are you saying about that India would we like other African countries if British didn't invaded, for your well kind of information India's Economy before invasion was very excellent but British ruined everything.

9 years ago

No English

ram niwas
9 years ago

If ancient India was so advanced that they had nuclear weapons then why did they not know simple thing like writing?.
why did they not leave us a recording of themselves like a dvd?
why don't we find their imprints on nearby planets and the moon?.
why were they restricted to small cities instead of living all over earth?.
I guess its time to cut the BS and accept the history like a rational human.

10 years ago

This documentary was done without consulting a true Indologist....seems quite kiddish. The bottomline is simple (and is what is missing from the BBC documentary) - ancient Indian scientists were saints. Spiritual intelligence is the ultimate intelligence.

mark antony
10 years ago

Thank you Britain, at least you didn't harm Hinduism much. Even though in the beginning you tried but later realizing the greatness and importance of Hinduism you left Hinduism alone. You actually admired and learned a lot from Hinduism that helped you to rule much of the world along with the wealth that you looted from India. That is a secret. But the most important thing is you saved Hinduism from barbarian muslims. India can regain all the material wealth that it has lost due to the looting of the foreigners. Except The Syamanthaka or the kohinoor diamond. that is priceless. India will regain it's lost glory in the coming years.

mark antony
10 years ago

Zeb Baba, Hindus didn't destroy the Buddhist temples. Why should Indians had to do that. The Buddha himself was an Hindu. He was born in the Ikshvaku dynasty which Sri Rama and other great Indians were born. His teachings came from the core of Sanadhana Dharma. India became mostly Buddhist at some point in the past because Ashoka the Great. But Sri Adi Sankara Acharya. travelled throughout India held debates with Budhist monks, convinced them that vedic way of living is great. So almost all Buddhist became the followers of Sanadhana dharma again. It was the muslim invaders destroyed all the great Indian achievements, including the great universities of Thaxashila and Nalanda. India was far superior in culture, knowledges like science that includes all most all the modern science that we know today like maths, physics, chemistry, medicine,astronomy, metallurgy, warfare you name it. And spiritual, astrology, tantra, mantra and that goes on and on. So all of a sudden India fell behind. And under muslim rule India actually fell far far behind over the years as no research happened and the destruction of the the almost entire knowledge. Same happened when the westerners came. But luckily for India that put an end to the heinous islamic rule. Now it's time for India to grow again and to regain it's past glory.

11 years ago

on what basis have you come up with these numbers ? Aren't Americans breaking laws ?

11 years ago

Why do people from India get so excited about making a right turn on red in the US highway transportation system where its allowed? They want to simply run the light (common sense says stop / look and be cautious). If you try explain about the cross traffic having a green and the potential deadly accident your met with a blank stare. Or a phony "Yes, yes" and they keep on trying to kill someone or themselves? I wouldn't have asked, but I've just seen this so consistently.

Ujjwal Kislay
11 years ago

India existed when nothing existed....humanity and civilisation spread from here to all world...we were GREATEST..time changed and we lost all...but cycle of time is complete now..we will gain back our rightful place...and lead humanity.India had kings so great in past they could have won entire world in glimse...but hinduism is about peace,tolerance and very high thinking that westerner never understood...
few commented that india was imperial in SE asia..well guys better take history lesson...hindus never invaded anyone in history ...our knowledgfe spread everywhere through trade only and they learnt and follwed us...and for british rule that it gave something...its absurd...planned propaganda of west started from time of macaulay...they theft all our wealth and are still running on it..otherwise briatain was quite poor...entire europe is having fun from resourses they looted from india,africa and south americans.
Great alexander came winning everywhere but failed to defeat mere Porus who was very weak ruler of india...magadh was 100 time stronger than porus..had alexander moved ahead, he must have met doom better he ran away back...we discoverd mathematics,astrology,medicine science and wrote epic literature when europeans were cavemen and knew nothing else hunting....

Ajay Sabarish
11 years ago

yes indians only taught science maths medicine and martial arts(kalarippayattu) and another astonishing information indians have used nuclear weapons and even more advanced weapons a million years ago(nuclear strategy in ramayana)

11 years ago

India..was also a colonist in Asia..they built Angkor Wat..many buildings in Thailand (which means mother land in TAmil)..much of the languages and literature in South East Asia ..heavily influenced by the Ancient Dravidians of India..

11 years ago

Dear Zen baba,
What exactly are you trying to say ?? That hindus/Indians destroyed buddhist structures, and not the invaders??You are a little unfair in saying that this is xenophobia.
King Harsha was follower of some Hindu gods, and mainly a Buddhist, and this is the golden period of Indian History.Ashoka,his motifs adorn the current indian symbols,be it political or military.

Have you been to Ajanta and ellora,countless other caves and viharas..?? or Jain sites of Shrawan begauda..or Mount Abu..>>?? i guess not. Nothing is destroyed. And there were stupas and caves or monasteries (viharas) for buddhist patronage not temples then.

and when you say there are no buddhist in India,its not due to force, it happened gradually from 700~to 1200 AD..it was for practical and reasons of day to day affairs. The monastic approach,pennance and enlightnment did not fit in the peoples want to work, earn a living,have a family or similar to that. Hinduism in these times had become practical, and straightforward.

and If you study the pattern of muslim conquest you will see the the gradual increase of force from the west , and decline of buddhism.( this is my theory that to uphold their respective empires, a faith was required that could bind. the people.their way of life/culture and their patriotic passion together.and since buddhism/their followers in those times was very peace loving/non violent) [ a parallel can be drawn

see the pattern of destruction of the somnath temple ,and you will noticce how the raiders grew in strength.

People have come to india from around India and far for a long time,be it conquest or migration and its the Indian way of life to accomodate everyone,because once they come they become part of India and its legacy.Kambhojas,huns the Scythians,greeks etc etc

But never before the muslim conquest or english for that matter the indian subcontinent had to live with the religion/way of life originatining very far from the subcontinent and totally different to what existed here at those times.

SO YOUR POINT OF TRYING TO GET A COMPARABLE IN DECLINE OF BUDDHISM with 'unrealistic' xenophobia is totally unjustified.

To stress my total neutral assessment of the whole scenario, I unedrstand History is cruel and unforgiving.To know it and accept it is the only way forward.Maybe you disagree with many things I say, but to conclude I will say....

That the beauty of our country in accomodating many many foreign people, like I mentioned above ,also muslims,parsis, even pportuguese,english or the french. who came for trade conquest or whatever and Making all of them belong to the land not foreigners anymore is ODE to India..

To each his own is our underlying way of thinking.


There are temples mosques stupas,jain temples,churches,(few synagogues),gurudwaras, fire temple,there are gujratis,punjabis,bengolis,nagas,tamils..oh ....

how can we be anything but impressed with this holy union or belief,philosophy expression and life.

I glad to be born in India, if I get a next life, I dont mind being born as hindu muslim ,a tree or even a moth..hope its in India.


Rishikant Brahmpuria
11 years ago

For all those that think britishers helped india with railways postage and new technology look here ----> CHINA , britishers were never here, do they lack the new technologies ?!?!??!
Britishers helped with nothing, they looted india.

Hemant Bansal
12 years ago

One more addition.. .which was used throughout documentary but not mentioned... its soothing music which acts directly on soul. Because music is not materialistic, its comparison and appreciation by all is almost impossible.

12 years ago

The most important things Indians did for us is that even though they were ruled by muslims for over 700yrs they faced atrocities and paid a tax known as Jizya,only hindus were required to pay for it.but they somehow retained their culture and religion otherwise jus imagine we would have 120crs + extra muslims in this world.

The entire Iran became muslim in just 14yrs and egypt in just 3yrs and other host of countries that embraced islam but somehow Indians resisted it

12 years ago

Its unfortunate how people demonize British Rule on India. At least they had left few positive legacies , they were able to wipe out the Barbaric Islam rule. It is nomadic Muslims from Middle East that plundered India,butchered the natives, forcibly converted Hindus to Muslims. I can name a lot of mosques,Dargas and other monuments which were once Hindu temples.
So,its not Britishers that one has to demonize but its the nomadic, barbarious,evil Muslims from harsh Arabian Deserts that raped India.

12 years ago

background music is in nepali

12 years ago

Such a nice documentary.

I just can't help myself from saying "Hate is the evil of everything". No one can deny the fact that British occupied India because of their technology. It was sad that India didn't advance well in that direction.

After visited/lived in many countries, I believe that the true freedom still exists and reasonably enjoyed only in India. Good that no one marked me in number and tracking the number here. I don't think anyone ask my passport anytime soon in streets.

12 years ago

Hey @ Marcus, I gather u are a low on self-esteem frustrated Brit(probably English)! No, India would have been a developed country. India was the richest country in the world before the British invaded India! And what did u leave? One of the poorest countries in the world! U created that infrastructure only to keep ur own colony running smoothly, not for the benefit of Indians! India would have traded with European powers other than British and gradually moved to Western ideals just like what the Japanese empire did! That administrative system u are talking about is the only thing holding back India today! Infact everything which u left is still haunting us today like a pain in the ass- like Pakistan!

12 years ago

Absolutely amazing . It seems he just touched the surface. Just a taste of what India gave us. I will have to look for more .
ps. I'm becoming addicted to this web site . When I go to bed I check my email and watch truly amazing doc's.

12 years ago


I would like to pint out that your views are false, even without the British occupation, India could still have developed through open trade with Portuguese and Dutch. Open competition could have helped a lot. India only got occupied because it had so much that the British planned for 150 years before completely enslaving India.

Coming to the case of Africa, it was not until recently that natural resources were discovered. Africa was occupied in the late 19th and early 20th century. India was already a rich nation by the time of occupation, which makes a lot of difference. The only reason to occupy Africa then was to provide safe ports for trade routes between rich India, Latin America and Europe.

13 years ago

u forgot the kamasutra, the art of making love,

13 years ago

Dennis, To answer your question what would India be like today if not for the British....The answer is simple....The poorest and most ravaged country in the world...Thanks to the British, we came under one flag, one link language through the length and breath of the country not 256 languages and 600 little kingdoms fighting one another. The British gifted India with the railways, The post and telegraph A democratic way of like a good legal and administrative system. The Indian has to thank God for the British if not we would have been like many of the African countries.

13 years ago

It is not "case" system. It is supposed to be "caste" but that word is also another poor vocabulary match to the varna system. The varna system in its basis is a very good and essential system. It has enabled the Indian society to survive beyond the savage rules of the Mughals and the British. However for the past 2000 years especially, the system has been misused by so-called 'higher' varna people by way of ill treating the others. This fact needs to be corrected. That is what is needed now and not abolition of the varna system.

13 years ago

a lot of bad things about the indian culture would still exist e.g the case system(obviously it still exists but it is not as bad as before). all in all if you are in a higher case india would be very pleasant

13 years ago

On reflection of the resent programe What The Ancients Did For Us: Indians. What do you think India would be like today if the British haddent invaded.

13 years ago

loved this documentary and the many many in this amazing site.....thank you so much sir

13 years ago

Hey man, thank you so much! very inspiring!

JC Bennett
13 years ago

This was an enlightening documentary. I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that I have much respect for our ancestors. I always mistakenly thought the Arabics created the concept of zero; 'never knew that the Indians created the water clock, either.
'Such a beautiful, resourceful culture that I believe others took for granted. It's amazing to conceive that, though their brilliance was enough for them (simply to sustain their way of life), it wasn't enough to quell the greed of other imperialist cultures.
Thanks again for sharing this.

JC Bennett
13 years ago

Before I write anything else, I just want to say a big "THANK YOU!" to Vlatko for providing these enriching documentaries. You are truly awesome; I think I speak for all of us who have been lucky enough to find this site when I say your generosity is much appreciated.
Anyway, I love this documentary (so far), but found something pretty funny. Around 6 minutes into it, the older British gentleman tells "a sad story" about the girl who was "never able to marry" (even though she willed it). And yet, he is not wearing a wedding ring and I assume he is not married, either. HA.
Anyway, thanks again. I'll comment once I'm finished picking through the trivial tidbits I notice. ;)

13 years ago

more good knowledge kept out of the "civilized world" by christianity

Milton Babb
13 years ago

Hey, I would like another serving of that please.

jane haydon
13 years ago

Absolutely fascinating! I had no idea India was the real starting place for so much. I love this documentary site, the more I learn, the more I want to know. Wish I had this enthusiasm at school, 59 now and I love learning! Many thanks for this wonderful site.

13 years ago

simple documentary but good
it seems as if the host is doing one of those educative emission for Kid ...with practical example ...
but still that was a good Doc ..

Thanks Vlatko ,you really please the documentary Fans ...

P.s. the Nose surgery was kinda of gross....but did that really work ...hmm~?

13 years ago

"What India did for us": would be better put as: "What our brave explorers took home from India".

13 years ago

This video is very good in its spirit and presentation of sciences in ancient india. The name of the early expert in ayurveda is 'sushruta' and not 'suruta'

13 years ago

Dear sir,

Thanks a lot for the documentary. Its inspiring.


13 years ago

Hi Vlatko. I really admire what you have done. You deserve appreciation more than many. Thanks for your hard work.

Rupal Bodiwala
13 years ago

Wow... This is amazing. Being an indian, after seeing this documentary, i realise i know nothing about India. Thanks. I am all charged up after seeing it.

Atul Bhansali
14 years ago

This is an excellent video describing the feats of ancient India. Not boasting because I'm an Indian, but because they truly are remarkable for their millennia. I must admit I feel proud to be an Indian.

14 years ago

I just wanted to say thanks Vlatko. I found your website with its documentary contribution to the internet the other day. Superb. A really positive contribution :) Caroline