UPDATE: I've updated the title of the question from
Why did India lag behind in discovering Maths and Science? to
Why did India miss the Great Revolution in Maths and Science? after some of the answers and comments provided.
NOTE: This question lies more in the "discussion" category rather than an "objective answer" category. But bear with me. I am asking this here because I want an objective answer. Or at least some reference to some research paper which answers this question.
The Question is simply this:
India had a lot of time in her hands. They, alongwith Greece, developed a mature Philosophy in the times of BC. Everything went well for a good thousand after that (i.e. till 1000 AD). India lived a peaceful Golden age during this time where no philosophy was violently suppressed.
Enter West. They went through Dark age for those good 1000 years. But as soon as they recovered from the Dark age, they started discovering a good deal of Maths and Science in just a couple of centuries.
Now, some would argue that various crucial Maths/Science was also discovered before those times, like the contributions of Pythagoras (Greece) or Brahmagupta(India). Sure, they were good contributions but what I am talking here about is that advanced Maths which revolutionized the whole scenario. Calculus would be one such revolutionary candidate, apart from others.
PS: This question is not meant to incite any debate or hurt anyone. This is a sincere academic question.
A Few Reasons Upfront
We came up with a few answers which I would like to mention upfront:
- India was always a very rich and content country, while Europe had to suffer through a lot. So, probably while India laid back, Europe HAD to discover and invent things.
- India always hanged on to its religion and culture. While Europe was almost completely devastated by "The Plague" which lowered the faith of people on Church, nothing as devastating for the Indian religions/culture happened in India. After the Plague, the Science of Reason and Logic (which was already present in Europe but suppressed) rose above the Church.
- Maybe there was some small but very crucial discovery which changed everything. Had it not happened, things would have been different. After that discovery, everything escalated pretty quickly in the West while Indian laid back.
- The Westerners are a superior race. (I am mentioning this reason purely for the sake of mentioning all the possible options. No intention to incite any debate or hurt anyone. FYI, I am an Indian.)
- In his book "The Shape of Ancient Thought", Mcevilley says that both Greek and Indian philosophies developed together and enriched each other. And both had the same amount of rationalities and irrationalities. However, there was one crucial difference: While Indian philosophies had rationality in them, they never quite cracked the code of Logic and Deduction. So, maybe this caused major difference in thinking processes of the Indians and the Westerners.
- The famous Nalanda university was decimated completely and with it, perhaps, all the knowledge was gone. Several other instances also happened in India where various Mulsim invaders devastated various knowledge centers.
- The West had an expansionist outlook, approach or way of life. They wanted to conquer, expand and enforce themselves. This demanded desperately innovations in technology. While India never had any such approach.