(Last Updated on : 03/11/2014)
Science as a word and as a subject has been quite a household name in Indian scenario since the remote past. With gifted men trying to establish a cosmological connection between earth and other bodies in the solar system, scientific developments were driven home majestically. Yet some constraints did always remain in the path to shine. With several battles and change of dynasties prior to British arrival, India was suffering in a terrible lack of proper infrastructure, as far as science was concerned. Though the elite class did exist, yet a widening gap existed between the elite educated and the common plebeian. This basic educational drawback was bridged to some extent by British administration. Their primary source of wide-acceptance was intelligence, followed by money and power. Hence, science and its sub-topics were keenly looked into to render an all-round development. In order to methodically channelise such scientific developments, British administrators roped in English scholars, scientists, scholars as well as men to go through detailed research work. Schools and societies were established under passing of definitive acts. Subjects including Geology, Geography, Medicine, Zoology and the like were grounded triumphantly. Hence, one can easily reckon the amount of scientific development during British regime, which later tremendously supported in the various Indian scientific researches.
Developments in Medicine under British India particularly can be traced from the later half of the 18th century, when smallpox was given primary importance as a deadly disease that needed immediate cure. In order to accomplish this, scientists and researchers were brought down from England and medical services were established. Hospitals and other institutions for infective diseases were also founded, after complete training from medical schools. The presidency towns were chosen as the primary targets for such exhaustive programmes.
Developments in Geography under British India can be traced from the second half of the 18th century, with British people arriving in ships to chart India into an authentic Atlas. In fact, mapping India and giving it a permanent place in world Atlas was a primary work taken up. Additional works in construction of roads, improving irrigational facilities and making detailed surveys of the countryside came in to a daily agenda. The vast territories of India, including mountains, deserts, sea, valleys, plain lands or plateaus were wholly charted out to make geography a household name in British India.
Developments in Mathematics in British India happened to additional extents, with luminous ancestors already paving the way for this science of calculation. Though mathematics was intertwined with religious prejudices, yet, it did come out as a successful topic of research and development. British assistance of thesis papers also came to much use.
Developments in Zoology under British India began in the later half of the 18th century, with slow identifications of animal specimens from different atmospheric zones. Several animals including amphibian, reptilian, aerial or land species gradually came into light. Forests did much to give such knowledge, rendering numerous study papers being published every year. In fact, it is solely for the diverse difference in climatic, weather and height conditions in India that zoology could be studied so well.
Developments in Geology in British India happened from the late years of 18th century, continuing till late in the 20th century, exhaustively as it was done. The phases were marked with distinctness in every sphere of work, from identifying fossils, or rocks, developing mineralogical or trigonometrical surveys. Soils were identified for perfect suiting of agriculture. The Geoglical Survey of India did much to produce study papers, or works related to geology and its associates. Oil resources were another arena which came under the findings in geology, making way for future mines.
Developments in Botany in British India started its significant journey in the second half of 18th century, continuing till the middle of 20th century. Such subjects that need extensive surveys and explorations were brilliantly carried on by British brains, supported by the Indian thinkers. These expeditions led from exploring forests to identify plant specimens, to climbing hills in search of plants.
Astronomical developments in 19th century British India initiated pretty late in the mid-terms, with certain stray incidents of native opposition in the beginning. However, observatories were being built in every major city, to keep a check on other solar system planets to sun, moon and stars. In the process celestial discoveries were made, making the common man knowledgeable to the outer universe. Light was also shed on bringing in sophisticated instruments and tools to implement astronomical happenings in study curriculum in the institutions established.
Developments in Forestry under British India first began its action in the mid-19th century, carrying on its production late into the 20th century. The foremost betterment that did happen under British regime was the introduction of Indian Forest Service to recruit men into the study of forests and its conservation. Plants were planted accordingly, to restore and refurbish forest tracts; afforestation was encouraged, in addition to concentrating specific areas for specific plant according to region. India being a forest rich country, British scholars entertained ample opportunity and scope to conserve forest and render them wholly developed.