Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wondering about the ancients - nine planets, flying chariots and WMDs

Yesterday my daughter was complaining about her boring history classes and asking me tips on how to remember dates and names. She was also wondering why we have to learn about history in the first place.

"What is the use of learning about people that passed away and events that happened long time ago?"

I was explaining to her, that we need to learn from history so that we do not make the same mistakes again and also to learn from things that went right. I also told her that I was in our school and University Quiz teams and was an extra reason I had an interest in memorising the details of things that happened in the past.

However, today morning I was pondering about our conversation while reading an article about ancient Indian. Thousands of years ago, the ancient Indians believed that there were nine planets and even worshiped them as Demi Gods. I even wear a pendant given by my Mum which is called Nav-Ratan in Hindi (9 Jewels) and Graha Mapan in Manipuri, which represents the 9 planets.

We know this to be a fact today and even there were some debate on whether there was a 10th planet and the removal of Pluto from the list of planets for a while.

The question that bristled in my brain was how these ancient people knew there were 9 planets when there is no evidence that they had telescopes.

Or were there advanced civilizations which had access to telescopes and other scientific equipment  and I then think about all the ancient Hindu epics with their flying chariots and weapons of mass destruction and wonder whether these were actually faced on facts.

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