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Science And Technology During Mughal Period

Introduction


Despite the slow pace of development in science and technology, there were some major achievements that took place, such as the introduction of new crops, plants and fruits in India.


Many of these came from Europe, particularly from Portugal. The Mughals also began the cultivation of central Asian fruits in India, from the time of Babur.


  • Tobacco, pineapple, cashew nuts, and potatoes were America's most important crops and fruits. (Tobacco contributed to the spread of huqqa smoking.)


  • Tomatoes, guavas, and red chillies were also imported from outside the country.


  • Maize is not mentioned in Abul Fazl's Ain-i-Akbari, and it indicates that Europeans brought it from South America.


  • Central Asian seeds were used to cultivate several types of melon and grapes near Agra.


During Akbar's rule, cherries were brought to Kashmir, while the Portuguese used grafting to produce high-quality mangoes such as the Alfonso in Goa.


Arms and Metallurgy


The Turkish introduced the stirrup, horseshoe and gunpowder to India. The second half of the 15th century witnessed firearms for the first time in the places such as Gujrat, Malwa and Deccan.


However, firearms were brought into India on a regular basis after 1498 in South India, and by Babur, in the north around 1526 A.D., Babur attacked the Rajputs and Afghans using weapons and cannons.



How these arms were manufactured for the Akbar’s army?


Abul Fazl described how iron cannons and pistol barrels were manufactured for Akbar's army. Bronze, brass, and iron were used to construct cannons.


According to historians zinc metallurgy appears to have begun in India around the 11th century A.D.


There is also a mention of Jawar (modern Zawar) in Rajasthan as a location with zinc.


  • Archaeological investigations at Jawar showed the presence of sealed clay replies used for zinc evaporation, which when concentrated and cooled produced the metal zinc.


  • Copper mines were established in Rajasthan at Khetri.


  • 'Tin' was not produced in the country and had to be imported from other parts of Asia. Also, India has been a great manufacturer of the alloys such as Brass.


Printing


Portuguese arrived in Goa around 1550 A.D. from Europe with European moveable metal types.


Portuguese began publishing religious writings about Christian saints, as well as talks and grammars in the Marathi and Konkani language groups, although in Roman character rather than Devanagari script.



Astronomy


In the 16th & 17th centuries, Islamic and Indian astronomy developed a combination in which Islamic observing skills and equipment were combined with Indian techniques.

While theoretical astronomy appears to have received little attention, Mughal scientists made significant improvements in observational astronomy and created almost a hundred Zij treatises.


A zij is an Islamic astronomical book that lists parameters for calculating the positions of the Sun, Moon, stars, and planets using astronomical calculations.

Instruments and observational techniques employed in Mughal observatories were mostly borrowed from Islamic culture. Humayun constructed a private observatory near Delhi.


The continuous celestial globe, in particular, is one of the most outstanding astronomical tools developed in Mughal India.


Chemistry


Sake Dean Mahomed had studied a great deal of Mughal Chemistry and was familiar with the processes used to make various alkaline solutions and soaps used in the manufacture of shampoo.


He was also a noted writer who smartly described the Mughal Emperor Shah Alam II and the towns of Allahabad and Delhi, as well as the Mughal Empire's glory.


Sake Dean Mahomed was assigned as King George IV and King William IV's shampooing surgeon.




Waterworks


During the reign of the final Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah II, a group of outstanding young engineers rebuilt and developed an irrigation system.


Irrigation Systems


Babur, the first Mughal Emperor, is known to have financed the building of irrigation systems for gardens and orchards, as well as ablution pools for his troops.


Akbar (Babur's grandson), constructed huge waterworks in his capital at Fatehpur Sikri, including a dam with thirteen gates that generated a small artificial lake each year during the monsoon season.


Water was brought into Fatehpur Sikri using massive mechanical devices known as the Persian waterwheel and Sakias.


Akbar's engineers continuously carried water from the lake into the city in various phases. Due to gravity water was directed downward through a complicated network of canals, lakes, and reservoirs.


Akbar was forced to shift his capital to Lahore due to water shortage and lengthy drought.


Shah Jahan


The Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan favoured the excavation of wells and the construction of river banks for irrigation.


He also ordered the building of two important canals: Nahr-i-Faiz and Shah Nahr, which took water from the Yamuna and distributed it to various irrigated rice fields. During his rule, Agra earned the nickname "The Waterfront Garden City" because of the luxury it offered to its 700,000 citizens.


Mughal Emperors were renowned for equipping irrigation systems in order to expand the quantity of farmed irrigated land, which resulted in greater crop yields and increased the empire's net revenue base.




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