Three narratives on science and technology (S&T) in China are prevalent today in scholarship and policy circles. Firstly, while China invented the printing press, paper-making, gunpowder and compass (the Four Great Inventions—sida faming) in the ancient times not excluding the Grand Canal or the Great Wall and other grand engineering projects, soon it was relegated to the background since the 15th century as western European countries marched with the ongoing scientific revolutions.
Mathura is a miracle in itself. In its imperial past, it was a scene of high civilization, a centre of attraction for far-flung peoples. It remains a magnet; scores of visitors continue to flock there, drawn now not by temporal glory but by the magic of the Krishna legend.
Few rulers have been so maligned and misrepresented as Tipu Sultan, the Tiger of Mysore, who has generally been pictured as an ‘intolerant bigot’ or ‘the furious fanatic’—and consigned to the category of monsters. Generations of readers have accepted this view of the contemporary Englishman, writing with a sense of moral superiority over the so-called barbarian.
The rise of China and India in the post-Cold War global power configuration is now universally accepted. What is less well known is back in the eighteenth century, these Asian giants accounted for nearly one half of the global manufacturing output. A potential reversal to that era is beginning to unfold.