The following points highlight the top four sciences that developed in India during the medieval age. The sciences are: 1. Medical Science 2. Astronomy 3. Mathematics 4. Physics and Chemistry.
1. Medical Science:
Medical Science was given sufficient attention during the Medieval times and a number of works were produced by eminent physicians of Medieval times like Maulana Badar-ud-Din Sadar-ud-Din and Aziz-ud-Din. The other prominent Vaidas and Physicians of the period were Machendra and Jog.
Barni has provided us a long list of the Physicians and Astronomers of the period in this famous book Tarikh-i-Firoz Shahi. During the Sultanate period a number of works of this period include Tiba a- Firoz Shahi, and Majmua-i-Jiai, which was based on Indian and Arabic sources. The latter work was completed during the times of Mohammad Tughlaq in 1329.
The Muslim rulers also showed great interest in animal diseases. Firoz Shah particularly showed great interest in this regard and wrote a book entitled ‘Shikarnama-a-Firoz Shahi’. During the times of Akbar, Sheikh Bhima specialised in the treatment of elephants.
The Physicians of the period fully utilised the information contained in ancient works like Gai Shashtra and Salihntra. The Chief Minister of Sikandar Lodi rendered a great service to the Medical Science by getting the famous work Tibi-Sikandri,a work on Medical Science, compiled.
Another important work on this subject was Mohammad Mumin Husain’s famous book Tuhaphatal-Mumeni which was considered a standard work of Medical Science till the end of the 17th century.
We get sufficient evidence from different sources regarding the presence of a number of prominent Physicians and Medical Scientists. Some of these specialised in operations and could make artificial limbs. Elphinston says that like their medicines, their operation techniques were also well known particularly when they were fully ignorant of the system of body.
He says that the Surgeons of the time could perform at least one hundred and seventeen types of operations.
Astronomy was also given great encouragement. This Science was particularly useful for determining the time, preparation of the Janamkundli and determining the auspicious occasion for the performance of certain ceremonies.
Certain Sanskrit works of Astronomy and Astrology were translated into Persian such as Daleel-i-Firoz. Sultan Firoz Tughlaq took keen interest in this Science and constructed certain observatories at Delhi. The Brahmins particularly specialised in the Science of Astronomy and Astrology.
They were so apt that they could provide the information regarding the exact timings of the Lunar and Solar Eclipse. One of the prominent Astronomer of Shah Jahan was Mulla Farid Manajam. He prepared a table of the various Planets and named it as Zich-i-Shahjahani.
A valuable service was rendered to the Science of Astronomy by Raja Sawai Jai Singh. He built observatories at Delhi, Jaipur, Mathura, Ujjain and Varanasi. He was himself a great Astronomer and wrote a monumental work on the principles of Astronomy entitled Giz-i-jadid-i Muhamad Shahi. Another important work of Astronomy produced during the Medieval times was Siddhanta Tattva Viveka of Kamala-Kara. This work, according to MacDonnell though based on Perso-Arabic Astronomy is essentially based on Surya Sidhanta and Bhaskra.
Mathematics, the science which was closely connected with Astronomy, also progressed a great deal during the Medieval times. It was a compulsory subject of education in the Madrasas. Hindus attached special attention to the study of this subject In view of their expertness in this subject, the Hindus have been described by the foreign visitors as a community of Mathematicians in fact, the European Scholars were greatly impressed by the knowledge of the Hindus in solving the most complicated mathematical problems orally.
Some of the prominent works of Mathematics produced during the Medieval times include Ganitsar by Sridhar and Lilavati and Sidhanta-Siromani by the famous 12th century writer Bhaskracharya. Later on Lilawati was translated into Persian by Faizi. One of the prominent Muslim scholars who wrote book on Mathematics was Bahauddin Amuli. He wrote, Khulstul-hisab. Certain books of Mathematics were also written in Sanskrit language. Two important works written in this language during the Medieval period were Pandit Narayan’s Ganita-Pali Komudi and Nain Sakha’s Ukarthya Granth. In the field of geometry also writers like Muhammad Hasim and Maulvi Muhammad Barkat made valuable contributions. Both these writers wrote two separate books with the common title Shai-i-Ukledas.
4. Physics and Chemistry:
Physics and Chemistry were also studied during the Medieval times, though they were considered a part and parcel of Mathematics. Certain Scientists knew about the various metals and their chemical contents.
In addition to the production of certain works of Physics and Chemistry in Sanskrit language like Ras Ratan-Samucha and Ras Rajlakshmi, an important work was also produced in Persian language which is entitled Hikmit- ul-Baliga.
The Science of Meteorology was also known to the people during the Medieval times. The Hindus specialised in this science and they could make predictions about the possibilities of storms and bad weather with sufficient accuracy.