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Decline of India

There was a time in the history of India when scientific and technological innovation flourish. This golden era of science ended by the end of the 6th century A.D. Ancient India attracted many invaders, rulers and nations because of the wealth and fame. Some went back, some stayed and some become rulers. But the decline of the glory is not only caused by invaders but also by divisions within the society.

India enjoyed relative peace from the beginning of the Maurya Empire (321 B.C – 184 B.C) to end of Gupta Empire (240 A.D. – 550 A.D.). The time of the Gupta Empire is referred to as Golden Age of India in science, mathematics, astronomy, religion and Indian philosophy. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Gupta’s enabled the pursuit of scientific and artistic endeavors. The invaders from northwest (Hunas) drained empire's resources and decline of India began.

The caste system which stratify the society into hierarchical list of Jatis or caste and sub caste also contributed to the decline of India. According to the ancient Hindu scriptures, there are four "varnas". The Gita says that one's Varna is to be understood from one's personal qualities and one's karma (work), not one's birth. Manusmriti (dated between 200 B.C.E. and 100 A.D) and some other Shastras mention four varnas: the Brahmins (teachers, scholars and priests), the Kshatriyas (kings and warriors), the Vaishyas (traders), and Shudras (agriculturists, service providers, and some artisan groups). Offspring of different varnas belong to different Jatis.

But the caste system become rigid and caste began to be inherited rather than acquired by merit. In the past, members of different castes would not partake in various activities, such as dining and religious gatherings, together. In addition, the performance of religious rites and rituals were restricted to Brahmins, who were the designated priesthood. The society was made to believe that those people who do not work with their hands are more civilized, sophisticated, cultured, noble, and dignified and have attained that position because of the good deeds they had done in the past lives.

So the caste system denies education to those who do the real work. All niceties of life, wealth, comfort, and prosperity was concentrated in the hands of three varnas. All the productive work become the responsibility of the Shudras and they are denied chance to read, write or worship. Formal education was confined to study of Vedas alone, in schools meant only for Brahmins and they propagated that there was no knowledge outside Vedas. Children of Vaishyas learned basics of business geography and arithmetic from fathers needed for business, and sons of Shudras learned craftsmen from their parents. A system where freedom of thought and actions are restricted, there is no chance for innovation or progress.