July24 , 2024

Transmission of Scientific Knowledge from Tamizhagam to Europe


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Written by K.V. Ramakrishna Rao   

About the transmission of mathematical and astronomical Science from South India, particularly from Kerala, studies have been already conducted and published by C. K. Raju, George Ghevergheese Joseph, Denis F. Almeida, and the Aryabhata Group of University of Exeter1. Though, Prof. D. S. V. Subba Reddy2 has pointed out the European interest and their books on Indian medicine, he stopped short with appreciating interest shown by them. However, about the transmission of scientific knowledge and/or manuscripts from Tamizhagam, it appears no study has been so far. The study of Jesuit writings reveal interesting details that such transmission had taken place during 1600 to 1850 period and even beyond. The study of events at Tranquebar, Pondicherry and Madurai provides wealth of such information.


The Transmission of Scientific Knowledge from Tamizhagam to Europe

(15th to 20th centuries)


K. V. Ramakrishna Rao



About the transmission of mathematical and astronomical Science from South India, particularly from Kerala, studies have been already conducted and published by C. K. Raju, George Ghevergheese Joseph, Denis F. Almeida, and the Aryabhata Group of University of Exeter1. Though, Prof. D. S. V. Subba Reddy2 has pointed out the European interest and their books on Indian medicine, he stopped short with appreciating interest shown by them. However, about the transmission of scientific knowledge and/or manuscripts from Tamizhagam, it appears no study has been so far. The study of Jesuit writings reveal interesting details that such transmission had taken place during 1600 to 1850 period and even beyond. The study of events at Tranquebar, Pondicherry and Madurai provides wealth of such information.


Many times, the masquerade of the Jesuits has to be removed to find out their scientific pursuits (piercing the corporate veil to understand a company). The author has already presented and published some papers about Saltpetre3, the scientific pursuits of Robert de Nobili4 and Le de Gentil5, the interest of European Scientists in India6, etc. That even the British adopted such methods under the guise of scientific survey is interesting to study their motive7. The cross-reference of Tamil Siddha books correlates corroborate and gives ample evidence for such transmission taking place. The Tamil Siddha works – a compilation popularly known as “Periya Gnanak Kovai” and as well as individual works have been consulted8 for this purpose.


South India up to 18th Century:


From 10th century onwards (with due respect to the Pallavas), South India excelled in scientific and technological activities. Indian shipping, astronomy, chemical, textiles and food processing, architecture and other fields attained status. They in turn encouraged other industries and businesses. The Indian traders and businessmen had been common in many countries. The Cholas were reigning supreme during 10th to 14th centuries. During Vijayanagara period (14th to 16th centuries), everything was at peak followed by the Nayaks. The visiting Europeans (including Jesuits)9 were stunned at multi-storied buildings, gardens, dams and water reservoirs, the shipping activities, metal technology and above all, the time bound activities of the people. They could not understand the time reckoning methods of Indians, as the Europeans were struggling with corresponding activities involving calendar, longitude problem, compass and time reckoning. Here come the Jesuits and missionaries, their colleagues and contemporaries.


Europe during the material period:


During the same period, the European countries were faced with all problems, frequent wars, famines, diseases and above all religious fanaticism interfering with every walk of life. The imports from India and East Indies were as follows:











The so-called revolutions took place changing the face of Europe -The American Revolution (1776-1783), the French Revolution (1789-1791), and the Industrial Revolution (1750-1850). Within hundred years, surprisingly, Europe began to discovering and inventing everything all of sudden, when they were plaguing with diseases, reeling under religious persecution and suffering from economic conditions. Definitely, the European companies and the Jesuits gained much from India. As the ships had to sail around India from west to eastern parts, the coastal areas became strategic and hence, the European companies were fighting with each others for domination. The oppressed and suppressed scientists got wisdom through Indian books. The Protestant England and Germany, thus opposed Catholic Portuguese and French. In any case, they were united in India as far as opposing heathen Hindus in all aspects.


The Prelude to the Scientific Quest of Europeans in India:


Portuguese Physician Garcia d’Orta (1501-1568), Finnish Botanist L’Ecluse, Christovas da Casta, Dutch scholar Henrick Adrian Van Reede (1637-1691), Johann Ernest Grundler (1677-1720), Charles Clusius, Linchoten (16th century), Poludanus (explaining the writing of Linchoten) and others had studied Siddha medicine and sent voluminous palm-leaf books to Europe. Rheede when landed in Kerala was surprised to witness a great botanical garden there. In India, such gardens have been part of temples (Nanda Vanam) and Hospitals (Muligaip Pannai). Interestingly, in his case, the modus operandi found is that he got written statements from the Indian doctors to that effect that as per the directions of him, they provided the medical data, information, books, samples and formulations. Three statements are reproduced below10:

“On the tenth of the black fortnight of Chaitra month and Rakshasa year of Salivahana saka 1597, on a camp at Cochin, we Rangabhatta, Vinayak Pandit and Appu Bhatta (Eye Physician) write the following testimony of truth so that no one should treat this as false. On a message from Adrikin Fondre, Commander of Cochin, we collected herbs, flowers, fruits which are used for medicine from this Malabar Desha through a person who was paid for it and who was specialized in discriminating medicinal plants. This material was collected in the various seasons when they are grown. Then on, all the herbs, fruits, flowers etc., were painted. Later on we testified and tallied this material with the descriptions in the Materia Medica which we had brought along with us. We then described these herbs, their effects etc., of which we had experimental knowledge. For the last two years both in mornings and evenings we are doing this. Whatever is written over here should not be treated as false hence we are attesting our signatures below”.

Ranga Bhatta

Vinayak Pandit

Apu Dev

Written and signed in Marathi


“By the order of Commander Hendrik Van Rheede, I, a Malabar Physician of the Ezhava caste, born in Kollad house at Kadakkarapally in Karapuram village came to the Cochin Fort and dictated as already agreed, the details of the trees, shrubs, creepers and grasses in Kerala providing with diagrams, and the medicinal treatment with them, from the practical experiences as well as the erudition from our precious old books, to Manuel Carner, the official translator of the Company, so as to record them in books, after clearing the doubts, in such manner that no learned men of this field in Kerala could find fault with it and for this it is written in Cochin Fort on 20th April, 1675″.


Written and signed in Kolaluthu script of Malayalam


“By the order of the Commamner Henrika Van Rheede, I Manuel Carner, born, married and put up in Cochin, working as the official translator of the Company at Cochin Fort, wrote down in books in Malayalam and Portuguese languages separately, the details, virtues and uses of (medicinal) trees, shrubs, creepers and grasses in Kerala and their flowers, fruits, seeds, roots and essences etc, being dictated by a Malabar Physician, Kolladan, belonging to Ezhava caste, born in Karapuram village, according to my previous agreement. Thus the work is completed after clearing all doubts and mistakes and for this agreement my signature in this writings in Cochin Fort on the day, the 19th April, 1675″.

Manuel Carner

Written and signed in Grantha Lipi of Malayalam


Thus, the statements (which are amply self-explanatory in all aspects) have been direct evidence as to how the European doctors acquired Hindu medicine directly, rather extracted. The same modus operandi must have been followed by all other doctors, engineers, chemists, etc., of all categories either Jesuits or Protestants. At least, their letter correspondence exposes such transaction taken place, shown in the context below.


•1.       Tranquebar – The Fortified Scientific Research Centre for Europeans:


The account of foreigners on Tranquebar differs in many aspects, as they evidently want to suppress many facts. Even the recently brought out books have been reflecting same trend11. They only delve on the religious, theological and church planting and growth activities giving statistical details,12 keeping silence on the scientific pursuits undertaken by the Jesuits or the visit of scientists, doctors, botanists, surgeons, chemists, engineers, astronomers etc, to India, and in particular to Tranquebar, Pondicherry and Madurai. There the Europeans worked together in getting all data and information of Indian arts and sciences. The medical doctors and surgeons reportedly mentioned as “taking special interest in botany”, worked under or with “famous Botanist Linnaeus” and so on. The activities of these “Botanist-Doctors” and “Jesuit-Botanists” are interesting for study, as they also formed a society “The United Brothers”. They are discussed as follows leaving the details of much-popular-missionary activities:


•§         Parthalomius Ziegenbalg (1683-1719): Ziegenbalg was the first Danish to start collect such data and information on Indian arts and sciences, which includes original palm-leaf books and his writings. List of herbs, aromatic plants, etc., including Plant Lexicon had been favorite collection. In one of his writings, he describes 32 types of musical instruments sitting in Tranquebar learning Tamil. When he went to Europe in 1715, he took many of his collections to the envy of the company directors. After marrying, he went to England, met King George I and appraised his activities. However, the Directors of the mission accused him of marrying, spending too much money and staying in place for long. After his death, many palm-leaf books were taken to Halle-foundation13. They include the following:


•               i.      Books on astronomy and astrology – One book numbered TAM 79, 123 reportedly containing nine planets, twelve zodiacs and twenty seven star families.

•              ii.      A book of Anatomy (not listed in the on-line catalogue of Danish Halle Mission).

•            iii.      Many books on Siddha medicines, classification of herbs / plants, samples etc. (not listed).

•            iv.      Though, Sivavakkiyar had been famous in his theological writings, none of his works listed.

•             v.      Many books – Atticcudi, Kondrai Vendan, Nidhi nul, etc., of Avvaiyar.

•            vi.      Books authored by Pillaip Perumal Iyengar, Pattinattup Pillaiyar, Guru Namaccivayar, Ulaganatha Pandithar, Honganer (may be Konganar), Ganapathy Pandithar.

•          vii.      Of course, there are polemic works between Catholics and Protestants like Veda Vilakkam, and many tracts issued by one group against the other.


He must have procured these works through his Hindu contacts there like Vairaventa Guru, Pancaccara Guru, Mapillai Guru, Sena Sastri, Minakshi Sastri, Citampara Sastri and Mokampara Sastri. Other close associates were 70 years old Tamil teacher (name not mentioned), Alappan / Azhagappan (the Company Dubash), Ganpathy Upadhyata (1670-1710), his father – a Pandit (name not mentioned), Arumugam / Aaron etc. Thus, the Danish had created a gang of contacts for the purpose.


•§         Heinrich Plutschau (c.1678-1747): He went to Denmark along with Zeigenbalg in 1710, but did not return. He took all of his collections at that time. That his explicit religious interests had even gone to the extent of threatening Johan Sigismund Hassius (1664-1729), the Governor of Tranquebar. Danish Governor proves the crucial role played. That he was not returned from Denmark in 1716 along with Ziegenbalg is intriguing. When Hassius jailed Ziegenbalg, he was running the show at Tranquebar. Perhaps, he accompanied Ziegenbalg as a watchdog.


•§         John Fryer (c.1650-1733): As a skilful and experienced artist, he came to India and Iran to conduct research on Indian medicine and as well as a sort of scientific espionage from 1673 to 1681. Directed by the EIC, he collected Indian medicinal plants, herbs, seeds etc., and returned to England in 1682. He obtained a MD in 1683 from Cambridge and was elected to the Royal Society in 1697 and remained there till 1707. In his correspondence, he records that a Dr. NG (from India) sent an account of the manufacture of ghee (clarified butter) to the Royal Society (Elgod 1951: 397).


•§         Samuel Brown: Directed by the EIC, he collected Indian medicinal plants, herbs, seeds etc., to England. He was having correspondence with James Petiver. The work, “An account of some Indian plants etc. with their names, descriptions and virtues“; communicated in a letter from Mr. James Petiver…to Mr. Samuel Brown, surgeon at Fort St. George, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London, 1698 proves the fact.


•§         James Petiver (1663-1718): Though, he was a London apothecary (a historical name for a medical practitioner who formulates and dispenses materia medica to physicians, surgeons and patients), it is surprising that he should work in collecting botanical samples, specimens, seeds and much other material from correspondents in the American and British colonies from India. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society as well as London’s informal Temple Coffee House Botany Club, famous for his study of botany and entomology. Petiver received many samples plants from the India-sojourned physicians, doctors and missionaries, and his collection formed for the Royal Society14.


•§         Samuel Benjamin Cnoll (1705-1767): A medical doctor educated in Halle and employed in Royal Danish Mission, Tranquebar from about 1732 until his death in 1767. He supervised the hospital from the 1740s, and in 1753, published an article on the Indian preparation of Borax in the Danish Journal15 Acta Medica Hafniensis. He served for 35 years contacting many Siddha doctors, collecting their works, gathering samples and creating a Botanical garden there, which was used by his successors for further research.


•§         “The United Brothers” (1768-1848): It was formed mainly to study Indian Siddha medicine system, collect samples and formulations.  The members include Heyne, Klien, Rottler, Fleming, Anderson, Berry, John, Roxburgh, Buchanan (later Buchnan-Hamilton), William Jones etc. The members collected such items and sent them to Botanists of established reputation in Europe16. Many plants of Indian origins came thus be described by Retz, Roth, Schrader, Wildenow, Vahl and Smith. The French at Pondicherry also did not lag behind. Sonnerset and other Botanists from Pondicherry sent large collections of plants to Paris, and these were followed by the collections of Leschenhault and they were studied by Lamarck and Poiret. In 1788, the Tranquebar Society was formed just like the British Asiatic Society in Calcutta. It had members of naturalists, orientalists, linguists and historians from the Danish colonies and the mother country, including missionaries.


•§         Johan Gerhard Koenig (1728-1785): He succeeded Cnoll. Ralph records that modern Botany first gained a foothold in India through him, at Tranquebar. Though he was a missionary surgeon, he studied botany under famous Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707-78). T. L. S. Folly served under him in Copenhagen. As Koenig had other interests, he started working for the Nawab of Arcot also. He started his “medical voyage” to “discover” different disease-curing plants and herbs with the help of Indian doctors covering the areas from “the mountains north to Madras and to Ceylon” and published his findings in a Danish Scientific Journal17. In 1778, he was transferred to EIC undertaking several scientific journeys and working with notable scientists like William Roxburgh till his death in 1785. Thus, he worked for 17 years.


•§         Christoph Samuel John (1747-1813): He was a missionary succeeding Koenig in 1771 and continued his work with inspiration. As had been instructed by Koenig suitably about his activities, he immediately, started his work of collection of samples, preservation, packing and forwarding to William Roxburgh. Interestingly, he provides economical uses of Indian derivatives and extracts of Bassia Butyracea (Polyandria Monogynia), Bassia longifolia (Illeepei oil) etc., as been recorded by Roxburgh18. He took special interest in Indian fish. Employing Indian professional painters, he collected many figures, samples in jars and books, to Prof. Marcus Eliezer Bloch at Berlin19. Based on the data and information received from India, he published 12 volumes on the natural history of fish. He also helped another Prof. Jogann Reicnhold Forster at Halle20, who was interested in snakes, snake bites and antidotes prescribed by Brahmins. Based on the questionnaire sent by Forster, John sent back in 1792 with full details and samples. While he was discussing with Brahmins, he came to know about “Palakarai prediction” and accompanied cakras with mathematical tables used for such prediction. So he started collecting different types of cowries/shells with figures and books. Working for 42 yeas, he died in 1813 in Tranquebar.


•§         Johan Peter Rottler (1749-1836): He was another missionary to arrive at Tranquebar colony in 1776. His interest in botany had been so vigorous that he made “botanical excursion” around the “Tranquebar countryside and as far away as Ceylon” to collect Indian Medicinal books, formulations, drugs and medicines. He published descriptions of new species in European journals, verified the names of plants collected by two other members of the mission – Johann Klien and Benjamin Heyne. He served in Tranquebar till 1803 and then moved to Madras working for Madras Mission and died in 1836. Thus, he worked for 60 years in Tamizhagam, collected more than 2000 plants and sent them to Europe21. All the three – John, Klein and Rottler got Doctorates for their field work.


•§         Gottfried Klein (1766-1818): Interestingly, he was born in Tranquebar itself. However, he went to Europe for studies and returned to Tranquebar as a doctor in 1791. He got the medical title in 1795 by submitting a dissertation concerning ‘The Treatment of Venereal Disease by Indian Doctors‘. Thus, between 1791 and 1795, he must have done research on the subject matter. As his date of leaving India is not found in the records (by the author), he must have observed such cases, where Indian doctors cured the affected. He would have met Indian doctors, discussed and tried to get information from them. As the Indian doctors did not reveal the details, he must have started preparing medicines with herbs. Thus, staying at Tranquebar, he wandered covering many places and collecting many samples of plants, herbs and seeds to find out their medicinal value. That his samples reached Royal Asiatic Society immediately and Dr. William Roxburgh could write an article in Asiatic Researches22 proves the way in which they worked meticulously. Thus, he was born, worked and died in Tranquebar.


•§         Benjamin Heyne (1770-1819): After arriving Tranquebar in 1792, he worked with the Moravian brothers in charge of the pepper and cinnamon plantations in 1793 and then in Samalcottah23. As he could not meet his both ends, John recommended his best friend William Roxburgh to employ Heyne in EIC. In 1794, he acted as EIC’s botanist in the absence of Roxburgh at Madras. In 1799, he was appointed as an Assistant surgeon in the Madras Medical Establishment. Hayne became the EIC’s Naturalist and Botanist in the Madras Presidency in 1802. He went to Europe in 1812 via Sumatra with his collection. Returning to Madras in 1815, he started his work as a member of the Linnean Society and Gesellschaft Naturforschener Freunde Berlin. He employed Indian collectors and draughtsmen.


•§         Nathaniel Wallich (1786-1854): He was the best known Danish scientist to come to India, but he worked in Calcutta with EIC. He became the Superintendent of the Oriental Museum of the Asiatic Society, and later that of EIC’s Botanical Garden both at Calcutta. He prepared a catalogue for Botanical specimens to the extent of 20,000 classifying them24.


•§         Theodor Ludvig Frederich Folly25 (c.1740-1803): He came to Tranquebar to study Siddha medicine and its intricacies. He was commenting on the works of William Roxburgh.



T. L. F. Folly’s Interaction with Indian Doctors:


Folly also appeared to have played double-game in interacting with Indian doctors. He considered Indian Malabar / Tamil doctors as:

  • ¨ Highly Superstitious imbibed with religious doctrines.
  • ¨ Quacks, fake-doctors or not at all doctors.
  • ¨ Had little knowledge of Medicine
  • ¨ Knew no surgery


If that was the case, it is not known as to why he was so eager to find out their precise textual sources for their metallic drugs, possibly in order to find a better treatment for venereal diseases (particularly syphilis). In spite of such an opinion, a recent researcher says that he was always in search of their medical books.


Folly’s Enquiry into Siddha and Siddha Medicines:


The discussion, he had with Indian doctors is based on his note dated May 12, 1799. The two doctors came to him were father and son. Two Malabar Doctors were there to translate. Thus, it is evident that the meeting was arranged as per the requirement of Folly’s research. The discussion reveals the following facts:

•§         The Malabar-doctors (Doctors of Tamizhagam) were using mercury extensively for their preparations and it was coming from Madurai, Ramanadhapuram and other places in the interior of the country.

•§         First, he enquired about the mercury preparations.

•§         They explained the preparation of such a medicine in the form of pills which could be used for treating all venereal diseases.

•§         When he asked about the symptoms while taking such preparation, they explained that there might be wound formation in the patients’ mouth, but still he should take pills for 7 days and then stop.

•§         To cure the mouth sore, they explained that the mouth would be washed with boiled milk and malva leaves (mallow, Tutti). A preparation of Sulphur dissolved in mother’s milk could be also used. Only Kanchi would be given for diet. Purging was done in between, if necessary. The time taken for cure ranged between 12 to 15 days.

•§         When asked, if the patient still had sores on the sexual organs or other places, what should be done, they replied that the case referred to must be of “great venereal disease”, and then the pills should be continued for 15 more days. Now, the pills would be ground with Radix China (Parangippattai) and given as per the prescription.

•§         When asked for what were the other diseases which could be cured with mercury preparations, they gave the details.

•§         When enquired about the source of procurement of mercury, they replied that earlier they bought from the Dutch in Nagapatnam, after their departure, they got from Madras. They revealed that the Whites increased the price. Mercury was also obtained from Cinnabar (Jatilingam).

•§         When asked how the mercury was burned / calcinated, they replied that they learned the method from their ancestors.

•§         When he tried to suggest as to whether they learned the art from the Whites, particularly, the priests (implying white-men posing and roaming as Hindu Sanyasis) from whom they purchased mercury, they replied that they knew only their Gurus living in the mountains southwest. There were “Nine Masters” from whom they got the medicinal sciences, pharmacopeias etc.,

•§         When he wanted to buy their medicine, they refused as they could give only on seeing the patients. Persisting, he got some. He listed them as follows:

•o       Boils and sores.

•o       Stomach ache.

•o       Diarrhoea.

•o       Sweet pits (diabetes)

•o       Drippers (Gonorrhea).

•o       White flow (Syphilis)

•o       And other diseases.


Procurement of Medical books:


He then describes about the process of mercury sublimation from the book of Tamil doctor Agastya obtained from the elder Tamil doctor. Folly confessed that he obtained the book and the process by giving one pound of purified mercury. He also promised to give more mercury, if they could get two books written by the “Nine Gurus”. The Indian doctors promised that they would come next year (1780) and give.


Following this, the note given by the author is interesting and it is reproduced2: “In all probability the mercury was brought to the Indians by the Europeans, and the formers learned its preparations from the latter. It is well-known that the Portuguese, Spanish and French, for more than 200 years have sent out missionaries, especially Jesuits. The skills of Jesuits in all sciences are well-known, and they have been around the entire country. In all parts of Indostan, especially on this peninsula, there have been monasteries, churches and missionaries. For the time being, they are expelled from the country by the Indian Princes, and in 1780-81, Hyder Ali has had all their churches, schools etc., in this country demolished, and expelled all Catholics clergymen. There are still plenty of them, where the Europeans have power”.


Then he goes on telling that there were pharmaceutical factories of the Jesuits in Goa and a Jesuit college in Pondicherry and the old monks there sent “compounded medical remedies all over the country, and of these their Drogue Amere, Elexir Ameres, Theriac, Eau de Melig, Syrup Capilar are still held in very high esteem by the residents of this country”.


Thus, the following facts are evident –

•§         Indian Doctors (e.g, Bogar) were going to China or Chinese merchants (during Chola period) coming to India for dealing with mercury. Understanding the fact, through Matteo Ricci and others, the European Companies decided to deal in mercury through the planted Jesuits.

•§         Realizing the scarcity and demand for mercury, the Europeans tried to exploit the Indian doctors directly and indirectly. That they increased the price and tempted with mercury is recorded in the Jolly’s note.

•§         As the Dutch had gunpowder factory at Pulicat, manufactured explosives and exported to Europe getting huge profits, it is evident that the Portuguese and the French also manufactured and exported these medicines to Europe exploiting the prevailing situation there.

•§         Previously, there was free movement of the doctors, scholars, students, traders etc., but after the advent of Mohammedanism, the rivalry between the Christians and them resulted in their restricted movement through north-west of India. Even after 16th century, the blockade continued through piracy carried on by both.

•§         The European doctors were desperately getting the Indian science, technology, medicine and other books. Of course, the Jesuits helped them, which they mentioned as follows (Jesuit policy as mentioned by Goncalco Fernandez Trancosco27):

Theft: So they must have robbed, stolen, burgled and committed larceny to get books

Confiscation: This could be possible, where the Europeans had their factories or churches, where they took the books by force, elimination and threatening the scholars, doctors.

Purchase: As Hindus did not sell books, “purchase” may not arise. However, as the Europeans started corrupting some of them, say by giving “one pound mercury to get a book of Agastya”, some Indians might have started selling the books.

“The Jesuit policy of Theft, Confiscation and Purchase” of Indian Books is repeated in the context of Mackenzie as “Beg, buy or borrow” as follows28: “The most impressive orientalist explorations were collaborative, unofficial and voluntary. Among these, none matched the enormous privately funded venture by Colonel Colin Mackenzie. His teams of Maratha Brahmin scholars begged, bought or borrowed, and copied, from village heads, virtually every manuscript of value they could finally acquired. Collections so acquired, reflecting the civilization of South India, manuscripts in every language, became a lasting legacy – something still being explored”

•§         In spite of the scholarship, professionalism and medical acumen, that the Europeans could act as Christians only, as revealed through the prejudice and biased thinking of Folly is interesting.

•§         Again, as his “Remark” is very revealing, it is reproduced29: “I must confess that what I have written about the separation of mercury, etc., by the Malabar might seem wrong to the learned people. However, I must be excused for my lack of understanding the language, and especially for the discretion of the Malabar doctors who never tell the truth. If one asks them about the composition of some medicament, they believe they will loose their income if they tell the truth. Therefore, they usually leave out one or two of the ingredients. My remarks about the two traveling doctors from Ramanathapuram, namely what they said about the nine great masters in the south, might possibly be true, since there has been a university for astronomy in Madurai. Furthermore, in Bengal, a province belonging to the English, there is a city called Kasi, where an Indian university still remains. The English government gives the entire income of this province, which amounts to twenty thousand rupees a year, to this university. From this university all their astronomical observations are sent out over all India and their calculations of solar eclipses are said to very precise. Their knowledge of medicine is the best in India and they are especially experienced in diseases of the eye, and even if their medicine is strong it often has a good effect. In the area of surgery they are said to have limited knowledge, but I hope soon to be able to report more fully on this”.


Again, this note reveals the following interesting details:

•§         He had accepted his poor knowledge of understanding the Indian Doctors.

•§         That the European doctors continued to, “ask them about the composition of some medicament, they believe they will loose their income if the tell the truth. Therefore, they usually leave out one or two of the ingredients”, proves their motive.

•§         There is nothing wrong, if the Indian doctors had hidden their formulations from the European doctors, as the latter had not been sincere in their dealings.

•§         They had not been honest enough to record their sources in their writings, encyclopedias etc.

•§         Even after knowing also, the western / European writers continue to write that the Hindu scholars, doctors, professionals, metallurgists etc., were “heathens”, “gentiles”, “followers of diabolic religion”, “the practices of gentility” etc., show their imbibed fundamentalism and hatred towards Hindus / Indians.

•§         That “since there has been a University for Astronomy in Madurai”, proves –

  • ¨ That there was an astronomy university in Madurai.
  • ¨ Perhaps, it was about to be or subjected to destruction or destroyed recently, as while mentioning about Kasi university, it is mentioned in the immediate next sentence, “Furthermore, in Bengal, a province belonging to the English, there is a city called Kasi, where an Indian university still remains.”
  • ¨ Roberto de Nobili might have occupied, taken over or converted into his Ashram. As he could roam as “Romapuri Brahmin”, producing the “lost Yajur Veda” and “preaching wisdom among the wise”, he could be capable of doing that also.
  • ¨ His references to calculations of solar eclipses, eye-diseases, surgery of Indians prove that he knew them already.

•§         Above all the Europeans of all sorts were working together as far as the study of Indian arts and sciences is concerned.


Inter-Medical Dialogue for Syphilis-Cure:


The entire dialogue has thus been revolved around the cure for syphilis. Folly was asking full details about the cure-pills made of mercury preparations, the dosage, the method of administration in a phased manner, and the precautions to be taken in between as the mercuric preparations had been harmful. It is evident that he forced the Hindu doctors to give out all details, but they refused informing that without seeing the patient, they would not give medicine. As a doctor, he should have treated Hindu doctors at par respecting their professionalism. But, he had approached them with preconceived ideas that they were quacks and so on. No doctor would give away all his valuable medicinal preparations, just like that. Had his medical methodology been supreme, he could have proceeded with their science, instead of getting medicine and medical knowledge from India. In fact, his “Remark” exposes his attitude. If the European doctors were proud of their knowledge, Hindu doctors could have also felt proud of their tradition, heritage and ethical practices. It is not inter-religious dialogue of “their own style” to talk with somebody and record in their writings that he had conducted 100 dialogues with heathens criticizing their diabolic methods or 200 conferences to debate male-female nature of Godhood or 300 workshops to disparage the scriptures, creation of universe, birth of Gods and Goddesses etc. Therefore, the Ramanathapuram doctors had definitely taught a good lesson to the Danish Surgeon, which has been revealed in his “Remark”. That is why, perhaps, it is not appearing in the “official manuscript” but in the “original manuscript”.


The Mystery of Moravians in Tranquebar – the ‘Hidden Seed’:


About the “visit of Morvians” much fuss is made by the missionaries themselves. The hatred of the Danish missionaries there against them is utterly surprising and inexplicable. They landed in Tranquebar in 1760 making shivers among the Danish-Halle missionaries there. When the Danish enquired, they came to know that they were sent by the Denmark King as a “Kiraikkadaikku ethir kadai” (shop opposite to green-grocery), rival shop to sell Christianity. Though, they lasted till 1803, they could counter the Danish-Protestants theologically. Anyway, this is to be taken as their internal problem, as Samuel Hugh Moffett30 characteristically calls them “the Hidden Seed” and of course, G. Samuel Iyer31 names it as a “grocery shop”. Both groups were Christians, sent by their own King, but the enmity between them is inexplicable, as the Tranquebar Danish had been very happy, when they dwindled down.


But, actually, they were a group of doctors, surgeons, botanists, astronomers, watch makers etc., specifically engaged and sent to India to study the arts and science of India, just like Le Gentil sent by the French Government. During the transit of Venus in 1761, observations were made at Tranquebar, as Le Gentil, the French astronomer did in Pondicherry. Le Gentil learned astronomy from a Brahmin of Trivalore33.


The details given about the Moravians have been very sketchy and after putting together, the picture emerged gave interesting details. Besides such professionals mentioned, particularly, doctors, there must have been patients, evidently suffering from syphilis and they were brought there for treating, curing or conducting experiment. Interestingly, the period 1760-1803 fits into TLF Folly c.1740-1803! In fact, as per their chronology, the Moravians had been there already. Therefore, the syphilis research of Folly and Moravians is revealing. The opposition and hatred shown towards Moravians is also perhaps answered.


The Mysterious Death of Moravians:


The sudden death of most of the Moravians due to diseases is really intriguing and surprising. “They were often on the verge of starvation……………….They suffered from the diseases of the liver………………..They died on the verge of starvation…………They suffered fever………….they never succeeded in the native language” The above are quoted from J. E. Hutton34 by P. Maria Lazar35 either partially or suppressing the lines which could convey some other details. In any case, the details given about them earlier contradict this situation:

  • ¨ As they “had enough funds”, their starvation is intriguing.
  • ¨ As they had “solid medical training” that could even present a “positive image on the Southern Coromandel Coast”, how they suffered from “diseases of the liver…” is not known.
  • ¨ “They died on the verge of starvation…” again is intriguing, as if the first had been due to penury, the second must have been due to health condition or they were not in a position to eat
  • ¨ “They suffered fever…” The nature of fever is not explained.
  • ¨ “They never succeeded in learning the native language” – how it is related to death is not known.


Thus, again these puzzles lead to further investigation.


Nicobar Island used for Deportation of Diseased? :


The mysterious deaths occurred evidently in Nancauwery is one of the Nicobar Island. Before the arrival of the Moravians i.e., 1760, the Danish Company had withdrawn from the Nicobar Islands and had suspended traffic to Nicobar since most of the people sent to the Nicobar had died away. Thus the brethren had to wait until the Danish East India Company opened up traffic to Nicobar”. In 1768, the Company decided to open the traffic. Then, the death of brothers was described as mentioned above. Finally, it is also mentioned that “more than 30 brethren succumbed to tropical diseases“. The Nicobar Island was already in the Syphilis map of the Europeans, as has been recorded by them. Therefore, the reference mentioned here may point to the fact that the infected / quarantined patients or the persons already dying or beyond curability or recovery might have sent there as some sort of “medical deportation”.


Andreas Betschler – Did he conduct parallel research on Syphilis in Tranquebar (1760-1803)? :


It is reported that the Moravian doctors came to Tranquebar with “solid medical training with the help of which they could build a positive image on the Southern Coromandel Coast”. It is to be noted that Dr. Andreas Betschler was very efficient and popular. He was frequently sought after by the sick Europeans, and others. The Danish Governor used to take treatment from him. Over the years, the Brother garden had become a medical centre for the public. The questions arise here are –

•§         The emphasis that the doctors came there with “solid medical training” is intriguing.

•§         That “with the help of which they could build a positive image on the Southern Coromandel Coast”, implies that the earlier Danish doctors created some image.

•§         That “Dr. Andreas Betschler was very efficient and popular” and “He was frequently sought after by the sick Europeans and others” definitely shows the demand. But what for such demand necessitated?

The prevailing conditions prove Syphilis was rampant among the Europeans, particularly among the Danish and they were desperately searching for cure. As the above mentioned Botanist-doctors were also engaged in the same research, it is evident that the “search for cure” or the “discovery of a new drug” would have created the rivalry among the brethren in “the Brother Garden” (1760-1803) and “The United Brothers” (1768-1848).


Doctors posing as “Botanists” in search of Cure for Syphilis:


The above discussion clearly proves that the doctors of different specialization (as claimed or mentioned) had come here only for the following purposes:

  • ¨ To study the cure of Syphilis by Indian doctors.
  • ¨ To obtain medicines – ointments (kalimbu) and formulations from them.
  • ¨ To visit their schools, laboratories and places of preparations.
  • ¨ To meet their Gurus.
  • ¨ To analyze the ingredients of the medicines.
  • ¨ As the Indian doctors had not co-operated, they proceeded in their own way to obtain the plants, herbs, seeds etc., and started preparations.
  • ¨ To send the collection of botanical samples, to send Indian books showing the classification of trees, plants, herbs etc., to European scientists, probably, Linnaeus, so that he could have completed the botanical classification successfully.


Syphilis compels Europeans to learn from Malabar (Tamil) Doctors:


The Europeans were called “Parangi” by the Tamils as they were infected with a contagious disease known as “Mega noi”, “Granthi noi” and so on. In fact, Johann Philip Fabricius (1711-1791) gives meaning for “Parangi” as Syphilis in his famous Tamil to English dictionary. Incidentally, the Danish official reports show that syphilis was high, wherever the Danish colonies were there in Tranquebar, Andaman & Nicobar, Mauritius etc. Thus, the Danish had been desperate to find a cure immediately. As they were getting reports from Tranquebar that some of their people were cured by the Tamil doctors, they deployed their group to study and send the report immediately.


An Indian’s Account of Syphilis:


Interestingly, Prof. D. V. Subba Reddy (1899-1987) has done much research on the subject matter. He published his thesis, “Antiquity of Syphilis (Venereal Diseases) in India”, in the Indian Journal of Venereal Diseases (Vol.2, No.2, June 1936), which fetched him Charaka Memorial Prize in 1936. Writing on the subject in many articles of the same Journal between 1938 and 1940, he published his collection in the form of a book, “Phirangi Roga or Syphilis in India in 16th and 17th Centuries: Sketches of early European Syphilographers” with extracts from their writings in 1939. Incidentally, he records an episode connected with his book, which worth to be reproduced: “It was to be  dedicated to Prof. Karl Sudhoff and have a foreword from the veteran British Historian of Medicine, Sir D’ Arcy Power. The outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, stoppage of correspondence with Germany and death of British Surgeon, upset my plans. Then, though Prof. J. F. Fulton of Yale agreed to write a foreword, the two copies of the book, sent by ship, on different occasions did not reach him. Finally, I had to be content with the publication of the collected articles in a book form, with my short preface…”


Of course, he has published the following articles on the subject matter as follows:

•               i.      XVI Century Dutch Physician on Indian Drugs, in Bulletin of the Department of History of Medicine, Vol. III, No.3, July, 1965, pp.173-182.

•              ii.      Dutch Writings of 16th century on Indian Drugs, in Bulletin of the Institute of History of Medicine, Vol. I, Nos.3 & 4, July & October, 1971, pp.135-140.

•            iii.      A Forgotten Chapter in the History of Syphilis in India in XVI Century in Bulletin of the Institute of History of Medicine, Vol. II, No.2, April, 1972, pp.94-97.

Here, it can be noted that the “two copies of the book sent on different occasions” did not reach Prof. Fulton. Perhaps, the westerners might not have wanted such book to be published and circulated, that too with the title “Phirangi Roga” or Syphilis in India in 16th and 17th Centuries, as it might lead to further research to expose their strategies followed by them.


•§         Carl Linnaeus36 (1707-78): Influenced by the work of da’Orta, Linnaeus took much interest in Indian medicine, particularly based on herbs, flowers, creepers, seeds, plants etc. Through the works of da’Orta, van Rheede and Limmaeus, Ayurvedic traditions exerted an important and lasting influence on the development of botanical science in Europe (Grove 1995: Ch.21). He did not come to India, but his colleagues mentioned above were regularly sending him – (i) Preserved samples of plants, herbs, seeds etc, (ii) List of the above (as found in the Indian palm-leaf books) (iii)Plant Lexicon (Palm-leaf books) with classification, and (iv) Writings and jottings of interviews with the local Doctors. Using this data and information, he classified the Plant Kingdom in 1753 stating that the “number of plants in the whole world is much less than is commonly believed” 37, calculating that it “hardly reaches 10,000”, as he could not identify many species mentioned in the Tamil books. As Latin was the scientific language of the European scientists, just like Sanskrit, he Latinized the names of the plants, and thus they started appearing “scientifically”. A century later, in 1847, Lindley credited the Plant Kingdom with a total of 100,000 species in nearly 9,000 genera38. The figures of Linnaeus derived from Indian sources and the Indian medical wisdom has thus become component of modern global knowledge.


The Herbaria, Botanical Gardens and Explorations:


The Europeans operated to collects Indian medicinal books, formulations etc., in three ways:

•§         The Herbaria: The place where herbs are collected, treated, pressed, dried and displayed. However, such archival collection is not required for Indian doctors, as they believe in live-plants and they already identified and preserve the species. Ramadeva had been expert in this field. He went to Arabia to find out how the plants lived even under extreme temperatures. Later, returning to Tamizhagam, he experimented with certain plants at his herbarium at Caturagiri.

•§         Botanical Garden: Where the plants are grown. It has to be mentioned that in Tamizhagam, every temple had herbarium with many species of plants. In daily rituals, their preparations were used symbolically and given to the devotees after Abhisekam (the prescribed washing of the Idol of the presiding deity in a temple). For each devotee, a prescribed plant was there for the purpose, which was given to him as “prasada” (offering), which later, he/she took or applied according the prescription. In the Indian system of cooking and meals, the plants, herbs, seeds etc., are part and parcel of menu and they periodically consumed. In traditionally maintained cooking, families still take preparations of – (i) Different types of Paruppu (grams), (ii) Various types of Kuzhambu (where vegetables leaves, roots, are used along with mixture of leaves and seeds), (iii) Diverse Rasams (extracts of herbs), and (iv) Chutneys (rammed mass of leaves, herbs, seeds). Similar types of preparations are used in medicine by the Indian doctors either Ayurveda or Siddha. In Siddha, besides or instead of plant preparations, the inorganic chemicals are mixed to get quick relief, healing and curing. That is why the Europeans took more interest in the latter and camped in Tamizhagam, under different banners to exploit, loot, and exhaust the wisdom of Indians by all means. John Gerard of London maintained a good Botanical garden

•§         Botanical Exploration: This is nothing but grabbing the so-called “folklore medicines of the Indians”, including their books. This incidentally involved threatening, kidnapping and even killing of Indian doctors. Sadasiva Brimendrar and Ramalinga Adigal were perhaps victims of such processes; later glorified and hagiographed differently39.


British Commander gets Smallpox and is cured by Mariamma:


The story has been very famous that a British commander comes across the Mariamman festival just like Francis Xavier (1506-1552). He notices the Indian mode of inoculating to appease “the vicious, vengeful demon of smallpox”. As he ridicules, he gets the disease. For cure, he goes to the temple as per the advice of a small girl and prays. He is cured and his unbeliever wife also gets convinced of the power of Goddess, when they are saved from the sudden collapse of their house. The simple fact is that the disease (Ammai) and the cure are considered as the Goddess (Mariamma). This apocryphal story has the hidden fact of the British attempt to learn the inoculation method from the Tamils. Francis Xavier was sent to India and he made contact with the powerful Brahmin priests and medicine men40.


From Cowpox to Smallpox – Indian method of Vaccination’s Journey to Europe:


It was Vasco-da-Gama who found out that “Mari” was invoked to cure smallpox, but he or his translators made it to read as that “when he arrived Calicut in 1498, the heathens were praying Mary Mary” This is converting “Mari to Mary”, just like Cowpox turning to Smallpox41. Edward Jenner42, S.J (1749-1823) named the disease he invented as “Cowpox”. Xavier could not go further, because of his other agenda in the Coromandel Coast. However, Dr. J. Z. Holwell43 completes the story and sends his most detailed account of the Indian rites of vaccination to the College of Physicians in London in 1767. In 1792, Jenner writes his book “An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccine, a disease discovered in some of the Western Counties of England”, sends his paper to the Royal Society in 1797 and gets honorary M.D degree from the University of Oxford in 1813. No acknowledgement to India!


An American Medical Association book gives the following details with a picture of “A Malabar woman invoking the goddess of smallpox and carrying fire on her head symbolic of the disease”. Thus, the religious rituals of dramatic representation of the power of the Hindu goddess of smallpox, is described as follows44: “The goddess stands with two uplifted crooked daggers, threatening to strike on the right and left. Before her is a band of the executors of her vengeance. Two of them wear grinning red masks, carry black shields, and brandish naked scimitars. White lines, like rays, issue from the bodies of the others, to indicate infection. On the left there is a group of men with spotted bodies, inflicted with the malady; bells are hung at their cinctures, and a few of them wave in their hands black feathers. They are preceded by musicians with drums, who are supplicating the pity of the furious deity. Behind the goddess, on the right, there advances a bevy of smiling young women, who are carrying gracefully on their heads baskets with thanksgiving offerings, in gratitude for their lives and their beauty having been spared. There is, besides, a little boy with a bell at his girdle, who seems to be conveying something from the right arm of the goddess. This action may probably be emblematic of inoculation. In a country where every thought, word and deed are mere repetitions of those of their progenitors, a composition like this bears the stamp of great antiquity.”


Dr. J .Z. Holwell45 sent a most detailed account of these religious rites to the College of Physicians in London in 1767: “Inoculation is performed in Indostan by a particular tribe of Bramins, who are delegated annually for this service from the different Colleges of Bindoobund, Eleabas, Benares, & c. over all the distant provinces: dividing themselves into small parties, of three or four each, they plan their traveling circuits in such wise as to arrive at the places of the operation consists only in abstaining for a month from fish, milk, and ghee (a kind of butter made generally of buffalo’s milk); the prohibition of fish respects only the native Portuguese and Mahomedans, who abound in every province of the empire.”(An Account of the Manner of Inoculating for the Smallpox in the East Indies, Dr. J. Z. Holwell, F.R.S)


‘A Pious Fraud’ – A Rebuttal gives more Evidences:


Dominik Wujastyk46 has tried to prove that the claim of Indian origin of vaccination started with an article appeared in ‘Madras Courier’ dated January 12, 1819 as a letter to editor under the name ‘Calvi Virombon’. He traces the origin to one Tamil work. He then tries to assert that this article was picked up by the European writers and started writing that vaccination was invented in India before Jenner. Then he points out the opposition of the introduction of vaccination in India by the Brahmins from the 19th century British documents. He tries to interpret that one Ellis and Dr. Anderson of Madras produced some literature pointing out that the vaccination was an old practice in India and therefore, it need not be opposed by the Hindus. However, he accepts that this literature is not available. As the vaccination was prepared from the udders of British cow, the Hindus refused to get vaccinated. So the British applied Brahmins to inoculate. He also points a letter reportedly written by one Mopearl Streenivasachary (December 29, 1804) to Dr. Anderson, Madras. He also accepts that all these documents (his relied upon documents) are not available. However, he was tactfully silent on the report sent by Dr. J .Z. Holwell to the College of Physicians in London in 1767. However, the Tamil works mentioned ‘Yougimuni Cintamani’ and ‘Karisal Munnuru’ attributed to Agastya and another work ‘Jayana Vasishtham’ tell different story. The missionaries opposed and vehemently criticized when the Indian practice of vaccination was introduced in England, as they were trying to introduce ‘heathenish practices’ in Christian countries on the ‘Christian patients’!


From Small-pox to Great-pox, the Syphilis:


There have been many facts hidden behind the discovery of or attempted European discovery of cure for the diseases of smallpox and syphilis. Europeans accept that Jenner ‘discovered’ accidentally. The great argument brought against vaccination is the danger of transmitting other disease, syphilis with the lymph. During the material period, the Europeans were after cure for smallpox and syphilis besides leprosy. The real affinity of cow-pox is not to the small-pox but to the great-pox. As the Europeans of all sorts, particularly the sailors, soldiers, workers, and others, were traveling different countries they indulged in sex without any morality. The reports of naval surgeons, military doctors etc., vouchsafe such conditions (e.g., Sir George Balinggall47 1780-1855). Thus, their desperate chase after the Siddhas is understandable.


As Vasco-da-Gama48 introduced Syphilis in India through Calicut, the Tamils had a contempt for the Europeans and started calling them “Parangi”, that is the persons with such disease, syphilis. Of course, the Europeans accuse Columbus. The other names used for Syphilis are – the Great Pox, Lues, Lues Venera, the Great Mimic, the Great Imitator, Morbus Gallius, the French Disease, Spanish pockes, the Neopolitan itch, Pok Royal and each name reveals the fact behind. The cure with mercury, mercurial preparations and their availability in India made them attack India. Dr. Julius Jolly49 confirms that – “The identification of ‘Syphilis’ with the disease phiranga, phirangaroga, phirangamaya, the Franc disease is certain which, however, is mentioned in the works of the 16th century, especially in Bhavaprakasa 4.50.2 along with boils and smallpox. There its name is explained by the fact that it frequently occurs in the land of Francs (phiranga samjnake dese) i.e. in Europe. It is a gland-disease (gandharoga or gandaroga) that is caused by physical contact with a phirangin (European), (and particularly-comm) by intimate intercourse with a phirangini (European woman), and belongs to the disease. The disease originating from the external cause….the European origin of phiranga cannot, therefore, be doubted.” Thus, in the case of Syphilis, comes the surgeon – T L S Folly. The Danish took special interest in acquiring Indian medicine for curing Syphilis, as they were not satisfied with “Rob Anti-Syphilitique”. It was reportedly invented by a chemist Sieur Pierre Boyveau-Laffecteur (c.1750-1812), who worked at French Naval hospitals for thirty years.


The Indian Tribals targeted for Herbal Formulations:


Actually, Hindus respected Vanavasis (the forest dwellers and herbal doctors), as they live in their natural setting without disturbing the ecological imbalances so that the species of flora and fauna are not disturbed. Thus, there is no question of disappearance and dwindling away of any species from the mother Earth. But, the westerners had different approach of grabbing, exploitation and immediate usage for money-making. Understanding that certain Tamil tribes were having herbal medicines for syphilis, snake bite etc., the Europeans targeted them. However, in India, they had totally misunderstood the Hindu-tribes unlike that of other continents (Note that, none of the tribes are demeaned or under-estimated, the attitude of the Europeans is pointed out). They expected that they would be wild or uncivilized and so on. But, the way of their life proved otherwise. After all, Rishis and Siddhas also lived in forests. Thus, their way of life had been natural and they were the real “naturalists”. In fact, Siddhas and Rishis were guiding and protecting the tribes, as they were supplying herbs and minerals for their preparations. When, the Europeans tried to disturb them, some of them turned against them of course, literally condemning their qualities etc. Thus, some of the Siddha literature has been against Christianity, basic tenets and so on. Sivavakkiyar poems many times refute their theology implicitly and explicitly.


Bogar50 Apocryphal Story reveals that the Jesuits learned from Siddhas:


Tobacco (Lobalia inflate) was introduced into Europe from India, particularly medicinal properties, derivatives and formulations were obtained from Indian doctors. This is clearly mentioned in the books of Siddha doctors like bogar. The work Bogar7000 characteristically mentions how ‘Pothimattukkarar’ gives Tobacco to Bogar and gets medical education from him learning other formulations. ‘Pothimattukkarar’ implies the persons dealing with or handling pack-bullocks. The expression is used in derogatory manner in Tamil. First Konars (the Cattle-keepers) come to him with respect and learn the ‘Ema vittai’ (the art of converting bae metal to gold with basmam, ash). Then comes the ‘Pothimattukkarar’ to Siddha. As he was attracted towards the smell of tobacco, they offered tobacco to him. They started ridiculing him and mockering by all means. They challenged them to raise the fallen Asoka tree, which the Siddha did. Then they challenged him to bring rains, which he did again. Then, the “Pothimattukkarar” gave “Pugayilai karpam” (a compound of Tobacco) to the Siddha. Then he started teaching the ‘Pothimattukkarar’ as per the directions of his Guru. He taught them including ‘Ema vittai’. When tobacco itself had gone to Europe from India, there is no necessity for a Siddha doctor to get tobacco and have a puff and later to get its preparation. And finally, they got the art of transmutation of metal from him.


•§         Charles Curtis51: He was a Naval-surgeon of British fleet and in Madras between 1782 and 1783. He came there landing at Ceylon, Nagapatnam and Caddalore observing the cases of wounds, ulcers, burns caused by gun powder, luxes and fever diseases, cholera and different types of sores. At the Naval Hospital in Madras, he conducted many clinical studies observing and treating patients. Though, he followed modern methods, he also studied Indian sources and wrote a book, ‘An Account of Diseases of India’.


•§         Roberto de Nobili: He collected astronomical works and tables of Tamilnadu and studied the calendar making method adopted by the South Indians. At one side he criticized the Vedanga Jyotisa52, whereas on the other side, he was collecting all such astronomical works and tables. In fact, he was also discussing about Galileo’s tables with Indian astronomers. Here, one Antoniod Rubino played a role. As Ricco collected astronomical works from Cochin, he did the same from Madurai. He also compiled a Tamil book explaining the methods applicable to Church in observance of feasts and fasts of saints. After his death on January 16, 1656, his important Indian collections were sent to Rome.


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