During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, India experienced an intellectual renaissance that owed as much to the influx of new ideas from the West as to traditional religious and cultural insights. This book examines the effects of the introduction of Western science in India, and the relationship between Indian traditions of thought and Western science. It charts the early development of science in India, its role in the secularization of Indian society, and the subsequent reassertion, adaptation and rejection of traditional modes of thought. It looks at the detailed beliefs of Indian scientists, including Jagadish Chandra Bose, S. N. Bose and P. C. Roy, and reflects upon how individual scientists could accept particular religious beliefs such as reincarnation, cosmology, miracles and prayer.
It discusses some of the adaptations of traditional Indian beliefs with insights from Western science, in particular the place of science within the philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore and the 1930 discussions between Einstein and Tagore on the nature of reality. It is argued that the Hindu, Muslim and Christian philosophical and religious traditions have nothing to fear from scientific theories such as evolution and unified field theory, indeed they may be mutually compatible. Overall, this book provides a detailed assessment of the results of the introduction of Western science into India, and will be of interest to scholars of Indian history and philosophy, historians of science and those interested in the interactions between Western and Indian traditions of intellectual thought.
David L. Gosling is the Principal of Edwardes College in the University of Peshawar, Pakistan, and he also teaches ecology in the University of Cambridge, where he was the first Spalding Fellow at Clare Hall. He has been the Director of Church and Society of the World Council of Churches, and is the author of Religion and Ecology in India and Southeast Asia.