Al. Beruni was an Iranian Scholar during the Islamic golden age. He is called the founder of Indology. Indology means study of India. Al. Biruni was born in 973 AD, Beruni, Uzbekistan. And died on 13 December 1048, Ghazni, Afhghanistan, AL. Biruni was a scholar in Geology, Physics, Anthropology, Comparative Sociology, Astronomy, Chemistry, History, Geography, Mathematics, Medicine Psychology, Philosophy and theology, He had knowledge of many languages Persian Arabic, Sanskrit, Greek, Hebrew, and Syriac. He spent much of his life in Ghazni. In 1017, He travelled to India and wrote a book called –Tarikh Al Hind (History of India) and explored Hindu faith Practised in India. He was an impartial Scholar. He was Al ustad (the master) in remarkable description of eleventh century India.
In 1017, Mahmud of Ghazni took most of Scholars, including al Biruni to Ghazni. Beruni was made court astrologer. He accomparied mahmud on his attack to India and lived for few years. He was 44 years old at that time. He started observing India and took keen interest. He wrote his study of India in 1030 (the year of completion) He made extensive travels throughout India. Al. Biruni investigated almost all aspects of Indian life. Political and military aspects were not Al. Biruni’s main focus. His main focus was culture, Science and religion of India. He studied religion in a cultural context. Also he translated yoga sutras of Patanjali.
AL. Biruni said-“I shall not produce the arguments of our antagonists in order to refute such of them, as I believe to be in the wrong. My book is nothing but a simple historic record of facts. I shall place before the reader the theories of Hindus exactly as they are, and I shall mention in connection with them similar theories of the Greeks in order to show the relationship existing between them.
All Biruni welcomed the company of Hindu Scholars. He collected books and studied to know Sanskrit. As a result AL. Biruni translate different arts of India like Mathematics, Science Medicine, Astronomy and other things. He was inspired by Indian argument that earths must be globular in shape as seen that difference of day light hours, seasons, earths relative position with moon and stars. He felt sorry that Indians have no sense of History especially History writing. AL. Biruni studied and praised Hindu calendar. He described the Geography of India also.
AL. Biruni’s account of India was dispassionate. All Biruni documented everything about India as it happened. Edward Sachu Said-Al Biruni’s account was a magic island of quiet, impartial research in the midst of a world of clashing swords, burning towns, and plundered temples. Biruni, Writing was very poetic. AL. Biruni has AL. Biruni has observed –
Indians think that there is no country like theirs, no religion like theirs, no philosophy like theirs, no culture like theirs, no science like theirs, no literature like theirs etc.
The countribution of AL. Biruni to Indian studies is remarkable. It paved the way for further research in Indian customs and culture. We are much indefted to AL. Birani for his keen interest in India-the ancient cradle of culture, science and religion.
(The views expressed are the writer’s own.)
Radhakanta Seth is a former Income tax officer in Sambalpur. He is a freelance writer and his articles have been published in some Oriya dailies like Sambad, Samaj, Dharitri, and English dailies like The Telegraph and in a sociological journal ‘Folklore’ published in Kolkata.
He can be reached at [email protected]