Was an Indian, The First Man to Fly?
It was 17, December 1903 at Kitty Chowk, North Carolina, USA. The most awaited men’s dream visually came true. It was a breakthrough in the history of mankind. Yes! Orvile and Wilbur Wright, commonly mentioned as the Wright brothers proved that it is possible for human to travel through air, by flying the world’s first aircraft. But the question is was that the first object to fly in the space?
On june 1895, 8 full years before the Wright brothers demonstration at Kitty Chowk a remarkable incident took place at the sandy Chowpathy beach of Mumbai, India…
Shivkar Bapuji Thalped, an Indian scientist and a Sanskrit scholar along with his wife at chowpathy beach was found more excited and aunxious that day. The people around found that something sensational are going to happen there. Some knew what it was, some did not. Some were putting their instinct to work. A huge mass of crowd has accumulated and among them was Shri Sayaji Rao Gaekwa, who was the Maharaja of Baroda during that time and the most influenced famous scholar justice Mahadeva Govin-da Ranade. Everyone there was waiting with anxiety and before that anxiety drowned that miracle happened. Yes! The world’s first unmanned aircraft namedMarutsakhā was thrown into the space and it tarred the sky at a velocity of about 40,000 Km/hr. After reaching a height of more than 1500 feet it landed safely without any damage. Between the hustle, talpade was literally appreciated by Maharaja at that moment itself. It was Maharaja’s happiest moment for which he has been waiting for long period. The News was then published in the famous News Paper “Kesari”, the next day.
How was it possible by Talpade to achieve such a breakthrough? Few years ago……
Shivkar Babuji Thapled (1864 – 1916, Maharashtra), from his childhood developed his dreams of flying and getting into space. He was a great Sanskrit scholar and started searching the possibilities of man flying in the space in ancient Indian scripts, Vedas. He thoroughly learned the ancient scripts containing Vimanika Sasthras (Aeronautics Theory). On that fine morning, Talpade was lucky enough to meet Shri Suparaaya Sasthri. Sasthri gave him a bundle of treasures which contained suthras (formulas) of making an aircraft, written by the great rishi Bharadwaja. After this incident Talpade continued his work more seriously than before. Maharaja provided the funds necessary for his project. It may be too hard to believe that modern day aircrafts and even most advanced one are discussed in Vedas which are written some 10,000 years ago. But, Talpade was fully dependent on Rig Veda and Vimanika Sashthra only.
Few years later, a scholar named Acharya mentioned that “Vaimanika Shastra deals about aeronautics including the design of aircraft the way they can be used for transportation and other applications in detail. The knowledge of aeronautics is described in Sanskrit in 100 sections, eight chapters, 500 principles and 3000 slokas including 32 techniques to fly an aircraft. In fact, depending on the classifications of eras or Yugas in modern Kaliyuga aircraft used are called Krithakavimana flown by the power of engines by absorbing solar energies!’ It is feared that only portions of Bharadwaja’s masterpiece Vaimanika Shas-tra survive today”.
Again to 1895……..
After the news release in the media, few years later talpade and sasthri were jailed by the British Government. Maharaja was warned literally. Few years later, after talpade returned home, his wife passed away and he withdrew his research. After his death in 1916, it is said that his relatives sold some of his important works to few German people. A model reconstruction of Marutsakhā was exhibited at an exhibition on aviation at Vile Parle, and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited has preserved documents relating to the experiment.
What is special about Marutshakha?
The importance of the Wright brothers lies in the fact, that it was a manned flight for a distance of 120 feet and Orville Wright became the first man to fly. But Talpade’s unmanned aircraft flew to a height of 1500 feet before crashing down and the historian Evan Koshtka, has described Talpade as the ‘first creator of an aircraft’.
Marutshakha was the first model to have an Ion Mercury Vortex Engine. The Vaimanika Shastra describes in detail, the construction of what is called, the mercury vortex engine the forerunner of the ion engines being made today by NASA. The information on the mercury engines can be found in the ancient Vedic text called Samaranga Sutradhara. This text also devotes 230 verses, to the use of these machines in peace and war. The Indologist William Clarendon, who has written down a detailed description of the mercury vortex engine in his translation of Samaranga Sutradhara quotes thus ‘Inside the circular air frame, place the mercury-engine with its solar mercury boiler at the aircraft center. By means of the power latent in the heated mercury which sets the driving whirlwind in motion a man sitting inside may travel a great distance in a most marvellous manner. Four strong mercury containers must be built into the interior structure. When these have been heated by fire through solar or other sources the vimana (aircraft) develops thunder-power through the mercury.
NASA (National Aeronau-tical and Space Administra-tion) world’s richest/ most powerful scientific organisation is trying to create an ion engine that is a device that uses a stream of high velocity electrified particles instead of a blast of hot gases like in present day modern jet engines. Surprisingly according to the bi-monthly Ancient Skies published in USA, the aircraft engines being developed for future use by NASA by some strange coincidence also uses mercury bombardment units powered by Solar cells! Interestingly, the impulse is generated in seven stages. The mercury propellant is first vapourised fed into the thruster discharge chamber ionised converted into plasma by a combination with electrons broke down electrically and then accelerated through small openings in a screen to pass out of the engine at velocities between 1200 to 3000 kilometres per minute! But so far NASA has been able to produce an experimental basis only a one pound of thrust by its scientists a power derivation virtually useless. But 108 years ago Talpade was able to use his knowledge of Vaimanika Shastra to produce sufficient thrust to lift his aircraft 1500 feet into the air!
The Vaimanika Shastra manuscript later appeared at Rajakiya Sanskrit Library, Baroda by 1944. The text was published in Hindi in 1959 and later in English by G.R. Josyer, titled Vymanika Shastra. Josyer’s edition, also added illustrations drawn by T. K. Ellappa, a draughtsman at a local engineering college in Bangalore, under the direction of Shastry, which had been missed in the 1959 edition.
Unlike modern treatises on aeronautics that begin by discussing the general principles of flight before detailing concepts of aircraft design, the Vaimanika Shastra straightaway gets into quantitative description, as though a particular aircraft is being described. The topics covered include, “definition of an airplane, a pilot, aerial routes, food, clothing, metals, metal production, mirrors and their uses in wars, varieties of machinery and yantras, planes like ‘mantrik’, ‘tantrik’, and ‘kritak’” and four planes called Shakuna, Sundara, Rukma, and Tripura are described in greater detail. The extant text is claimed to be only a small (one-fortieth) part of a larger work Yantra Sarvaswa (“All about machines”) composed by Maharishi Bharadwaj and other sages for the “benefit of all mankind”.
In 1991, the English portion and the illustrations from the Josyer book were reprinted by David Hatcher Childress in Vimana Aircraft of Ancient India & Atlantis as part of the Lost Science Series. According to Childress, the 8 chapters treat the following:
The secrets of constructing aeroplanes, which will not break, which cannot be cut, will not catch fire, and cannot be destroyed.
The secret of making planes motionless.
The secret of making planes invisible.
The secret of hearing conversations and other sounds in enemy places.
The secret of retrieving photographs of the interior of enemy planes
The secret of ascertaining the direction of enemy planes approach.
The secret of making persons in enemy planes lose consciousness.
The secret of destroying enemy planes.
The propulsion of the Vimanas according to Kanjilal (1985) is by a “Mercury Vortex Engines”, apparently a concept similar to electric propulsion. Childress finds evidence for this “mercury vortex engine” in the Samarangana Sutradhara, an 11th century treatise on architecture.