We are all aware that zero was invented in India, along with many other popular things but there are lesser-known inventions from the country that you should know about. From medicine to daily use items to groundbreaking scientific stuff, Indians have been at the forefront in all fields, using their imagination and intelligence to come up with things that help the world. Read on.

1. The USB 

These days, most things are on the ‘cloud’ and physical storage devices might see a way out soon, but the invention of the USB was quite an important one. It changed the scene because unlike the CDs – it was compact and durable. The invention was made by Ajay Bhat, an Indian-American computer architect. 


2. Cataract surgery

Couching, a form of cataract operation was started by Sushruta – an Indian physician back in the 6th century BC. He wrote about the surgery in Sushruta Samhita – a Sanskrit book on ancient medicine.


3. Cashmere

Cashmere, a type of wool made out of goat hair, was invented in India in the 3rd century BC but was popularised in its current form in the 15th century BC. It actually derives its name from Kashmir, the place where it was invented and later turned to Cashmere when the fabric travelled the world.


4. Passport

Passports find their first mention in any text in the world in Arthashastra. It is noted that around 3rdcentury BC, there used to be a person called Mudrādhyakṣa, who used to collect seals/passports from those entering or exiting the country.


5. Carrom

Okay, most people know about this but it still deserves a mention. Carrom wasn’t invented as long ago as one would think and was popularised only after World War 1.


6. Diamond cutting

The practice of diamond cutting was started in India and finds its mention in the Ratnapariksha, written in the 6th century. In fact, most of the early trade of diamonds is also associated with our country.

Geology Page

7. Shampoo

Deriving its name from the word champo (that’s champi in today’s language), shampoo was first used in the Indus Valley Civilisation. That’s what the records say anyway. These shampoos were made out of gooseberry and other herbs that are still very much in use.


8. Plastic surgery

The earliest form of plastic surgery has been recorded in India in the year 800 B.C. After this, it was adopted by the world and is a full-fledged medical practice now. It is said that deformation of skin was a common punishment from crimes back in the day, and that could have led to the need for plastic surgery.

The Inner World

9. Rulers

The first ivory ruler was found in the Indus Valley civilisation and dates back to 1500 BC. The markings on it are accurate to the T, throwing light on the brilliance of people of that time.


10. Binary system

Indian scientist Pingala is credited with inventing one of the earliest versions of the binary system. He was the author of Chhandahshastra, and made these findings in the 2nd century BCE.

International Journal of Research

These are simply fascinating.