We all know that ancient Indian scriptures are gaining popularity for their scientific knowledge. This post is for spreading knowledge about the *Actual First-Ever Aircraft*.
There are flying machines known as Vimanas described in the ancient Indian texts like the Vimanika Shastra. Before the Wright Brothers created the first flying mission, an Indian named Shivkar Bapuji Talpade created a similar mission in 1895 which was unmanned. But before we proceed any further, we shall know about his history. Shivkar was born in 1864 and was considered a prodigy. He earned a Ph.D. before he turned 30. At the age of 15, he had a meeting with an elderly man known as Subbaraya Shastri who had been researching Vimanas all his life. He is also the same person who wrote the book, the Vimanika Shastra, which is a book about flying missions. Shastri and Shivkar worked for 15 years and created a flying mission that could not only fly but could also be controlled using some kind of a remote control device. So, did the Vimana fly? The very first flight was tested in front of thousands of people in the Mumbai beach. The aircraft went up to an altitude of 1500 feet and stayed for 37 seconds before it crashed. Let us compare this to the Wright brothers’ first test flight. Their flight only reached an altitude of 120 feet and lasted for 12 seconds, before it crashed. While the Wright brothers were funded with $25,000 after their first flight, Shivkar and Shastri were denounced as con artists who created worthless machines. This was the time of the British occupation of India and racism was widespread. After the Vimana crashed, Shivkar attempted to build a new design to it and used a mercury ion engine, but not a single person believed that a mercury-powered engine is even possible. But yet, he made a mercury ion engine at his home, and due to lack of protective gear, he became subject to mental disorders. The prosecutor and the judge simply laughed at him when he stated that a mercury ion engine would work. Today, NASA uses the Mercury ion engine for space travel and has publicly announced that ion engines can provide constant acceleration reducing travel times with increased efficiency. Shivkar was thrown in jail and was released after a few years, with a condition not to make any more machines. His then secretly created Rukma Vimana is rumored to have been taken to Germany, in the 1930s, and was recreated as the “Nazi Bell”.
Many people think that Da Vinci was the first to write about flying machines, 500 years ago, but ancient Indian texts and carvings, show starling evidence of these, dating back to 2000 years. So, what happened to Shivkar? He was given no money or credit for creating the first-ever aircraft. He died a heart-broken man at the age of 53.
This story has survived over the years, but it also raises a big question: How many more scientific inventions are credited to the wrong people? Probably a lot. Researches on many ancient Indian texts prove that they are very scientific and applicable even today. Hopefully, the ancient inventors, if there were more, get justice in the near future.