Sunday, July 15, 2007
The Greatest Invention
This happened when I was in 1st year of engineering. After the day's lectures, I used to sit in the library and study from reference books. This way I got introduced to some of my seniors who used to be regulars there. I especially sought company of a senior named Rahul who was then in the final year. I used to spend about half an hour after finishing my studies, discussing many things with him. This guy had an unquenching thirst for knowledge and was quite an insightful thinker. In our friendly discussions, we touched upon numerous topics including books, movies, education, company policies and much more. I gained much knowledge from our talks and used to look forward to our library-table talks.
During one such chit-chat, Rahul asked me a question, "Mihir, what do you think is the greatest invention made by mankind?" Simple, as it sounded, I was very much baffled by this question. I had never thought about anything like this. Nevertheless I asked him for some time to think. Now my mind was searching for possibilities. 'Internet' I thought, but then I was skeptical whether it was the greatest of all. Electricity, fire, wheel ... all made their way to my mind, but deep down I knew these weren't the greatest of all. There was something that was much more supreme than these inventions. After thinking for about 10-15 minutes, I finally gave up. Then I asked Rahul to tell me what the answer was. The answer he gave silenced all my thoughts and there wasn't any need of further clarification. His answer was, "Language is the greatest invention ever made by man". "How true!", I thought. My mind went back to the Stone Age and the Early Man. Language was one of the earliest and most basic of the inventions which endowed him with the characteristics of a social animal. Man would have never ever intellectually evolved, had 'language' been never invented. His interactions with other humans would have never been possible. The great deal of knowledge now available to man would have been impossible to acquire. The concept of civilizations and their literary treasures and manuscripts would have never existed. The development of language was pivotal in building up the pillars of civilizations on which today's world has been erected. All the landmark events like Renaissance, Industrial Revolution, etc would be unheard of. And the world wouldn't be the one we see it now.
One more peculiar thing about Language is that it has a global presence, in each and every home, unlike other inventions - which aren't omnipresent. From a tribal in the jungles of Africa to the sophisticated businessman in his plush office, language has a presence in each one's lives. Hence the key to man's development and progress through past, present and the future is one great invention - Language!
That day when I packed off for the day, I had a happy feeling in my heart. Being a student of telecommunications, in future I may contribute in my own small way towards furthering the cause of communication among people through the medium of mankind's greatest invention - Language!!