Finishing off on "Guns, Germs, and Steel", I began wondering: why is it that Europeans and not Indians became world conquerors? Why did the Europeans sail their big ships and come to India and not vice versa. Why weren't Indians the one's to colonize the Indonesian islands or Australia the way Europeans colonized the Americas?
Come to think of it, 2000 years ago, India (and by India, I mean the Indian sub-continent) and Europe were very similar to each other. They were (are) roughly the same size. They had similar political structure (warring states), which should theoretically encourage similar patterns of innovation by competition.
So what went wrong?
Was it the rigid, socially ingrained caste system, which essentially isolated chunks of people into predefined roles which they could not break apart from? The Europeans came to adopt a single religion, Indians essentially had 4 (castes). Was it the agricultural self-sufficience, which meant that Indians essentially never had to look for greener pastures? Did the sedentary life leave Indians under-prepared when the Mughal conquerors and eventually the Europeans came? Most probably the answer lies in a combination of this and a number of other social/political/environmental factors.
I guess Indians had made their peace with the world, way before the world had even heard the term.