| Tuesday , February 25 , 2014 |
Restoring India’s calculus crown
Thiruvananthapuram, Feb. 24: George Gheverghese Joseph is on a mission to reclaim India’s pride of place in the world of mathematics. An emeritus professor at Manchester University in the UK, his book, The Crest of the Peacock; Non-European roots of Mathematics, has challenged the status quo and persuaded the West to acknowledge that a 15th century Kerala mathematician-astronomer named Madhava (Madhavan, in local dialect) had worked on the fundamentals of calculus — a vital tool for measuring time, making almanacs and finding directions at sea — almost two centuries before Sir Isaac Newton and his German counterpart Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz were credited as its founders.
Question: How did the West react to the conclusions in your first book, The Crest of the Peacock; Non-European roots of Mathematics?
People who disappointed me were the Indians. Part of colonisation involves a form of brainwashing where you end up defending something because you think you have invested time and emotion in it. I was awarded a Royal Society Visiting Fellowship to deliver a series of lectures in Indian universities. But a number of those I met didn’t either want to know or were very critical. Subsequently, I also noticed that academics has been highly politicised in the country. So I suddenly find my views and conclusions either being approved by the Right who say, look here is a book that shows India is great, or being criticised by the Left, who claim that the book panders to the other side and contains not much of material analysis.
Q: How do you suggest the knowledge from Indian shores reached Europe?
( hari krishnamurthy K. HARIHARAN)"
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