It is widely known that just after sunset, on December 22, 1887, the math genius Srinivasa Ramanujan was born in his maternal grandmother’s home in Erode. This house remained untraced until recently. But it has now been located, thanks to the efforts of Susumu Sakurai, professor and head, Department of Math, Tokyo University of Science and Technology, and Dr. N. Mani, professor, Government Arts College, Erode, and president, Tamil Nadu Science Forum.
“In the West, such a house would have been converted into a museum for math, but in our country, it stands neglected. The authorities should at least consider naming the street where this house is located after the genius. Otherwise this valuable piece of history might be forgotten by future generations,” remarks Prof. R. Sivaraman, founder, Pie Mathematics Association, who travelled to Erode to photograph and document the house. A memorandum seeking this has been forwarded by Radha Mani Bharathi, councillor of the area where the house is located, to the municipality of Erode.
The quest began with one pointer: the information that the home in which Ramanujan was born was situated exactly between a Siva temple and its theppakulam (water tank of the temple). After scouting for such temples in Erode, the search was narrowed down to Azhagiya Singar Street in Erode city (Erode-1). After enquiry with old-time residents of the street and other families in the town, Ramanujan’s home was identified as bearing door number 18; this is actually one of the three adjacent portions of a once larger and linear house.
People who have been living in the area for long know that Ramanujan was born in this house. “For instance, when we contacted Aaravamudhan, who has been living in a neighbouring house on the same street for more than 75 years, he said his parents knew the maternal grandparents and mother of Ramanujan and had recounted to him anecdotes about Ramanujan being a quiet baby when he was there,” informs Prof. Sivaraman. Ramanujan lived in this house for about eight months, after which his mother took him to her husband’s house in Kumbakonam.