History & Culture

How Pendilbury’s ‘Arithmetic for Standards’ became the standard for teachers in Karnataka

A look at Ganita Bodhini, the Kannada translation of Charles Pendilbury’s book which was first printed in 1899

Ganita Bodhini is the Kannada translation of ‘Arithmetic for the Standards (Canarese) Part 1’ written by Charles Pendilbury. The name of the Kannada translator is not mentioned in the book which is a first edition and was printed in 1899. This book was printed by S.P.C.K. Press, Veperi and was published by Seymour Hale of Mumbai. Five thousand copies were printed in the first edition and it contains 264 pages. However, its price is not mentioned.

Pendilbury who was born in London in 1864, was a renowned mathematician of his times. He also held the post of Secretary of The Mathematical Association, London for 50 years from 1886 to 1936. Numerous novel evolutions and creative concepts in methodologies about mathematical teaching were formulated by the Association during his Secretaryship. Pendilbury also penned many books on mathematics.

Kannada has a rich tradition in literature pertaining to mathematics. Rajadithya, Kannada poet in 1190 BC, wrote the Vyavahara Ganita, Kshetra Ganita (geometry), Vyavahara Ratna, Llilavati and Gnanaganita Sutradhikodaharana. Vyavahara Ganita and Lilavati were edited and published by Vidwan M.Mariyappa Bhat in 1950.

Prof.Padmavathamma published Vyavahara Ganita in 2013. Unfortunately, not much is known about Kannada mathematician and writer, Timmarasa. After the printing technology came into existence a plethora of books about and on mathematics were published in Kannada. Various books about theory, application, dictionaries, research and teaching methodologies in Mathematics in the branches of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and trigonometry were copiously published.

How Pendilbury’s ‘Arithmetic for Standards’ became the standard for teachers in Karnataka

Another novel feature of Kannada is its own independent numeric system like the Arabic and Roman numerals. Rev B Rice brought out Ganita Vidyeyu (Canarese Arithmetic) in Kannada in 1846 using only Kannada numerals, which is amazing. Ganita Pustaka Purananka (1833 – litho print) is the first ever printed mathematics book written by the Committee of Native Mathematicians headed by Walter Eliot. It is very interesting to note that more native mathematics authours wrote in Kannada — there are more than hundred titles from 1833-1900.

Anka Lipi (1871) by Balakrishna Venkatesha Abbigeri is about Kannada numerals, revealing their novelty and inherently independent attitude of the Kannada language and culture in academics. Venkata Rango Katti, a renowned authour and social reformer, was also a mathematician who wrote Bayilekkagala Pustakavu in 1872.

Apoornanka (1835 – litho print) by Balasastri Jambhekara, Sulabha Bayi Lekkagalu (1850) by Chennaveera Phakeerappa, Rekha Ganita (1866) by B.Rama Rao, Ankaganita (1868) by Gurappa Martadi, Ganitanyaya (1870) by Ziegler, Ankaganitavu (1873) by Channabasavappa Basavalingappa Dharawadakara, Ankaganita (1875) by Ranu Devji More, Koshtakavu(1876) by Mishralal Ramprasad Misara, Anka Ganita (1876, second edition, 10,000 copies) by the Department of Public Instruction, Bangalore), Chikka Hudugarigoskara (1877) by Hari Sawant Bhikaji, Ganitarnava (1878) by Laksmipataiah, Ganita Sandgraha (1881) by Krishnaji Ananta Jakati, Ganitalayavu (1883) by Hanamanta Venkatesa Yaragatti, Ankaganita (1889) by Virupaksha Chinnappa Huli, Chikka Balakara Saluvagi Koshtakagalu (1891) by the Village Officer Printing Press in Bijapur, Beejaganitada Mulatatwagalu (1897) by Ramachandra Hanamanta Deshpande and Akruthi (1900) by Ra Narasimhacharya, are some of the mathematics books of yesteryears in Kannada.

Ganita Bodhini narrates how teachers should teach arithmetics in an interesting manner. It served as a text for primary school teacher trainees for decades. Instructions to teachers, numerals, recitation of numerals, addition, subtraction, recitation of multiplication tables from 1 to 20, exhibition of numerals, multiplication, division, transformation, weights and measures, concept of Time, measurements of length, squares, cubes, measurement of grains — these are the 14 classified chapters of the book.

In the appendix, Currency and Coins of India and England, Weighing systems of India and England, Measurement systems of Princely Mysore State, India and England, Weighing and measurement systems of Liquids and Solids in Mysore, India and England are given in tabular form. The book gives an insight to the social systems, economy, political attitudes of the Colonial Period as well as how colonial states were reacting to the British Kingdom.

In the chapter, Instructions to Teachers, the author instructs trainees on the importance of materials to be used to teach numbers from 1-100. He says that slates with coloured beads of ten each and bundles of sticks of hundreds and tens would be very useful. Till recently, this system was in use in Indian primary schools. A teacher should recite with children the numbers from 1-9 several times so the child learns counting by heart. While giving examples, the teacher should choose articles which are at hand in the classroom such as books, pencils, erasers and the like. Children should be involved in the learning process. For example, students could be instructed to use the black board, while others used their slates.

In actuality, these are the basic principles of teaching and is relevant at all times. The book narrates the methodology of teaching to trainiees, such as making the students solve given arithemetical problems in the classroom by discussing them with neighbouring students. This may be done by dividing the children into groups of five each. In the chapter Numerals, the author explains about the number 9373. The number should be read from left to right. However, while analysing it, it goes from right to left. That is, the first 3 in the extreme right is in the decimal place and it indicates numeral 3. The second 7 indicates 7 tens, the third 3 represents 3 hundreds and the fourth 9 indicates 9 thousands. That is why 9373 is known as nine thousand three hundred and seventy three. Thus, this book has adopted a simple way of communicating complex problems in a simple way. This book which preaches methodology of teaching arithmetics to teacher trainees in a simple and effective manner is a significant contributiton to mathematics literature in Kannada.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 7:08:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/history-and-culture/how-pendilburys-arithmetic-for-standards-became-the-standard-for-teachers-in-karnataka/article31081832.ece

Next Story