Mathematics of an ancient era

VEDIC MATHEMATICS - VEDA GANITHAM Part I: S. Haridas; Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Kulapathi K.M. Munshi Marg, Mumbai-400007. Rs. 190.

IT AUGURS well that more books on Vedic mathematics are being published nowadays, as it would promote wider dissemination and critical appraisal for its incorporation in school mathematics curriculum.

The author of the book under review is a working mathematics teacher in a government higher secondary school in Kerala. He is a great scholar in Sanskrit.

While covering some of the contributions of Jagadguru Sri Bharati Krishna Thirthaji in part I, he has included some extra materials - arithmetic in chapter II, geometry in chapter V and trigonometry in chapter VI with Sanskrit equivalents of mathematical vocabulary employed, without mention of sutras.

The book seems to be written and brought out rather hurriedly as could be seen by the errors of spelling and punctuation: for instance, many of the interrogative sentences do not carry question mark at the end. Instead of mentioning ``tens place'', ``tenth place'' is used. The figure on page 137 should be a rectangle as intended, but it has turned out to be a parallelogram and the sectors of the circle change in size while being shown rearranged to form a parallelogram. The perpendiculars to the diagonal on page 141 have not come out properly. Coming to the exposition, there are some omissions and commissions which can be taken care of in the next edition. Only a few are cited.

On page 19, the identity (x+a) (x+b) = x2 + (a+b)x + ab is given as is usually taught in schools and not as x(x+a+b)+ab as is presented by Jagadguru himself in his book on page 19. While dealing with per cents (pp 85 to 89), is it not incorrect to multiply by 100 and give the answer with percentage sign? e.g. 1/5 = 1/5 x 100 = 20%. While converting simple fractions like 1/19 into recurring decimal fractions, it is not indicated how to decide when to stop to complete the recurring part of complementation or Wikhilam Sutra.

The book is written in textbook format with reverence and fervour.


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