On January 2, Princeton University mathematician and 2014 Fields Medallist Manjul Bhargava delivered a lecture at the Madras Sanskrit College, Chennai, on the connection between Sanskrit and mathematics. Over 75 minutes, he touched upon ancient Indian contributions to advancing number theory and geometry, the importance of preserving their historic contexts, and what institutions like Sanskrit College can do to legitimise modern debates over India’s claims to primacy. Edited excerpts of his speech follow.
In other interviews Manjul Bhargava has cautioned against over hyping Indian contributions to science and technology. There are many important contributions which can be backed up by solid evidence. Let’s just stick to them.
One work that does a great job of collecting such contributions is Dr Alok Kumar’s book Sciences of the Ancient Hindus: Unlocking Nature in the Pursuit of Salvation. I will post a review of this book at some point. Interestingly, Rajiv Malhotra’s Infinity Foundation has funded a project to design a school curriculum based on this book. A great idea!