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Lecture5

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A lecture by K R Subrahmanyam on Indian Maths.
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  D EVELOPMENT OF  M ATHEMATICS IN  I NDIA Bakshali Manuscript K. RamasubramanianIIT BombayATM W ORKSHOP @IIT B OMBAY February 2013  Outline ¯ Aryabhat .¯ıya  : Part I   Discovery of the Bakshali Manuscript   Date of the Manuscript   Content of the Manuscript (that is extant)   Problems in deciphering & making overall assessment   Mathematical notation employed   The square root formula  Kaye’s misinterpretation  B B Datta’s attempt – found to be lacking!  Channabasappa’s interpretation  His plausible derivation consistent with the knowledgeavailable then   Some other interesting problems in BM   Lessons to learn from history  Discovery of the Bakshali Manuscript (BM)   BM was discovered—purely by a stroke of luck—by a farmer inthe year 1881  CE  as he was excavating the soil, in a place calledBakshali. 1   It is in the form of birch bark, and only 70 folios are available. Itis hard to estimate as what fraction would have got lost and whatis available(?)   Providentially the discovered manuscript reached the righthands, and after passing through several hands, finally reachedF R Hoernle, an indologist who had interest in unearthingits—for whatever purposes!   It was first edited and published in 1922 by G. R. Kaye. 2   Another edition was brought out more recently by Takao Hayashiin 1995. 1 This place is identified as a village ≈ 80 km from Peshawar (currently inPakistan). 2 It has been unambigously shown by scholars (Datta and others) that theviews expressed by Kaye were highly biased.  More detailed account of the discovery (Gupta) An Inspector of Police named Mian An-Wan-Udin (whose tenant actually discoveredthe manuscript while digging a stone enclosure in a ruined place) took the work to theAssistant Commissioner at Mardan who intended to forward the manuscript to LahoreMuseum. However, it was subsequently sent to the Lieutenant Governor of Punjabwho, on the advice of General A Cunningham, directed it to be passed on to Dr Rudolf Hoernle of the Calcutta Madrasa for study and publication. Dr Hoernle presented adescription of the BM before the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1882, and this waspublished in the Indian Antiquary in 1883. He gave a fuller account at the SeventhOriental Conference held at Vienna in 1886 and this was published in its Proceedings.A revised version of this paper appeared in the Indian Antiquary of 1888. In 1902, hepresented the Bakhshali Manuscript to the Bodleian Library, Oxford, where it is still(Shelf mark: MS. Sansk. d. 14).

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