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Maths in Ancient India

The Ancient Indians with their superior cultural attainments, high intellectual curiosity and passion for logical and analytical thinking showed greater interest in Mathematics. The ten Indian numerals and the zero sigh affected a revolution in the study of arithmetic. They liberated the human mind from the cumbersome method of counting adopted by the Romans and unfolded the magic of numbers. Geometry was familiar to the Ancient Indians because geometrical figures were used for making figures for Vedic altars. But it was really in the field of arithmetic and algebra that India left the others far behind. The discovery of the zero symbols is referred to in a scriptural book dated 200 BC.

The discovery of the zero has been hailed by eminent mathematicians as the outstanding single mathematical creation that has had effect on the general on-go of intelligence and power. These were not freak discoveries but answered to some insistent demand of society. There were many problems connected with trade, taxation, exchange, calculation of the fineness of gold etc which called for sound knowledge of mathematical calculations.

From the fifth to twelfth century AD we find numerous books by eminent mathematicians. The earliest book available on astronomy is by the famous Aryabharata.The other famous names are Bhaskara I,Brahmagupta and Bhaskara II. Bhaskara II wrote a treatise on arithmetic and called it Lilavati. In the 8th century a number of Indian scholars went to Baghdad taking with them books on astronomy and mathematics. Aryabhata’s books were translated into Arabic. Baghdad was then a centre of great learning. Indian mathematics in Arabic translations found its way throughout the Moslem world from Central Asia to Spain from there to all over Europe.