Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

On the Indian Tradition of Mathematical Names: A Scientific Analysis

Version 1 : Received: 1 April 2021 / Approved: 2 April 2021 / Online: 2 April 2021 (15:31:41 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 5 April 2021 / Approved: 5 April 2021 / Online: 5 April 2021 (14:42:47 CEST)

How to cite: Karn, A.; Rosiejka, B.; Badoni, P.; Singh, R.K. On the Indian Tradition of Mathematical Names: A Scientific Analysis. Preprints 2021, 2021040076 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202104.0076.v1). Karn, A.; Rosiejka, B.; Badoni, P.; Singh, R.K. On the Indian Tradition of Mathematical Names: A Scientific Analysis. Preprints 2021, 2021040076 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202104.0076.v1).


The current paper explores the tenuous interlink between names of individuals in a society and its collective social consciousness, particularly with reference to the pervasive occurrence of the ‘mathematical names’ in the current Hindu society in the Indian subcontinent and beyond. Initially, an attempt is made to put things into mathematical perspective by drawing a quick sketch of the mathematical achievements of the Indian mathematicians. Then, under the six broad categories of geometry, trigonometry, numeration, arithmetic, algebra and mathematics in the Vedic tradition, a concise layman description of these subdivisions are presented, underlining the names of the concepts and terms, sometimes by producing the textual references. Next, upon identification of such mathematical terms, these names are juxtaposed with the names current in the Indian Hindu setting. By employing an extensive dataset of university student names in India and the databases of Facebook and LinkedIn, we produce both qualitative and quantitative evidence of the presence of such names in the Indian subcontinent. Evidently, these names reflect impressions of the rich mathematical heritage left by the Hindu stalwart mathematicians. This hypothesis has also been examined by taking surveys of people bearing these mathematical names, as well as by documenting the ‘conscious procedures’ that go behind the naming of a Hindu Indian child. In trying to investigate if such a phenomenon is unique to the Indian tradition, a stark contrast with the ‘names in mathematics’ as prevalent in the European mathematical traditions is presented, as cultural roots of mathematics are explored. Further, we ascribe the presence of these names as the extant remains of the colossal impact of multifarious mathematical traditions existing in India. In fact, the present research also brings to the fore, certain unseen facets of the Indian Hindu society as regards the education of mathematics to women – through an indirect exploration of their names. We then show that the pervasive occurrence of these names are not merely the result of semantic chance events, but denote the richness of the Indian mathematical legacy. We also present cross-cultural comparisons to show the uniqueness of Indian mathematical and scientific traditions that led to the pervasiveness of ‘mathematical names’ in India. Finally, an attempt is made to clarify some subtle points on the associations between mathematics and religion in India and other cultures of the world. It is a sincere hope that the present study may shed light on the cultural roots of mathematics and may provide a different dimension in the study of mathematics and society, across other civilizations.

Subject Areas

Mathematical names; Hindu mathematical tradition; Indian social psyche; Mathematics and religion; Mathematics and society; Hindu mathematics

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 3 April 2021
Commenter: Dr Ajay Kumar
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: Wonderful! It is inspirational to all the Indian
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