Tuesday, October 2, 2018

The Real Narrative Behind The Aryabhata Clan

In India there two types of narratives. One is hardcore leftist, communist type of narrative. And then, another kind of narrative is hardcore RSS, Bajrang Dal – right type [of narrative]. One is the extreme right, and one is extreme left.

Examples of both the things.

In a very recent interview [of] Arundhati Roy, she made a comment that Kashmir was never part of India. In [just] three-four words she told something which can be debated, which can be refuted, which can be argued. But factually – if you go by bare facts –, when you say Kashmir was never part of India, [then] what is Kashmir? What is India? What is the idea of India? Who created India? Where from did the word “India” come? When you say something like this, you have to assess everything. So now, without going [in]to all those things, with some agenda, she told, Kashmir was never part of India. She’s an amazing writer. “The God of Small Things” is one of the best books ever written by an Indian author. Having said that, her journalism, her narrative is a pretty strong communist type of narrative.

On the other side, you’ve people, who will tell you that in the age of Ramayana and Mahabharata people knew about genetic engineering, people knew about what not! That is the extreme right form [of narrative] where you glorify India in a way which becomes funny. Ganesh – his head was replaced by [an] elephant’s head. That was construed as being plastic surgery. You know that this type of narrative is a very fanatic, a very rightist type of narrative.

But then, what happens to the history? One side is telling you that Kashmir was never part of India, and another side is telling you, during the age of Ramayana and Mahabharata, you had airplanes, and what not – you had genetic engineering, you had plastic surgery… So, now what do we do? What is the truth? That’s where I felt that, my narrative or my story should talk about the real facts, rather than the left or the right.

The last book that I chose to write – I talked about ISIS, the entire thing about the Islamic State in Syria [and Iraq]. That is one part, and then again, [it’s about] how Indian journalism has been either right or left, and how this ambiguous form of journalism or this ambiguous form of narrative has created an atmosphere where nobody knows what is right and what is wrong.

The reason I’ve brought in Aryabhata

We’ve heard of lot of wild claims about India, but this is also a fact that Aryabhata is one of the least publicized Indian individuals. Zero was not invented by Aryabhata, but he was first person who scientifically defined the concept of Zero.

In mathematics we’ve read, ten hundred, thousand, everything increases by power of ten – this is called [the] Place Value System. Say, two hundred thirty-four, you write 2, 3 and 4. The value of 3 is actually 3 x 10, because 3 is placed at ten’s place. Then the value of 2 is actually [two] hundred – the place of 2 is actually the hundred’s place. We cannot even think [of anything without the place value system]. The entire modern science, everything is held in place by this place value system. This was again scientifically defined by Aryabhata. And then, this concept from India – it first went to Arab, through translations, and then from Arab it went to Europe, again through Latin translations. And that’s how the place value system went to Europe from India, from Aryabhata’s book, through Arab.

Suddenly if you see, from the 15th or the 16th century onward, Europe had a sudden renaissance in science. The reason why suddenly Newton came into picture only [after] 15th century, and every… and most of the scientific advancements, whether it’s mathematics or geometry, most of the things happened in Europe only after 15th century – this place value system from India, from Aryabhata, came [to Europe].

We talk about plastic surgery in [ancient] India, so many things, but how many times have you read this fact that there wouldn’t be Newton if there wouldn’t have been an Aryabhata?

The story I would like to say is neither the left nor the right – some thriller based on some historical facts and it’s up to the readers to assess what’s true, [and] what’s false, and that’s it. That’s my story, that it should be unbiased, it should be unprejudiced. It should be left to the others to interpret.

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