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Vedic Mathematics

Vedic Mathematics Jashbhai Patel THIS is in support of S G Dani's appeal (EPW, July 31, 1993): "It is high time that the saner elements joined hands to educate people... lest the intellectual and educational life in the country get vitiated..." Around 1976, the book Vedic Mathematics by Jagadguru Swami Shri Bharti Krishna Tirthaji Maharaj was referred to me. I refused to comment on it at that date because I did not know then nor know now a single word of Sanskrit. Even then, J was surprised to read the contents. It consisted of the various tricks to do arithmetic simply. No doubt, to discover an original or a new method in arithmetic or for that matter in any other field is a sure sign of a genius and the jagadguru was perhaps one such genius, I do not want to dispute this fact. What I felt then was this: to call his work mathematics, as the word is understood in the modern world, was certainly and highly problematic. Further, that the work was contained in the Vedas was beyond verification for me because I had not read them. However, I was fairly familiar with the work: History of Hindu Mathematics - A Source Book, Parts I and II by Bibhutibhushan Datta and Avadhesh Narayan Singh (1935, 1938). This is the best and the most reliable scholarly work on Hindu mathematics. The first part is devoted to Hindu Arithmetic and the second part deals with Hindu Algebra and a few allied topics. I did not find in this great work any reference to what the jagadguru had written about in his book. This did cast some doubt in my mind but 1 was not Bibhutibhushan Datta, a remarkably great scholar of Sanskrit and mathematics, whose student Dhar (Krishnamurty Foundation, Rajghat) said to me in Benaras that he became a sanyasi in his later life, to dispute the jagadguru's claims, I am happy that Dani has exposed the worth of the jagadguru ashok in his article.

Is National Interest Being Served by Narmada Project

The biggest beneficiary of the Narmada Project wilt be Gujarat, while the other two states, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra will be deprived of vast areas afforest, natural resources and will also-be forced to uproot thousands of people, mostly tribals, who have lived in these regions for generations. Does Gujarat have any right to these benefits at this enormous cost?

Progress of Solar Energy

Given this position, it is not surprising that Rudra should view with considerable concern the growth of quantifica' ion in agricultural economics. He points ou, many common instances of wrong application and interpretation to suggest the need for better training of researchers in the quantitative tools, particularly in the basics of statistical es imation and testing. In situations where quantification is crucial, the techniques could fail to provide decisive results. An interesting case cited by Rudra is that of estima'ion of growth rate of Indian agriculture leading to trend functions with different profiles of growth rates but having equally good fit to the time-ssries data on production. He also describes the limitations of quantitative techaniques in the exploratory stage of theory-building. Quantification poses a paradox to the profession. There is a case for a less lavish and more discriminating use of quantitative analysis but, at the level of training, far more needs to be covered besides multiple-regression to give the researchers an array of alternatives to choose from. Many entertain the notion that only simple and elementary techniques would be viable with the data characterised by many deficiencies. This is not quite true. It would be closer to reality to say that handling deficient data colls for more sophisticated training in quantitative tools than would be needed in a situ- ation where one can always get the exact kind of data one is looking for.

Optimum Use of Water Resources

computers use, can be bought and sold as a commodity. Telecommunication is growing rapidly. "If all the banks shut their doors but maintained their telecommunications links", writes Smith, "it would still be possible for a monetary economy to continue in existence". At the centre of the global information power stands the International Business Machines Corporation, which is responsible not only for 70 per cent of the world's computer installations but is taking a giant stride toward consolidating its dominance through the new satellite technologies.

Decline of the Automobile

munalism and communal politics. These were the indications for evolving an alternative approach to communal politics and warning signals that within the imperialist framework, the communal question could not be solved. However, Mushirul Hasan successfully focuses on the national dimension of communalism and communal dimension of nationalism.

Science for the People

March 8, 1980 have left the rural poor in Telengana almost in the same position as those in Basti.
Why was this? In part Sunil Sen's "Agrarian Relations in India" is an attempt to answer this question. In contrast to Rao's collection, it is a study by an ex-activist in the peasant movement who worked "without any financial assistance from the proliferating research institutes" (vii). According to Sen, commercial agriculture helped lay the basis for the growth of capitalist relations of production, and the growing class of rich peasantry who benefited from this not only had their quarrels with merchants and landlords and so entered the agrarian movement, but also came to dominate it and to emerge after Independenpe as a rising class of capitalist farmers who were the main oppressors of the rural poor. (Though Sen notes that merchant and! usurer capital remain significant in many areas, and tends to stress the capitalist transformation as occurring most completely in the Punjab.) Sen is critical of the Kisan Sabha (and thus indirectly of its communist leadership of which he evidently remains a part) for its ambivalent attitude towards the khetmajurs and for appeasement of the rich peasants

In Support of Solar Energy

ments of a point of view. The most successful of the former category is the essay by Ashish Bose on urban policy. Bose describes the evolution of policy in India since Independence and stresses the weakness in our implementation of measures to improve housing conditions of the poor. A similar survey by P N Dhar on policies regarding the promotion of small-scale industries is a lucid expose of misconceptions on which current policy is based and contains crisp prescriptions separating desirable and undesirable ways of promoting the growth of small-scale industries. Other noteworthy contributions in this category of essays are the ones by Cheliiah reviewing issues in Centre /state coordination of indirect taxation, Sinha on wage policy and Naik on primary education. These essays are pointed in their analysis of current failures but are less convincing in suggesting practical measures for improvement. On a more positive note, Madan describes the evolution of views on language in our political system and concludes that politicians and scholars have both gradually accepted the view that sub- national loyalties based on linguistic differences were not necessarily inimical to national interest. Singer's review of "Changing Thought on Development Problems" is mistitled. It merely describes the evolution of thinking in some international development agencies and continues the deplorable practice of treating relabelling as if it were really rethinking.

Ethics of Accommodation

the aspect of double counting in the aggregation of public debt. It is well known that a major portion (75 per cent) of the states' debt is on account of loans taken from the Centre, and if no deduction is made to the extent of loans taken from the Centre, the aggregation of Central and states' debt would give an exaggerated picture of total public debt Similarly, the calculation of debt services involves double counting. For example, the interest charges of state governments include those paid to the Central government, while interest charges of the Central government include those on loans it has taken, irrespective of recoveries made from state governments and commercial departments.' It would have been better had interest charges paid by state governments on loans taken from the Centre been deducted, particularly when they are expressed as a percentage of national income to assess burden of debt.

Irrelevance on Solar Energy

Review of Agriculture December 1978 that is where they fail. To say this, one need not go' into whether Weizsac- ker-Samuelson are right in saying that there is no exploitation under capitalism when capitalists invest all their, income. Moreover, to deny neo-clas- sicals by the assertion that where there is. exploitation there will be contradiction is to proceed in a rather didactic fashion, when what is needed is a clear counter-argument which results in this conclusion.

Introduction to Ecology

paper on the Soviet transport system by Khachaturov may have some relevance since transport service is, by and large, in the public domain in most developing countries. His paper, which is more descriptive than analytical, highlights the Soviet achievement of low transport costs and fares and a satisfactory level of profits, through centralised planning and generation of economies of scale. Contrary to the general belief, the author points out that though capital investment costs could be covered out of general revenues, the Soviets have decided to cover these costs through appropriate pricing in the transportation sector itself. Lack of inerest in the public services of the developing world could be for. two reasons. It is possible that economists of the developing countries have limited access to conferences of this type. Alternatively, very few persons are working on the economics of public services in the developing countries, including economists of such countries. If the former is the plausible reason, we need not worry too much since other forums exist for dissemination of research. But if the latter is the case, it is high time that our professionals wake up and address themselves to this neglected, yet highly relevant area of stud}-. Must we wait till some Western economists descend on us and make such studies fashionable in our own countries?

SIPRI s Contribution

To this have to be added the failure of planning and the distorted priorities in investment which neglected expansion of mass consumption goods and ignored the necessity for public distribution of essential consumer goods. According to Naik, the failures in education were not only those of the political and economic framework, however; wrong priori- lies and a total preoccupation with monetary allocations as opposed to human inputs were also to blame, Adult education received scant emphasis and lull-time formal schooling with "single- point entry", as he' puts it, reduced the effectiveness of investment in elementary education. According to Naik: 'The main educational success of the post- Independence period lies in the fields of education in agriculture, medicine, science and technology. It is also necessary to point out that the beneficiaries of these programmes have mostly been the classes in power and this is probably the main reason why they received priority and careful attention both in policy-formation and implementation," The blame is laid sqarely on the policymakers. This is in refreshing contrast to those educationists who think that all that is needed to bring about reforms are more resources and the requisite "will" on the part of teachers.

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