ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Cultural Foundations of a Nineteenth Century-Mathematical Project

Mathematical Project Dhruv Raina S Irfan Habib We investigate here the context in which Ramchandra, a nineteenth century Indian mathematician, journalist, populariser and social commentator, worked on A Treatise on the Problems of Maxima and Minima. The work was original in that it sought to obtain the maxima and minima of a function from algebra and without using differential calculus. The project itself was nourished by the notion of algebra as a cultural metaphor, and it is on this count that it attracted the attention of the British algebraist Augustus de Morgan. The Treatise, when placed against the background of Ramchandra's stance vis-a-vis the colonial educational policy, clearly reveals the beginnings of a still nebulous anti-colonial politics, insofar as its professed objective is a mathematical revivification of an intrinisic but dormant algebraic predisposition of the Indian mind.

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