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Friday, December 8, 2023

Beejaganita aka Algebra is a Bharatiya and not Arab invention, says author of new book on Hindu Mathematics

Yet another blow to the propaganda that algebra was invented by Al-Khwarizmi or Diophantus. This is as direct as it gets. The following pages are from the 16th century work “L’Algebra” by Italian mathematician Rafael Bombelli. Translation of highlighted text follows.

Translation from the Italian:

“I have decided first to consider the majority of the authors who up to now have written about [algebra], so that I can fill in what they have missed out. They are very many, and among them Mohammed ibn Musa [Al-Khwarizmi], an Arab, is believed to be the first […] I believe that the word ‘algebra’ came from him, because some years ago, Brother Luca [Pacioli] of Borgo San Sepolcro of the Minorite order, having set himself the task of writing on this science, as much in Latin as in Italian, said that the word ‘algebra’ was Arabic […] and that the science came from the Arabs.

“Many who have written after him have believed and said likewise, but in recent years, a Greek work on this discipline has been discovered in the Library of our Lord in the Vatican, composed by a certain Diophantus of Alexandria, a Greek author […] Antonio Maria Pazzi and I have translated five books (of the seven) […] In this work we have found that he cites the Indian authors many times, and thus I have been made aware that this discipline belonged to the Indians before the Arabs.”

Not only is algebra (Beejaganita in Sanskrit) a purely Hindu invention, in my upcoming book with Garuda Prakashan I explore how its growth is closely intertwined with Hindu philosophical and religious thought, and how Hindu mathematicians explicitly mentioned this connection.

References: Bombelli’s book (in Italian) is available at’algebra.pdf. The English translation is from J. Fauvel and J . Gray, The History of Mathematics: A Reader (Macmillan 1987), pg. 264.

(This article has been compiled from the tweet thread originally tweeted by Bhaskar Kamble (@MeruPrastara) on August 23, 2020.)

HinduPost Note

The book that Bhaskar ji refers to in the thread above, has now been published.

You can buy “THE IMPERISHABLE SEED: How Hindu Mathematics Changed the World and Why this History was Erased” by Bhaskar Kamble at Garuda Books or Amazon.

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