Solve complex math in a minute, the Vedic wayMay 8th, 2008 - 11:21 am ICT by admin
By Madhusree Chatterjee
New Delhi, May 8 (IANS) It was invented in India, but Vedic mathematics is more popular abroad, says expert Pradeep Kumar who has authored more than 75 books on the subject. He believes it could banish the fear that creeps into the minds of millions of children at the mention of math. The world of Vedic maths, says Kumar, is mental - doing away with finger counting, carrying over digits, manual calculations and electronic computations.
Kumar, a mechanical engineer and an alumnus from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Bangalore, heads the institute, Magical Methods in Delhi, which works with several schools in the Gulf and Southeast Asian countries to promote Vedic math.
“On an average, I conduct 30 workshops in schools across Asia, Europe and Canada every year. At this moment, I have three projects with schools in Honk Kong, Singapore and Bangkok,” Kumar told IANS in an interview. He has 57 centres and more than 100 trained Vedic math teachers on his rolls.
Vedic math, as contained in the Atharva Veda, the last of the four Vedas, is on a revival path after several thousand years. Schools in various Asian nations, Europe and America are falling back on ancient Indian scriptures to crack complex number games that make up present-day mathematics.
But Kumar says it is more popular abroad than in India. “It is recognised by the National Council of Education Research and Training but is yet to become part of the scholastic curriculum in the country,” he said.
This when mathematics is a weak link for millions of schoolchildren across India. The subject seems either too dry or as being loaded with numbers.
“The premise is simple. Break down complex numbers into their components of 10s or 100s and calculate mentally. For example, when 38 is added to 46 in conventional math, we carry over one and add it to the top-most digit in the column representing 10 (in the Indian decimal system). The result is 84.
“But in Vedic math, we break down the number into its decimal components. First, we add 30 and 40, the sum of which is 70. And then add 8 and 6, which is 14. The zero stays and one adds strength to the cardinal number in the bigger decimal column. Hence, 7 becomes 8. The end result is 84,” Kumar explained, citing an example.
The mathematician has designed several puzzles and intelligent mind games for first-timers in Vedic classrooms.
The games like the Tower of Hanoi, Magic Square, Frogs and Toad and Double Game are based on reasoning and logic. “They improve concentration and reasoning abilities as they initiate rookies into the subject. It does not burden the mind and benefits children psychologically,” says Kumar.
Vedic math, interpreted in the modern context in 1965 by seer Bharati Krisna Thirthaji Maharaja in his book “Vedic Mathematics”, has 16 “sutras” (formulas) and 13 sub-sutras (smaller theorems) to solve the entire gamut of mathematical problems mentally in less than one-tenth of the time taken to solve them through conventional methods.
In a live demonstration, Kumar added two sets of 24-digit numbers down to its last decimal point in less than five seconds, without a word. “It comes with practice,” he said.
The Vedic math expert, who used the technique to solve his mathematical problems in his IIM entrance test (CAT), has designed modules for students trying to crack the IIT and IIM as well as bank jobs and IAS examinations.
(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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