Essay

# Hindutva’s science envy

Print edition : September 16, 2016

Plimpton 322, a tablet from the Plimpton Collection at Columbia University showing Pythagorean triples in Cuneiform numerals, dates 1900-1600 BCE. Photo: By Special Arrangement

From the Yale Babylon Collection, dated 1900 BCE. Across the diagonal is written 1 24 51 10 = 1 + 24/60 + 51/3600 + 10/2160000, which is 1.41421296 to 9 significant decimal figures, which is very close to the real figure. The length of the diagonal, on this assumption, is 30 times the square root of 2, which is 42 25 35 in base 60. The point really is that the Babylonians knew that the ratio of diagonal from side was exactly the square root of 2, and they knew how to find a good approximation of that number. Photo: By Special Arrangement

Hsuan-thu, a pictorial proof of the Pythagorean theorem from "Chou Pei" (c.1100-600 BCE). Photo: By Special Arrangement

This Cambodian rock inscription, written in Old Khmer, reads "The Chaka era reached year 605 on the fifth day of the waning moon". The dot (at right) is now recognised as the oldest known version of our zero. Photo: By Special Arrangement

The Chaturbhuja temple in Madhya Pradesh, where the first evidence of zero in India was found. The temple is dated to 876 and is much older than the current fort, whose construction was begun in the late 15th century. \it was dedicated to Vishnu but is no longer an active site of worship. Photo: By Special Arrangement

The inscription from Chaturbhuja temple. The number "270" appears right in the centre and is considered the first evidence of "0" in India. Photo: By Special Arrangement

Galileo Galilei, 17th century Italian astronomer.

Johannes Kepler, 17th century German mathematician and astronomer.

Gregor Mendel, who founded the science of genetics.

Claiming an organic unity between the Vedic world view and modern science has been the agenda of Hindu nationalists from the very start. If modern science is nothing more than a minor tributary flowing into the ocean of Vedic spiritual science known to our rishis, it is Western science and scientists who should feel Veda envy.