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Baudhayana Sulbasutra

  • IASbaba
  • July 21, 2022
  • 0
History and Art and Culture
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In News: The position paper, part of Karnataka’s submissions to the NCERT for a National Curriculum Framework, has revived discussion on what we call the Pythagoras theorem was already known to Indians from the Vedic times.

Dispute

  • The Pythagoras theorem is disputed in many international forums. Not the content, but Pythagoras claiming it as his own.
  • Madan Gopal, a retired IAS officer who heads Karnataka’s NEP task force, has referred to a text called the Baudhayana Sulbasutra, in which a specific shloka refers to the theorem.

How do we know that Indian mathematicians from the Vedic period knew this?

  • There are references in the sulbasutras, which are texts pertaining to fire rituals (yajanas) performed by Vedic Indians. The oldest of these is the Baudhayana Sulbasutra.
  • The period of Baudhayana Sulbasutra is uncertain, there being no direct internal evidence useful in this respect. I
  • t is estimated based on linguistic and other secondary historical considerations and have varied substantially depending on the author.
  • By and large, in recent literature, Baudhayana Sulbasutra is taken to be from around 800 BCE.

In what context is this equation discussed in the sulbasutras?

  • The yajna rituals involved construction of altars (vedi) and fireplaces (agni) in a variety of shapes such as isosceles triangles, symmetric trapezia, and rectangles.
  • The sulbasutras describe steps towards construction of these figures with prescribed sizes.
  • The Pythagorean equation comes into play in these procedures, which involve drawing perpendiculars.
  • But because there is no evidence that the Indians had a proof, its origin is still hotly debated topic.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to the history of ancient India, Bhavabhuti, Hastimalla and Kshemeshvara were famous (2021)

  1. Jain monks
  2. playwrights
  3. temple architects
  4. Philosophers

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