Can we do something?

This morning there was a joke in the newspaper about the Chinese overtaking the Americans. Chinese kids chuckling over having Americans working for them in 2030. “Why do great nations fail?”, the teacher asked. “It happens because they turn their back on the things that make them great.”

Non-violence, honesty and pride made India great. Today we seem to have lost all three. Our leaders see commonwealth games as a way to make a quick buck, our military is building personal houses worth millions on public land, but for a moment stop blaming them. Pause to think about a common man on the street and what example he is setting for his teenage kid. Is he teaching them these values? Are schools worried about making good humans, or are busy creating mark getting machines? Mr.Sibal this is what I would call a reform.

Are these values even relevant today? People will argue both ways and its getting harder by the day to hold ground on this value school of thought. I am convinced though that this is the only way to make India truly great. Each person needs to be his own watchdog. Not easy, but not impossible.

During independence a great role was played by our songwriters. That is another community that has lost its purpose. However, as I said let values begin at home then blame others.

Going back to our priceless scriptures will make it easier for us to achieve this. I want to end with this beautiful song:


D.R.Kaprekar: Indian Mathematician

The readers may recall that I talked about Ramanujan sometime back. Today I introduce to my readers, a much less known Indian Mathematician.

Kaprekar constant
Kaprekar constant
Dattaraya Ramchandra Kaprekar, born 1905 worked on the number theory. He had no formal postgraduate training and worked as a schoolteacher in Nasik, India.

His claim to fame is the Kaprekar constant 6174. Start with any four digit number, with no repeating digits – say Z. Let A and B be two numbers formed by rearranging the digits of Z, such that A is the highest number that is possible, and B the smallest. Subtract B from A. If this is not 6174, continue the same way now taking this number to be Z. For example, starting with Ramanujan number 1729:

9721-1279 = 8442
8442-2448 = 5994
9954-4599 = 5355
5553-3555 = 1998
9981-1899 = 8082
8820-0288 = 8532
8532-2358 = 6174
7641-1467 = 6174

He also gave the world Harshad numbers: numbers that can be divided by the sum of their digits – for example 12, which is divisible by 3.


Srinivasa Ramanujan: Indian mathematician


A leading Indian daily started a series on not so ordinary Indian people just before the Independence day on August 15th. On the d-day, ex Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam wrote a piece and talked about Srinivasa Ramanujan, one of the greatest mathematician of current times, from the land that created zero.

He is the person behind Ramanujan number, 1729 which is the smallest number to be a sum of two cubes in two different ways:

1729 = 9*9*9 + 10*10*10
1729 = 1*1*1 + 12*12*12

He was given books on advanced trigonometry which he mastered by the age of 13. While still in India, Ramanujan recorded the bulk of his results in four notebooks of loose leaf paper. These results were mostly written up without any derivations. This is probably the origin of the misperception that Ramanujan was unable to prove his results and simply thought up the final result directly. Mathematician Bruce C. Berndt, in his review of these notebooks and Ramanujan’s work, says that Ramanujan most certainly was able to make the proofs of most of his results, but chose not to.

Ramanujan is generally hailed as an all-time great mathematician, like Leonhard Euler, Carl Friedrich Gauss, and Carl Gustav Jacob Jacobi, for his natural mathematical genius. G. H. Hardy quotes: “The limitations of his knowledge were as startling as its profundity. Here was a man who could work out modular equations and theorems… to orders unheard of, whose mastery of continued fractions was… beyond that of any mathematician in the world, who had found for himself the functional equation of the zeta function and the dominant terms of many of the most famous problems in the analytic theory of numbers; and yet he had never heard of a doubly-periodic function or of Cauchy’s theorem, and had indeed but the vaguest idea of what a function of a complex variable was…”. Hardy went on to claim that his greatest contribution to mathematics was discovering Ramanujan.


Symbol for the Indian Currency

Symbol for Rupee
Symbol for Rupee

Economic Times has started a survey to find a symbol for the Indian currency similar to the Dollar symbol ($). The site shows some proposed designs, and the visitors can vote for one of those, or the visitors can provide their own suggestions.

To the left is the symbol proposed by me. Its based on Hindi rather than English, and has the Ashok Chakra which shows that the currency is progressive, just as the Euro symbol has two straight lines which signify stability.

Please let me know your thoughts, and suggest design changes.