karnataka: Pythagoras’ theorem has Vedic roots: Karnataka panel

BENGALURU: Karnataka has proposed teaching all school children Sanskrit as a third language and introducing Manusmriti and ancient numerical systems like Bhuta-sankhya and katapayadi-sankhya paddhati in the syllabus. Besides, one of its proposals for inclusion in the new NEP school syllabus says students should be encouraged to question “how fake news such as Pythagoras theorem, apple falling on Newton’s head etc. are being created and propagated”.

Educationists in Karnataka have expressed concern over certain proposals submitted by the state government to the Centre as position papers for inputs to be included in the curriculum framework and state syllabus under the National Education Policy (NEP). Every state must upload its position papers on the NCERT website.

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About the reference to Newton’s gravity apple and Pythagoras theorem as “fake news” in one of the position papers, Madan Gopal, chairman of the task force to implement NEP in the state, said: “This is the interpretation of the group. Gravity and Pythagoras have roots in Vedic maths. This is an Indic-centred approach. A lot of information is there about this on Google. For instance, it is believed that Baudhayan had laid down Pythagoras’ theorem in Vedic texts. This is a viewpoint. You may or may not agree with it.”

The state had formed 26 committees to prepare position papers on school education. These included Knowledge of India among others.

According to sources, meetings to review some position papers witnessed heated arguments. Several problematic points were expressed in the position paper on Knowledge of India, which is recommended as a compulsory subject. Dismissing the objections, Madan Gopal said, “This paper has been prepared under the chairmanship of an eminent IIT professor. It has been vetted and accepted by the state government.” The committee was headed by V Ramanathan of IIT (BHU), Varanasi.

Lamenting the current system of education, the paper attributes it to “policies at both the state and the central level which in the garb of secularisation have systematically ushered our impressionable minds into the zone of rootlessness and ignorance of the achievements by their very own ancestors”.

“In the land of thousands of languages, at least three languages must be taught — the regional language, English and another Bharatiya language, preferably Sanskrit,” the paper read.

The paper pointed out that many of the Smrti literature “have been relegated to obscurity or being proscribed due to incomplete and poor understanding of their ethos and content”. It said: “For instance, even though Manusmirti contains lofty ideals of public and societal good, it has become controversial to the extent that its very name solicits unwarranted bemoan from a section of our society.”

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