Aryabhata: The man from Bihar who gave world the concept of modern day Mathematics

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By Prachi Mishra

Aryabhata was one of the first Indian mathematicians and astronomers belonging to the classical age. A pioneer in the field of mathematics, he went on to discover the digit 0.

He was born in 476 BC in Tarenaga, a town in Bihar, India. However, some sources mention that he belonged to Kerala.  He completed his education at the well-known ancient University of Nalanda, which is located near Kusumapura in the present Indian state of Bihar. Since the University had an observatory in its premises, it is conjectured that Aryabhata was the principal of the institute as well.

Work in the field of Mathematics

Aryabhata wrote the scholarly work Aryabhattiya at a young age of 23, which is a summary of mathematics of his time. The work is divided into four sections. In the first section, the method of denoting big decimal numbers by alphabets has been described. The second section comprises of questions from topics of modern day Mathematics, such as number theory, geometry, trigonometry and Beejganita (algebra). The remaining two sections are on astronomy.

The discovery of zero enabled him to find out the exact distance between the earth and the moon. It also exposed a new feature of negative numerals.

For the first time, he gave the approximate value of pi as 3.1416. He arrived at this value by calculating the approximate circumference of a circle having a diameter of 20,000 units, which came out to be 62,832. He also gave the correct formula for calculating the area of a triangle.

He was also the first mathematician to give what later came to be known as the tables of Sines. The birth of trigonometry was influenced by his definitions of sine (jya), cosine (kojya), versine (utkrama-jya), and inverse sine (otkram jya).

Contribution to Astronomy

The last two sections of Aryabhattiya deal with astronomy.

Much before Copernicus enlightened the West with the discovery that sun is at the centre of solar system and all the planets including earth revolve around it, Aryabhata made this discovery by adopting the heliocentric theory. He disregarded the popular belief that earth is stationary and stated the theory that earth is round and rotates on its own axis, which causes the occurrence of day and night.

Aryabhatta challenged various prevalent superstitious beliefs and gave scientific explanations for many natural phenomena. He correctly stated that the moon and other planets do not have light of their own and shine because of the reflection of the light of the sun.

There was a popular Hindu belief that solar and lunar eclipses occurred because Rahu and Ketu (demon’s head) gobbled the sun and the moon. Aryabhata demolished this myth by proposing the theory that eclipses occur due to the shadows casted by the earth and the moon.

Due to his immense contribution towards developing mathematical and astronomical studies, the first satellite sent into orbit by India has been named after Aryabhata.

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Domestic Violence Escalates in Bihar Amid Lockdown

Bihar sees surge in domestic violence

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There is a significant increase in domestic violence cases in Bihar amid the lockdown. Pixabay

The enforcement of lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus has put one vulnerable group more at risk in Bihar.

Domestic violence has escalated in the state as women confined to their homes during the lockdown have no escape from their abusers.

Former Bihar Youth Congress leader Lalan Kumar on Tuesday said, “The cases of domestic violence against women have seen a dramatic rise in all the police stations records in the state since the imposition of lockdown. This shows police inaction while the state has a shortage of women staff in all the stations.”

“Recently the National Commission for Women (NCW) released a figure which says that in March alone, the commission registered 587 complaints in connection with domestic violence”, Kumar said.

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Women are confined to their homes during the lockdown and hence have no escape from their abusers. Pixabay

He demanded from the state government that women police personnel should be appointed in each police station as soon as possible.

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Kumar said, “A spate of rape cases has also been reported in the state during the lockdown. A minor girl was gang raped by five youths in Darbhanga on May 8. On the same day, another gang rape of a minor girl in Kishanganj also came to light. On May 1, a minor girl in the state capital was raped.”

Though arrests were made in some cases, but in the maximum number of such incidents the criminals were still at large, he alleged. (IANS)

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NGOs and Private Institutions Offer a Helping Hand to Bihar

NGOs and Private Institutions come forward to help the needy and the poor in the state of Bihar

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NGOs coming forth to provide help to the needy and poor in Bihar. Pixabay

With the nationwide lockdown adding to the problems faced by the poor, many private institutions and NGOs are extending a helping hand to the needy in Bihar.

Anukriti Art founder Anukriti said she along with other benefactors has so far helped 50 families in the Shahkund area of Bhagalpur by providing them ration and other essentials.

An awardee for Madhubani and Manjusha paintings, Anukriti pointed out that such little help from individuals across the country could make a huge difference.

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NGOs have helped 50 families in the Shahkund area. Pixabay

An NGO, Ang Madad Foundation, which has earlier helped many women get trained in tailoring, has provided ration and other help to the needy in the Champanagar area in Nathnagar block.

Its head Vandana Jha said that whenever they come to know about the needy or someone calls them for help, they reach out to such persons. She said her organization has so far helped around 200 people.

Ram Jansewa Samiti and area villagers came to the rescue of 50 to 60 persons belonging to a nomadic community left stranded in the Hasanganj block of Katihar district. These needy persons, which included women and children, were provided ration and other essential items.

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The needy were provided with ration and essentials. Pixabay

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A private club led by social activist Mahesh Sav has distributed ration and other items to many needy families in the Shumar Harkhand panchayat area.

Similar reports of help extended by villagers to daily-wagers were received from Naxal-affected areas in Jamui. (IANS)

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PM Narendra Modi Hails India’s Position in Astronomy in Mann ki Baat

Referring to the contributions of astronomy centres in places like Pune and Ooty, the prime minister commended the strides the nation has taken in the field

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Prime Minister Modi tells scientists that science and technology should be used to bettering the lives of citizens. Wikimedia Commons

Speaking about the last solar eclipse of the year which happened on December 26, the prime minister Narendra Modi recalled India’s mastery over astronomy since ancient times.

In his Mann Ki Baat address to the nation, the Prime Minister mentioned the request from Ripun who hails from the northeast but is staying now in south India because of his job.

The prime minister mentioned Ripun for his request to find ways to popularise astronomy in rural areas of the country.

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India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks to the media inside the parliament premises on the first day of the winter session in New Delhi, India. VOA

Referring to the contributions of astronomy centres in places like Pune and Ooty, the prime minister commended the strides the nation has taken in the field.

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“The eclipse reminds us that that we are travelling in space while residing on the earth…. Friends, India has an ancient and glorious history of astronomy. Our connection with the twinkling stars in the sky is as old as our civilisation. Many of you might be aware that at various places in India, there are magnificent observatories (Jantar Mantars) – which are worth seeing. And these observatories have a deep bond with astronomy. Who doesn’t know about the prodigious talent of the great Aryabhatta,” PM said. (IANS)