We practice an administration centric and teacher centric education in our schools and colleges. It can only make the children learn what the teacher wants and that too, only to an extent that the teacher knows. The examinations being what they are, do not test competency-based skills but rather an ability to reproduce answers to a few pre-qualified questions. Seldom, neither the –less than imaginary teaching, nor the ineffective assessments, can build logical reasoning or analytical skills so essential, for making a contented life out in the open. How does one build these skills?

It’s time the education paradigm is reinvented to make learning fun and gamify the teaching learning pedagogies. Gamification is *about applying game mechanics to increase user engagement, happiness and loyalty. *Our children are captive to a completely bland education that is neither inspiring nor effective. Neither values nor employment skills are given.

Values are imbibed through a host of factors like the life in the school or college, influence of peers, family and so on. Ethics, values and cultural norms and differences are also imbibed through storytelling, where a teacher can share and interpret experiences but hardly practiced. Learning in social environments was the basis thousands of years ago, be it in universities of yore like the Nalanda and Takshashila or the wisdom that passed from Acharyas to their disciples. They stressed on one to one and one to many debates that were based on sound reasoning leading to logical conclusions. An essential part of the logic building was an understanding of mathematics, a study of numbers, shapes and patterns, rooted in science, knowledge and learning. Through mathematics they could resolve truth or falsity conjectures and even predict nature.

The Konark Sun temple is a living embodiment of beauty, art, architecture, culture and truth. The chariot’s twelve pairs of wheels correspond to the 12 months of the Hindu calendar, each month paired into either ‘Shukla paksha’ or the ‘Krishna paksha’ The history of measurement systems was prevalent in India since the early 5th century. Binary and Decimal systems were freely used by them as units of measures. Who would not know Jantar Mantar, an observatory constructed by Maharaja Jai Singh of Jaipur in 1724, to accumulate astronomical tables which in turn would help predict the time and movement of the celestial bodies such as the sun, moon and other planets? Could they build it without highly exalted levels of understanding mathematics? Surely, Thomas Macaulay, and his argument that Western learning was superior, and could only be taught through the medium of English was both positively arrogant and misplaced.

Ancient studies were essentially done in Sanskrit as a medium of instruction. Yajurveda, Rigveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda, all are rooted in Sanskrit literature and ancient scriptures of Hinduism. ‘ekam sat viprah bahudha vadanti’ from the Upanishad, extols us to pursue truth, synonymous with life and living. All worldly work skills flowed out of that truth.

Unfortunately, 200 years of British rule, not only promoted English as a medium of instruction, but completely annihilated the use of Sanskrit. They did not support our tradition of learning in native Sanskrit nor the native languages. By promoting English as the language of administration, they saw to it that returning back ever, to the roots was completely blocked. This also led to some history and culture being obliterated. There cannot be a greater disservice to a community than killing its cultural ethos. The oldest religion, Hinduism and along with it, its rich learning pedagogies, were thus marginalised.

Let’s make a case to resurrect the old wisdom and learning at least in part. That argument calls for a rethink in learning mathematics and the way we teach it. Needless to say, the current system has put off many a child completely off the learning curve. Who knows we may still produce Ramanujan’s brilliance all over again, for, does not the Indian mathematics extend much beyond the discovery of zero and Aryabhatta? Why cannot we start with learning the ancient Mathematics? The simplicity of it allows us to calculate mentally, which can bring back the fun quotient.

This is not a debate of religion and its practices. It is not even whether Atharvaveda had an appendix of mathematical sutras or not. It is not even a debate whether Krishna Tirtha who was credited with discovering those 16 sutras, was a good mathematician or not? His credentials were a gifted oratory in Sanskrit and Vedanta philosophy, MA degree in Sanskrit with other subjects like English, History, Philosophy, Mathematics and Science, awarded by the American College of Sciences in Rochester, New York from its Bombay Centre.

The ancient or Vedic mathematics has algorithms for whole number multiplication and division, fraction conversion to repeating decimal numbers, calculations with measures of mixed units, summation of a series, squares and square roots, cubes and cube roots, and divisibility by osculation. Even linear equations, analytic conics, the equation for the asymptotes, and the equation to the conjugate-hyperbola are possible to be solved. Physics, Astronomy and Trigonometry are all possible by writing the numbers and observing the patterns.

The sixteen sutras are simple and involve additions and subtractions. In fact, multiplication, division and all others associated with it are actually a series of additions and subtractions. The 16 sutras are even consistent with several numerical methods credited to Newton that are so useful in writing algorithms and codes for computers. Even convergence of a numerical method can be ensured by following the sutras. Should we just dismiss them as cheap tricks? Instead, guided research into them is called for. Maybe, there are many more sutras to be discovered. Our institutions and universities can make a start. Our policy makers in Shastri Bhavan can hand hold them.

Let us not follow the notorious Zohnerism and the DHMO parody, which is a mindful twisting of simple facts to confuse people, allowing them to believe logically into what may be untrue. Dihydrogen Monoxide, was shown as toxic through a series of scientifically correct evidence and was recommended for a ban. The truth is that it is not toxic at all. DHMO is simply water. Let us not play into this chemophobia and how a lack of scientific literacy can lead to misplaced fears. Let’s not make a DHMO out of our ancient Mathematical skills. Instead let us start learning Vedic mathematics in our schools and colleges.