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## Mathematical cultures of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu [2], in the south of the Indian subcontinent has many mathematical cultures. One can find scholarly texts written in Sanskrit (that can have been written in the South but also in North India), in Tamil and in other vernacular languages, written in the past. The tamil tradition, for instance was especially prolific in the XVIIth and XVIIIth century whith the Kanakkatikaram, the Kanita Nul, the Astana Kolakalm, the Kanita Venpa and the Kanita Tivakaram.

But other mathematical texts can also be found in this region, tamil mathematical texts that are not testimonies of a scholarly research in mathematics, but testimonies of mathematical activities. For example accounting books of the Nakarattar in South-Eaast Tamil Nadu, or the « Encuvatis » mathematical tables that are used as manuals in traditional schools ( pyal), nonwistanding books that contain mathematics but aren’t mathematical per se such as the sculptor’s manuals, as can be found in Swamimalai , for instance. These texts are part of living tradition of mathematical practices. Some are very old, others are recent, but they are characterized by the fact they are used today by people we can meet and exchange with. The manuscripts and texts referred to above are dispersed is regional archives, private libraries and university libraries all over Tamil Nadu.

All of these written texts coexist with an oral tradition. There is for instance a tradition of poetic mathematical riddles. They have been noted by members of the « Tamil Nadu Science Forum » (TNSF), a science movement. These riddles are known by the elders and little transmited to younger generations. Senthil Babu, a long time member of the TNSF, who has worked for his PHD on the mixed mathematical tradition used in pyal schools at the end of the XIXth century (scholarly traditions of India, popular accounting mathematics but also the imposed contents of British math manuals), has thus realized that these poetic riddles he heard could be traced back to XVIIth century tamil treatises like the Kanita Tivakaram. These traditions are dying out.

Because of the great richness of this field, Agathe Keller and Senthil Babu would like to map out with more specificity all the different mathematical practices and activities that can be recorded in TN.

For his post-doctoral research, Senthil Babu will during these three years record and list the range of mathematical practices in several villages of Tamil Nadu, making also a census of the mathematical texts that these regions with hold. Agathe Keller, who works on mathematical commentaries in Sanskrit with a specific interest in their oral uses, would try to link what Senthil Babu records on the Tamil tradition with what is known of the Sanskrit tradition. Our aim will be to work on the circulations between scholarly mathematics and popular mathematical activities, written practices and oral ones. We hope to sketch the portrait of the living mathematical culture of TN, as much in the present as in the past.

[1] I had adapted the Indian part for the format required using what you wrote and also I guess according to my own ideas, I’m translating it as I wrote it, surely it’s full of misconceptions, and hope its not to much of a hair riser (let me know) ! The idea was to be as vague as possible so that if we get the money you could be as free as as possible…

[2] I had adapted the Indian part for the format required using what you wrote and also I guess according to my own ideas, I’m translating it as I wrote it, surely it’s full of misconceptions, and hope its not to much of a hair riser (let me know) ! The idea was to be as vague as possible so that if we get the money you could be as free as as possible…

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