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The ancient Bakshali Manuscripts, composed in the third century of Gandhara Civilization, revealed a striking discovery about the use of mathematical symbol ‘zero’. Its originating place is Mardan, Pakistan. The revelations were made in a fresh discovery made by the scientists at the University of Oxford.

The scientists from the university used the techniques of radio-carbon to trace the origins of the documented manuscript and shockingly found the “dots” used in the manuscripts was the earliest use of the mathematical symbol of ‘zero’ in the third century, AD 223- 383, as opposed to the known dates of 8th century.

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The Bakshali manuscripts contain 70 leaves of birch bark, a material that was used profoundly for the recording of ancient text in the region, were found buried in Bakshali village near Peshawar by a farmer in 1881, which is now in Pakistan.

These fragile scrolls were taken to the library at Oxford University in 1902.

The study still gave much credibility to the academically known dates of the eighth century, since, the last two parts of the manuscripts were written at these dates. However, the first part, which was worked upon by the scientist, not only reveals its age dates back to the third century but also reveals the earliest impression of “zero” in the form of extensively used dots as place-holders between numbers.

“We now know that it was as early as the third century that mathematicians in India planted the seed of the idea that would later become so fundamental to the modern world,” he said.

Where the revelations have pushed back the invention of ‘zero’, it has also opened up the new arena for the exploration of the Gandhara’s interest in the mathematics. Ancient Indian civilizations are attributed for making numerous discoveries and inventions of which the invention of ‘zero’ is one.

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Marcus du Sautoy, professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, said: “Today we take it for granted that the concept of zero is used across the globe and our whole digital world is based on nothing or something. But there was a moment when there wasn’t this number.”

Europe, therefore, took much longer to incorporate the important mathematical inventions into their lives than people living in that part of the world.

He further added that the creation of zero as a number in its own right which evolved from the placeholder dot symbol found in the Bakhshali manuscript was one of the greatest breakthroughs in the history of mathematics. “We now know that it was as early as the third century that mathematicians in India planted the seed of the idea that would later become so fundamental to the modern world,” he said.

Translations of the text which was written in Sanskrit suggest that it was a form of manual training of the merchants trading across the Silk Road. It was a mathematical text with the use of practical arithmetic exercises and often applying the rules of algebra as well.

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This also highlights the difference of imagination between ancient Europe and ancient Central Asia. While the latter made an imperative invention, the former were busy asking the question as to why we need a number to represent nothingness.

The folio from Bakshali Manuscript will be on public display at the Science Museum in London as the main attraction of the exhibition “Illuminating India: 5000 years of Science and Innovation” starting from 4th October 2017.

Europe, therefore, took much longer to incorporate the important mathematical inventions into their lives than people living in that part of the world.

The folio from Bakshali Manuscript will be on public display at the Science Museum in London as the main attraction of the exhibition “Illuminating India: 5000 years of Science and Innovation” starting from 4th October 2017. It is to be noted that much of Pakistan and Indus history is still claimed and known as ‘India’ to the west.

4 COMMENTS

  1. No, that is not true.
    At the most you could say, ” zero was used 300 years before Christ , in a region that is in Pakistan
    , now “…….. Pakistan is only 70 years old , only the region and culture comprising the country might be 10 thousand years old.

    • Ghandra culture is specific to Pakistan and its traces can be found in the people living in the area of Ghandra land , religion changed , does not mean , the people living over there can not have claim on that culture . You do not own our culture and our ancient History .Pakistan is Indus and everything belonged to Indus is belonged to Pakistan .

  2. The scientists from the university used the techniques of radio-carbon to trace the origins of the documented manuscript and shockingly found the “dots” used in the manuscripts was the earliest use of the mathematical symbol of ‘zero’ in the third century, AD 223- 383, as opposed to the known dates of 8th century.

    Which means it was even before islam was born anywhere in the world..therefore definitely a hindu or buddhist invention, since these were the two major religions in the region at the time..

    With due apologies, but neither pakistan nor muslims had any role to play in this discovery.

  3. Nonsens, british lie again. Just like darwins lies. ”ZERO” was found and used in the time of khalifa Memoon. And Islambis not born with prophet Mohammed, Islam as a religion on earth, began with prophet Adam. So, All essetial knowledge on earth originated to prophets.

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