How Dan Brown Lost support from Indians?

The latest thriller from Dan Brown, Origin, though not as effective as some of his previous books, is a good read. I always thought he did some good research before writing his novels, but in this one he lost his credibility, at least from  20% of humanity, i.e., people from India. Two mistakes:

  1. Giving credit to someone else, what India invented
  2. Praising a man as statesman, whom Indias believe to be complicit in starving millions

A cursory research would have easily yielded results on who invented the numbering system what we use today. This would arguable be one of the greatest invention of man. Imagine working with Roman numerals!

The most commonly used system of numerals is the Hindu–Arabic numeral system.[1] Two Indian mathematicians are credited with developing it. Aryabhata of Kusumapura developed the place-value notation in the 5th century and a century later Brahmagupta introduced the symbol for zero. The numeral system and the zero concept, developed by the Hindus in India, slowly spread to other surrounding countries due to their commercial and military activities with India. The Arabs adopted and modified it. Even today, the Arabs call the numerals which they use “Rakam Al-Hind” or the Hindu numeral system. The Arabs translated Hindu texts on numerology and spread them to the western world due to their trade links with them. The Western world modified them and called them the Arabic numerals, as they learned them from the Arabs. Hence the current western numeral system is the modified version of the Hindu numeral system developed in India. It also exhibits a great similarity to the Sanskrit–Devanagari notation, which is still used in India and neighbouring Nepal. Source: Wikipedia

Clearly Indians invented it, Arabs translated it and gave to Europe. Even though Arabs called it Hindu (or Indian) numeral system, the Europeans refer it as Arab numerals, sometimes gracefully as Hindu-Arabic numerals, though in reality it should have been just Hindu (or Indian) numerals. Does anywhere else translators (here Arabs) get credit for invention. Will Dan Brown give credit for his novel to his translators in different languages?

It is not limited to numbers, he refers to many others like algebra, zero etc. Dan Brown better do proper research when put it down in his book especially when in the front pages he mention that all science, art, … in this book is real.

The second is unusual praise for Winston Churchill as a statesman, so much so as to name an advanced AI personal assistant as Winston. To Indians, he was one of the worst colonial master – the man responsible for killing of 2.1 million in a manmade disaster – Bengal famine.

Otherwise, the book is a good read.


Other reading:

  1. http://indiafacts.org/indian-history-in-perspective-4-indias-enduring-contributions-to-humanity/
  2. History of Hindu Mathematics – Datta and Singh
  3. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2031992,00.html

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