The world’s oldest zero?

The Bakhshali manuscript

The origin of the symbol zero has long been one of the world’s greatest mathematical mysteries. New carbon dating research commissioned by the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries into the ancient Indian Bakhshali manuscript, held at the Bodleian, has revealed it to be hundreds of years older than initially thought, making it the world’s oldest recorded origin of the zero symbol that we use today.

A tribute to a great teacher

Shri Rabindranath Mitra was English teacher in our school — Raisina Bengali High School in New Delhi. He was a recipient of the President of India award for best teacher. Yesterday was his birth centenary. One of our seniors in the school — Ranabir Sen posted a nice, soulful tribute on Facebook page of our…

Letter gets there by hand-drawn map

There are many stories of messages in bottles travelling thousands of miles before being picked up and read, and letters arriving decades after they were posted. But here is a different twist. Today, I read an interesting story published by BBC. This astonishing delivery took place in March and was then not reported until May, when it…

Some perpetual bonds are more eternal than others

I read an article yesterday on Bloomberg: “Yale to Be Paid Interest on Dutch Water Authority Bond From 1648.” That’s amazing! Twelve years ago, Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library purchased a bond issued by a Dutch water authority, the Water Board of Lekdijk Bovendams, in 1648 to fund the reconstruction of the dyke…

Love letters are lost nowadays

Throughout the history, couples have expressed their undying love in handwritten letters. Few people take the trouble to write by hand today, but if anything is preserved at the back of a desk drawer, it is likely to be the handwritten love letter that once upon a time sent someone’s heart shuddering. Letters reveal raw…