Mathematical Literature in the Regional Languages of India
Historians of Indian mathematics generally concentrate on primary sources in Sanskrit. Sanskrit having been the chief medium of intellectual discourse in India and the major vehicle of pan-Indian dissemination of ideas, such an emphasis on the Sanskrit texts is no doubt justified. Yet there have also been other parallel streams of intellectual communication in India such as the Prakrits, the New Indo-Aryan languages; the Dravidian languages of the South, and Persian. All these languages possess rich and varied literature including works on mathematics. The mathematical works composed in these languages, though largely modeled on Sanskrit manuals, may contain much information of contemporary relevance. Furthermore, a large corpus of recreational mathematics exists as oral literature. While citing a number of examples from the mathematical literature in Telugu, a plea has been made in this paper for organized efforts toward the survey and study of mathematical literature in the regional languages, both of the recorded and of the oral varieties.