About the book:
History of Hindu Mathematics: A Source Book is a treatise on the history of Indian mathematics authored by Bibhutibhushan Datta and Awadhesh Narayan Singh and originally published in two parts in 1930’s. The book has since been reissued in one volume by Asia Publishing House in 1962. The treatise has been a standard reference for the history of Indian mathematics for many years.
Bibhutibhushan Datta, the senior author of the book, delivered a lecture titled “Contribution of the Ancient Hindus to Mathematics” on 20 December 1927 to the Allahabad University Mathematical Association. This address was published in the Bulletin of the Allahabad University Mathematical Association in two papers totalling 60 pages in length. Datta expanded this paper and wrote the treatise History of Hindu Mathematics in three volumes. Datta retired from academic life in 1933 and became itinerant ascetic. At the time of retirement the manuscript of the three-volume work was entrusted to his junior colleague Awadhesh Narayan Singh. Singh published the first two of these volumes as a joint publication. The first volume titled History of Hindu Mathematics. A Source Book (Part 1: Numerical notation and arithmetic) was published in 1935 and the second volume titled History of Hindu Mathematics. A Source Book (Part 2: Algebra) was published in 1938. The planned third volume was never published.
Part 1 of the book is dived into chapters. Chapter 1 gives details of the various methods employed by the Hindus for denoting numbers. The chapter also contains details of the gradual evolution of the decimal place value notation in India. Chapter 2 deals with arithmetic in general and it contains the details of various methods for performing the arithmetical operations using a “board”. The evolution of the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, squaring, cubing, and the extraction square root and cube root are all discussed in detail.
The whole of Part 2, running to about 307 pages, constitutes just one chapter numbered as Chapter 3 of the book. Some of the topics discussed in this chapter are linear equations with one unknown and with two unknowns, quadratic equations, linear indeterminate equations, solutions of equations of the form Nx2 + 1 = y2, indeterminate equations of higher degrees, and rational triangles.