A man is recognised by the company he keeps
Pt. Ram Krishan Sharma
Once a bheel (a person who catches birds) had gone to the jungle to hunt for birds. As he was searching for birds, he found two parrots in a nest. He caught both the parrots and as he was taking them home one parrot escaped. The bheel took the other parrot home and taught him how to speak. After some days, the parrot could speak all that the bheel spoke.
The other parrot which escaped was caught by a sage. The sage taught the parrot to speak and chant holy hymns after him. Many years passed. The parrots lived in their respective homes with their masters. The bheel stayed at one end of the jungle while the sage lived at the other end.
One day, a king came to the jungle on horse back. He came near the bheel’s hut. The bheel’s parrot in a cage was hung outside, on a tree. As soon as the parrot saw the king, it started shouting, “Run, run, someone has come on a horse, catch him, kill him.”
When the king heard the parrot’s shouting, he went away from there and came to the other end of the jungle where the sage lived. There too, a parrot in a cage, was hung outside. As soon as it saw the king it said politely, “Welcome, your Majesty. Sit down, drink some cool water, eat some fruits and take some rest.” He called out to his master and said, “Master, welcome the king. He has come to visit our ashram.”
The king was surprised to hear the parrot’s words. The bheel’s parrot spoke rudely while the sage’s parrot was polite. The king soon realised that it was because of the different teachings and different environments the two parrots lived in. They were also living in a different company. Bad company always has bad influence and good company, good influence.
Dear children as you must be knowing that Srinivasa Ramanujan was a wizard of mathematics. In recognition of his contribution to mathematics, the Indian government has decided to celebrate Ramanujan’s birthday (December 22) as the National Mathematics Day every year and the Year 2012 has been declared as the National Mathematical Year.
Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar (1887-1920) (best known as Srinivasa Ramanujan) was born on December 22, 1887, in Erode about 400 km from Chennai (formerly known as Madras). While at school, Ramanujan came across a book entitled A Synopsis of Elementary Results in Pure and Applied Mathematics by George Shoobridge Carr. This book had a great influence on Ramanujan’s career. GH Hardy (1877-1947), a prominent English mathematician, wrote about the book: “He (Carr) is now completely forgotten, even in his college, except in so far as Ramanujan kept his name alive.” Ramanujan solved all the problems in Carr’s synopsis. While working on Carr’s synopsis, he discovered many other new formulae, and he began the practice of compiling a notebook. Between 1903 and 1914 he had compiled three notebooks.
Much of Ramanujan’s mathematics comes under the field of number theory — a purest realm of mathematics. During his short lifetime, Ramanujan independently compiled nearly 3,900 results (mostly identities and equations). He stated results that were both original and highly unconventional, such as the Ramanujan ‘prime ’and the Ramanujan ‘theta’ function, and these have inspired a vast amount of further research in the area of mathematics.
Srinivasa Ramanujan is one of the greatest mathematicians of the twentieth century. Well known mathematicians Professors GH Hardy and JE Littlewood compared his mathematical abilities and natural genius with all-time great mathematicians like Leonhard Euler, Carl Friedrich Gauss and Karl Gustav Jacobi.
His papers, problems and letters would continue to captivate mathematicians in the future. He rediscovered a century of Mathematics.