You are on page 1of 23

Tamil Schools of South India

15

Memory and Mathematics in the Tamil Tiai Schools of


South India in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
D. Senthil Babu
Department of Indology
French Institute of Pondicherry, India
senthil.babu@ifpindia.org

Abstract
The aim of this paper is to examine the nature of mathematics education in the tiai, or
veranda schools in the Tamil region of South India in the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries. With the use of texts produced in the schools, British records, biographies and
recorded oral accounts, a picture of the school mathematics curriculum and pedagogy is
reconstructed, in relation to the agrarian and mercantile social order that sustained these
institutions. This picture argues that skill competence and functionality, with a thorough
orientation to the local society marked the curriculum of these schools. Such a curriculum
was made possible by a system of pedagogy, where memory was a modality of learning
rather than a technique or a tool, as commonly understood by modern sensibility. In this
mode, language learning and number learning were integral to each other.

Introduction
Very little is known of the nature of mathematics education in the indigenous
schools that were prevalent across the Indian subcontinent during the precolonial period. This paper is an attempt to understand the nature of
mathematics education in these indigenous schools in the Tamil speaking region
of South India during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is important to
reconstruct the nature of the curriculum and the pedagogy of indigenous schools
prior to colonial intervention in order to understand the dynamics of transition
that followed colonialism. This paper is an attempt in that direction. The complex
nature of the issues involved in understanding such dynamics may be better
perceived in the context of regional studies, in contrast to conventional historical
wisdom, which is based on nationalist imaginings of the erasure of indigenous
schools with the coming of modern or colonial educational interventions.
Regional traditions of language within India add to the complexity. The present
study shows how the system of indigenous education was organized on the basis

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

16

Senthil Babu

of memory as learning. However, memory became antithetical to contemporary


notions of a good education in the nineteenth century when memory was
perceived as rotelearning without understanding and an image of indigenous
education as backward and mechanical thereby created. This paper intends to
show how the memory mode of learning was central to education in the
indigenous schools. It argues that in a curriculum underpinned by skill and
functionality as the goals of education, in an agrarian and mercantile social
order, divided along the lines of labour and caste, memory and practice became
the modalities to achieve the cognitive ends of such goals.
The first part of the paper attempts to portray a typical Tamil village in the
eighteenth century, providing a context for the understanding of the indigenous
schools, with a brief discussion on the history of education in the region. This is
followed by a discussion of the sources that were used for the study. The
everyday life of the indigenous schools, curriculum and pedagogy are
introduced subsequently. There follows a detailed presentation of the learning of
mathematics, involving a discussion of the textbooks used in these schools. The
last section of the paper is a brief outline of a social history of mathematics
education in the Tamil region, in which hierarchies of social groups based on
labour and caste are taken as a frame to situate the nature of pedagogic and
mathematical practices both within and outside the indigenous schools.

A Measuring Public
The Tamil region is well defined as a geographical unit of the Indian peninsular,
demarcated on two sides by the sea and on the other two by mountains. By the
first century A.D. it had been roughly marked off as a cultural unit, the land of
the Tamil speakers. For some centuries before that, herdsmen and hunters had
sparsely populated this tropical and sub tropical region, but the first movement
towards a more settled population came with the development of rice cultivation
around the third or fourth century B.C. (Baker, 1984, p. 22). During the medieval
period, from roughly 900 to 1300, villagers in the Tamil country built their
political economy on social power structures to control water for paddy
cultivation, and built a system of agrarian order on shared devotion to South
Indian gods. From 1300 to 1550, migrations and frontier peasant settlement
opened new parts of the region to agriculture, when the peasants fought to
control stretches of territory in units of extended kinship and localized state
solidarity. These battles and the post-medieval agricultural expansion produced
a new style of agrarian order, which became institutionalized during the early
modern period, from 1550 to 1800, when regional peasant life was woven
together above all by tribute transactions between villages and royal authorities.
The state replaced religion as the dominant social network in regional order and
agrarian history. During medieval times, religious networks constituted the
strongest threads in the agrarian system. Gods distributed peasants most valued
symbolic resources, and temple-centered devotion guided peasant effort in
kinship, state and market networks. By early modern times, migrations had
diversified the rural population and frontier cultivation had diversified agrarian

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

Tamil Schools of South India

17

communities. Legitimate state coercion became dominant in the logic of the


agrarian order. In this context, the British East India Company found ready allies
and expanding opportunities for militaristic profiteering during eighteenth
century warfare, when peasant willingness to support an aspiring new regime
with Englishmen at its head became the key to British success (Ludden, 2005).
The period that concerns us in this paper is the eighteenth and the early
nineteenth century, when the hierarchies of the agrarian order in village society
become significant to our discussion.
A typical eighteenth century Tamil village in its spatial organization resembled
its caste hierarchy, with social groups contributing to the economy with distinct
occupational roles, related to land and commerce and regulated by a revenue
administrative structure. Quantities, estimation, measurement, planning and
control were integral features of regulation in this society, embodied in the
structure of taxation, forms of tribute, in agricultural practices, in the use of
labour and in the payment of wages. Transactions involving exchange of food
grains in particular quantities depended on occupational roles, contribution of
labour, services offered and social status of the participants involved (Srinivas,
Paramasivam & Pushkala, 2001, pp. 2430)1.
For example, when it came to land revenue administration, the following
representatives were involved whose job was to estimate, measure and control:
kanakkar (accountant); veiy (assistant to the accountant and the one who
actually measured land); tukkiri (guard and assistant); talaiyri (village assistant);
nrkra or kampuki (one who regulated water for irrigation) and paiyl
(manual labourer). There were other service caste groups in the same village who
were related to the agrarian production processes and who received their wages
in distinct percentages of the total produce of the different kinds of land
cultivated in the village: the village headman, washer men, barbers, potters,
sweepers, courtesans, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, carpenters and other artisanal
groups. Allocations of grain were made to each of these groups from the total
produce of the land in the village. The sphere of day-to-day transactions
involved measures of different kinds. Occupational engagements warranted a
cognitive negotiation with quantities, estimations and related computations
primarily by those who laboured manually for their wages and returns, not to
mention those groups who used their labour. The culture of labour and entitled
returns, in parts of well-defined wholes, defined the daily lives of the labouring
classes, compelling them to know and engage with practices that were
mathematical. It was in this material context that the social order sustained an
institution of schooling called the tiai schools.

Indigenous Education in the Tamil Region


Standard histories of education in Tamil society usually do not mention the
presence of these elementary institutions of learning. One such study, based on a
detailed investigation of inscriptions from 400 to 1300 A.D., found no evidence for
the presence of Tamil elementary institutions of learning (Gurumurthy, 1979).

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

18

Senthil Babu

Ghai kai (royally patronized centers for scholars and students), Matam (religious
monasteries), Agrharam (tax-free land or village settlements meant exclusively
for Brahmin castes),temple colleges and Clai (feeding house and literary centers)
were the kind of institutions found in the inscriptions, all of which catered to
Vedic and Sanskritic education, patronized and sponsored in different ways by
the ruling elite. These were mostly for the Brahmins, exclusively meant to teach
the Vedas, Sanskrit language and literature, theology, law, medicine and
astronomy (Gurumurthy, 1979). Institutions of higher learning involving the
study of the above disciplines were confined to upper caste Brahmins in Tamil
history. It should be mentioned that the absence of the lay, elementary
indigenous schools in the inscriptions does not altogether negate their presence
in the past. Such institutions come to light only during the early nineteenth
century, when the British East India Company under the Governorship of
Thomas Munro ordered a detailed survey of indigenous education, in order to
formulate a model of intervention.
The history of education in nineteenth century Madras is essentially a story of
the tiai schools in their encounter with an ever-persistent company and
colonial state, which was bent on subjecting them to highly bureaucratic
processes, based on alternating phases of contempt, reconciliation and
accommodation. But through all these, the tiai schools were unrelenting, and
they survived well into the early decades of the twentieth century. The history of
nineteenth century elementary education would look quite different if the tiai
schools were recognized as the most widespread and popular institutions of
learning in comparison with the tiny number of institutions started at the behest
of the various British policies. The story associated with this process is a long
one; briefly speaking, poorly paid school inspectors and their assistants went on
long tours, trying to gain the sympathy of the tiai schoolmasters and the village
elite, to shift to the modern/new curriculum, demanding that the teachers use
the modern textbooks, send results and reports to them, asking them to be
trained in the modern curriculum, and to learn what was then called school
management techniques. But every time, after their long and tiring tours, they
came back, and produced copious pages of unconvincing reports about the
prospects of such a shift actually happening. It was a story of two curriculum
structures, perceived and played out differently, marked by an idea of
relevance, not to mention questions of ideologies that involved struggles
between utilitarian, liberal and continental experiences of learning and teaching
among the Europeans themselves. This arguably provided us with a curiously
mixed bag of what came to be called the techno-economic complex of a colonial
state machinery, that had perpetually to contend with local traditions of
institutionalized learning, rooted in the sphere of practice, whose orientation was
thoroughly local. Extensive, financial-incentive-based schemes were repeatedly
worked out by the ever-persistent state, to woo the unrelenting tiai
schoolmasters and students who were, on the other hand, compelled to share in
the locally sanctioned goals of credible learning, based on memory and
functionality.
The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

Tamil Schools of South India

19

Sources for this Study


Primary source materials related to the tiai schools are not prolific enough to
obtain all information concerning them. Dharampal (1983) and Radhakrishnan
(1990) use the British Educational surveys conducted during the 1820s in their
study of indigenous education in Madras Presidency and the few available
European travel writings. While Dharampal uses these records to argue that the
British were responsible for erasing a well-established indigenous system of
education, Radhakrishnan uses the same records to reveal the caste-based
discrimination in these institutions. His concern was to look at differentiation in
the participation of education and the role of the caste system in working out
such a differentiation, because, for him, from Vedic to village education is
involved a process of Brahminic ascendancy in bureaucratic hierarchy, who
restricted literacy to lower classes, in order to guard their own interests. A recent
study of similar institutions in Bengal by Poromesh Acharya (1996) goes beyond
the statistical records of the British to look at the nature and orientation of the
curriculum in such schools. He argues that such schools flourished during the
sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries, with a curriculum that was oriented
towards practical competence by following a rote method in the teaching of
reading, writing and arithmetic. He concludes that the British did not appreciate
the spontaneity of this tradition. All the above works are important in
providing us with important information related to the nature, extent and
orientation of these schools. But they fail to go beyond the colonial frames of
understanding that perpetuated a stereotype of these schools as rudimentary,
practical and mechanical memory-based institutions. This paper attempts to
overcome this limitation by using the Tamil texts that were products of the
curriculum followed in these schools, which are available as palm leaf
manuscripts, and were later printed as textbooks in the nineteenth century. This
study also has attempted to use a few biographies from the nineteenth century.
By using pedagogic manuals, British records, biographies and some oral sources,
this paper attempts to reconstruct the tiai mode of learning by focusing on
distinct modes of pedagogic practice so that understanding these schools can go
beyond categories likeliteracy, practicality, rote learningthat has hitherto
characterized the highly limited perception of the nature of indigenous education
in India.

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

20

Senthil Babu

The Tiai Schools


The tiai schools were elementary schools of a locality. These were single
teacher schools, conducted in the verandas of the houses of either the teacher
himself or that of notable men in the village, or in shade of a tree, or a temple.
The British called it pyal schools, meaning a veranda or what is called tiai in
Tamil. Every village or a group of villages had one tiai school, where the
children would be within the walking distance of seven to eight miles
(Sivalinkaraja & Sarasvati, 2000, p. 15). These schools catered to the children of
the upper and middle caste groups that included the cultivating caste groups.
The children from the lower, manual labouring caste groups had, however, no
access to these institutions. They were not like the Sanskrit schools that were
meant exclusively for the upper caste Brahmins for, while most of the Sanskrit
schools were patronized by land grants, the tiai schools hardly received any
grants. Education here involved an expense to be incurred by families of the
children, paid straight to the teacher, in cash and in kind, on a periodic basis. The
teacher was paid on specific occasions of religious significance and during
particular stages of progress made in the curriculum. Free labour on the
agricultural land of the teacher is also noted as a kind of payment (Sivalingaraja
& Sarasvati, 2000, p. 14). The children usually were admitted into the school at
the age of five, and the period of instruction would vary between seven to eight
years. This is not an accurate figure, for variations in different areas of South
India could be seen in the British surveys of tiai schools (Radhakrishnan, 1986,
p. 81). The children were not divided into classes with respect to age but in
accordance to their capability to learn language and arithmetic. There was no
specific number of children fixed for a class; but a monitorial system was in
place. The senior student, called the campillai, would receive direct instruction
from the teacher, and instruct batches of other children in the daily routine,
occasionally supervised by the teacher himself2.
There was no standardized curriculum of the tiai schools cutting across
regions. Since separation of children was not on the basis of age but on the
capability of the children in terms of skills in memorization and ability to write,
syllabi changed accordingly3. The orientation of the curriculum was local and it
seems the idea was not to produce scholars but to enable pupils to become a
scholar, if interested. The fundamental aim was to enable the children to become
competent/skilled participants in the transactions of letters and numbers within
the local society and its networks in the region. The curriculum blended
language and number learning together using pedagogic strategies rooted in
memory as a modality of learning. The child started his learning routine with
recognition of the sound-form of a letter, he then recited them aloud (practicing
the tongue, as it was sometimes called), and wrote with the assistance of the
monitor or the teacher on fine sand (heaped on the floor) to begin with, before
graduating to writing on other surfaces, like a palm leaf with an iron stylus, at

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

Tamil Schools of South India

21

later stages of learning. The Tamil alphabetical structure interestingly is also


called the neukaakku (meaning literally the long math or long
computation), which as one scholar has argued is designed to integrate hearing,
speech/pronunciation and visual senses all together, in phonetic measurements,
aided by memory as a practice in learning (Gopal Iyer, 1990). Vocalization,
visualization, and recollection through repeated exercises of recital and writing
were central to the memory mode of learning in the elementary stages of
learning the Tamil language. There is a similar tradition in south Indian music,
which till recently was an oral tradition, dependent on memory and, without any
notational forms.
This feature was common in the tiai curriculum and the learning of numbers
did not very differ very much from this mode. The usual curriculum was Tamil
alphabets and elementary language lessons, Tamil numerals and tables,
elementary Tamil grammar, Tamil calendar, Tamil dictionaries, ballads, moral
lessons, forms of letter writing, and elementary bookkeeping related to
agricultural and commercial accounts. Some of the texts used and which were
well known in these school are Ariccuvai (language primer), ici (proverb
book), Koaivntan (moral lessons), Nikau (a form of Tamil dictionary),
Pillaiami (Ballad), Poilakkam (Tamil number primer), Nellilakkam (Measures
primer), Ecuvai (Tamil tables), and Kuimttu (Table of squares) (Sivalingaraja &
Sarasvati, 2000, p.28).

The Tiai routine


There are no uniform accounts in available sources about the exact nature of the
daily routine of a tiai school. One source says that a child goes to school while
the cock crows, takes an hour for breakfast and a two-hour break for lunch and
remains in the school till sunset; the morning was spent in the recitation of new
lessons; arithmetic tables while in the forenoon he is occupied with copywriting
and arithmetic; the afternoons in copying new lessons and in taking new lessons
from the teacher (Mutaliar, 1901, p. 392). Another source says that the children
spent about nine hours in the school. Three hours in the morning (69 A.M.)
devoted to older boys preparing their lessons while the beginners wrote
alphabets and multiplication tables on sand with the help of monitors, in the
absence of the teacher. Between ten and one in the afternoon, advanced boys
wrote a copy set as instructed by the teacher, and in the afternoon (25 P.M.) came
the active hours when the teacher wrote lessons in a palm leaf book, heard them
repeated, and taught the pupils what was written by him in their books, while
the young and the less advanced boys would be attended to by the monitors.
After all the boys had had their lessons, they would stand in a line before the
teacher and the multiplication tables of fractions and integers, names of Tamil
years etc., would be repeated by each boy in turn. The teacher then prescribed
homework, usually a problem to be solved orally in the case of advanced
students (Evidence, 1882, p. 21).

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

22

Senthil Babu

U. Ve. Cminta Iyer in his biography recounts his tiai school days as follows:
To school at five in the morning, recite the lessons of previous day, not
always in the presence of the teacher who would anyway listen, sitting
inside his house. After 6 A.M., the children went for a bath, from where
they carried sand from the riverbed, replaced the old sand on the floor;
those who were meant to write, practiced on the sand with their fingers,
while the rest memorized. At nine, children went for breakfast; returned
in an hour, when the monitor listened to the students reciting from
memory; lunch at 12 noon, classes resumed at 3 in the afternoon and
went on till seven in the evening. After the lessons, the teacher would tell
the names of a flower, a bird or an animal to each one, which was to be
remembered. Usually when children reached home, they repeated the
words or the verses to their parents. This habit was to enhance memory.
The next day, at five, the children got back to school, usually
accompanied by the elderly member of the family (Cminta Iyer, 1990,
pp.5556).

The Learning of Mathematics


As for Tamil alphabets, the children began their lessons in mathematics with the
learning of Tamil numerals, by hearing the number names from the monitor.
They would recite the number names aloud following him, simultaneously
visualizing the graphic form of the number symbol. Then, they would use all
these three steps to write it by themselves, first on sand, till they were used to the
form of the symbol for each number. Each number was made familiar in an
ordered pattern as recorded in the text called the Poilakkam (1845), which is the
elementary number primer in Tamil. This was not a textbook in the modern
sense, but functioned as a manual. It was not given beforehand to the students,
rather each student created his own manual of the number primer, after
becoming sufficiently familiar with the number forms. Only then would he
finally be asked to write it on palm leaves; these copies became the pages of the
students own books.
The Tamil number system as practiced in the period under discussion had three
layers.
a) Numbers from one to ten million were grouped as Prilakkam or Pr E
(literally large number).
b) The second layer, called the middle number groupIai E or K vi
Ilakkam, comprised the fractionsfrom 1/320 that is, one divided into 320
parts going up to one,. The series was obtained beginning with the 320th
part, successively adding at each step of 1/320, up till one. The significant
units that occur in this additive series were the following: Muntiri (1/320);
Araikki (1/160); Ki (1/80); Araim (1/40); Mukki (3/80), M (1/20);
M Ki (1/20 + 1/80 or 1/16); Irum (2/20); Araikkl (1/8); Mumm (3/20);
Mummki (3/20 + 3/80); Nlum (4/20); Kl (1/4); Arai (1/2); Mukkl
The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

Tamil Schools of South India

23

(3/4) and Ou (1). Each of these numbers had its number symbol in Tamil
script.
c) The third group was called the small number groupCie or K vi
ciilakkam that comprised fractions from the number 1/320 x 1/320 up to
1/320. This muntiri = 1/320 was treated as one, which would then be
further divided into 320 parts. The first unit was called kl muntiri (kl
meaning below). This series would proceed a followss: kl muntiri (1/320 x
1/320); kl araikki (1/320 x 1/160); k ki (1/320 x 1/80) k mukkl
(1/320 x ).
Effectively, a tiai learner started with the learning of notations of the Tamil
numerals, in an order as is evident in the Poilakkam (1845). The order of
numbers was structured as an additive series in which significant numbers in the
series constituted the entire number system. Such significant numbers were not
arbitrary numbers; for instance, muntiri, ki and m were units of land measures
in Tamil and they were numbers as well. In fact, all the fractions in the middle
series represent distinct measures that were common in the local society. The
child thus had a sense of the familiar when he began learning numbers. The
notations then were semantically loaded terms, the meanings of numbers in the
local context being already familiar to the beginner. It may also be seen here that
the significant fractions were represented as combinations of muntiri, ki and m.
In this process, each number was associated with the previous numbers learned
in a particular meaningful order: in the learning of notations, in the Poilakkam
mode, pupils also had to commit to memory a table, which was probably meant
to instill the idea of fractions as part of a whole. This is important because the
two layers of fractions, the muntiri series and the k muntiri series, effectively dealt
with parts of one unit, containing 320 partsin the first case this unit was 1,
while in the second it was 1/320. The memory table was associated too with a
rhyme to be recited starting with:  means three parts out of four;  means one
part out of four; and so on up to k muntiri1/320 x 1/320one out of one
hundred and two thousand four hundred parts". (Poilakkam, 1845, p. 4).
Likewise, the large numbers above one were learned up to ten million. Learning
the notations here thus involved vocalization, visualization and simultaneous
writing along with concurrent testing at each stage by the monitor or the teacher.
This coincided with the learning of the Nellilakkam, which was very similar to the
Poilakkam, but dealt with numbers that were simultaneously measures of
grains (Nel = paddy/rice and Ilakkam = number).
Usually, the Nellilakkam table would be contained in the Poilakkam as a text, in
both the earlier palm leave manuscripts and the later printed versions, as can be
seen in the Poilakkam (1845). The organization of the Nellilakkam was on the
same principle of addition, where the basic unit of measure, ceviu, would be
added successively to itself, till the highest unit of measure, a kalam, was arrived

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

24

Senthil Babu

at. In between the lowest and highest unit, the significant units constituted the
standard-measuring units and associated numbers. This series was: ceviu, akku,
uakku, uri, ni, kurui, patakku, tui and kalam. Units below the measure kalam
was ordered in combination with every other unit, based on addition,
constituting the entire table of numbers in the Nellilakkam. Above the highest
unit, kalam, the same series became whole numbers, which would again proceed
by addition up to the unit, one hundred thousand kalams. The attaining of
proficiency in Tamil numerals, generally known as the learning of muntiri ilakkam
and the nel ilakkam, apparently took two years before the students could
confidently write by themselves on the palm leaves thereby having their own
books (Cettiar, 1989).

Mastering the Ecuvai


The Ecuvai (1845) was the quintessential Tamil table book. They were so central
to the tiai school rhythm that they prompted a European observer to call the
schools themselves multiplication schools (Dharampal, 1983, p.261). The
Ecuvai (1845) contained multiplication tables in an order as follows:
a) Multiplication tables of one, twoup to ten;
b) tables dealing with multiplication of whole numbers and fractions;
c) tables of fractions multiplied with fractions;
d) grain measures multiplied by whole numbers;
e) grain measures multiplied by fractions. A typical table would be written
as follows:
1

10

10

20

20

30

30

90

90

100

100

five jasmine buds bloomed into 90 jasmines shared by 5 persons (from a Tamil
verse: my translation) 595 alakunilai (Ecuvai, 1845, p.8).

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

Tamil Schools of South India

25

A table involving a whole number and a fraction, will be in the pattern as in the
following for the muntiri table:
1 x 1/320,
10 x 1/320,
100 x 1/320

and so on up to 1000 x 1/320.


This series will continue for each of the fractions in the middle series as
mentioned above. Followed by this are the tables involving fractions multiplied
by fractions. For example, for the muntiri table, the number muntiri would be
multiplied by each fraction beginning with araikki, ki, m, and so on, up to
mukkl. Then the grain measures, as in Nellilakkam, would each be multiplied by
whole numbers up to one hundred in the same pattern. This is be followed by a
multiplication table of each grain measure with the rest of the measures, such as
ceviu x kku, ceviu x uakku and so on up to ceviu x kalam.
Below each table, a Tamil verse in a prosodic form functioned as a mnemonic to
remember a number, which would be the sum of the products of that particular
table. For example, in the first table given above, the verse about jasmine buds
was to denote the number 595, which is the sum of the products of the first table.
Every table has a prosodic verse denoting the sum for it, and when sung aloud,
these verses have a rhythm that quickly entered the memory. Here is an instance
where we can see that in a memory-based learning system, how a prosodic verse
functioned as a mnemonic to remember an entire table that lent meaning to the
mnemonic only in that context. It was called alakunilai, in Tamil meaning
position that points; alaku = pointer and nilai = place or position. There was an
additional function to these verses: in some higher order texts, that will be
discussed later, such as the Kaakkatikram (1950), where summations of series
were dealt with, such mnemonics assisted the operations.
Each one of the tables in the above order was memorized by being sung aloud
under the leadership of a monitor. For example, for the first table, the table will
be remembered as Or ou ou (one and one is one), paittou pattu (ten and one
is ten), r ou irau (two and one is two), Irupatou irupatu (twenty and one is
twenty) and so on till Nrou Nru (hundred and one is hundred), followed by
the reciting of the mnemonic verse, which would be sung as follows:
mallikai aintu malarnta p toru

kouvr aivar parittu alakunilai 595 (Ecuvai, 1845, p. 8).

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

26

Senthil Babu

It should be noticed here that the entire table would be committed to memory
step by step, by the simultaneous writing of each step, on dust, a heap of rice
husk, or fine sand. A Portuguese traveller, Peter de la Valle, travelling in the
Malabar area of south India in the year 1623, came across a typical Ecuvai class
and has recorded it. Observing four boys learning the Ecuvai
after a strange manner, which I will here relate. They were four, and
having all taken the same lesson before the Master, to get that same by
heart, and repeat likewise their former lessons, and not forget them, one
of them singing musically with a certain continued tone, (which hath the
force of making a deep impression in the memory) recited part of the
lesson; as for example, one by itself makes one; and whilst he was thus
speaking, he writ down the same number, not with any kind of pen, nor
in paper but with his finger on the ground, the pavement being for that
purpose strewed all over with fine sand; after the first had wrote what he
sung, all the rest sung and write down the same thing together. Then the
first boy sung, and writ down another part of the lessonand so
forward in order. When the pavement was full of figures, they put them
out with the hand, and if need were, strewed it with new sandand thus
they did as long as exercise continued; in which manner, they told one,
they learned to read and writewhich certainly is a pretty way. I asked
them, if they happen to forget or be mistaken in any part of the lesson,
who corrected them and taught them, they being all scholars without the
assistance of any Master; they answered me, and said true, that it was
not possible for all four to forget or mistake in the same part, and that
they exercised together, to the end, that if one happened to be out, the
other might correct him (Dharampal, 1983, p. 260).
Here we see how repetition in a context of mutual instruction proceeded through
recognition of sound of a number by hearing its name. Loud recital of the name
and the simultaneous writing of it cognitively associated the sound with a
symbol. This proceeded in association with two numbers in arithmetic
relationship involving multiplication and/which/remaining remained central to
the memory mode of learning. Again, vocalization and visualization and
concurrent writing marked this mode and each table was thus committed to
memory. Towards the end of the study period, the students also committed to
memory the various conversion tables involving measures of weight and volume
(Ecuvai 1845).
The tables were followed by a long section called the varucappiappu (literally
meaning, birth of a year), wherein the students committed to memory several
lists that included a list of the Tamil years according to the Tamil calendar, the
days of the week, names of stars, signs and planets, names of various gods and
goddesses, and names of various canonical texts including epics, kvyas, smritis,
etc. A familiarity with the local wisdom by mere recognition of names and the

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

Tamil Schools of South India

27

practicingof this by writing down the names constituted tiai learning at this
stage.
The last section in the learning of mathematics in the tiai school was the
learning of tables of squares, called the kuimttu. Kui was a square unit for the
measure of land, whose higher units were m, ki or vli in certain regions of the
Tamil country. A basic unit of length in the measurement of land is the kol,
meaning a rod, which could be 12 ft, 18 ft or 24 ft. depending on the region in
question. A square unit, namely the kui was obtained by squaring a rod
measure. In kuimttu, students memorized the table of squares. There were two
sections to this,
a) Peukui (lit. meaning: large measures), involving measures in whole
numbers, beginning with 1 and ending with the square of 32; and
b) Ciukui (small measures), beginning with the square of mki (1/20 +
1/80), araikkl (1/8 x 1/8), kl (1/4); arai (1/2), mukkl (3/4), okl (1 +
); oarai (1 + ); onne mukkl (1 + ); irakl (2 + )up to ten.
Interestingly, from the text of the kuimttu, we gain an idea of how students
learned multiplication as an operation as well. For instance, in the table of the
perukui, the squares of all the measures up to ten would be listed, but at 11, the
square of 11 was listed in the table as follows:
11 x 11
10 x 10 = 100
10 x 1 = 10

110

10 x 1 = 10

120

1x1=1

121

and the same pattern was followed up to the square of 32. We see how
multiplication was performed, by the identification of the number into two easily
recognizable parts (bringing about a closer resemblance to the order in Ecuvai,
in the process), when it became a series of addition. In ciukui, again, this may be
demonstrated for instance, in the case of the square of say, m mukkl, which
is the square of 3 + . Here,
(3 + ) x (3 + )
3x3=9
3x=2 +

11 + 

3x=2+

13 + 

 x  =  + (1/20 + 1/80) 14 + (1/20 + 1/80)

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

28

Senthil Babu

During the actual process of memorizing, the operation would be recited out
loud,step by step. At each step, the recital itself denotes the nature of the
operations involved, as for instance,, three and three is nine .Moreover, the sum
at the end of each step is also recounted as part of the recital. For example, the
above square proceeded in the following manner:
Kui for three and three-quarters.
Three and three is nine.
Three and three-quarter is two and a quarter.

Balance eleven and a quarter.

Three and three-quarter is two and a quarter.

Balance thirteen and a half.

Three-quarter and three-quarter is one half and one-by-sixteen. Balance fourteen


and a one-by-sixteen (Ecuvai, 1845, p. 8).
Here we see how, in the multiplication of fractions, the product and the number
were separated in terms of recognizable fractional units, and how multiplication
proceeded as a series of additions. The kuimttu, thus equipped the learner to
deal with land measures and the computations of the area of land in all
variations.

Problem Solving in the tiai Schools


As mentioned previously, in the discussion of a typical daily routine of a tiai
school, the morning sessions were usually spent on memorizing and practising
the various tables. In the afternoon, probably the most active session of the day,
teachers taught the students the lessons they had memorized in the forenoon, in
the case of language learning, supplying meanings for words memorized. In the
case of mathematics, problem solving was the mode by which the entire exercise
of memorizing tables was given meaning, and skills of retrieval and associative
memory were called upon in an algorithmic context. Problems were posed as
word problems, as in the modern sense. Problems usually involved operations of
addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, and reduction of measures
involving the rule of three even though there were no separate tables for addition
or subtraction. The word problems, posed orally, were meant to be computed
mentally, though initially the process of solving was proceeded by each student
reciting each step aloud, to be heard by the whole class, monitored by the
teacher. This was popularly known in Tamil as maakkanakku, (Cminta Iyer,
1990, p. 56) meaning mental computation. Before the close of the school day,
problems of this kind would be given as homework. Problem solving then
happened outside the school, in an entirely non-institutional context, where the
elderly and the parents were involved in the process. The next morning, the
answers to the given problems were discussed, repeated in recital, and then it
was back to the business of memorizing the tables.

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

Tamil Schools of South India

29

In this mode of learning, recollective memory would have to score well in an


algorithmic context, involving more than one variable and arithmetic operation
at the same time. Associating the table with the memory of a particular number,
and with the variable to be dealt with in the problem, at a particular stage of an
algorithm becomes an issue. This triggers a process that may be conceived in the
following steps:
a) recognition of the variable in the problem
b) setting off the algorithm
c) recollection from a sequence or a table
d) associating with the algorithm and solving the problem
e) adding it to the repository of skills
f) and conceptualizing it as part of a system of algorithms5 (Kamesvaran, 1998).
In this mode, sets of rules were built up from repeated memories, the principle
then would be to recognize and organize likeness, when verses, prosody and
tables aided the process of learning. Associative nature of memory became
crucial in the context of arithmetic operations involving transformations.
Interestingly, however, there was no explicit mathematical representation of the
process of transformation, and no reference to the relatedness of arithmetic
operations could be found in the entire corpus of the tiai texts under discussion
here. Language, curiously enough, was a very significant factor in the learning of
mathematical operations. For example, for addition-based operations, the y
sound was the signal to recognize addition (e.g. Ki + muntiri will be ki y
muntiri) but when multiplication was involved, the absence of the y sound
would mark the process involved as that of multiplication and not addition (e.g.,
Ki x muntiri will be ki muntiri). Language learning and number learning were
thus integral to each other in the tiai mode.
In the entire process of problem posing within the tiai school system, problem
solving happened both within and outside the school. Outside, the community
participated in the exercise, creating a common pool of problems that remained
as riddles and aphorisms in the local society. This helped in the cultivating of
computing skills through a process that was closely related to the pedagogic
strategies practiced inside the school; in both spheres, memory was central. This
entire relationship remained as local knowledge within the society, where
members of all the strata of the society contributed to the circulation of that
knowledge, including those who had no exposure to the formal modes of
training in reading and writing. Within the institution, or outside, the value
associated with proficiency in problem solving would not have been that of
speed and accuracy of computation so much as that of prudence (Carruthers,
1990, p. 64). The crucial stage is the act of recollection from the organized order
of the Ecuvai, which itself now seems to be constituted in that particular order
as a system of mnemonics. The ability to recollect may be natural but the

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

30

Senthil Babu

procedure itself was formed by habit and practice, rendering the mnemonic
organizational structure as a system of heuristics in the process. Then recollection
becomes synonymous with reasoning, and even with interpretation (Carruthers,
1990, pp. 6064).6
When the students finally wrote down their memorized Ecuvai on palm leaves,
that marked the final stages of learning in the school, with each student owning
his own set of manualsthe Poilakkam, Nellilakkam, the Ecuvai and the
Kuimttu., A whole process of dealing with mental representations seems to have
given birth to the written form, where writing would help memory rather than
gaining unique significance for itself. Writing seemed to add to the memory
images, not in a simply abstract manner but as affective images. This function of
writing has to be recognized if the memory mode of tiai learning is to be
understood in a perspective different from the category of literacy. Writing in
the tiai mode, on the other hand, also made the student eligible for an
occupational role, say that of a scribe, or at least for an apprenticeship with the
local revenue official or with a trader, where learning on the job would add
further experience to his repository of skills. Inthe process, the student became a
qualified member of the measuring public, as a competent individual, engaged
in the several modes of transactions involving land and labour within the local
community.

Ti ai Curriculum, Pedagogy and Caste


So far, we havel ooked atthe world of the tiai pedagogy, in relation to the
learning of arithmetic, with the help of the manuals. But what can these texts tell
us about the nature of the relationship between the mathematical practices in
circulation among the various sections of the local community,and the tiai
curriculum, its pedagogy along with the character of the society itself?
The entire set of arithmetic representations seems almost always to be obsessed
with tabulations of quantities and measuresinvariablyin relationwith each
other, always transforming themselves through such relationships, always
associated with the skills to manipulate them both within the institutional setting
and outside. Inwhat was the outside world for the tiai school, everybody, no
matter what their social status or occupational role, educated or uneducated,
manual labourer or clerical labourer, was certainlyaware of the kind of
mathematical manipulations that constituted the core of the tiai arithmetic
curriculum; to all these people, however, such knowledge was deeply embedded
in the common language familiar to them, very much cutting across the caste
hierarchy. That was why the occasions when the members of the local
community interacted with each other, in very informal situations that
nevertheless involved subtle moments of challenge to each other, based on
riddles and problems, testing each others proficiency, or let us say,
prudencewere always the most social of the occasions: during festivals, a
special function in a household, or even a visit to the temple. The most common

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

Tamil Schools of South India

31

form of such an interaction could be imagined as an elderly person posing to a


younger group, in a teasing fashion, a set of problems, and asking them to come
up with the solution. It was in such a context that the learning of the tiai was
tested, often bringing the competence of the local teacher under public
evaluation, through entirely social means. His teaching, and the skills and
competence of the children, came into the sphere of public scrutiny, gaining
credibility or not. The tiai learning was compelled to come out into the open,
when it had to be displayed and performed in public (Sivalingaraja & Sarasvati,
2000, pp. 71-72).
There is another story to be told here. In the list of occupational groups
mentioned at the beginning of this paper, there were three personalities
associated with the administration of land, in the revenue bureaucracy: the
veiyn, the toi, and the nrkran or the kampuki. These occupations
customarily belonged to the lower caste groups, who were untouchables,
physically segregated at the far edge of village society; their presence would not
be appreciated in any of the mainstream activities of the village and they would
never in their life have touched an Ecuvai. But it was the veiyn or the toi,
(village assistants, who actually measured land) who would take up the
measuring rod, to engage with the physical and in an equally cognitive act of
measuring an extent of landwhere as the designated, learned karnam or village
accountant, would record the measures in writing, in codes specified by a system
that further trained the skills the tiai school had provided him with. The
nrkra (water regulator), a person who owned nothing, and always poor, was
entrusted with the task of regulating distribution of irrigation water to all the
lands in the village. This involved computation of time, motion and area to be
irrigated in accordance with the various sluices of a tank at this
individuals/persons disposal: this was his occupation. The tiai curriculum
dealt with his occupational skills, in the problem-solving mode. Situations that
the vettiyn (village assistant who measured land) and the nrkran (water
regulator) lived with and cognitively engaged with as part of their manual work
were subjects of learning within the institution, in which they and their children
could never set foot. .
This set of observations returns us to the issue of the basis of the set of arithmetic
representations that has been discussed in this paper. I am inclined to treat these
mathematical representations and manipulations as products of extensive
processes of standardization that evolved out of concrete practices involving the
work of various social groups. In that case, the question of alloting agency to this
process of standardization becomes significant. Dominant historiographical
conventions have hitherto ascribed agency for this historical process to the
centralizing state alone. Alternatively, we might think of the agents of manual
labourconcrete and cognitive at the same timeas the agents of these
extraordinarily extensive processes of standardization: those who were
constantly in a dialogue with the machineries of the state and its ruling elite,
contributing significantly thereby to the history of the evolution of knowledge.
The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

32

Senthil Babu

Whenever the state decided to standardize, as when a medieval Tamil King


altered the standard of, say, the measuring rod (from 12 to 24 feet) in the region
under his rule, in a political act towards gaining legitimacy for his rule. Through
such measures, he was able, from a distance, to extend and establish his
authority and impact on normal transactions down to the level of village society.
(Subbarayulu, 2001, pp. 31-40). People like the veiyn (assistant to the
accountant and the one who actually measured land) and the nrkran who
regulated water from public tanks) negotiated with measures, learned and ,
manipulated them; all this experience would then be appropriated into another
sphere of learning, in the tiai schools, where it turned into knowledge, and
gained credibility as competence acquired through a codified and textualized
process. The adaptation of this strategy was common to both spheres: the
strategy of memory and mnemonic-centered practice. It was, seemingly, a
natural choice of strategy seeing that memory has the propensity to be enhanced
with practice. We may therefore say that the orientation of the curriculum had a
reason to be thoroughly local.
In an internalist sense, arithmetic representations and the tiai mode of problem
solving was socially sufficient in the context of localized socio-economic
transactions, where the memory-based pedagogic strategies would ensure skill,
and functionality constituted knowledge.
From the perspective of the history of mathematics though, what were the
possibilities for these arithmetic means and representations to evolve further into
higher order representations? Can goals of this sort be discerned internally?
Where do we look for such possibilities? Within the society, there were texts like
the Kanakkatikram (1950), which recorded such higher order engagements with
arithmetical knowledge. Typically, these texts contained rules or procedures of
computation in vers which, addressed concerns related to measurement of land
with respect to its area, price, yield, measures of volume, weight, time and gold,
magic squares, exhaustion problems and partitions (Kanakkatikram, 1950). Even
there, in a social sense, all such representations with embedded cognitive
aspirations were characterized by a yearning to be in control of a situation, to
plan, to anticipate and to recognize patterns. Occasions would, however,
always be the ordinary daily life in the community.
Based on the preceding discussions, it may be argued that the memory mode of
learning and the problem solving strategies, in a cognitive sense, would help
qualify a learner comfortably to handle a text like the Kanakkatikram with
proficiency, provided the learner had access to additional training and guidance.
Such aspirants were supposed to go looking for specialized masters, who might
not be available in the immediate vicinity. If he were interested, and the family
able to afford the cost of such a graduation, a student always had the option to
move on (Cminta Iyer, 1990).

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

Tamil Schools of South India

33

The question next arises as to whether, in an externalist sense, the tiai school as
a social institution did offer such a possibility to all those who could legitimately
partake in its sustenance? This brings us, necessarily, to the subject of cognitive
universals and social distribution of abilities that are often strongly associated
with questions of access and denial. If we were to look at the tiai school from
the outside, but from within the community, it would be clear that it had very
strong monetary connotations to its functioning,* often demanding expenditure
for the teachers remuneration. Caste was an organizing principle of this
institution, in which exclusion of certain social groups was inherent and
necessary to its local sustenance (Radhakrishnan, 1986). If the local community is
seen as a sphere for the circulation of skills involving families with distinct
occupations then, evidently, each had a reputation within the community, which
could diffuse amongst forms of discrimination within the tiai school. Verbal
exchange between the discriminated student and, say, the campillai or the
teacher would bring parentage and the local reputation of the family into the
center of learning. Transition phases in learning, for example, graduating from
writing on sand to writing on palm leaves, were marked by special rituals, that
demanded higher fee and input costs. Forms of punishment within the tiai
schools were severe, and it was common lore that the rod ruled (Cminta Iyer,
1990; Mutaliar, 1901). Distance to school was often a dampener because not every
village had a tiai school; children would often have to walk seven or eight
miles to reach one (Sivalingaraja & Sarasvati, 2000). The public evaluation of the
learning in tiai schools cut both ways. Public displays of skills in informal
interactions within the village kept the teacher under the constant scrutiny of the
local public. It also aided in the creation of stereotypes of particular children,
who had failed; this invariably crept into the tiai classroom atmosphere.
Are these possibility-enhancing modes? Principles of exclusion and dynamics of
life in a small community undoubtedly had impact on the mode of functioning of
the tiai schools and we are bound to ask whether there can be innovation or
discover from within, in such a context? Though such goals were never explicitly
on the agenda of the tiai schools, they were not beyond the publicly sanctioned
goals of institutionalized learning in the contemporary society. Local public
perceptions would always relegate learning to functionality, as catering to local
needs and defined by the boundaries of local knowledge, thus creating socially
credible notions of capability. The tiai as an institution was thus
circumscribed socially to the realm of functionality.
It is here that the story of the transition of the tiai schools upon contact with the
techno-economic complex of British colonialism becomes interesting. If concepts,
skills, reasoning, ways of abstraction were, as we have tried to show here, all
immersed in the functional tiai mode of learning, then the modern seemed to
have internally sealed off functionality, privileging instead a certain image of
reasoning, of a kind perceived and articulated from within the framework of the

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

34

Senthil Babu

liberal individualism of nineteenth century Europe. This is when politics


penetrated into the heart of the tiai curriculum: politics based on narrow
perceptions of a tradition, and sometimes even those that would only allow a
perfunctory engagement with that tradition. These policies, securely rooted in a
power structure, began by tampering with the tiai schools, going on to alter
them by co-opting them, before they were made irrelevant during the early
decades of the twentieth century. Even when the schools themselves did not
change much, the social ethos that sustained them changed irreversibly.

Poilakkamelementary number primer for tiai schools (Courtesy French Institute of Pondicherry,
Pondicherry).

Notes
1.

The evolution of land revenue administration in relation to changing Tamil society


involves a huge literature of social and economic history. I have therefore opted for a
different kind of primary source, which was a household survey undertaken by a British
civil engineer, Thomas Barnard and his Indian assistant Cenkalvarya Mutalir, during
the years 1767 to 1774, in the Chingleput District of the then Madras Presidency, under
the orders of the British Government with the intention of assessing potential returns
from that district to the East India Company. Involving 2100 villages, this exercise
provides a glimpse of the nature of local economy and society, evident through forms of
record keeping by local village revenue officials, headed by the village accountant, a
hereditary position, whose skills in memory and account keeping would be initially
grounded in the training offered in the tiai schools. The publication referred to
reproduces the documents of two villages in the district surveyed, in print.

2.

It is from here that Dr. Andrew Bell, pioneer of modern elementary education in England
learnt the nuances of the functioning of the Madras School system, while he was working
as the Superintendent of the Male Asylum in Egmore, under the auspices of the East
India Company. This also came to be known as the monitorial system, when Joseph
Lancaster introduced further modifications into the system. This resulted in some bitter
rivalries along the lines of church loyalty, between the two, based on originality claims

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

Tamil Schools of South India

35

but also produced interesting innovations in the area of elementary education pedagogy
in England and Europe. The story of how the tiai pedagogy and technique traveled and
made itself useful in England is an interesting area of study in itself, which requires
further research.
3.

It is a curious aspect that requires further exploration into the issue of children not
divided into sections of learners depending on age. Does it then mean a marked absence
of conception of childhood in that society, underwritten in the nature of pedagogic
practice in the tiai schools, or that the memory mode of learning by its nature found the
issue of age, irrelevant to its cognitive success?

4.

The text of Poilakkam referred to here is a printed edition found at the British Library,
London published in the year 1845. However, there are several copies of Poilakkam
available in palm leaf manuscripts in several repositories, where variations are usually
minimal. The printed edition is almost the standard version found in manuscripts as
well. It was printed for the students of a tiai school in Bangalore in 1845 by an
association called the Caturveta Siddhanta Sabha, under the supervision of one V.
Rmacmy Mutalir. The publication of texts like the Poilakkam, Nellilakkam, Ecuvai
etc., in Tamil beginning in the early nineteenth century was prompted by multiple
concerns from among the native elite, marked by political and commercial aspirations.

5.

The number primers discussed here do not contain any problems, as seen in the
respective texts. However, the nature of the problems and the mode of their working
could be discerned from texts like the Kanakkatikram. Editions of these texts are
available in print, where Tamil scholars have attempted commentaries on the original
verse-based texts. The range of examples discussed in such editions will testify to the
procedure summarized here. For example, see (Kamesvaran, 1998, pp. 170248).

6.

Mary Carruthers, in her work The Book of Memory passionately argues that memory was a
modality of learning in itself in medieval Europe, and hence independent of orality and
literacy. She argues that learning can be seen as a process of acquiring smarter and
richer mnemonic devices to represent information, encoding similar information into
patterns, organizational principles, and rules which represent even material we have
never before encountered, but which is like what we do know, and thus can be
recognized or remembered (Carruthers, 1990, p. 2). Her work has vividly captured a
entire world of learning, that would have been completely lost on us, if memory for
instance were to be associated with values such as mechanical learning or rote
learning, like the British did with respect to their attitudes and interventions of the tiai
schools in the nineteenth century. The history of the British intervention in Indian
education as part of their colonialist enterprise, if rewritten from the perspective of the
tiai schools and its negotiation with the British policies, we are bound to get a radically
different picture, from the currently dominant understanding of the emergence of
modern education in colonial India.

7.

Peter Damerow, in his work The Material Culture of Calculation, outlines a conceptual
framework to understand the evolution of numbers as cognitive universals, in a scheme
where he identifies distinct historical stages in the development of logico-mathematical
thought. But the place for social distribution of abilities rooted in experiences of work

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

36

Senthil Babu
and labour that would have contributed to similar processes seems very limited in his
framework. See Damerow (1999).
8.

The exact processes involved in the translation of continental engagements with math
pedagogy into a colonial society, ways by which such translations negotiated with
indigenous traditions in the colonized society and what resulted in the process is an area
awaiting serious attention. For an influential contemporary statement on the learning of
mathematics from nineteenth century Europe, see Whewell (1836).

References
Acharya, Poromesh. (1996). Indigenous Education and Brahmincal Hegemony in
Bengal. In Nigel Crook (Ed.). The Transmission of Knowledge in South Asia: Essays
on Education, Religion, History and Politics (pp. 98118). New Delhi: Oxford
University Press.
Baker, C. J. (1984). An Indian Rural Economy 18801955: The Tamilnad Countryside.
New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Cminta Iyer, U. V. (1990). E Carittiram (My History). Chennai: U. V.
Cminta Iyer Library and Research Centre.
Carruthers, J. Mary. (1990). The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval
Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Celvakesavaraya Mutaliar. (1901). Tamil Education: Address Delivered to the
Students of the Teachers College, Saidapet. Madras Christian College Magazine,
January, 391395.
Damerow, Peter. (1999). The Material Culture of Calculation A Conceptual
Framework for a Historical Epistemology of the Concept of Number. Preprint 117. Max
Planck Institute for the History of Science.
Dharampal. (1983). The Beautiful Tree: Indigenous Education in the Eighteenth
Century. New Delhi: Biblia Impex.
Evidence taken before the Madras Provincial Committee of Education. (1882). Madras:
Government Press.
Ecuvai. (1845). Madras: Caturveta Siddhanta Sabha.
Gopal Iyer, T. V. (1990). Tamil Euttum um (Tamil: Letters and Books). Tanjore:
Tamil University Publications.
Gurumurthy, S. (1979). Education in South India Ancient and Medieval Periods.
Chennai: New Era Publications.
Kamesvaran, Sathyabama (Ed.). (1998). Kanakkatikram. Tanjore: Sarasvati Mahal
Library Publications.
Kanakkatikram. (1950). Chennai: The South India Saiva Siddhantha Publishing
House.
Ludden, David. (2005). Early Capitalism and Local History in South India. New
Delhi: Oxford University Press.
The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education

Tamil Schools of South India

37

Poilakkam. (1845). Madras: Caturveta Siddhanta Sabha.


Radhakrishnan, P. (1986). Caste Discriminations in Indigenous Indian Education I:
Nature and Extent of Education in Early 19th century British India, Working Paper
No. 63. Madras: Madras Institute of Development Studies.
Radhakrishnan, P. (1990). Indigenous Education in British India: A Profile.
Contributions to Indian Sociology, 24 (1), 127.
Sivalingaraja. S & Sarasvati. S. (2000). Pattonpatm N il Yppattu Tamil
Kalvi (Tamil Education in Nineteenth Century Jaffna). Colombo: Kumaran Book
House.
Srinivas, M. D., Paramasivam, T. K., Pushkala, T. et al. (2002). Tirupporur ma um
Vaakkuppau Patinem N u vaaka (Tirupporur and Vaakkuppattu:
Eighteenth Century Documents). Madras: Centre for Policy Studies.
Subbiah Cettiar. (1989). Interview with Prof. Y. Subbarayulu; ttankui, Tamil
Nadu.
Subbarayulu. Y. (2001). Studies in Cola History. Chennai: Curapi Patippakam.
Whewell, William. (1836). Thoughts on the Study of Mathematics as a part of Liberal
Education The second edition. Cambridge: J & J. J. Deighton.

The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education