Much Ado about Nothing — India’s Zero Contribution

A report crediting the earliest use of the symbol for zero in a Sanskrit manuscript assigned to about 600 AD was published in the Manchester Guardian recently. The same report in the Pakistani paper ‘Dawn’ founded by Mohammed Ali Jinnah gave rise to the following responses from Pakistani and Indian readers.

Some interesting comments at the end. The level of historical knowledge is astonishing. Aman ki Aasha anyone?

Dawn: Sep 16, 2017
LONDON: A black dot on a third-century manuscript has been identified by Oxford University as the first recorded use of the mathematical symbol for ‘zero’, 500 years earlier than previously thought.

“Scientists from the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries, have used carbon dating to trace the figure’s origins to the famous ancient Indian scroll,” the university said in a statement.

The birch bark scroll is known as the Bakhshali manuscript, named after Bakhshali village near Peshawar, where it was found buried in 1881. It has been held at the Bodleian Libraries since 1902.

“The creation of zero as a number in its own right, which evolved from the placeholder dot symbol found in the Bakhshali manuscript, was one of the greatest breakthroughs in the history of mathematics,” said Marcus du Sautoy, a mathematics professor at Oxford. “We now know that it was as early as the third century that mathematicians in India planted the seed of the idea that would later become so fundamental to the modern world,” he said.

Several ancient cultures, including the Mayans and the Babylonians, used the zero placeholder but the dot used in ancient Indian mathematics is the one that ultimately evolved into the symbol used today.

“These surprising research res­ults testify to the subcontinent’s rich and longstanding scientific tradition,” said librarian Richard Ovenden.


It was found in Peshawar Pakistan not india…. Don’t say Pakistan didn’t exist in the third century because neither did india

Mohsin Khan
No its not india peshawar was never part of india. Another story of stealing. GIVE IT BACK SO PAKISTANI CHILDREN CAN KNOW their heritage.

Indian culture is more than 5000 years old with great knowledge and science values.

MashaAllah, Pakistan land of legends and heroes!

There wAs not Pakistan in those days times ; contrary to popular belief propogated that civilization of the subcontinent started after the advent of Mohammed bin qassem the pre Islamic history of our land is mind blowing . Everything from modern drainage , universities , town planning , taxation , dispute resolution,Astronomy existed in the lands where today children no nothing about their forefathers.

IRT, From heart :There is also the Macedonian culture found in and around Peshawar, Gilgit/Hunza and the Arab civilization in the southern part of Pakistan. The papyrus is probably written in Sanskrit, but it has nothing to do with the present India or rather Modi’s India.

Can’t even read this Indian language. Why are we fighting over it and proving them right? We are proud of Qasim’s heritage and conquest of India that is today’s Pakistan. Our heritage is islamic not hindu/sanskrit.

A Pakistani
This is my history, the history of my land, the history of Pakistan, the history of South Asia. No such thing as India, it is a recent construct.

@Rajendra Soni “great to read that Pakistani’s are proud of their ancestors “ It is laughable to note that both Pakistanis and Indians are proud of something done by “their” ancestors, that can only be proven by goras. We don’t even know who these scientists were, where they came from, where their descendants went etc. The only fact that we know is that their work was done here, developed and mastered later in many places except here. The only heritage that we have is the people who don’t have clue about these subjects, but are proud that it was by people who lived here.

Ahmed awaiz
@RAJA CHILL Vedic Indian civilization is max 2500 years old. Before that there was Indus valley civilization which was primarily present day Pakistan.

@Chander Rajput so its found in Peshawar yet you think this is something achieved by you thousands of miles from there?
The indus valley civilisation was based in the area which is now in modern Pakistan, not India. There are ruins at Mehergarh in Balochistan dating back 7000 years, who is the fool now? They were not Muslims, but they were not hindus either. They were Buddhists!