Unfair to Hardy

A recent article reinterprets the known works on the life of S. Ramanujan without making any independent historical study and suffers from the prejudices of the authors who have made unproven conjectures (Curr. Sci., 1998, 75, 326<196>327)1. Although it is true that British rulers promoted and nurtured only colonized mind, but is it justified to identify ruling and elite class with the entire society? Generally, sweeping statements encompassing the entire society are made, which in reality represent the attitudes of the minority: the elites. Haldane's quote given in ref. 1 also reflects a similar attitude. Leaving aside this, mathematicians have unequivocally recognized Ramanujan as one of the greatest mathematicians; and if G. H. Hardy was instrumental for this in the beginning, resurgence in Rama- nujan's work in recent times is also due˙to˙Western scientists. It may be pointed out here, although it is not directly˙related to the topic under discussion, it is Michael Berry, an English˙physicist, who is largely responsible for bringing Pancharatnam's phase to prominence.

Returning to the article1, I do not understand what the authors mean by the statement `It was Ramanujan who discovered Hardy'. On the contrary, was it not Ramanujan himself who sought the opinion of the then famed mathematician, G. H. Hardy, on his mathematical work in 1913? Prior to this he had sent his papers to two eminent English mathematicians who had returned the papers without any comment. Thus, Hardy indeed has to be credited for recognizing and `discovering' `the natural mathematical genius' of Ramanujan2. Regarding the education of Ramanujan, Snow2 remarks: `In an uncharacteristically sloppy moment, Hardy once wrote that if he had been better educated, he would have been less Ramanujan'. Also of interest are the remarks on Formal Education by Selberg3. Selberg notes, `If Hardy had trusted Ramanujan more, they should have inevitably ended with the Redemacher series'.

Western education system seems to stifle original and creative minds and the dilemma faced by educated yet free thinkers need to be understood properly; for example, experiences of Selberg3, Hardy's wavering perception regarding education of Ramanujan and remarks of Snow2. Moreover, Green did not have any official academic degree and it was quite pertinently observed by Dyson4, `If George Green were living today, since science has become professionalized and Ph<|>D has become a necessary ticket for admission to the temple, he would have encountered much more formidable barriers to his ambitions. The insiders are now defending their turf against outsiders with bureaucratic weapons unknown in the 1830s'.

To sum up, the authors1 are unfair to Hardy. Although, it is true that Vedic tradition of knowledge and fundamentals of Indian culture are entirely alien to Western mind; but in the process of making the Indian society modern, the Indian intellectuals too have become more alienated from their roots.

Murukesapillai, K. and Santiapillai, C., Curr. Sci., 1998, 75, 326<196>327.
Snow C. P., in A Mathematician's Apology: Foreword (Hardy, G. H.), CUP, 1967.
Selberg, A., Resonance, 1996, 1, 81.
Dyson, F. J., Phys. World, 1993, 33. 

S. C. TIWARI
1, Kusum Kutir, Mahamanapuri,
Varanasi 221<|>005, India

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