02 February 2014

C. K. Raju interviewed by Claude Alvares

TV Multiversity is proud to present a five part series featuring Professor C. K. Raju interviewed by Claude Alvares. Professor Raju brings to bear his immense knowledge of mathematics, history, and philosophy in providing a systematic deconstruction of the Eurocentrism of mathematics as currently conceived and taught. Beginning with a discussion of why mathematics has become so difficult to learn, the interviews proceed through the myths surrounding the 'heroes' of Western science, from Euclid to Einstein. They also cover the transmission of mathematical knowledge from India through the Islamic world into Europe, where it was initially misunderstood but then coopted and corrupted by the Holy Roman Empire. One of his most startling conclusions is that mathematics is essentially religious or spiritual in nature, but he offers a way to think about and practice mathematics shorn of its theological assumptions and Eurocentric historical accretions. Professor Raju has developed this material over a series of books, ranging from 'Time: A Consistent Theory' (1994) to his latest work, 'Euclid and Jesus' (2012). Conducted in Penang, Malaysia, during June 2013 and totalling over nine hours of material, these exclusive new interviews were produced and distributed on behalf of the Multiversity Project for the Multiworld Network and are presented here for the first time.

In Part One, Professor Raju explains why mathematics has become difficult to learn, the myths surrounding Euclid and 'The Elements,' and the Greek origins of science and mathematics. He then proceeds in Part Two to discusses Calculus and traces its transmission from India to Europe, as well as the earlier transmission of Indian arithmetic via Baghdad and its famed 'House of Wisdom' (Bayt al Hikmah). Part Three features his trenchant criticism of the inappropriate designation by historian of science Thomas Kuhn of the work of Copernicus as a 'paradigm shift,' noting that Copernicus borrowed from the Arabs, and further suggesting that Ptolemy probably did not exist. Professor Raju continues the historical survey in Part Four, in which he reviews the role of Islam and Muslim scholars in the history of science, and suggests that there is an intrinsic association of modern technology with waste, and that Western science has become detached from ethics. The series concludes with a look at Professor Raju's teaching at AlBukhary International University in Malaysia, with Claude Alvares interviewing students about their experiences and what they are learning, as well as their hopes and aspirations. At AIU, Raju has designed a course on 'decolonized' history and philosophy of science, demonstrating that science and mathematics originated universally, and not with the Greeks as claimed in the myth propagated by Western historians. Professor Raju is firmly committed to a non-Eurocentric view of the world and to the regeneration of 'decolonized' minds.

The interviewer is Claude Alvares, India-based coordinator of the Multiversity Project--inspired and initiated over a decade ago by S.M. Mohamed Idris in Penang, Malaysia. One of Multiversity's primary aims is the decolonisation of knowledge and the de-linking of academic teaching and research from its continuing Eurocentric bias. A specific project is the re-writing of a more factual and less biased history of science which highlights and celebrates the scientific contributions of people from across the planet, rather than solely those of Western Europe.

A brilliant physicist, mathematician, and philosopher from the Indian subcontinent, Professor Raju holds that Western mathematics and science are not universal, but are religiously biased, and should not be imitated or worse, taught anywhere. Instead, they should be corrected--like the racist history of science that also needs radical amendment. After a PhD from the Indian Statistical Institute, Professor Raju taught math at Pune University in western India for several years, before going on to play a key role in building the first Indian supercomputer, Param. He was a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, and an editor of the Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, and the journal of the Indian Social Science Academy. He is an Editorial Fellow of the Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy, and Culture.

Professor Raju received the Telesio-Galilei Gold Medal 2010 in Hungary for correcting Einstein's mathematical mistake in the theory of relativity. The correction he proposed, in his related book, Time: Towards a Consistent Theory (Kluwer, 1994) involves a new type of equation for physics, which also explains most features of quantum mechanics. In The Eleven Pictures of Time (Sage, 2003) Professor Raju explains how political theology penetrated physics through the notion of time, as in Stephen Hawking's work, and how to remedy such distortions. He has also proposed corrections to Newton's 'law' of gravitation, and Maxwell's equations. In Cultural Foundations of Mathematics (Pearson Longman, 2007) he proposed an alternative, realistic philosophy of mathematics called zeroism, and compiled the evidence for the 16th century transmission of Calculus from India to Europe--where it was not adequately understood, leading to consequent errors in physics. This stands on its head the story of the alleged origins of science in ancient Greece and renaissance Europe, as summarised in his book published by Multiversity, Is Science Western in Origin? (2009).

Professor Raju's most recent book is Euclid and Jesus (Multiversity, 2012), which outlines how the Church changed mathematics and Christianity across two religious wars. His experimental courses on Calculus 'without limits' have shown that eliminating the religious bias in present-day formal math makes math correspondingly easy to understand and work with and therefore better utilised for practical and scientific applications.

Professor Raju was interviewed for over nine hours in four sessions in Penang, Malaysia, in June 2013, on specific issues, including:
  1. Why mathematics has become difficult to learn; the myths surrounding Euclid and The Elements and the Greek origins of science and mathematics.
  2. The Calculus and its transmission from India to Europe. The earlier transmission of arithmetic to Europe via Baghdad.
  3. The inappropriate designation of the work of Copernicus by Thomas Kuhn as a 'paradigm shift.' Claudius Ptolemy probably did not exist. As for Copernicus, his work was borrowed from the Arabs.
  4. The role of Islam and Islamic scholars in the history of science; and the intrinsic association of modern technology with waste.
For more about C. K. Raju and his work, visit his homepage, and for more about the Multiversity project, visit the Multiworld India homepage. Related material can be found in the two-part series by founding Multiversity member J. Progler on the Multiversity conference on 'Decolonising Our Universities' (Part One, Part Two) and Progler's essay on the Multiversity Higher Education Project. Several interviews with students of Albukhary University, where Professor Raju taught his math courses, were conducted by Claude Alvarares and are available here.

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