Thursday, March 23, 2006

Film to celebrate Ramanujan

mar 23rd

with the bbc and this dev benegal (who made the horrible 'english, august' with that execrable bose fellow in the lead role), i am sure the film will come out as an uncle tom story, with the genius looking like some kind of idiot-savant (remember the dustin hoffman-tom cruise film) who was rescued from obscurity by kind white guys who thought of him as some performing monkey.

also, expect a lot of disparagement of hinduism in the film. after all, ramanujan explicitly said that his genius was a gift from the goddess of namakkal whose blessings enabled him to come up with his remarkable insights. so the film will smirk about how 'primitive' ramanujan was. of course, they all will not have any better answer as to what genius is all about, and the blessings of a goddess are as good an explanation as any.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Sriram

Sriram saw this story on BBC News Online and thought you
should see it.

** Message **
Hi Rajeev,
Not half the publicity or accolades given by India to a true genius as compared to <various half-baked 'intellectual giants'>

Regards,
Sriram

** Film to celebrate maths genius **
Directors Stephen Fry and Dev Benegal are to make a film about an Indian man whose ideas underpin the digital revolution.
< http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/2/hi/south_asia/4811920.stm >


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10 comments:

Ram said...

I warmly recommend "The Man Who Knew Infinity" by Robert Kanigel. In the preface, he metions that he had never heard of Ramanujan until his editor mentioned it, and then got fascinated by the rags-to-riches story. He spent 6 months in South India researching the subject, and does a great job explaining the times and customs of peoples in those times. It is evident he enjoys the the time he spent in India; he says the people stared at the whiteness of his skin but treated him with exceeding kindness. He attributes much of Ramajunan's one-pointedness to his religious upbringing and his mother, especially the way she would lose herself in trances.

I hope this movie comes out good like "Gandhi" did -- it was not great, but a fair depiction of the man and times. It was made with real reverence for the subject. Something tells me this will be similar.

I don't what it is with Rajeev and white folks, they are people just like us... one of Ramanujan's greatest champions has always been Freeman Dyson, the Nobel laureate.

Ramanjunan's mentor Hardy is now recognized as a conventionally great mathematician. Hardy was perhaps a haughty man, and perhaps a bit prejudiced too --- but nevertheless had real affection for Ramanujan. When Haughty was invited to give a lecture at Harvard's 300th anniversary , he chose Ramanujan as the subject.


Ram

Sriram_A said...

Hi Rajeev,
I just noticed that in my message to you from the BBC site, I had specifically mentioned and compared the accolades provided to Ramanujam with those for Arundhati Roy and Amartya Sen. But when I look at your posting AR and AM's names have been replaced by "various half-baked 'intellectual giants'". Just wondering if you cut it off or it was done by BBC.

Sriram"

pennathur said...

When your automated teller machines divide and arrange your money before coughing it up, they are all using Ramanujan's partition theory. ATMs have solved this problem by dispensing notes of exclusively one denomination - $20 here in the US and Rs.50 (100?) in India. Dr.Alladi at Univ. of Florida is among the most active scholars of partition theory and publishes the Ramanujam Quarterly. Instead of making this into a misty eyed poem of praise Benegal could talk to current scholars of number theory and make this a more interesting story. Sadly in India the sciences are in decline, particularly mathematics. It isn't apparently jazzy enough for the computer crazy types. While the TIFR and a few other universities have good mathematics programs many of the 'elite institutions' have let quality slip and aren't doing much these days. As for Indians studying abroad rare is it to find one in the sciences and rarer still in mathematics. While Ramanujan is great is that all we can talk about. How long are we going to live off past glory? PC Mahalanobis the founder of ISI Cal was a contemporary of Ramanujam and said on more than one ocassion that Ramanujam was not particularly devout. The popular Friday night TV show on CBS Numb3rs featuring a math prof helping the FBI fight crime has an Indian American character Amita Ramanujan - a bow to the great one.

xmatrix said...

Off topic:
http://www.india-defence.com/reports/1574.
Mig crashes under Kangrassi rule. Now Rayykeyysh Omprakash can make L*nd de basanti II and advocate shooting of current defense minister. As rajeev mentioned, everything is BJP's fault. Jai Sonia Mata.

daisies said...

Re:
so the film will smirk about how 'primitive' ramanujan was. of course, they all will not have any better answer as to what genius is all about, and the blessings of a goddess are as good an explanation as any.

--- Interesting, isnt it ? That
many were willing to take his
mathematical insights, but not
his insight into how he got his
insights ?

If they seriously begin to look
for explanations, it will be
good for everyone. For then,
they will have to enquire into
the very origin of thought, and
that will lead them to the
source. The source of
everything. It will lead to
Brahman.

Then they will agree with the
Hindus.

Surprisingly a lot of new age
thought in America (not UK)
is very open to such ideas.
It is only people who are
stuck with narrow western
religious beliefs who have
closed minds.

-

Cacoethes said...

I read Pygmalion some time in the 1950s, and hugely enjoyed it. Years later, I happened to see a movie ("My Fair Lady"?) based on it, and I was hugely disappointed.
I hope they don't convert Ramanujam into a puerile musical.

nizhal yoddha said...

sriram, i edited it.

pennathur, is there anything in today's india that one can truly be proud of? thanks to 50 years (and counting) of nehruvianism, there is nothing. so one has to look at the past to realize that indians can do great work. this is the issue of role models.

isn't it amazing that even under extreme racism under the brits, there were men of true genius such as c v raman, ramanujan, and j c bose? but *nothing* whatsoever under 50 years of nehruvian education: not *one* earth-shaking invention or discovery from india. that's because nehru, nurul hassan and now arjun singh, and everyone in between, have successfully destroyed indian education systems and even the very idea that india could produce any breakthroughs. and by wiping out sanskrit, and turning universities into private sinecures for fellow-travelers. the example of k n panikkar, an offensive marxist who knows no sanskrit, running the sri sankara sanskrit university, is only the most egregious example.

Sailesh Ganesh said...

Is there a meaning to the name nizhal yoddha?

Kalyani said...

"..also, expect a lot of disparagement of hinduism in the film. after all, ramanujan explicitly said that his genius was a gift from the goddess of namakkal whose blessings enabled him to come up with his remarkable insights. so the film will smirk about how 'primitive' ramanujan was".

Rajeev,the "disparagement" was done extensively by ndtv,few years ago.

They had gone to the extent of bringing some person, claiming to be close to someone else close to Sri.Ramanujan ,(you get the picture?)who said "...he was an agnostic....Namakkal Devi Blessing all made up...." and the dithering went on!

chakding said...

Is there a meaning to the name nizhal yoddha?
# posted by Sailesh Ganesh : 3/23/2006 8:56 PM


sure, it means one who lurks in the shadows and slings ineffectual barbs

or
one who fights his own shadows

take your pick