T. A. Sarasvati Amma

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T. A. Sarasvati Amma (Tekkath Amayonkath Kalam Sarasvati Amma, also spelled as T. A. Saraswathi Amma) (1918–2000) was a scholar born in Kerala, India who specialized in the geometry of ancient and medieval India.[1]


Sarasvati Amma (born in Cherpulachery, Palakkad district, Kerala) was the second daughter of her mother Kuttimalu Amma and father Marath Achutha Menon.[1] She took her basic degree in mathematics and physics from Madras University and obtained an M.A. degree in Sanskrit from Benares Hindu University. She did her research under the guidance of Dr. V. Raghavan, a Sanskrit scholar. Sarasvati Amma taught at Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur, Maharaja's College, Ernakulam and also at Women's College, Ranchi. She served Shree Shree Lakshmi Narain Trust Mahila Mahavidyalaya, Dhanbad, Jharkhand as its principal from 1973 to 1980. After retirement she spent her last years in her home town Ottappalam.[1] She died in 2000. Her younger sister T. A. Rajalakshmi was a well-known story-writer and novelist in Malayalam, but committed suicide in 1965.[1]

Academic career[edit]

The Kerala Mathematical Association started a regular Prof. T. A. Sarasvati Amma Memorial Lecture in its annual conference in 2002.[1][2] In the words of Michio Yano, who reviewed Sarasvati Amma's book Geometry in Ancient and Medieval India, the book "established a firm foundation for the study of Indian geometry".[3]

According to David Mumford, along with Kim Plofker's book Mathematics in India, "there is only one other survey, Datta and Singh’s 1938 History of Hindu Mathematics...supplemented by the equally hard to find Geometry in Ancient and Medieval India by Sarasvati Amma (1979)", where, "one can get an overview of most topics" in Indian mathematics.[4]

Her book Geometry in Ancient and Medieval India is a survey of the Sanskrit and Prakrt scientific and quasi-scientific literature of India, beginning with the Vedic literature and ending with the early part of the 17th century. It deals in detail with the Sulbasutras in the Vedic literature, with the mathematical parts of Jaina Canonical works and of the Hindu Siddhantas and with the contributions to geometry made by the astronomer mathematicians Aryabhata I & II, Sripati, Bhaskara I & II, Sangamagrama Madhava, Paramesvara, Nilakantha, his disciples and a host of others. The works of the mathematicians Mahavira, Sridhara and Narayana Pandita and the Bakshali Manuscript have also been studied. The work seeks to explode the theory that the Indian mathematical genius was predominantly algebraic and computational and that it eschewed proofs and rationales. There was a school in India which delighted to demonstrate even algebraic results geometrically.[5]


  1. Introduction
  2. Sulbasutra Geometry
  3. Early Jaina Geometry
  4. The Trapezium
  5. The Quadrilateral
  6. The Triangle
  7. The Circle
  8. Volumes and Surfaces of Solids
  9. Geometrical Algebra
  10. Shadow Problems and Other Problems

Selected publications[edit]


  • T.A. Sarasvati Amma (2007). Geometry in Ancient and Medieval India. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Limited. p. 277. ISBN 978-81-208-1344-1. 


  • T.A. Sarasvati Amma (1958–1959). "Sredi-kshetras Or Diagrammatic representations of mathematical series". Journal of Oriental Research. 28: 74–85. 
  • T.A. Sarasvati Amma (1961). "The Cyclic Quadrilateral in Indian Mathematics". Proceedings of the All-India Oriental Conference. 21: 295–310. 
  • T.A. Sarasvati Amma (1961–1962). "The Mathematics of the First Four Mahadhikaras of Trilokaprajnapati". Journal of Ganganath Jha Research Institute. 18: 27–51. 
  • T.A. sarasvati Amma (1962). "Mahavira's Treatment of Series". Journal of Ranchi University. I: 39–50. 
  • T.A. Sarasvati Amma (1969). "Development of Mathematical Ideas in India". Indian Journal of History of Science. 4: 59–78. 


  1. ^ a b c d e Gupta, R.C. (2003). "Obituary: T.A. Sarasvati Amma" (PDF). Indian Journal of History of Science. 38 (3): 317–320. 
  2. ^ Fraser, Craig. "Report on the Awarding of the Kenneth O. May Prize". International Commission on the History of Mathematics. Retrieved 7 June 2010. 
  3. ^ Yano, Michio (1983). "Review of Geometry of Ancient and Medieval India by T. A. Sarasvati Amma". Historia Mathematica. 10: 467–470. doi:10.1016/0315-0860(83)90014-9. 
  4. ^ Mumford, David (March 2010). "Book Review" (PDF). Notices of the AMS. 57 (3). 
  5. ^ Book Review by Google. Retrieved 28 May 2010.