Sinhala numerals were used in the Kandyan convention signed between the Kandyan chieftains and the British Governor in 1815. This is revealed in the newest book published by the Strategic Communications Unit, Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka (ICTA) that was launched at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies, on Friday.
Fruition of extensive research initiated by ICTA entitled “Numerations in the Sinhala Language” authored by Senior Lecture School of Computing University of Colombo Harsha Wijayawardhana and edited by ICTA, Program Manager Information Infrastructure Aruni Goonetilleke the 144-page book complete with the English and Sinhala versions with about 80 black and white and colour illustrations of inscriptions etc. provides the beginning of a long journey into the world of Sinhala mathematics and Sinhala writing. One of the highlights of the book consists in the photographs of the second and third pages of the Kandyan convention where the reader can clearly see the Sinhala numeral one, two and three.
In a succinct review of the book Professor Emeritus, University of Colombo and Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Thailand, Cambodia and Laos J. B. Disanayaka said, “No one knew that the Sinhalese numerals had a zero, until Harsha Wijayawardhana told us so. He spent months amidst ruins in our lost cities, museums and libraries to prove beyond doubt, that the Sinhalese had created a zero, an event that marks a crucial turning point in the history of Sinhala mathematics, when even the Romans could not think of a zero.”
Introducing the book at the launch ICTA Chief Operating Officer Reshan Dewapura said that IT could protect a language and make sure that it was disseminated. ICTA Chairman, Prof. P. W. Epasinghe, ICTA’s Local Language Working Group Chairman Dr. R. B. Ekanayaka, Prof. Gihan Dias of the University of Moratuwa, University of Colombo, Head of the School of Computing Dr. Ruwan Weerasinghe and a large gathering of academicians, journalists and well-wishers participated. ICTA’s Program Director Re-Engineering Government Wasantha Deshapriya proposing the vote of thanks reminisced the history of the research that had resulted in the book beginning from the time of late Prof. V. K. Samaranayake to the launch of the book that had just taken place and thanked all involved.
Courtesy : dailynews.lk