Zero is not just a numeral but an epitome of emptiness. Well! Shunya or Zero represents the philosophy of emptiness or ‘Shunyata’. India is renowned worldwide for its discovery of zero as a number. Notably, zero is significantly used in calculus and other mathematical operations. It will not be wrong to say that modern mathematics could have been non-existent in absence of zero. However, zero was discovered in India hundreds of years ago. Therefore, it is interesting to acknowledge the fact that our ancient cultural mathematics was highly advanced.
Well! Despite of the fact that zero has its roots from the ancient Indian civilization; historians from all over the world had a quest to know about the first use of zero as a ‘placeholder’ or as a number. Many historians were of the view that in the early 9th century; Indians developed the concept of zero. However, Babylonians and Mayans were also considered to have used zero as a ‘placeholder’ or number represented by a dot citing emptiness, a void.
However, according to a recent research of the group of mathematicians led by Marcus du Sautoy, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford; zero originated in 3rd century that is, 500 years back than previously thought. Before the recent findings, zero was supposed to be first used in 9th century and the evidence was found on a wall of temple at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh.
According to the recent results which are obtained from the process of Carbon Dating; the zero as a ‘placeholder’ was first depicted in the ancient Indian manuscript in the 3rd century. Notably, the Oxford’s Bodleian Library had an Indian manuscript from the 3rd century from the year 1902 called ‘Bakhshali’ manuscript. The ancient Indian Bakhshali manuscript has its roots from India and it belongs to the 3rd century. Interestingly, Bakhshali manuscript was found to be buried in a village which is now in Pakistan. Interestingly, this old manuscript has the illustration of zero in form of a dot representing null.
Well! The concept of zero is taken for granted worldwide. However, zero is relatively an essential for the basics of mathematics. The most wonderful concept derived from the concept of zero is that zero not only represents the void but it also connects the void to infinity. Yes, as the counting in simple mathematics proceeds, zero markedly, denotes the increment in the place value of each digits and therefore, it is also a significant component of million, trillion etc.