KOTTAYAM: On March 26, P Devaraj, an automobile engineer-turned-Vedic Mathematics trainer got a surprise call from the PMO. It was a direction to his daughters Nanditha D and Niveditha D, Class XII and Class VII students, respectively at the Kendriya Vidyalaya Rubber Board, Puthuppally. The duo was asked to report in New Delhi on March 28, ahead of their participation in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Pariksha Pe Charcha’ to be held at Talkatora stadium in New Delhi on April 1.
Devaraj was quite surprised as Nanditha and Niveditha didn’t register or attend any competitions for the participation. They didn’t even submit any theme or question for participating in the event. He soon got clarification from the other end stating this was a special invite taking into account the contributions of these sisters to promote Vedic Mathematics, one of the ancient Indian forms of mathematics.
“When we reached New Delhi, we came to know that selected students get direct invitations to present their achievements at the venue of Pariksha Pe Charcha programme of Prime Minister,” Devaraj told TNIE.
Bringing glory to Kerala, Nanditha and Niveditha are the only representatives from the state at the fifth edition of PM’s Pariksha Pe Charcha programme. They were selected for the event considering their online videos and programmes that introduced techniques in Vedic Mathematics to learn mathematics easier and faster. After visiting the siblings’ stall on Vedic Mathematics at the Talkatora stadium, the Prime Minister made special mention of Nanditha and Niveditha while replying to a question on National Education Policy.
“It is a real pleasure to see two Class VII and XII students leading classes on Vedic Mathematics and the world learning from them. I am very surprised to meet Nanditha and Niveditha. When we consider these things (online system) as bad, they found students across the world through this system. While being students, they have also become teachers. They didn’t fear technology, but they used it effectively,” Modi said.
Nanditha and Niveditha are excited after meeting the Prime Minister and listening to his fulsome praise and words of encouragement. “Prime Minister sir congratulated us and asked about our work in detail when he visited our stall. Sir also enquired whether we are aware of an international conference on Vedic Mathematics in the UK. We said we had submitted a paper at that conference. Sir took our tab and watched our videos on Vedic Mathematics classes,” Nanditha told TNIE, before boarding a flight from New Delhi on Saturday noon. The aim of the siblings is to promote Vedic Mathematics to the maximum possible extent, through a peer learning system. “Mathematics becomes simpler when we approach it through Vedic Mathematics. We do large mathematics calculations in an easy way in the system,” Nanditha said.
Being daughters of a Vedic Mathematics trainer, Nanditha and Niveditha are familiar with the subject. However, it was in Covid’s wake in March 2020 that the siblings turned to spreading Vedic Mathematics among other students by imparting training to them through online platform. Though they started classes among their friends in the beginning, it soon spread to a wider network and more than 300 students joined training classes.
The siblings became the first school students to present a paper on Vedic Mathematics at the National Conference on Mathematics Education conducted by NCERT in December 2020. They also received an invite to speak at the Vedic Mathematics Conference organised by the Institute of Advancement in Vedic Mathematics, London in June 2021.
However, the turning point came when the video of their ‘Maths Made Easy’ programme caught the attention of School Education and Literacy union secretary Anita Karwal when she was CBSE chairperson. Her tweet tagging Nanditha and Niveditha as ‘little corona warriors’ had gone viral.