The painstaking Memorization of mathematical tables

CBSE Board Class 12 English Solved Passages

Chapter – 4  Reading Comprehension IV (Discursive Passages)

Read the following passage carefully:

The relevance of repetition

1. The painstaking memorization of mathematical tables, historical dates, capitals of countries and even poems leaves an indelible mark on every adult who has attended school. However, all educators deprecate this rote system-learning by orally reciting and consigning lessons to memory-as mindless and mechanical, which goes against critical thinking and creativity. But is this dichotomy between creativity and rote learning part of a laxy binary thinking?

2 We often hear about people who can repeat the entire telephone directory or memorise the entire dictionary Indians have a history of highly developed systems of memorization, perfected through centuries of Vedic learning. From a typically Western perspective, the permanency of the written word has been pitted against the unconscious operation of memory of oral cultures, and held to be more. reliable in cultural transmission. However, refuting this thesis, Fritz Stall, an Indic scholar observes that the oral tradition in India is remarkable, “because it has led to scientific discoveries that are of enduring interest”. Of course, this mugging up can be aural (i.e. chanting aloud) or visual–mentally storing images in a visual map.

3. The advantages of rote memorization-like it expands areas of the mind to great possibilities-are now becoming evident to the world. Various accounts from ancient India, including those from travelers like I-tsing, point to the fool-proof system of oral memorisation and the capacity to absorb volumes of data.

4. A parallel dimension of transmission of knowledge also existed in India, with a flexible mode of oral communication through which knowledge was disseminated. One instance is the narrative performative tradition of recitation, which extended basic story through interpolations, conscious extensions and embedding of aub-narratives. Many Indian myths, legends, epics, and fables such as Kathasaritsagara and Jataka stories were spread though this process. While the story remains the same, the interpretation changes according to who says it, where it is said and how it is said. While communicating mathematics, philosophy and other scientific disciplines, cryptic test forms were created. that facilitated memorization.

5. A related question pertains to cognition-how can we transmit principles using memorization 12th creative tool rather than as a mechanical process of repetition? Bhaskara’s Lilacati, the seminal 12th century illustrates how memorization and creativity go together.

6. The fact that Bhaakara’s methods still figure in Indian pedagogic consciousness was recently brought home in a news report on the Ramanujan School of Mathematics in Patna, which trains youngsters from poor families to clear the Indian Institute of Technology (IT) entrance test. This year, all the 30 students of the school got through IITs. Anand Kumar, the school’s founder, called it the “sheer power of practice to break the so-called ITT code and a student attributed the success to his teacher’s ability to teach differential calculus through a “thrilling story of a daring robber”.

-Sudha Gopalakrishnan: The Hindustan Times 

A. On the basis of your understanding of the passage answer the questions given below by choosing one of the options that follow:

(i) All educators condemn rote learning as;

(a) it is a feat of memory.

(b) it is a parrot like learning.

(c) it is not mindless and mechanical.

(d) it is against critical thinking and creativity.

(ii) The dichotomy between creativity and rote learning is:

(a) increased by computer literates.

(b) initiated by western thinkers.

(c) the clash of the cultures of west and east.

(d) opposed by Indian scholars.

(iii) The oral tradition in India is called remarkable because:

(a) it has helped to preserve Vedic learning.

(b) some of the old texts are still available.

(c) it has led to scientific discoveries of enduring interest.

(d) it provides capacity to absorb volumes of data.

(iv) Cryptic texts were created for mathematics, philosophy, etc. because:

(a) these are very simple.

(b) these are easy to remember.

(c) these are short and easy.

(d) they are easy to interpret.

(v) The word ‘enduring’ in para 2 means:

(a) bear

(b) transitory

(c) lasting

(d) indelible


(i) (d)

(ii) (a)

(iii) (c)

(iv) (b)

(v) (c)

B. Answer the following questions briefly:

(i) How is rote learning mindless and mechanical?

(ii) What makes the written words more beneficial for the people?

(iii) Why is the narrative technique of recitation unique?

(iv) How did the Indian oral learning system help the world?

(v) Which word from the Passage in para-6 has a similar meaning to ‘ascribed?


(i) As rote learning doesn’t enhance critical thinking skills and creativity among students, it is therefore seen as mindless and mechanical.

(ii) The written words are reliable. They help in the transmission of human culture.

(iii) Because the basic story remains the same and is expressed through sub-narratives.

(iv) It disseminated knowledge of the world and led to scientific discoveries.

(v) Attributed

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