Monday, February 05, 2007

ABACUS DIVERSION - Counting Tablets

Counting of stone beads, to calculate portion of sand volume carried by individual - looks simple but pretty complicated

Heaped sand carried by headload from trawlers

Trawlers anchored at Hasanabad, bank of River Buriganga

Dung fuel drying under sun

Finally a good wash in river

Calculus, the Latin term for pebbles, appeared at various times in several places around the world. The earliest consisted of a tray / board made of sun dried clay or wood over which sand layer used to be spread. Eventually, the use of sand was abandoned. Instead, pebbles were used and placed in parallel grooves carved into stone counting boards. The oldest surviving counting board is the 'Salamis' tablet, used by the Babylonians circa 300 B.C. Since then, lot of water has flown through the rivers and world has embarked into the age of high-tech electronics and microchips. Yet, here on the other side of river Buriganga (Hasanabad, Keraniganj) the labourers were seen keeping track of their work ( proportional carrying of sand from the trawlers to bank) in their own ingenuous way, using coloured stone beads. The photos were taken on Jan 27 2007. On Jan 28, the law enforcing authority evicted them to free the Government land.


brooks said...

can i leave any message here?

Anonymous said...

I used to stay in your country for 4 years, ( 2 years in New DOHS, Mohakhali, 2 years in Meghna Ghat.) So I know a lot about Bangladesh. Anyway, that was 5 years ago. But now I still care about it. Hard to say if those 4 years were good or bad. They are just too impressive!
Hope I get your responds. Have a nice day! By the way, I am Chinese.

shafiur said...

Interesting to note your last sentence about government evictions.Your site is a great effort. I hope you have the energy to keep it up.

Anonymous said...

The pictures are very elegant , they bring lots of memories. Can you also post some pictures of Eden Girl's College, Azimpur road etc. That will be nice.

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