Vedic mathematics, a set of ancient techniques that help even the most numerically challenged to conquer difficult sums, could be India's next gift to the world, after the now omnipresent Yoga and curry. Vedic math is a series of shortcuts for complicated calculations based on 16 verses discovered in the early 20th century. India's Hindu nationalist government and its ministers claim Vedic math could hold the key to better education and three Indian universities will begin next month to offer courses in the techniques, while home learners can watch a digital TV channel devoted to the subject. Also, several thousand teachers have been recruited for private college courses. PM Narendra Modi has attempted to claim the foundations of swathes of knowledge for India, and it is documented that algebra, trigonometry, Pythagoras's theorem, the concept of zero and the decimal system all originated in India. Some cautious non-believers say the government's promotion of Vedic knowledge has prompted fears that education and science are now being tainted with religion, as Shahi Tharoor, the external affairs minister in the previous Congress led government and a former United Nations under-secretary general said – India has been done a disservice.