Bid to enter Guinness Book: Maths teacher makes giant-sized abacus

MUSCAT, December 14 2004

M.Govindaraj, a mathematics teacher here from Tamil Nadu, has made a giant-sized abacus in his bid to enter the 'Guinness Book of World Records'.

Govindaraj's abacus measures 6m x 3m and weighs 200 kg. The current record holder is a 4.7m x 2.2m abacus.

The giant-sized abacus was unveiled at a function held at the Middle East College of Information Technology, in Knowledge Oasis Muscat, Rusayl, about 100 km from Muscat, on Saturday.

Why did Govindaraj choose this path to get into the Guinness Book?Æ ±``I come from Chennai. And I have been an abacus fan right from the start. There were many centres in Chennai teaching the abacus form of mathematics and the most popular centres were run by a Malaysian company called Aloha. In Tamil Nadu alone Aloha has around 200 mathematics training centres that use the abacus mode.

``But my interest was not just in learning the abacus way, but also in delving deep into its secrets. However, no one was willing to disclose these secrets to me.

``Even after I came to Oman, I tried my best to get some details, but it was of no use. I kept checking on the abacus in various Internet sites. One day I chanced upon the details about the record for the biggest abacus in the world. It was being held by a UK-based institute, the Maths Spectrum. Since then I have been fuelled by the desire to break this record.

``But it was not an easy task though I made it in three weeks,'' Govindaraj said of his aluminum framed, fibre-ball abacus, which he made with the help of technicians here.

``I have sent all the required details to the Guinness Book. After unveiling this, I will send more details -- pictures, press cuttings, quotes from officials present, and other essentials.

``Once they ascertain that this is indeed a record, they will send me a confirmation and my entry will be declared as the biggest/largest abacus in the world.''

Even as he waits for this entry, Govindaraj is moving ahead with other plans. Another `record-breaking' feature that he is currently nurturing is to break the record of teaching 54 hours non-stop.

``The only problem with this is that I need to get students for the same. The condition -- as per the earlier record -- is that the same set of students should be there to make the record authentic. So, this is one obstacle that I must surmount,'' Govindaraj said.