They are only eight and 10 years old, but they can multiply 931.42 by 9 in a few seconds without using a calculator or even pen or paper. Rashid Baig (10) and Hifza Baig (8) are brother and sister whose mathematical genius is taking them places, and has won them many a coveted award.
Hifza was awarded the National Child Award for her mathematical genius last month. This award is given to 26 children from different states for exceptional achievement. Her brother holds a Limca National Record award for his brilliant capacity to calculate complicated mathematical multiplications.
Shy and soft spoken with often a lost expression, Hifza’s genius goes beyond calculating numbers. She even knows every country’s capital in the world. When asked about the capital of Japan, she says Tokyo without blinking. “I want to be an IAS officer. These numbers and answers just come on their own,” she says.
Her brother also wants to be an IAS officer. “I like to play with numbers and I don’t find it difficult to do these calculations at all. They are very easy,” says Rashid.
Their father Qazzafi is a farmer, and they live in a village called Kushalya, which is six kilometres away from Dasna in Ghaziabad. “My son was just five years old when I was trying to multiply 22 by 22. It was then that he said there is an easier way to do this and proceeded to solve the math problem for me. I realised there is something extraordinary in him,” he says.
Rashid’s brilliance goes beyond solving mathematical equations. He knows the names of all the Presidents the country has had, and the tenure they have served.