I first tried asking this question on https://math.stackexchange.com/. The question was marked as off-topic on the Math site.

Why do South Asians often use "lakhs" and "crores" instead of "millions"? What is the historical origin of this redundancy?

I noticed that South Asians often write 10,00,000 instead of 1,000,000. My questions are:

  • What is the origin of this special numbering system? Was there a more practical reason for having a special numbering system for South Asia?
  • Why hasn't modern South Asia reformed this redundancy, just using "millions" everywhere? Most other aspects of numbers seem to be completely coherent. There is no special numbering system for Spanish-speaking countries. Nor, there is a special numbering system for China and Japan.
  • A good example is the the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" became "Kaun Banega Crorepati" in India.

So, I need to ask this question somewhere on SE? So where can I ask a question about the history of numbers?

1 Answer 1


Since your question involves history and a math related topic, the History of Science and Mathematics (HSM) SE site may be appropriate. However, please first check their Help center to confirm how well your question fits, as well as how to best phrase it if you decide to post there.

You should also look through their posts with tags related to your question, such as the current 8 questions using the numbers tag. This helps you to find any possible duplicates (although there doesn't appear to be any for your particular question). In addition, seeing how these questions were written & received on the site can help you to determine what sort of reception your question might get.

Update: I just checked to find that the OP has actually already been a member of HSM for over a year, and have asked 2 questions there over a year ago. Regardless of why they haven't already asked their new question on HSM, since they're already reasonably familiar with the site, the mostly generic advice I've given above likely doesn't apply to them particularly well. Nonetheless, I'm leaving it since it might help anybody else (especially those who aren't members and don't know much about HSM) who has a similar issue to the OP.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .