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The objective of this paper is to suggest a fresh approach to introductory programming curricula in the Indian school and engineering college context. The approach allows the student to connect high-school (up to 10+2) mathematics to the fundamentals of computing, algorithms and problem solving. The bridge connecting algebra and computing is functional programming, a paradigm confined over forty years to the computer science research community but now gaining popularity in industry as well as undergraduate education in some schools across the world. We show, using several examples, why and how functional programming is easier to master than traditional imperative programming. We conclude with the results of our attempts so far at introducing functional programming to students in IT colleges in India.