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Great Mathematician Dr. Vashishtha Narayan Singh :
Why Did “Talent” Become Insane?



Dr. Vashishtha Narayan Singh was born as the first son of Late Lal Bahadur Singh and Smt. Lahaso Devi in Village Basantpur, under Sadar Block of Dist. Bhojpur on 2nd April 1942. His father was working as a policeman in the state Police Dept.. Vashishtha Babu had his primary education in the village school. Thereafter, he went to Netarhat School in class VI. In the year 1962, he passed his matriculation examination, topping in the entire state of Bihar.

After his school education, he got admission in the prestigious Patna Science College. During that time, Dr. P. Nagendra, a great mathematician, was the principal of Science College. He truly realized the hidden talent in young Vashishtha. Coincidentally, at the same time, the great American scholar Prof. Kelly was visiting Patna to participate in the World Mathematics Conference. Prof. Nagendra arranged an interview of Vashishtha with Prof. Kelly. Prof. Kelly quizzed the young student with various types of questions and Vashishtha answered all his questions correctly. Seeing the immense talent in Vashishtha Babu, Prof. Kelly expressed his desire to teach him in America under his guidance. Dr. Nagendra showed promptness and immediately arranged for a special examination for Vashishtha Babu and he cleared this examination with cent percent marks. Thus, in 1963, he went to California, USA as a research scholar. There, he conducted research on the Cycle Vector Space Theory and his research work catapulted him to great heights in the world of Science.

After completing his research, Vashishtha Babu came back to India, but he was destined to return soon to America. During his second stint in the USA, he was appointed an Associate Professor of Mathematics in Washington. He returned to India in 1971 and was appointed a professor in IIT Kanpur. After spending barely eight months at IIT Kanpur, he joined as a professor in Tata Institute of Fundamental Research. After a year, in 1973, he was appointed as permanent professor in Indian Statistical Institute, Calcutta.

In the same year (1973), he was married to Vandana Rani, daughter of Dr. Deep Narayan Singh who hailed from a prestigious family of Khalpura, Dist, Saran. According to Vashishtha Babu’s mother, three days after the marriage, after the ceremony of chauthari, Vandana went to her father’s place to appear for her B.A. examination and Vashishtha Babu returned to Calcutta. His colleagues in ISI Calcutta were jealous of Vashishtha Babu. It was here that he suffered his first attack of mental breakdown. His family members arranged for his treatment as per their capacity. NOBA (Netarhat Old Boys Association) played an active role and with their efforts he was admitted to the Mental Hospital in Ranchi in 1976.

During the rule of Karpoori Thakur, he was admitted to the private “David Clinic” in Ranchi. There his condition started improving fast. But as soon as the Congress Govt. took office in Bihar, the govt. started showing disinterest in incurring the expenditure on his treatment. As a result, he had to be shifted from David Clinic back to Ranchi Mental Hospital, which has the right environment to turn even normal people into lunatics!

In the meanwhile, Vashishtha Babu suffered another mental agony due to his divorce. At that time, doctors attributed his mental unbalance to this unfortunate happening. Dr. Vashishtha needed an Arundhati (A sage’s wife) but he got a woman who said, “You may be a worthy person, but you are not worthy of me”. These cruel words of his wife broke the heart of a brilliant scientist.

In the year 1989, after the demise of his father, Vashishtha Babu visited his village, where he also gave a speech. He was quite normal at that time. After the funeral rites of his father, he returned to Ranchi. There, after discussing with doctors, his younger brother Ayodhya Prasad started for Pune along with Vashishtha Babu by Bhagalpur Janata Express. On the way, Vashishtha Babu got down from the train quietly at Gadarwara Station in Madhya Pradesh. His brother tried his best to locate him, but in vain. His family and village reconciled with the fate, giving him up for dead. However, one day in 1993 Vashishtha Babu suddenly appeared in Doriganj in Saran District. His whole village gathered to welcome this beloved son of Basantpur.

Vashishtha Babu was sent to NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences), Bangalore for treatment on Govt. expenditure. He stayed in the hospital from Feb. 1993 to June 1994, but could not recover. Doctors at NIMHANS are of the opinion that he should be sent to USA for treatment. There is no treatment for him in India. Or he should be kept in a good family atmosphere. Since then, Dr. Vashishtha Narayan is spending his time in the village. Doctors say that the deep impact on his brain can be treated only with the balm of loving family care.

According to Vashishtha Babu’s mother and brother, with their limited means, they cannot afford to send him to USA for treatment. So, it is the government’s duty to arrange for the treatment of a person of his stature by sending him to the USA.

Even now, Vashishtha Babu keeps writing something or the other. We saw that he had scribbled some formulae, some dohas (couplets) from Ramayan and some abuses to the government. Vashishtha Babu asked me for ten rupees. When I kept quiet, he got angry tried to drive us away. He said’ “So many people have come and gone, but what have they done for me?”

I could not understand one thing, since 1993, whenever anyone visits him, why does he ask him for money. When Mr. Laloo Prasad visited him, he asked him for a rupee. It is a matter of investigation by psychologists, why does he ask for money from everyone?

Click here to read this report in Bhojpuri


Reported by Sudhir Kumar on behalf of Bhojpuria.com with special thanks to Mr. Sahil Suman and Mr. Sagar Singh (both from Ara). Bhojpuria.com thanks Mr. Shitanshu for English Translation of this report.


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