Noted mathematician Vashishtha Singh no more

Mathematician Vashishth Narayan Singh. File photo. | Photo Credit: PTI
Patna 15 November 2019 05:53 IST
Updated: 15 November 2019 05:53 IST

He had been suffering from schizophrenia for a long time.

Renowned mathematician Vashishtha Narayan Singh died at a government hospital in Patna on Thursday. Mr. Singh, who had worked at the NASA in the U.S. and IITs in India, had been suffering from schizophrenia for a long time. The State has announced a full state funeral for the mathematician.

Born in a poor family of Basantpur village in Bhojpur district of Bihar on April 2, 1942, Mr. Singh, 77, had done his matriculation from Netarhat residential school and did graduation from Patna Science College where he met American Professor John L Kelley, who invited him to Berkeley, U.S. for research.


In 1963, he went to California University for research and completed his PhD on “on cycle vector space theory” from University of California, Berkely in 1969 and later worked as professor of mathematics in Washington University, NASA.

After returning to India he worked as an Associate Professor in IIT-Kanpur and Kolkata. He is also said to have challenged great scientist Einstein’s theory of relativity. After returning to India in 1971 he got married in 1973 but soon he was separated from his wife. He was fond of reading books on mathematics and playing flute.

However, soon he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. For over four decades he was living with this illness. In 1987 he returned to his village but two years later he disappeared from a journey. After four years in 1993 he was found outside a roadside eatery in Doriganj near Chhapra of Saran district.

When his condition deteriorated last month, Mr. Singh was admitted to the Patna Medical College and Hospital but was discharged after few days. Since then he was living with his younger brother and other family members in an apartment near the hospital in Patna.

On Thursday morning he was taken to the hospital where he was declared dead. No government help was provided to the noted mathematician when he was ailing. However, the much needed help came from the Netarhat Old Boys Association (NOBA) for his medical treatment and other facilities.

Family claims negligence

The family members accused negligence after his death. “After he was declared dead, the body was kept in the open outside the hospital for over an hour as the hospital management did not provide him ambulance to take the body to the residence,” alleged his younger brother Ayodhya Prasad Singh.

When the local media highlighted the issue, the district administration rushed to the spot and an ambulance was provided to take the body home. The hospital authorities, though, denied that such negligence had happened. The family members took on the State government for not providing any help to the great mathematician despite their several requests.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar offered his condolences and remembered Mr. Singh as a great mathematician who had earned a name in the world Mr. Kumar said Mr. Singh would be cremated with full state honours. The body was taken to his village. Many leaders, academics, intellectuals and members of civil society too offered their condolences.

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