Dr. Vashistha Narayan Singh

by Nirakar Neo

I am writing this note to prevent someone being fade into oblivion. That someone is Dr. Vashistha Narayan Singh, a mathematician from Bihar, who shares the same illness that John Nash suffered – Schizophrenia. This account has been borrowed from the internet, but corrected, removed some extraneous facts and referenced.

Dr. Vashistha Narayan Singh is a mathematician hailing from Bihar, who travelled a lot in journey of his life from a typical undeveloped village in Bihar to the USA; the life of name and fame to the life of mental disturbance and poverty. His village is Basantpur, some 12 km from Ara, a town in Bhojpur district of Bihar. His family was quite poor, his father being a constable in Bihar Police. He did his matriculation from Neterhat Vidyalaya, a reputed school. He completed his higher secondary from the famous Science College, Patna. He is the record holder for Bihar Board in Matriculation Examination and Bihar Intermediate Education Council for Intermediate Exams Science College.

In mid 60’s, Bihar College of Engineering, Patna (Bihar), was in much better shape and world class faculty members used to visit the college. There was some mathematics conference in Bihar College of Engineering during mid 60’s where Prof. John L. Kelley, HOD, University of California, Berkeley was also present [4][5]. Kelley is known for writing a superb book on topology – “General Topology”, which any serious mathematician must have read at some point of time.

Kelley was impressed upon interaction with Vashistha and asked him to come to Berkeley for further study. Vashistha told him that it would be difficult for him to come to US on his own. With Kelley’s considerable help, Vashistha went to the US. There he completed his Ph.D. in year 1969 from University of California under the Kelley’s supervision. His Ph.D. dissertation title was “Reproducing Kernels and Operators with a Cyclic Vector“. [1][2][3]

He returned to India after research and took up teaching positions at many places like TIFR, ISI. It is said that while Indian Statistical Institute he became developing schizophrenic symptoms. His marriage was also unsuccessful, and lack of support worsened his condition, which continues till today. For a detailed biography see [7]. Also see [8] for some recent news.


  1. http://www.genealogy.ams.org/id.php?id=31977
  2. http://math.berkeley.edu/index.php?module=mathalumman&MATHALUM_MAN_op=sView&MATHALUM_id=1148
  3. http://www.ams.org/mathscinet/search/publdoc.html?pg1=INDI&r=1&s1=540254&vfpref=html
  4. http://genealogy.math.ndsu.nodak.edu/id.php?id=493
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_L._Kelley
  6. http://www.bhojpuria.com/people/vnsingh1.htm
  7. http://www.bhojpuria.com/people/vnslife.htm
  8. http://www.bhojpuria.com/people/vnsingh.htm