In the film industry, the makers are also giving preference to making biopics. They have also produced some sensational hits. Now it seems that biopics are the most sought-after movies nowadays. The directors are hunting for some real-life stories in a bid to inspire the audience. The formula is working quite well.
Recently, Filmmaker Prakash Jha announced that he would be directing a ‘biopic’ on the Indian mathematician, Vashishtha Narayan Singh who is actually not known to many people.
In a recent press release by the production house– Reel Life Entertainment, Jha said, “He is our national treasure. His life is so inspiring. I would love to direct a biopic on him.”
Before Jha’s announcement, Vashishtha Narayan Singh was a name I had not heard. So I decided to look into his life, and what I found was moving.
Let’s learn about Vashishtha Narayan Singh. He was was born on April 2, 1942, in a small village of Basantpur in Bihar. He did his schooling in Netarhat Vidyalaya, Jharkhand and then he moved to the Patna Science College in the year 1963.
For Vashishtha, mathematics came naturally and his interest was seen when he keeps questioning the mathematics Professor. Extremely annoyed by it, the professor would send him to the Principal’s office, where he would be given the toughest mathematics problem to solve.
But the principal just couldn’t believe what he has seen. Vashishtha not only solved the problem but had also solved in many different ways, proving that he always thinks out of the box.
Knowing that the boring syllabus system was holding the bright talent back, the rules of the university were revised. It was during the first year of his BSc Mathematics, he was given a hall ticket to appear for the final exams and he topped.
In the year, he was allowed to appear for the final exams of the MSc Mathematics. Once again, he topped.
The prodigy earned praises from his colleagues because he had already cleared and received his MSc Mathematics degree while he was still in the second year of his BSc course.
Impressed by the prodigy, his senior narrated the incident to a magazine.
Vashishtha then did PhD at the University of California, Berkeley, where his thesis–” Reproducing Kernels and Operators with Cyclic Vector” won great acclaim in the stream of mathematics and it was one of the recognised and revered works in the field.
Many people claim that the obscure Indian mathematician worked alongside NASA, contributing his wide range of mathematical knowledge. As per the reports, Vashishtha was also known to challenge Einstein’s theory of relativity through his works.
He then got married in Bihar in 1972 as per his family’s wishes and the couple left for America to begin their new life.
Vashishtha was suffering from metal degradation and he was taking pills to control it.
In a 2013 interview with the Business Standard, his brother by the name of Ayodhya Prasad Singh recounts this incident. “In America, Bhaiyya’s wife one day found him taking some pills and asked her father about them. That’s how we ourselves came to know about his illness.”
Vashishtha soon got a job at the IIT, Kanpur, and moved to India in 1974. However, he changed his mind and then moved to Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai. Then again, he moved to the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata.
With all the workplace changes and that too frequently, there was some change in his attitude as well. Seeing all this, his wife became distraught and left for her father’s house. “We do not blame her. Not everybody can live under such circumstances.” adds his brother, Prasad.
In 1976, their divorce was completed, and it immensely affected Vashishtha. “It had a huge impact on our brother. He suddenly became very withdrawn and stopped eating,” says Prasad.
He then started acting violently which was clearly seen in his behaviour and character. He was then admitted to Kanke Mental Asylum, Ranchi, which is now Central Institute of Psychiatry in Kanke.
In 1985, he was discharged from the hospital and taken home. However, Vashishtha ran away from his home in Bihar and it was after four years, they eventually found him.
Vashishtha was found loitering near a garbage dump in his ex-wife’s village. “After that, we have never let him out of our sight,” Prasad told Business Standard.
With the reunion, most publications published mathematician’s story. And so, many government officials planned to help.
It was Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav who sent the mathematician to NIMHANS, Bengaluru, and offered government jobs to 5 of his family members. MP and actor Shatrughan Sinha had arranged for Vashishtha’s treatment at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), New Delhi.
“They took very good care of him. He has been very quiet since he returned from Delhi,” said his younger brother, Dasrath Singh to Business Standard. Since then, he has remained calm and is being taken care of by his family.
In the year 2013, he was offered an academic position to share his knowledge to the students as a Visiting Professor at the Bhupendra Narayan Mandal University (BNMU) in Madhepura, Bihar.
(With inputs from The Better India)