Biography of Prashant Chandra Mahalanobis

Biography of Prashant Chandra Mahalanobis


Prashant Chandra Mahalanobis

Born: June 29, 1893, Kolkata, Bengal

Died: 28 June 1972, Kolkata, West Bengal

Scope of: Mathematics, Statistics

Education Institutions: Presidency College, Kolkata; University of Cambridge, London

Famous Mahalanobis’s fame can be traced in part to his “Mahalanobis distance” an indicator of statistics that he formulated.

Extra Contribution Establishment of Indian Statistical Institute

Prashant Chandra Mahalanobis was a renowned Indian statistician and scientist. He is famous for his work on his Second Five-Year Plan of India. He is also renowned for his idea of a statistical measure called”the “Mahalanobis distance”. He created his institute, the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata, and also contributed to the creation of large-scale surveys. After the country’s independence, He was appointed a Statistical Adviser to the newly-formed Cabinet. Plans were devised to meet the primary goal of the government of stopping unemployment.




Biography of Prashant Chandra Mahalanobis


The first step is life.

Prashant Chandra Mahalanobis was born June 29, 1893, in his family residence in Kolkata. His father Gurucharan moved to Kolkata in 1854 from Bikrampur (now Bangladesh) 1854 to establish his business. The father of his son Prabodh Chandra Mahalanobis had been a member of the ‘Sadharana Barahmo Samaj’, and his mother Nirodbasini was from an educated family from Bengal.

Prashant’s early years were spent with reformers and scholars. His primary education was at the “Brahmo Balura School’ founded by his grandfather. He was also able to pass the matriculation exam at the school in 1908. Following this, he completed the honors and physics course at Presidency College in 1912 and then went to London for higher studies. Teachers such as Jagdish Chandra Bose Sharada Prasanna Das as well as Prafulla Chandra Roy were his teachers at the Presidency College. Meghnad Saha taught his Class Junior. Subhash Bose was his Class 2 Junior.

After moving to London in the year 2000, he attended Cambridge and was awarded a degree in physics as well as mathematics. In Cambridge where he was introduced to the legendary Indian mathematics teacher Srinivasa Ramanujan. After a tripos course in Physics, He then attended the “Cavendish Laboratory” in T.R. Was a part of the team alongside Wilson.

Then, he went back home to Kolkata for a time, where he met the headmaster of Presidency College, who invited him to take physics classes at the college.

After a while, Prashant was taken to England and was asked to go through ‘Biometrica’. It’s a journal of statistics. It was a pleasure to read so much that he purchased only one copy and brought it along to India. After having read ‘Biometrica’ the author realized how important statistics could be in fields such as meteorology, anthropology, and so on. He began to work on it upon the return trip to India.

In Kolkata, Prashant Chandra Mahalanobis met Nirmala Kumari, daughter of Herambachandra Mitra. Harambachandra was a well-known educator and was a member of the Brahmo Samaj. On February 27th, 1923, the two were married in defiance of Harambachandra’s wishes. The uncle of Prashanth, Sir Neelarathan Sarkar who was the father of the girl performed the ceremony.

Indian Statistical Institute

Many of the colleagues from Prashant Chandra Mahalanobis showed an interest in the field of statistics. Gradually the group grew. They all were gathered in the Prashant Presidency College room. The Indian Statistical Institute was established on 17 December 1931. It officially registered on April 28, 1932.

The initial Institute was managed by The Physics Department of Presidency College however, over time, the Institute began to expand because its employees worked toward this goal.

In the vein of ‘Biometrica’, the journal of the institute, ‘Number’, was launched in 1933.

The department for training at the institute was founded in 1938. In 1959 it was declared an institute of national importance. Indian Statistical Institute was declared an institute of national importance and was granted the status of a “Deemed Universities”.

Apart from Kolkata, Indian Statistical Institute has branches in ten places within India comprising Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Coimbatore, Chennai, and Giridih. Its headquarters is in Kolkata in India, where statistics is the most researched.

Contribution to the creation of statistics

Prashant Chandra Mahalanobis was a student in the field of statistical analysis under Acharya Brajendranath Seal. His first project in this area was to study college results. In this project, he had an impressive success. Mahalanobis examined data regarding Anglo-Indians from Kolkata. The analysis and the result are considered to be the first research paper on statistical data in India.

Mahalanobis’s most significant contribution was the idea of a “sample survey” that he invented. Based on these huge policies and plans, massive policies are being developed today.

Mahalanobis’s fame also owes to his ‘Mahalanobis Distance an indicator of statistics that he formulated.

Honors and Awards

He was awarded the Weldon Medal in 1944. was presented in 1944, the Weldon Medal.

In 1945 in 1945, The Royal Society of London made him a Fellow.

In 1950 He was elected 1950 as the president of the Indian Scientific Congress.

Awarded the title of Fellow of the “Economic Society of America

A member of the Pakistan Statistical Institute in 1952

Awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Statistical Society (1954).

The year was 1957 and he received his Devi Prasad Sarvadhikari Gold Award.

In 1959, he was made an Honorary Fellow at King’s College

In 1957, he was made as Honorary Director of the International Statistical Institute

The birthday of Naka, which falls on the 29th of June, is celebrated as ‘Statistics Day’ each year in India

He was honored in 1968 when he received an award by his award of Padma Vibhushan from the Government of India.

Srinivasa Ramanujam was awarded the gold medal in the year 1968.


Prof. Prashant Chandra Mahalanobis is an innovator. He utilized statistics to improve the benefit of ordinary people. He was not a fan of any official position since he was not a fan of the intrusion of bureaucratic power in the field of science. He was always in favor of for the Indian Statistical Institute to be an independent organization. He passed away on June 28 in 1972.

Statistics day

Prashant Chandra Mahalanobis’s birthday on June 29 is observed each year as ‘Statistics day in India to honor his outstanding contribution to the area of economic planning and the statistical growth of the nation.


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