Sankhya B

pp 1–14 | Cite as

Situating Professor Mahalanobis as a Public Intellectual in the Social History of His Times

  • Sabyasachi BhattacharyaEmail author

There is a tendency today to ceremoniously remember some iconic individuals in Bengal’s history – while we usually forget the message in their life and work. However the present occasion, the 125th birth anniversary of Professor Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, is a little different. His contribution to science has not been forgotten and in fact that has been carried forward in the institutions he founded, particularly the Indian Statistical Institute. However, there are many other unremembered aspects of his life and work. In fact very little is known of many aspects of his life beyond his professional domain. For instance, little is known of his role in studying meteorological data and floods in the Indian river system and hence his pioneering thinking leading to the construction of the Hirakud and Damodar Valley projects. Again, no one has studied his role from 1921 to 1931 as the first Karma-Sachivaor Secretary of Visva Bharati along with Rathindranath Tagore. It is also not...



  1. Bhattacharyya, D. (1996). (Ed.) Science, Society, and Planning: a Centenary Tribute to Professor P.C. Mahalanobis. Progressive Publishers, Calcutta.Google Scholar
  2. Chakravarty, S. (1987). Development Planning: The Indian Experience. Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  3. Dasgupta, U. (2011). (Ed.) Science and Modern India: An Institutional History, c. 1784-1947, Ed. U. DasGupta, as part of History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization, Volume XV, Part 4 (General Editor: D.P. Chattopadhyaya). See the article “Indian Statistical Institute: Numbers and Beyond, 1931-47” by Jayanta Ghosh, Pulakesh Maiti and Anil Bera.Google Scholar
  4. Mahalanobis, A. (1983). Prasanta chandra mahalanobis. National Book Trust, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  5. Mahalanobis, P.C. (1957). University Teaching of Social Science: Statistics a Survey. U.N.E.S.C.O, Paris.Google Scholar
  6. Mahalanobis, P.C. (1963). The social transformation for national development. Sank-hyā Ser B25, 49–66.Google Scholar
  7. Mahalanobis, P.C. (1964). Objects of science education in underdeveloped countries. Sankhyā Ser B26, 253–256.Google Scholar
  8. Mahalanobis, P.C. (1969). “The Asian Drama”: an Indian review. Sankhyā, Ser. B31, 435–458.Google Scholar
  9. Mukhopadhyay, A.C. (1996). PCM’S work on Meteorology and Flood Control and Irrigation, Appendix C, Rudra (1996, pp. 159–163).Google Scholar
  10. Nurkse, R. (1957). Reflections on india’s development plan. The Quarterly Journal of Economics71, 188–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Pal, P.K. (2015). (Ed.) Kalyanyieshu Prasanta: Rabindranath-Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis Potrobinimoy (Selected Correspondence between Rabindranath Tagore and P.C Mahalanobis). West Bengal Bangla Academy, Kolkata.Google Scholar
  12. Posner, R. (2001). Public Intellectuals: a Study of Decline. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.Google Scholar
  13. Rudra, A. (1996). Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis: a Biography. Oxford University Press, Delhi.Google Scholar
  14. Tagore, R. (1894). “Shok sabha”, Sadhana. Also, in Rabindra Rachanabali (Sulabh Sanskaran) (vol. V, pp. 613–617).Google Scholar
  15. Thapar, R. (2015). (Ed.) The Public Intellectual in India. Aleph Book Company, New Delhi.Google Scholar
  16. Vakil, C.N. and Brahmanand, P.R. (1956). Planning for an Expanding Economy. Vora & Co., Bombay.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Indian Statistical Institute 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Formerly at Jawaharlal Nehru UniversityNew DelhiIndia
  2. 2.Visva-Bharati University at SantiniketanBolpurIndia

Personalised recommendations