THE HISTORICAL JOURNEY OF MATH GENIUS, SHAKUNTALA DEVI
A mathematical genius and widely-known as “human computer” Shakuntala Devi was born on November 4, 1929. A Genius from the age of three, an excellent writer, a living wonder and a motivational speaker, Shakuntala Devi has spelled bound and challenged the world with her unique and extraordinary abilities. November 4, 2019, is her 90th birth anniversary. On this special occasion, Startup City Magazine presents all about Shakuntala Devi including her family background, educational qualification, achievements and more.
Early Life and Family
Shakuntala born in a reputed family of Brahmin priests in Bangalore and she received her early lessons in mathematics from her grandfather. Her father was a travelling magician, who had rebelled against his traditional family to pursue his professional instead of becoming a priest. The financial condition of Shakuntala’s family was very poor, that is why; she could not even get a formal education.
But Shakuntala had unique knowledge and talent. As per an anecdote, she began playing card games with her father at the age of five. And, she used to win all the games every day. Shakuntala’s father was surprised and suspected that she was cheating. He closely studies and found that she was memorizing all the card numbers and their sequence. On discovering his daughter’s ability, he started taking her on tours and displayed her ability at calculation at road shows. Soon Shakuntala got much attention and was able to earn a good amount of money for her father.
Mathematician and Writer
Slowly Shakuntala’s wonderful talent got popularity and she started performing at universities. Just at the age of five years, she was recognized as a child prodigy and a master in tough mental arithmetic. Just one year later, Shakuntala demonstrated her talents to a large assembly of students and professors at the University of Mysore. It was followed by another performance after two years at Annamalai University.
Her phenomenal talent to do the tough mathematical calculations without using any technological device gained her much popularity and she eventually became popular all across the world. Apart from excellence in mathematics, she was a powerful writer and her thinking was light years ahead of her time. She wrote books on numbers, mathematics and homosexuality. She authored books like ‘Fun with Numbers’, ‘Astrology for You’, ‘Puzzles to Puzzle You, etc.
Shakuntala is the first person to publish the study on homosexuality in India in the year 1977- The World of Homosexuals. She was married to Paritosh Banerji in the mid of the 1960s. He was an officer of Indian Administrative Service from Kolkata. Her marriage to a homosexual man was the reason behind her interest in homosexuality and it encouraged her to study it.
Awards & achievements
- In 1969 she was awarded with the title of the ‘Most Distinguished Woman of the Year’ by the University of Philippines.
- Because of her extraordinary abilities, Shakuntala also earned her place in the 1982 edition of ‘The Guinness Book of World Records’.
- She received the ‘Ramanujan Mathematical Genius’ Award in Washington D.C in 1988.
- The Google doodle celebrated her 84th birthday through an animated doodle featuring a calculator screen with a digital sketch of her.
The Human Computer, Shakuntala Devi died on April 21, 2013, in Bangalore.