Human Computer - Shakuntala Devi

Shakuntala Devi was an writer and mental calculator, popularly known as the "human computer". Her talent earned her a place in the 1982 edition of The Guinness Book of World Records.

Shakuntala Devi wrote a number of books in her later years, including novels as well as texts about mathematics, puzzles, and astrology. She wrote the book The World of Homosexuals, which is considered the first study of homosexuality in India. She treated homosexuality in an understanding light and is considered a pioneer in the field.

Early life

Shakuntala Devi was born in Bengaluru, Karnataka to an orthodox Kannada Brahmin family. Her father rebelled against becoming a temple priest and instead joined a circus where he worked as a trapeze artist, lion tamer, tightrope walker, and magician. He discovered his daughter's ability to memorize numbers while teaching her a card trick when she was about three years old. Her father left the circus and took her on road shows that displayed her ability at calculation. She did this without any formal education. At the age of six, she demonstrated her arithmetic abilities at the University of Mysore.

In 1944, Shakuntala Devi moved to London with her father. She was the greatest female mathematician of India .

Mental calculation

Shakuntala Devi traveled the world demonstrating her arithmetic talents, including a tour of Europe in 1950 and a performance in New York City in 1976. In 1988, she traveled to US to have her abilities studied by Arthur Jensen, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Jensen tested her performance of several tasks, including the calculation of large numbers. Examples of the problems presented to Devi included calculating the cube root of 61,629,875 and the seventh root of 170,859,375. Jensen reported that Shakuntala Devi provided the solution to the above mentioned problems (395 and 15, respectively) before Jensen could copy them down in his notebook. Jensen published his findings in the academic journal Intelligence in 1990.

In 1977, at Southern Methodist University, she gave the 23rd root of a 201-digit number in 50 seconds. Her answer—546,372,891—was confirmed by calculations done at the US Bureau of Standards by the UNIVAC 1101 computer, for which a special program had to be written to perform such a large calculation.

On 18 June 1980, she demonstrated the multiplication of two 13-digit numbers—7,686,369,774,870 × 2,465,099,745,779—picked at random by the Computer Department of Imperial College London. She correctly answered 18,947,668,177,995,426,462,773,730 in 28 seconds. This event was recorded in the 1982 Guinness Book of Records. Writer Steven Smith said, "the result is so far superior to anything previously reported that it can only be described as unbelievable."

Shakuntala Devi explained many of the methods she used to do mental calculations in her book Figuring: The Joy of Numbers, which is still in print.

Book on homosexuality

In 1977, she wrote The World of Homosexuals, the first study of homosexuality in India. In the documentary For Straights Only, she said that her interest in the topic was because of her marriage to a homosexual man and her desire to look at homosexuality more closely to understand it.

The book, considered "pioneering", features interviews with two young Indian homosexual men, a male couple in Canada seeking legal marriage, a temple priest who explains his views on homosexuality, and a review of the existing literature on homosexuality. It ends with a call for decriminalization of homosexuality, and "full and complete acceptance—not tolerance and sympathy". The book, however, went mostly unnoticed at that time.

Personal life

She returned to India in the mid-1960s and married Paritosh Banerji, an officer of the Indian Administrative Service from Kolkata. They were divorced in 1979. In 1980, she contested in the Lok Sabha elections as an independent, from Mumbai South and from Medak in part of Telangana (presently). In Medak she stood against Indira Gandhi, saying she wanted to "defend the people of Medak from being fooled by Mrs. Gandhi"; she stood ninth, with 6514 votes (1.47% of the votes). Shakuntala Devi returned to Bengaluru in the early 1980s.

In addition to her work as a mental calculator, Devi was an astrologer and an author of several books, including cookbooks and novels.

Death and legacy

In April 2013, Shakuntala Devi was admitted to a hospital in Bengaluru with respiratory problems. Over the following two weeks she suffered from complications of the heart and kidneys. She died in the hospital on 21 April 2013. She was 83 years old. She is survived by her daughter, Anupama Banerjee.

On 4 November 2013, Shakuntala Devi was honored with a Google Doodle on what would have been her 84th birthday.

Selected works

Astrology for You (New Delhi: Orient, 2005).
Book of Numbers (New Delhi: Orient, 2006).
Figuring: The Joy of Numbers (New York: Harper & Row, 1977).
In the Wonderland of Numbers (New Delhi: Orient, 2006).
Mathability: Awaken the Math Genius in Your Child (New Delhi: Orient, 2005).
More Puzzles to Puzzle You (New Delhi: Orient, 2006).
Perfect Murder (New Delhi: Orient, 1976).
Puzzles to Puzzle You (New Delhi: Orient, 2005).
Super Memory: It Can Be Yours (New Delhi: Orient, 2011 & Sydney: New Holland, 2012).
The World of Homosexuals (Vikas Publishing House, 1977)

Data source- wikipedia

Dhirubhai Ambani: A Real Rags-To-Riches Story

Who doesn't know the name Reliance today? Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani, better known as Dhirubhai Ambani, is not an unheard name to an Indian. As the founder of India’s largest private firm and second largest publicly traded company in the country, Reliance Industries, Dhirubhai has undoubtedly made enormous capital in his lifetime. But did you know that he started his journey with only INR 1 and while he has created wealth, it not just for him but equally for his thousands of shareholders. Dhirubhai once said, “We cannot change our rulers, but we can change the way they rule us.”  He could do all this just because he could dream, and dream big.

"If you’re born poor it’s not your fault but if you die poor it’s your fault." - Dhirubhai Ambani

Ambani had a humble beginning and he was not from an affluent background. He moved to Yemen at 16 years of age where he worked as a simple clerk with A. Besse & Co. . However, he knew he had to follow his calling and risking everything, after working in Dubai for sometime he later returned to India where he founded the Reliance Commercial Corporation with a meager capital of Rs. 15000. He set up the business in partnership with Champaklal Damani,  though Champaklal Damani differed from Ambani in his views and decided to split  in 1965, Ambani did not give up hope and continued his trade, deciding to even enter the stock market. His stock market dealings and success have often been questioned but the man rose to power through sheer grit and determination. Dhirubhai Ambani is a role model for all youngster's real life inspirations.

He won many awards and accolades during his lifetime. In 2000, he was conferred the 'Man of the Century' award by Chemtech Foundation and Chemical Engineering World for his contribution to the growth and development of the chemical industry in India. In 1998, he was awarded the Dean's Medal by The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, for setting an outstanding example of leadership. Dhirubhai Ambani was also named the "Man of 20th Century" by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

A visionary by birth, his life has been an inspiration for many and will serve as a beacon light for the generations to come.

"Challenge negative forces with hope, self-confidence and conviction. I believe that ambition and initiative will ultimately triumph." - Dhirubhai Ambani

The Inspiring Story Of India's First Female Doctor

Anandi Gopal Joshi is the first woman of Indian origin to graduate with a degree in medicine in the US. She became an inspiration to generations of women to pursue their further education.

Anandi Gopal Joshi, who also goes by the names 'Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi' and 'Anandibai Joshi',was born in Kalyan in present day Maharashtra's Thane district on March 31, 1865. Anandi Joshi was originally named 'Yamuna', and kept that name till her marriage, after which, her husband - Gopalrao Joshi - gave her the name 'Anandi'.

As was custom during the mid-nineteenth century, Yamuna (Anandi) was pressured to marry at a very young age - nine. She married Gopalrao Joshi, a widower who was nearly 30 years old at the time. He was a postal clerk in the same town where Yamuna (Anandi) used to live.Though he had married a child, a criminal offence in today's day and age but not considered so in the mid-nineteenth century, Gopalrao Joshi was a strong supporter of women's education. Since this was considered unusual for the time, he was considered a progressive thinker.

Anandi was fourteen when she first became a mother, but her baby died in ten days due to lack of medical care and facilities. Facing such immense trauma and sadness at fourteen, she decided to do something about health care in India. She told her husband that she was determined to become a doctor - a physician. He supported her decision and backed her entirely to study medicine.

Anandi's husband wrote a letter to an American missionary requesting if Anandi Joshi could pursue her education in the United States. He even inquired about a suitable job for himself so that he could accompany her. But in 1883, when Gopalrao Joshi was transferred to Serampore in present day West Bengal, he decided and convinced Anandi to go to the United States by herself. He told her to set an example for all other women in India to pursue their higher education.

Anandi Gopal Joshi applied to the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania and was granted admission. She traveled to from Calcutta (present day Kolkata) to New York by ship. She began her medical training at the age of nineteen. While in America, her health, which was already not a hundred per cent from her days in India, further deteriorated due to the cold weather and unfamiliar diet. She even went on to suffer TB. Despite all that, she stayed motivated to complete her MD in medicine. Her journey had been so inspiring that she got much publicity in the Indian press, and on her graduation, then the Queen of England, Empress of India, Queen Victoria sent her a congratulatory message. She had become the first woman of Indian origin to study and graduate with a degree in medicine in the United States. Anandi Gopal Joshi went on to inspire generations of women to pursue their higher education.

When she returned to India in 1886, she received a grand welcome, and was appointed as the physician-in-charge at the Albert Edward Hospital in the then princely state of Kohlapur.

On February 26, 1887, just over a month before her 22nd birthday, Anandi died of  TB. Her dream of opening her own medical college for women was left unfulfilled. Her death made headlines across India and the entire nation mourned her passing. As a mark of respect, her ashes were placed in a cemetery in Poughkeepsie in New York.

"In her honour, the Institute for Research and Documentation in Social Sciences or IRDS, an NGO from Lucknow, still awards the 'Anandibai Joshi Award for Medicine' in honor of her early contributions to the cause of advancing medical science in India. Even the Government of Maharashtra established a fellowship in Anandi Gopal Joshi's name."

Super 30 - The Dream Of A Man To Support Poor Students Education

Super 30 is a prestigious Indian educational program started in Patna, India under the banner of Ramanujan School of Mathematics. It was co-founded by Abhayanand, a 1977 batch IPS officer and, Anand Kumar, a maths teacher in the year 2002.

The program claims to select 30 meritorious and talented candidates each year from economically backward sections of society and trains them for the JEE.


In 2002, Abhayanand and Anand Kumar started Super 30 - the idea was to select 30 talented students from economically impoverished sections who could not afford IIT coaching. These 30 students were then prepared to crack IIT-JEE examinations. Anand Kumar's Mother - Jayanti Devi - volunteered to cook for the students while Anand, Abhayanand and other teachers tutored them. The students were also provided study materials and lodging for a year free of cost.

In the first year of the coaching, 18 out of 30 students made it to IIT. The following year application numbers soared due to the popularity of the program and written examination was conducted to select 30 students. In the year 2004 - 22 out of 30 students qualified for IIT-JEE increasing the popularity of the program which attracted even more applications.

In the 2005 batch, 26 out of 30 students made it to IIT while 28 cleared the examinations in 2006 - this despite the fact that IIT changed the examination pattern. In appreciation of their efforts, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar felicitated the students with a cash prize of Rupees 50,000 each.

The following year 28 more students achieved the IIT dream and finally in 2008, for the first time all of the Super 30 cleared the IIT JEE. Having achieved perfect result in 2008, Abhayanand quit Super 30 saying "the experiment is over".

Anand's former students also joined as teachers for the Super 30 and in the year 2009, all 30 students again managed to clear the IIT JEE. In 2017, all the candidates again cracked the IIT-JEE Advanced 2017, results of which were announced on June 2017. 26 students of 'Super 30' have achieved success in IIT-JEE Advanced 2018.

Awards and recognition

Super 30 has been selected in 2010 by Time Magazine in its list - The Best of Asia 2010.
The organization also received praise from United States former President Barack Obama's special envoy Rashad Hussain - who termed it the "best" institute in the country. Newsweek Magazine included Super 30 in its list of four most innovative schools in the world. Anand Kumar has also been awarded the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Shiksha Puraskar - the highest award in field of education given by Bihar government - in November 2010.

Popular Culture

Bollywood Director Vikas Bahl will be casting Hrithik Roshan in his upcoming film titled "Super 30". The film is based on the life and works of Anand Kumar. Media reports have indicated that following the controversy over unsubstantiated results, the makers of the film may change the film from a biopic to fiction, dropping any reference to Anand Kumar or Super 30.

source: wikipedia