Amiya Charan Banerjee

23 Jan 1891
31 May 1968
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Amiya Charan Banerjee (Bengali: অমিয় চরণ ব্যানার্জি) (23 January 1891 – 31 May 1968) was an Indian mathematician.

His father Gyan Chandra Banerjee was a meritorious student of Presidency College and was a class mate of Narendranath Dutta (later Swami Vivekananda) when they studied law. He belonged to the zemindar family of Maheshtala in 24 Parganas district, now in West Bengal. While a student he was attracted to the Brahmo Samaj, after listening to some of the speeches of Keshub Chunder Sen. When he converted to Brahmo Samaj, his father tried to get him back to the house by force but when he failed to do so, he disinherited him. He joined the judicial service in Bihar and lived an independent life undeterred by what others thought and did. He married Mrinalini, daughter of the Brahmo leader Nibaran Chandra Mukherjee.

Amiya Charan Banerjee was born on 23 January 1891 in his maternal grandfather’s house at Bhagalpur. As his father had a transferable job, he was educated mostly at Bhagalpur Zilla School. He stood first in the matriculation examination and joined Presidency College, Kolkata. He was all through a topper and on completing his post graduation in mathematics, won a Bihar Government scholarship to go to England. He became a Wrangler and foundation scholar from Clare College, Cambridge.

Nilamani Senapati, a fellow student at Cambridge, and later his brother-in-law and chief secretary of Odisha, described him as being called ‘Father Banerjee’ at Cambridge for his most amiable nature.

On his return to the country, he spent some time in Patna but as there was no suitable post vacant for him, he went to Allahabad and started his teaching career as a professor. Allahabad University was a great centre of learning, buzzing with scientists such as Megh Nad Saha and Nil Ratan Dhar. Prof. Banerjee made notable contributions in the field of astro-physics and galactic dynamics. He was vice-chancellor of Allahabad University from 1953–55. He was examiner for doctoral thesis for several universities in India and abroad, and went abroad a number of times on lecture tours. Government of India had assigned to him a project for studying the observatories in Europe and America and for recommending improvements of Indian observatories. On retirement he helped to develop Sri Chaitanya College at Habra in West Bengal. He presided over the All India Brahmo Conference held in 1957.

Prof. Banerjee was nominated president of the 56th session of the Indian Science Congress to be held at Mumbai in 1969 but he died prematurely on 31 May 1968.

He used to deliver lectures on astronomy. He spoke on “Stellar Evolution” at the Allahabad session of the Indian Academy of Sciences in 1946.

The road in front of his house in Allahabad was named after him.

e had married Probha, daughter of Braja Kumar and Chanchala Niyogi of Hazaribagh in 1920. She was actively involved in social welfare activities, was a commissioner of Allahabad municipality and was a woman magistrate, who held court at home.

His elder son Kalyan Banerji died prematurely on 4 June 1975 when he was deputy managing director of State Bank of India.

His daughter, Arati, was married to N.R.Dutt, a successful business manager in the steel industry. She died on 9 July 2010.

Milon Banerji, Attorney General of India, was his younger son who died on 16 July 2010.

His grandson, Pradeep Banerji – son of Kalyan Banerji – graduated from Columbia University, New York, and is presently based in London as a successful professional in the IT industry.

His grandson, Debal Banerji – son of Milon Banerji – is a senior lawyer practising in Calcutta High Court and the Supreme Court.

His grandson, Gourab Banerji – the younger son of Milon Banerji – is the Additional Solicitor General of India.

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