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On World Statistics Day, here's a look at the Father of Indian statistics - Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis

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On World Statistics Day, here's a look at the Father of Indian statistics - Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis


Today is World Statistics Day, let's take a look at the Father of Indian Statistics.

On World Statistics Day, here's a look at the Father of Indian statistics - Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis
On World Statistics Day, celebrated on October 20 each year, many of us are not aware of who the man behind India's contribution to statistics is.
Let's take a look at the Father of Indian statistics:
Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis is regarded as the Father of Modern Statistics in India. From establishing the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) to shaping the Planning Commission and founding methodologies for large-scale surveys, PC Mahalanobis contributed extensively towards India's development.
Here are a few things to know about PC Mahalanobis:
  • Born on June 29, 1893 in West Bengal, Mahalanobis completed his education from Brahmo Boys School in Calcutta after, from where he went on to join the Presidency College to study Physics. After graduating in 1912, Mahalanobis also attended the King’s College in Cambridge, where he met the mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan.
  • During his initial working days, he joined the Cavendish Laboratory with physicist CTR Wilson for a short term. Later, Mahalanobis returned to India and started teaching Physics at the Presidency College in 1922. He remained  a teacher there for a over three decades and held the post of Meteorologist at the Alipore Observatory in Calcutta from 1922 to 1926.
  • Passionate about statistics, Mahalanobis formed a group that was interested in the same field and eventually expanded into the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) founded in 1932. The following year he launched Sankhya: The Indian Journal of Statistics.
  • Additionally, Prof Mahalanobis set up the National Sample Survey in 1950 and founded the Central Statistical Organisation to coordinate statistical activities. He then became a member of the Planning Commission in 1955 and continued until 1967. Later, ISI was declared as an institute of national importance in 1959.
  • Mahalanobis was also instrumental in formulating India’s second five-year-plan (1956-1961), which laid the blueprint for industrialisation and development in India.
  • One of his most remarkable achievements was when he devised a measure of comparison between two data sets, now popularly called "Mahalanobis distance". The study is widely used in the field of cluster analysis and classification.
  • Not just this, the notable scientist also introduced innovative techniques to devise a statistical method called fractile graphical analysis used to compare socio-economic conditions of varied groups.
  • Mahalanobis also analysed data regarding the floods in Odisha and published his findings in 1926. This analysis was effectively used to form the construction of the Hirakud dam on the Mahanadi River.
  • In 1968 the highly regarded Professor was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan and was conferred a large number of awards by international organisations.
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