Vashishtha Narayan Singh, hailing from a little-known village in Bihar’s Basantpur, displayed extraordinary intelligence from an early age. His academic journey was nothing short of astounding, as he topped both his BSc and MSc examinations, garnering recognition for his exceptional abilities.
Vashishtha’s brilliance transcended borders. He collaborated with esteemed institutions like NASA and pursued academic endeavors at renowned places such as the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and the University of California, Berkeley. He seemed destined for greatness, often likened to the mathematical prodigy Ramanujan.
Mental Health Struggles
Tragically, the promising trajectory of his life took a heart-wrenching turn. Vashishtha Narayan Singh battled schizophrenia, a debilitating mental illness that upended his career and personal life. His marriage disintegrated just a couple of years after it began, and his academic stardom faded into obscurity.
From Fame to Obscurity
By the mid-1980s, Vashishtha was institutionalized due to his mental health struggles. His life took an even more mysterious turn when he vanished during a train journey, only to reemerge years later as a destitute in his hometown.
A Journey to Recovery
It was a long and arduous path to recovery. He was admitted to mental health institutions, first in Bengaluru and later in Delhi, thanks to the intervention of individuals like BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha. Eventually, Vashishtha Narayan Singh made a partial return to academics, joining BNMU Madhepura, but his full potential remained unrealized.
A Tragic End
The mathematical genius, who couldn’t achieve the greatness that once seemed within his grasp, passed away at the age of 72 on November 14, 2019. In a bittersweet tribute, he was honored posthumously with the Padma Shri award, reminding us of a genius whose brilliance was overshadowed by the tragedy of mental illness.