R. P. Paranjpe

R. P. Paranjpe

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Category: Administration

R. P. Paranjpe Profile

  • Name:
  • R. P. Paranjpe
  • Other Name:
  • Sir Raghunath Purushottam Paranjpye
  • Born:
  • February 16, 1876
  • Died:
  • May 6, 1966
  • Born / Home Town:
  • Murdi

R. P. Paranjpe Biography

R. P. Paranjpe was an Indian administrator and ambassador who is credited to be the first Indian to achieve the title of Senior Wrangler at the University of Cambridge in England, the top mathematics undergraduate at the University. He was the founder President of the Indian Rationalist Association in Chennai in 1949. He has authored several books including his autobiography - 84 Not Out in 1861. Both his daughter Shakuntala Paranjpye and granddaughter Sai Paranjpye are Padma Bhushan awardees, for their work related to family planning and film making respectively. Return of Wrangler Paranjpye (1902) and Delhi Durbar of Lord Curzon (1903) are the documentary films based on Paranjpe’s life.


He was a Maharashtrian born in Murdi of Ratnagiri district. His school education was done at Mumbai and College studies at Pune. Then he joined St John's College, Cambridge in 1896 and graduated as senior wrangler in 1899. After working at St John's College for a few years, he returned to India in 1902 and joined Fergusson College as professor of mathematics. In 1907, he joined Indian Mathematical Society at Fergusson College as the first librarian and later became the college's principal, a position he served till 1926.


In 1921 he was given an honorary doctorate by University of Calcutta and in 1942, British knighthood. He also served as the Vice-Chancellor of Bombay University and Lucknow University in the mid-1920s to 1930s. Just before Indian independence, British government appointed him India's High Commissioner to Australia (1944–1947). In 1949 he started Indian Rationalist Association in Chennai, a voluntary organisation to promote scientific skepticism and critique supernatural claims. He passed away on 6th May 1966.

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Updated: February 05, 2016

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