C. M. Whish


Charles Matthew Whish (1794–1833) was an English civil servant in the Madras Establishment of the East India Company. Whish was the first to bring to the notice of the western mathematical scholarship the achievements of the Kerala school of astronomy and mathematics. Whish wrote in his historical paper:[1] Kerala mathematicians had ... laid the foundation for a complete system of fluxions ... and their works ... abound with fluxional forms and series to be found in no work of foreign countries.[2] Whish was also a linguist and had prepared a grammar and a dictionary of the Malayalam language.[3][4]

C.M. Whish was a collector of palm-leaf manuscripts in Sanskrit and other languages. After his premature death in 1833 at the age of thirty-eight years, Whish's brother, J.L. Whish, who was also employed in the service of East India Company deposited these manuscripts in the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland in July 1836. A catalogue of these manuscripts list 195 items.[5] Though the manuscripts collected by Whish are not distinguished by great age, there are many rare and valuable ones among them. Perhaps the most important of all are the Mahabharata manuscripts which represent a distinct recension of the great epic. These manuscripts were related a wide range of subjects: vedic literature, ancient epic poetry, classical Sanskrit Literature, and technical and scientific literature.

He joined the service of East India Company in 1812 as Register of Zillah Court in South Malabar and rose up the judicial ladder to become finally a Criminal Judge at Cuddapah.[6] Cuddapah Town Cemetery had a tomb in the name of C.M. Whish with the inscription "Sacred to the memory of C.M. Whish, Esquire of the Civil Service, who departed this life on the 14th April 1833, aged 38 years".[7]


  1. ^ Charles Whish (1834), "On the Hindu Quadrature of the circle and the infinite series of the proportion of the circumference to the diameter exhibited in the four Sastras, the Tantra Sahgraham, Yucti Bhasha, Carana Padhati and Sadratnamala", Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, 3 (3): 509–523, doi:10.1017/S0950473700001221, JSTOR 25581775 (This paper has been reproduced as an Appendix in "I.S. Bhanu Murthy (1992). A modern introduction to ancient Indian mathematics. New Delhi: New Age International Publishers. ISBN 81-224-0371-9.")
  2. ^ J J O'Connor and E F Robertson (November 2000). "An overview of Indian mathematics". School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of St Andrews, Scotland. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  3. ^ S. Muthiah (18 February 2002). "The college on College Road". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 27 June 2003. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  4. ^ Madras Tercentenary Celebration Committee (1939). Madras Tercentenary Commemoration Volume. Asian Educational Services. p. 401.
  5. ^ Compiled by Dr. M. Winternitz, Professor in the German University of Prague, ed. (1902). A catalogue of south Indian Sanskrit manuscripts : especially those of the Whish collection belonging to the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland (1902). The Royal Asiatic Society. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  6. ^ Joseph, George Gheverghese (1995). "Cognitive encounters in India during the age of imperialism". Race & Class. 36 (3): 39–56. doi:10.1177/030639689503600303. S2CID 143453617.
  7. ^ List of European tombs in the district of Cuddapah with inscriptions therein compiled by C.H. Mounsey (PDF). 1893.[permanent dead link]

Further readingEdit

  • J J O'Connor and E F Robertson. "Charles Matthew Whish". MacTutor History of Mathematics. School of Mathematics and Statistics University of St Andrews, Scotland. Retrieved 21 September 2020.