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Shikder, Radhanath


Shikder, Radhanath (1813-1870) a mathematician and the discoverer of Mount Everest, was born in Jorasanko in Kolkata. He was a student of hindu college and he studied there under henry derozio. Besides his vernacular Bangla, he acquired proficiency in Sanskrit, English, Greek and Latin. He studied mathematics with Titler, an authority in mathematics. In Radhanath Shikder, Titler found a mathematical genius and taught him trigonometric functions. Shikder was the first Indian to work with the Trigonometric Survey of India begun in 1832. While in service, he discovered the highest peak of the Himalayas, and also the highest peak in the world, which was named Mount Everest after the director of the department, Colonel George Everest. He wrote two important essays: 'Auxiliary Table' in 1815 and 'The Manual of Surveying'. He retired from the survey department in 1862 and was later appointed as a teacher of mathematics at the General Assembly's Institution.

Radhanath Shikder was one of the founders of the Calcutta Art and Craft Society in 1854. Together with peary chand mitra, he edited and published a magazine called Masik Patrika (the monthly magazine) in Bangla for the women of Bengal. Peary Chand's famous novel alaler gharer dulal was first published in this magazine.

Like other students of Derozio, Radhanath was a liberal activist. He was articulate against all discriminations. He was opposed to child marriage and polygamy. He also worked for the re-marriage of widows and the education of women. He was once fined by a court (1843) for protesting against an English magistrate who was beating unfairly an Indian porter. Radhanath Shikder died on 17 May 1870. [Abul Hasnat]