R. P. Paranjpye was born on Feb. 16, 1876 at Murdi
near Dapoli in the coastal Ratnagiri district of
Maharashtra. His father, Purushottam Keshav, was a
landlord and agriculturist of Murdi near Anjarla /
Dapoli, in Ratnagiri of then Bombay Presidency.
He was educated at Maratha high school, Bombay,
Fergusson College, Pune and Bombay University
before entering St John's College, Cambridge in 1896.
He graduated B.A. as senior wrangler in 1899.
(Math. Trip., Pt. II, 1st Class, 1900 ; M.A. 1903)
the first Indian to achieve the coveted title of
Senior Wrangler at the University of Cambridge.
Paranjpye was elected a Fellow of St John's College
in November 1901 and stayed as such until 1907,
but returned to India to become a professor of
mathematics at the Fergusson College, Pune, in 1902.
One of the earliest Indian documentary film makers,
H. S. Bhatavdekar, made silent documentary film,
Return of Wrangler Paranjpye (1902) and Delhi Durbar
of Lord Curzon (1903), featuring R. P. Paranjpye.
In 1907, R. P. became the first librarian of the
Indian Mathematical Society at Fergusson College.
He became the college's principal, and stayed in
that position for two decades, until 1926.
Subsequently, he became the Vice-Chancellor of Bombay University (1916-20) and of
the Indian Women's University during 1916-20 and Member
of the Bombay Legislative Council.
He also became the Vice-Chancellor of the Lucknow
University (1932-38). In 1921, the University of Calcutta
awarded him an honorary Doctor of Science degree.
He was Minister of Education of Bombay Presidency
during 1921-23; Fellow, Bombay University during
1905-27. He was awarded Kaisar-i-Hind gold medal
in 1916. He was also the Minister of Excise and
Forests, 1927. He was a Delegate of the Government of India to International
Labour Conferences at Geneva, 1928-29; A Member of
Indian Taxation Committee, 1924 and a Member of the
India Council, London, during 1927-32.
In 1941 he lived in Wrangler Paranjpye Road, Poona.
R. P. Paranjpye received a British knighthood
in 1942. In the three years (1944–1947) preceding
India's independence from the British Raj,
the British government appointed him India's
High Commissioner to Australia. In the days of
the British Raj, there was some criticism that R. P. Paranjpye had
often appeared on the side of British authorities
at a time of nationalist ferment in India.
He was the founder of the Indian Rationalist
Association in Chennai (then Madras) in 1949,
and remained its President for many years.
In Australia, he lived in Canberra
in 1951. His autobiography, 84 Not Out,
appeared in 1961 (National Book Trust, New Delhi).
Acharya Atre has devoted one full chapter in his
autobiography for Wrangler R. P. Paranjape and has
written about his fame all over the country and how
because of him students from outside Maharashtra
came to study at Ferguson College.
His younger brother, Hari Purushottam Paranjape
was a well known agriculturist of his time.
In 1991, the Government of India awarded
R. P.'s daughter Shakuntala Paranjpye a Padma
Bhushan title in recognition of her work in the
field of family planning. She was also a nominated
member of the Rajya Sabha in the 1960s
In 2006, the Government of India awarded R. P.'s granddaughter
Sai Paranjpye a Padma Bhushan title in recognition
of her artistic talents. She is a film director and
1. (PRNY896RP): A Cambridge Alumni Database. University
2. R.P. Paranjpye, 84 Not Out, National Book Trust,
New Delhi, 1961. Autobiography
3. Wrangler Raghunath Purushottam Paranjpye by
Dr Anant Deshmukh, 2011. Biography.
4. "Rationalist International Bulletin 21".
21 October 1999. Retrieved 5 September 2013.