Chennai Mathematical Institute
Ashoka University, Haryana
I first met Professor Seshadri in 1979 when he came to ISI Delhi for an Algebraic Geometry conference organised by Pavaman Murthy. I was a PhD student who had done a part of my work, and was looking for help to do more. Seshadri listened with interest to my questions on unitary invariants for matrices, and invited me to visit TIFR in the summer. As many people have attested, he was generous with his time, ideas, and help to young mathematicians. This was my first experience.
In the summer of 1979, I went to TIFR. Seshadri asked me to read Serre's notes on Lie algebras, and two papers of Kostant, and to report to him as I progressed on this. These topics were somewhat distant from what I had been studying. I managed to understand what the papers said, and Seshadri seemed pleased with our discussions. This was a big boost to my confidence, After that he was always very supportive through my entire career.
During this visit, he invited me several times to his home for dinner. Here we would often end up discussing music. He was an accomplished singer of Carnatic music, of which I had only a passing acquaintance. I was a more regular listener of Hindustani music. Seshadri knew a lot about this too, and he discussed with verve the strengths and weaknesses of various musicians. Our assessments seemed to agree, and this too seemed to please him.
I returned to TIFR for a more extended stay in 1980 and my mathematical and personal contact with him continued. I vividly remember going with him to a few music concerts in Bombay, and long discussions with him about the music.
Several people have remarked on Seshadri's simplicity and lack of ostentation. His choice of clothes, some time but not always, reflected this. He was often seen in shades of green and pink that those with a good dress sense might consider down-market. The far-from-intimidating person that he was, younger colleagues even made comments on this, and he allowed them to do so. The most touching example of his simplicity I remember is the following. In 1979, very few Indians would have some kind of music player. Those who went abroad would often bring back one. I thought Seshadri with his deep interest in music, and who went to Europe and the US often, would have at least a middle-of-the-line music system. When I visited his home he took out a low-quality 50-dollar cassette player to play one of the tapes I had brought. When I commented on this his reply was "How does it matter? You can fill the rest with your imagination."
Stories about his being absent-minded and often at a loss for words are legion. I recall some. Most often when he saw me, his greeting would be "Therefore" sometimes followed by "Isn't that so", leaving me wondering whether he wants to continue the mathematical discussion we had earlier in the day, or whether he is having difficulty recalling my name. On one occasion we had gone to a music concert, when two young persons who were children of one of his colleagues and neighbours walked up to us. For a while Seshadri did not say anything, and then with some embarrassment " I recognised you, but I thought it was someone else." In 1986 he was awarded the Ramanujan Medal of the Indian National Science Academy and had to give a talk to an audience consisting mainly of Fellows of the Academy in all subjects between astronomy and zoology. He began, "You see, I am not good at this kind of thing. Therefore, for simplicity, let G = SL(n), …" and continued to talk in this vein.
Incidents such as these created an image of Seshadri as an amiable, bumbling, confused person, at whose expense jokes were told. In reality, he was someone of a rare depth. As you come to know a distinguished and successful person, over the years you learn not only their successes and ambitions, but also their failures and frustrations, insecurities and rivalries. Seshadri was one of the very few persons I knew who never revealed anything of himself. When, in the late nineties he told me his CMI experiment had failed, it was as if he was talking of something remote, not something to which he had devoted years of his precious time and effort.
I end with talking of the most important lesson I learnt from Seshadri. He had a very clear vision of what administrative power is meant for. A little after I came to TIFR as a post-doctoral visitor, I received a job offer from the University of Bombay. I was dithering whether to accept it for two reasons. I had thought of making use of the excellent facilities of TIFR to do my early career research, and living conditions outside were difficult. One of the hot topics of discussion those days used to be how Universities are neglected, how TIFR has failed in addressing the situation, etc. The Head of the Department at the University made me an extraordinary offer: I need to come to campus only twice a week and I can be at TIFR the rest of the days, with facilities that would normally be given to a regular visitor (the most important of which was a room in the hostel, a scarce commodity in Bombay). This could be formalised because of Seshadri's influence and his belief that the talk of helping Indian universities would be vacuous if nothing concrete is done about it. The administrative arrangement involved declaring me a "non-stipendiary visiting fellow." This was something unusual. At that stage I was just a beginner, with not much concrete work to my credit. Only a rare visionary like Seshadri would have gone so much out of the way to help in this way. He had confidence in his judgement, clarity of purpose, and a rare ability to sift the wheat from the chaff.
Centro de Investigación en Matemáticas (CIMAT), Guanajuato, Mexico
I met Seshadri during my postdoctoral in India. He just started the School of Mathematics as part of the SPIC Science Foundation. Even if he had some bureaucratic issues, he always had time to discuss mathematics with a big smile. I saw him again many other times; when I visited TIFR and when he came to Mexico where, on both occasions, he gave excellent and inspiring lectures. As one of the central pillars of the theory of vector bundles and their moduli spaces, and as an excellent person, it is a great loss for all of us. Condolences to his family, colleagues, students and friends.
University of Missouri
I am very sorry to hear of the loss of Professor Seshadri. He was a great inspiration to me, both as a mathematician and a person, and his memory will continue to inspire me. I fondly remember the early days of the Chennai Math Institute, when it was located in T. Nagar, and was sustained by Seshadri's vision and industry.
S G Dani
Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences (CBS), Mumbai
Retired from TIFR, Mumbai
Notwithstanding his advanced age, it came as a surprise and a shock, to get a message on 17 July about Prof. Seshadri passing away, following cardiac arrest. I had last met him at a talk I gave at CMI in January this year, and I had found him to be his usual cheerful self, so the news came as quite an anti-thesis.
Unfortunately I have not had opportunities of serious interaction with him — he left TIFR when I was still rather young (and not yet a member of the Mathematics Faculty in the restricted form that prevailed then), and I worked in an area away from Algebraic Geometry. He was always an inspiration however, and a name to cite in a variety of broader contexts, as an emblem of modern Indian mathematics, and his sad demise brings a deep sense of loss of an era.
He was a great mathematician of international repute, a visionary institution builder, and an unassuming friendly person at that, and it is certain that many accolades for him will come on record among the tributes on this occasion. Just one aspect that I would like to bring to the table, however, is his support to studies in history of ancient Indian mathematics. He was instrumental, along with his good friend David Mumford, for a seminar on history of mathematics in India, during January–February 2008, and a volume consisting of papers emerging from it, to which I had also the privilege to contribute, was edited by Seshadri. The volume has since been an influential source book in the area — as Mumford remarks in his Preface to the volume "These articles cover a substantial portion of the exciting History of Indian Mathematics and Astronomy. Only a fraction of this has become generally known to mathematicians in the west. …".
It may also be appropriate to recall here another venture of Seshadri which may not be widely known. David Pingree, a doyen in the studies in history of Indian mathematics (the volume mentioned above is dedicated to him, jointly with K.V. Sarma) passed away in 2005. Over his career Pingree had built up impressive personal library of manuscripts and other history related material; the collection comprised of more than 22,000 items, forming a remarkable resource for the study of mathematics in the ancient world, with a special focus on India. Seshadri launched an ambitious plan of acquiring the collection and installing it at CMI, for which he worked with the Government of India, and it was essentially agreed to — pending the normal administrative procedures — though it involved a hefty sum of crores of rupees. However, unfortunately the Brown university outbid for the collection, and we lost. I happened to be Chairman, NBHM at that time and had to respond to puzzled queries from DAE officials about why the funds request was not being pursued. I can hardly quantify the momentum the project would have generated in the historical studies in India, if the bid were to succeed. Taking the disappointment in his stride Seshadri continued to encourage the studies in history of mathematics in various ways, the seminar and the volume mentioned above being illustrious examples. Rejuvenation of efforts in this area would be a great tribute to his memory.
N D Hari Dass
It was a great shock to hear of Seshadri's passing away. After I left CMI in January 2015, I had not seen much of him and was under the impression that his health was reasonably fine, so this was a real bolt from the blue. When I asked Sripathy for Sundari's mobile number so I could express my condolences, I got the second shock that even she had passed away last october.
I had of course heard of the great works of Seshadri and Narasimhan long before I joined Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Madras in 1986. I was looking forward to a magnificent jugalbandhi between physics and mathematics there, with Seshadri and George Sudarshan. Unfortunately that never happened as IMSc was engulfed in a crisis, which in retrospect was completely avoidable.
But that crisis brought Seshadri and myself personally very close. I would be at his home almost everyday and my daughter who was about 4 would tag along. That revealed the magnificent and warm persona of Seshadri, Sundari as well as Seshadri's children, complemented by Sundari's hospitality and Seshadri's generous servings of Scotch.
Soon after he created CMI, undoubtedly one of the most unusual and unique places of academic excellence anywhere in the world. Our trajectories merged again when I joined CMI in 2011. Around this time we got to know Laksmibai very well too, and through her got even closer to Seshadri and his family at the famed get togethers at Lakshmibai's wonderful sea facing apartment in Besant Nagar.
I am going to miss each and every dimension of Seshadri.
Instituto de Ciencias Matemáticas, Madrid
I met first Seshadri in the academic year 1988-89. He visited the University of Oxford, where I was doing my PhD. He gave a beautiful talk on parabolic bundles in Atiyah's Analysis and Geometry seminar. There was a lot of interest at that time on this topic, in relation to topological field theory and the Jones--Witten invariants, subject to which the seminar was devoted that term.
I then met him many times over the years when I started my long term collaboration with S. Ramanan around 25 years ago, and started visiting India regularly. In my visits to the CMI he was always extremely warm and kind, coming always to my seminars there, and being, by far, the most active member of the audience!
Since my PhD work under Nigel Hitchin and Simon Donaldson, I have been extremely influenced mathematically by Seshadri's work, especially by his theorem with M.S. Narasimhan on the correspondence between stable bundles on a compact Riemann surface and unitary representations of the fundamental group of the surface. Following Hitchin's theory of Higgs bundles, I have spent many years working on a version of the Narasimhan--Seshadri theorem for non-compact real Lie groups. I have also been much influenced by his theory of parabolic bundles, that I have studied again in the context of Higgs bundle theory and representations of the fundamental group of punctured surfaces on non-compact real Lie groups. It was incredibly coincidental for me that I learned about Seshadri's decease just few hours after having sent the final proofs of a paper on this subject. This paper had been dedicated to him and Narasimhan on the ocassion of the 50th anniversary of their seminal theorem.
I will certainly cherish many memories of Seshadri, but it was in Paris where I had one of the most special moments with him. It was around two decades ago and Seshadri was visiting Paris. Sharing a common interest for vocal music, I invited him to go to a singing concert at the Theatre des Champs Elysees. Before that, we went to a brasserie to eat something. As I asked him a question about Indian singing, Seshadri gave me a practical explanation singing on the spot there! It was a fantastic moment that I will always cherish.
M S Narasimhan, Oscar García-Prada, C S Seshadri, S Ramanan, and M S Raghunathan, IISc Bangalore, 2008.
(Photo courtesy Oscar García-Prada)
T R Govindarajan
Retired from Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai
Prof C S Seshadri, I met a few decades back when I joined IMSc. He was starting the new Institute now renamed CMI at that time. He was very simple and easily approachable. His interest in Physics was amazing and he asked me to explain my work on knot theory. He started laughing when I wrote Chern Simons actional functional and simply claimed it is divergent. I agreed with him and mentioned that we can make sense of it like Hardy, Ramanujan etc by properly regularizing it. Then our interactions became much better. I was happy to have interacted with this great Mathematician several times. I will cherish that memory …, always …
University of Hyderabad
Prof. Seshadri was perhaps the only one involved in building and nurturing 3 big Institutes of the country – TIFR, IMSc and CMI. He left TIFR at the age of 51 to build an Institute for Maths and as it happened, he managed to build two!! Everyone knows his passion vfor CMI in the past few decades, but i would like to add that though he spent only 5 years at IMSc, without him around, I doubt if stalwarts like Prof. Balasubramanian, Prof. Kesavan and Prof. Sunder would have joined IMSc, enabling it to become an important Institute in the country. I met him last August in Chennai and he was keeping good health considering his age. As always, he was cheerful and talkative as well. He will be missed by all Indian mathematicians and in particular, ones at IMSc and CMI. May His Soul Rest in Peace.
Chairman, Rajiv Gandhi Science & Technology Commission
Former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission
Prof. Seshadri was unique in many ways. He was deeply committed to his passion of not only taking mathematics forward but also take it to young bright students. CMI today is the first choice for many bright students coming out of school and wanting to make a career in mathematics and allied subjects. It is now for all of us to continue to support CMI and sustain his legacy in the best possible way.
Ravi S Kulkarni
Bhaskaracharya Pratishthan, Pune
C.S. Seshadri’s passing away on July 17, 2020, is a very sad news for Indian Mathematics. On many occasions, all of us sought and received his wise advice, on mathematical or administrative issues.
I knew he had slowed down, but had not heard of any long illness. I came to know that in recent years he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Still, he passed away without pain. His wife, Sundari, died last year, on October 31, 2019. Seshadri had a long, loving, supportive family life. Sundari was an accomplished singer of Karnataka music. Seshadri himself was close to being a pro. My condolences to his family, and brother Rajan, who is also a mathematician, working at TIFR.
My association with Seshadri was from my student days at Harvard when around 1964 he came for an extended visit, as a young established mathematician from India. I think, Mumford had invited him. I remember Tate asking me to read his paper on freeness of projective modules over a polynomial ring in 2 variables, which I did. Those were the days when India was just picking up on the world mathematical scene. Ramanujan was an inspiring but rather solitary peak. We had started hearing the name of Harish Chandra. At Harvard, I also heard about and met Abhyankar. But the rest of the vast landscape had little development. It was exhilarating for me to see in Seshadri an Indian mathematician getting international recognition at a very young age.
After I finished my doctorate, I went to see him in TIFR around 1968, and then several times, in TIFR, in the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, and later in the Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI), which was a brainchild of Seshadri. CMI is a deemed research university patterned after the European, American model, in which an undergraduate student could meet a graduate, and postgraduate student, and attend courses and research seminars. It combines the advantages, and avoids the disadvantages, of being just a university, or just a research institute. It is better than a large university, for CMI has a small student body of 100-125 students, and 40-50 faculty, exclusively in the areas of Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Science. Every year, it invites many eminent mathematicians as visitors, which makes for a very lively research atmosphere. Developing such an institute is a tribute to Seshadri’s vision, and stature in the mathematical world.
I remember a delicious dinner at his place when I went to see him in Princeton, around 1970, when he was visiting the Institute for Advanced Study. I remember a personal compliment, very rare in my life, that Sundari liked the dress I was wearing on that day, and recommended Seshadri that he should dress well too!
At his recommendation, E.C.G. Sudarshan offered me a faculty position in 1985 at IMSc. Although our active mathematical interests had a rather small intersection, we understood well what each of us were doing. He had an elder-brotherly affection and interest in my mathematical development. He graciously accepted my invitations on two occasions, when around 1983, at Indiana University (Bloomington), I had invited him for a week-long series of lectures on his Monomial Theory, which has attracted many contributions from India — and then again in December 2007 to China, when Yau had asked me to bring some Indian Mathematicians for lectures at his International Congress of Chinese Mathematicians. I remember many leisurely, insightful, mathematical conversations with him in a very pleasant atmosphere …… I have many sweet memories about my association with him. Perhaps the last but one was his lecture at Bhaskaracharya Pratishthan in Pune, when he was given the prestigious Firodia award. The last one was when I went to see him at CMI about 5 years ago.
We also served together on a DAE Committee.
What impressed everybody, was that despite his enormous stature in the international mathematical world, he was always "on the ground”, humble, open, gentle, and egoless, — a Brahmarshi, without a beard! More than once he mentioned to me that even his FRS, was just a useful "brand-name", which allowed him to do a few exceptional things, like establishing CMI, for Higher Mathematics in India.
I think, he had already attained Bhagvad Geeta’s ideal of Jeevan-Mukti. Yet, I share the grief with his family and many friends. India has indeed lost a major leader-figure in Mathematics.
Washington University in St. Louis
I find it difficult to process the passing away of Seshadri who was the mentor and teacher of Algebraic Geometry for many of certain vintage at TIFR. Many of us were introduced to the subject by notes of Seshadri's course (perfectly transcribed by Musili).
I will never forget his kind and encouraging smile when I came down the hostel steps and ran into him and proudly declared to him that I finally have cracked the problem (Eisenbud-Evans conjectures) I was working on. It was fitting that I met him at that moment, since he was the first person to prove a great theorem about projective modules at TIFR and in some ways, I was carrying his tradition forward.
I took it as a matter of pride when he (in his somewhat corny humour) called me a barbarian, because I treated the Armagnac he had brought from France inappropriately.
I was honored when I was asked to be involved in his sixtieth birthday celebration in TIFR (along with Professor M. S. Narasimhan's) and considered it a good omen for my wedding a day after the celebrations.
I was honored to be a speaker in his eightieth birthday celebrations, which some will stress was really his twentieth.
I regret that I could not meet him when I was in India earlier this year. In spite of my many attempts, I failed to make it to Chennai.
A great mathematician, kind soul and a simple man. Thank you for all that you did for me and many others.
Ashoka University, Haryana
I met Prof Seshadri in the summer of 1985 when I went to IMSc to explore jobs available there. He was very warm and asked me to apply when I complete my postdoc two years later, which I did and joined IMSc. He was very affectionate and his affection continued throughout the rest of our association, until I saw him last a few years ago.
He used to talk about creating an 'École normale supérieure' in India, a dream which he relentlessly pursued. He had an unusual charm which drew people to him and helped realise his dream. He started the Institution that became CMI. His presence ensured CMI attained a very high quality in teaching and research.
He is one of the rare persons who achieves the best in their chosen profession and establishes one of the best institutions in it.
He was a mentor to me. I will definitely miss his charming smile and his hand around my shoulders each time we met. His memory will be a guide for me in my own institution.
Brown University, USA
Seshadri, as I called him because this is his given name in the Indian tradition, was not only my mathematical colleague but one of my closest friends. Our connection began when, sometime in the early 60's, I received a letter with exotic Indian stamps on it. The letter was from Seshadri, whose work on Serre's conjecture I knew, but India, little more than a dozen years after independence, still seemed an exotic very distant place. The mathematical world was small in those days, largely concentrated in Cambridge, Princeton and Paris, and jet plane travel was just starting. I was thrilled to learn that he and M. S. Narasimhan, halfway around the world, had found exactly the same class of vector bundles on an algebraic curve as I had, a class for which a compact moduli space could be constructed. This was amazing because their method was totally different from mine, the sort of unexpected link that makes you fall in love with math.
We got together, first his visiting Harvard in 1966, then I went in 1967 with my family to Bombay, as the city was called then. The Tata Institute had just been built, standing like a mirage facing the Arabian Sea with manicured lawns and seriously air conditioned. I had to keep a sweater in my office. The Institute had a world class library, at the far end of whose stacks, I, like everyone else, did Saraswati Puja, the Hindu worship of the goddess of learning and music, on her sacred day. But best of all, working at the Institute was a powerful group of algebraic geometers who were rapidly uncovering the secrets of moduli spaces. We would talk daily, at morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea, often in the West Canteen. The brass fittings in the elevator were "polished up so carefullee" just as in the Gilbert and Sullivan song. Fresh flowers were brought to my office every day too from the abundant gardens that Homi Bhabha, the Tata Institute's founder, had considered an essential part of a modern science institute. Bhabha and the Institute were the 20th century version of Kubla Khan and the "stately pleasure dome" in Coleridge's poem. Bhabha was similarly revered but sadly recently deceased.
Curiously, Seshadri and I never wrote any joint papers but instead, our research intertwined for many years. I recently found a letter written in 1970 where I wrote "Thanks for your letter which is beautiful and very encouraging. I was personally getting quite discouraged about extending my result when your letter arrived. The blowing up trick is marvelous …". This may be an odd thing to say but the wonderful thing he did led, with many twists and turns, to making my book "Geometric Invariant Theory" irrelevant! He went deeper than me and realized that the key thing you needed was a powerful criterion for ampleness and, bingo, you have a projective moduli space. My approach had been based exclusively on quotient spaces but, when extended from curves to surfaces, the method encountered baroque complexities, as shown when David Gieseker tackled this issue. Seshadri cut through all of this, one big piece being the "trick" (more precisely, an ingenious, startling idea) referred to in that letter. And, as time went on, in the hands of Janos Kollar and many others, his work led to a deep construction and understanding of many more moduli spaces.
Seshadri and his family also intertwined with me and my family during all the decades since then. Our boys played together, he became the godfather of my daughter Suchitra, and his family lived next door to us one year when he was visiting Harvard and Northeastern. I was truly honored when he came all the way from Chennai to Cambridge for my 80th birthday — as well as for the more significant Hindu milestone of a 1000th full moon. He opened his doors to all my children as they grew older and travelled on their own.
But what I really want to describe, the thing that made the deepest impression on me, was the way he integrated so fully and naturally his love of traditional Indian teachings and customs and his full awareness of the energy and force of Western culture. Unlike his fellow Tamilian mathematician S. Ramanujan who subsisted on boiled potatoes in Cambridge University, when Seshadri came to the West, Paris in his case, he sampled its food and drink and enjoyed all the pleasures of French culture. In all his visits to the West, he was comfortable wearing appropriate Western garb at the office and relaxing in his lungi when he got home. He lived in the most unpretentious way, resisting the Western impulse for the latest gadgets and for collecting expensive ornaments. Yet he could fly to Delhi and argue effectively with high-up officials and ministers for funding for mathematics. His great passion, almost as strong as his love of mathematics, was singing classical South Indian Ragas which he performed at a professional level. As the eldest son, he could haul out his sacred thread when rituals demanded this symbol. Walking with me once in some quiet Maine woods, uncut for a century with no houses or roads nearby, he remarked that this experience helped him understand the early Indian sages whose woods are now long gone, replaced by villages and fields. I will miss him for as long a time as is allotted to me.
M S Narasimhan
C.S. Seshadri was a deep mathematician and a very close friend of mine. I was fortunate enough to have been associated with him for several decades and his passing is a great personal loss to me.
We were students together in Loyola College, Madras in the Intermediate and B.A. Honours classes during the period 1948 to 1953. In Loyola college Father Racine had a decisive influence on our early mathematical formation.
Our close friendship started when we joined TIFR as research students in 1953. During our student days in TIFR we interacted very closely, reading and learning together an enormous amount of mathematics. In retrospect, this has played an important role in our future mathematical development. I still treasure the copy of his first published paper (Generalized multiplicative meromorphic functions on a complex analytic manifold) he presented to me with an inscription recalling the "many things learnt in company".
We spent three years, 1957 to 1960, together in Paris. His definitive move to algebraic geometry took place in Paris under the influence of Claude Chevalley. Although we were working in different areas when we were in Paris, we used to have mathematical conversations regularly. We returned to Bombay in 1960 and around 1963 we started collaborating in the study of vector bundles on compact Riemann surfaces, a problem which we had in mind from our student days. We proved a fundamental result connecting unitary bundles, considered by Andre Weil, and stable bundles, studied by David Mumford. This work is considered to be a major breakthrough and opened up a new field of study. While we did not formally collaborate afterwards, I have profited by his scholarship in algebraic geometry and he has generously shared his insights with me.
We kept in constant touch even after he moved to Chennai from Bombay, in particular during the period he was setting up Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI). CMI has been a success story because of the enormous amount effort he had put in its formation. Seshadri was rightly proud of his role in the formation of this institution, which apart from being a first-rate research centre, also runs excellent undergraduate and graduate education programmes in mathematics and computer science. One of the motivations for the creation of CMI was Seshadri's strong feeling that an undergraduate programme intended for training people for research should be taught by researchers, and that young undergraduates should directly come into contact with those doing research. He had, I think, as a model the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris. CMI is now among the best undergraduate institutions in the world in the fields of mathematics and computer science.
Seshadri's friendship and thoughtful advice enriched my life and I am grateful to him for this.
Azim Premji University
My first hand memories of Seshadri date from early 2008, when I had the chance to spend four months at CMI on sabbatical. Before that, of course, I knew of his outstanding achievements – but strictly at second hand, reflected in others with much more mathematics than I possess. What I knew, again at second hand, was that CMI was an academic set up unique for its origin and its functioning.
Neither of these prepared me for the real person and the institution he built. The informal, atmosphere and evident camaraderie that brimmed over at CMI have occured elsewhere, but usually for a short period after the beginning. Here it seemd to be deeply ingrained. Seshadri himself was everywhere, a constant jovial presence. His methods were mysterious, at least to me, but the fact that some of the worlds best mathematicians were visiting, and the best students in the country strove to join , was evidence enough that they had worked.
I was completely unprepared for a second semester undergraduate insisting on crediting my course on general relativity, or another second year student already deep into algebraic topology. Clearly, it was all about excellence of the highest order, and about catching them young and creating complete immersion. These themes always came up in the conversations I had with him, then and later. He clearly carried with him the lessons of a golden age from his TIFR days, but also of other great institutions where he had worked, with his own individual ingredients added. The spirit was carried lightly and humanely but deeply as well. He must have had to make judgments and decisions, but I could see that he made them the old fashioned way – identifying people whose expertise and integrity he could trust, and asking them to look at quality, refreshingly free from the usual metrics one hears so much about in committees. I also do not know many pure mathematicians who would have supported theoretical physics, and computer science, so genuinely and strongly. Like so many others, I am now left valuing our overlap and regretting there was not more.
One cannot help thinking about Seshadri's struggles for funding and academic recognition for CMI, at a time when these were being showered indiscriminately far and wide on institutions less deserving. It must have weighed on him but did not seem to blunt his positive, cheerful demeanour. Surely, it will continue to animate CMI.
Professor emeritus, Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
In the early 1960's Seshadri's name was already familiar to me through his exposes in Chevalley Seminar.
I first met him in 1966-67 at Harvard while I was a graduate student. From the beginning, he was friendly to me because I was a student of Nagata at Kyoto and Mumford at Harvard.
From November 1973 till January 1974, I was invited to TIFR in Mumbai (then called Bombay), where I lectured on my joint work with Katsuya Miyake on "torus embeddings" which came to be called "toric varieties." I was with my wife and son, and lived in M. S. Narasimhan's apartment in the huge 10 by 10 apartment building in the Colaba Housing Complex across the street from TIFR. We came to be good friends with Seshadri's family. My son was of the same age as Seshadri's younger son and enjoyed together the nursery school in the basement of the apartment building. Seshadri and I started working on compactifications of the generalized Jacobian variety of algebraic curves possibly reducible with at most ordinary double points. Typical among them is the "curve of the dollar sign". Our work was a combination of the stability Seshadri had been working on and the toric varieties I had been working on. A joint paper of 90 pages, which Seshadri called an "edifice", was eventually published in Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. in 1979. Earlier, my lecture notes were published by TIFR in 1978.
In May 1981, Seshadri and his family came to Japan for three months. For the first two months, they stayed at Tohoku University in Sendai and Kyoto University in Kyoto. After Seshadri's elder son left in mid-June, Seshadri, Sundari and the younger son went and stayed at Tokyo University in Tokyo from mid-July to the end of July.
In 1983-84, Seshadri was visiting Brandeis while I was visiting Harvard. We lived in the same house in Cambridge, with Seshadri and his elder son living on the third floor, while I living on the first floor. We jointly hosted a cocktail party.
In December 1987 Seshadri invited me to IMathSc in Chennai (then called Madras). I came to know later that Seshadri was going through difficult times at the Institute. Then we had chances to get together at the Hyderabad Conference in December 1989, ICM 90 in Kyoto, Ramanan's 60th birthday celebration in July 1997 at TIFR.
Finally, in January 2012, I attended Seshadri's 80th (20th in fact, since he was born on February 29) birthday celebration at CMI. I was fortunate to be able to talk about my recent result related to our earlier joint work on compactifications of the generalized Jacobian varieties and crystals.
It is so sad to lose him after our friendship for over 50 years.
Distinguished Professor, City University of New York
I am one of those fortunate enough to have known Seshadri for almost fifty years, since January 1971 when I first visited the TIFR. Since then I have had many occasions to meet him, at TIFR again, at IMSc and more recently at CMI. I was his guest for many talks I gave at CMI, when it was in Chennai proper and then again after it moved to a more spacious location. The last time I saw him was in Cambridge at David Mumford's 80th birthday.
I am afraid that I do not know what the Seshadri constant is since my own field is logic. But I have always known that he was one of the most distinguished Indian mathematicians, a fellow of the Royal Society who had earned many other honors.
Even though our fields were quite different, I never felt any sense of barrier with him. Some mathematicians are very private and into themselves, but Seshadri always had a warm smile and a friendly voice.
His passing is a great loss for Indian mathematics. I too will miss him when I next go to Chennai.
My area of research had been different from that of the distinguished mathematician C. S. Seshadri and hence I missed interacting with him on mathematics. But I used to meet him in many committees, especially at NBHM meetings. I also visited him at his old institute SPIC Science Institute and later at CMI. He welcomed me warmly.
But we had a common interest "nurturing mathematics talent" of capable interest. I was active in Mathematics Olympiad in India and he was in setting up a centre for nurturing talent through teaching undergraduate students and providing them opportunity for excellence in research. Once at NBHM meeting he asked me "will you devote to teaching undergraduate students?" My answer was spontaneous "Yes".
Finally he succeeded in setting up CMI, which was not easy for any person with less dedication. There were desperate moments, which he expressed. For the last four years I had been trying to understand some aspects of the KdV equation, which I had left many years back. I learnt that David Mumford gave lectures at TIFR (1978-79, TIFR lectures) leading to a new deep understanding of soliton theory - more algebro-geometric in nature and also to simple methods of solutions of soliton equations. I think Professor Seshadri was influenced by Mumford. It would have been a fortune for me had I presented some results I learnt about this aspect of soliton theory to Professor Seshadri.
Passing away of Professor Seshadri is a great loss to the world of mathematics and to CMI but with a strong foundation CMI will outshine many mathematics centres.
M S Raghunathan
Centre for Excellence in Basic Sciences (CBS), Mumbai
Retired from TIFR, Mumbai
Srinivasa Ramanujan is a household name in the country; and rightly so — he ranks among the greatest mathematicians of the twentieth century. But that very greatness has cast a long shadow on his worthy successors — there are indeed a few — that has obscured their public visibility; and Seshadri surely figures at the top of that list. He ranks among the greats of the mathematical world of the twentieth century. He did pioneering work in Algebraic Geometry (some of it in collaboration with M S Narasimhan, another great mathematician and a close friend, also from Chennai). His work has had tremendous impact on the very way in which the field developed during the last six decades. Despite that kind of professional achievement Seshadri remained always a pleasant, accessible human being. He was certainly aware of the high worth of his work, yet he was far from egotistical, and seldom spoke about himself. Another manifestation of his humility was his transparent enthusiasm for good work by others, especially students and colleagues. He was one of the principal architects behind the rise of the School of Mathematics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) from the fledgling that it was in the fifties to international eminence in a decade and a half. His own research contributed a great deal to this, but his mentoring of a large number of students contributed no less. He won several awards and honours, among them the Bhatnagar Prize, Third World Academy Prize and the Trieste Science Prize; Fellowships of the three national science academies and of the Royal Society and Foreign Fellowship of the U S National Academy of Sciences. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2009.
It is in the mid-sixties that Narasimhan and Seshadri came up with their path breaking work on "Modulii of vector bundles on a compact Riemann surface". This work brought out a connection between certain purely algebraic geometric entities and some transcendental constructions (devised by them). In the next decade Seshadri concentrated on questions connected with this work and came up with many interesting and important results, some in collaboration with colleagues. Later Seshadri turned his attention to another sub-area of Algebraic Geometry, the study of algebraic homogeneous spaces. Here again he did path-breaking work: his "Standard Monomial Theory" enabled one to get a good understanding of algebraic homogeneous spaces (which was earlier limitted to Grassmanians). He continued working in this sub-area till the end, a good part of it in collaboration with his students C S Musili and Lakshmibhai. There are other very interesting and important contributions of Seshadri to algebraic geometry, but what I have mentioned above were his main preoccupations.
Seshadri left TIFR in 1984 for personal reasons and joined the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) where E C G Sudarshan had recently been appointed as Director. He had a 5-year stint at that institute during which he managed to gather a viable group of good mathematicians there. He also got IMSc to embark on research in computer science. The loss to TIFR turned out to be a big gain to mathematics in the country at large — Seshadri was sowing the seeds for another centre of excellence in mathematics in the country. In the next phase creating a centre to rival the best became a mission. He was also strongly of the view that such a centre should not only endeavour to match the best in the world in research, but should also be a great educational institution.
He left IMSc in 1989 to start a mathematics school in the SPIC Science Foundation, an enterprise which was supported handsomely by Mr A C Muthiah then Chairman of SPIC. And he initiated an undergraduate programme almost immediately with the help of colleagues from IMSc who joined him at the SPIC Foundation. Around this time there was a lot of talk in the scientific community about the need of good undergraduate programmes in mathematics, but the first movement towards fulfilling the need came from Seshadri. The School of Mathematics metamorphosed into the Chennai Mathematical Institute (CMI), but that transition was by no means an easy one. Seshadri had to face many problems as SPIC went into financial difficulties and was unable to fund the School of Mathematics. Seshadri showed remarkable tenacity of purpose and managed to tide over the difficulty by raising money from philanthropic sources. During this difficult period I was fortunate enough to be able to help him: I was the Chair of NBHM, the primary agency in the country providing funds for mathematics and NBHM stepped into the breach that SPIC's financial problems had caused. In those years Seshadri's abilities as an organizer and administrator came to the fore and the scientific community saw another dimension to the man who was till then recognized only as a leading academic. CMI today stands as a worthy memorial to the visionary mathematician that Seshadri was.
Seshadri was affable and easy to get along with, both at the personal and the professional level. He was a good listener and would seldom hold forth on any subject. He had a self-effacing charm that won him friends instantly. He had a deep interest in music, almost rivalling his passion for mathematics and had a large number of friends in music circles. Many of us at TIFR enjoyed good personal relationships with Seshadri and his wife Sundari. They would have people over quite often; their gracious hospitality and Sundari's culinary talents were much talked about in our circles. Sundari passed away last October, and that loss may well have hastened his own end.
Seshadri's passing away is of course a great loss to mathematics and the country; and the loss is the greater for his personal friends. I had a long association with him from my student days. His encouragement was a great source of strength for me at that time as well as later when I became a colleague. My family and Seshadri's were close to each other; his death (as Sundari's, earlier) is for us a grievous loss indeed.
Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai
and Chennai Mathematical Institute
Prof C S Seshadri FRS who passed away recently was a great mathematician and a great personality. Here I restrict myself to my connection with him.
I knew him as a colleague in TIFR. But I became close to him only after both of us shifted to Madras.
He joined IMSc soon after I joined. We worked closely in building up IMSc. I concentrated on the Physics wing and Seshadri developed the Mathematics part. It worked perfectly for four years 1984 to 1988. Then disaster fell. In the turmoil and struggle that followed in 1989, Seshadri provided the essential moral support.
Perhaps Seshadri felt it was too much and he left IMSc, to found CMI. Thus from the turmoil in IMSc, a new institute CMI was born. Good things can come out out of bad things!
Seshadri created CMI as a research-cum-teaching institute, much before IISERs came. He wanted me to help in building the Physics wing of CMI. I helped to recruit some outstanding young physicists. I have been teaching at CMI.
CMI grew to become a leading institution. CMI must be renamed as "Seshadri Institute of Mathematical Sciences" (SIMS).
Retired from Department of Indian Music, University of Madras
Professor Seshadri's demise has brought a gloom in the minds of even those, like me, who came to be associated with him for a very brief period. Tears come to one's eyes, as one recalls the simple and unassuming person whose life revolved around only mathematics and music, without mixing the two.
Music had been in Seshadri’s family and even in young years he sang with great maturity. In early 1950s when he was doing his undergraduate course in Loyola College, Chennai, many of his college and hostel mates were interested in music and it was a close group. M Subramanian, pursuing Chemistry then, recalls Seshadri singing in the hostel room, to mention in particular, ālāpana in various rāga-s and some not so familiar kirtana-s like ‘Citraratnamaya’ in the rāga Kharaharapriya, ‘Saṅgītaśāstra’ in the rāga Mukhārī. Harold Powers, from the Music Faculty of Princeton University USA, was then in Chennai as a Fulbright scholar, studying Karnataka Music. He had permission to use a Radio and the music group naturally got him to be a part of it. Hearing Seshadri sing once, he immediately said, "you sing with great clarity", because otherwise he was generally dismissive of the voice production of Karnataka music singers.
I have myself heard Seshadri sing at the CMI. The melodious voice, the enunciation of syllables of the text, the unhurried steady tempo, were all marked by great sensitivity, a quality that many professional Karnataka singers would do well to emulate. He was fond of singing the kirtana 'tappibratiki' in the rāga Todi and each saṅgati would come out crystal clear, beautifully chiseled. It is possible that Seshadri, a serious listener of Western Classical and Hindustani genre, became very conscious about the careful attention to be paid to musical expression.
M Subramanian (above) who later joined the Postal Service and retired as the PostMaster General, had been a serious student of Vina. In the early 1980s he learnt Computer Programming, although primarily to apply it to Postal Sorting, and began to synthesise Karnataka Music in a serious way. Around 2009 or so, when he gave a talk on the subject at the CMI, Seshadri, notwithstanding the old association, friendship and affection, did not appear to relish the kind of research music was being subjected to!
Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai
I first came across Seshadri when I was a graduate student at TIFR and one of the organizers of the Amateur Music Association that organized monthly classical music concerts. I learnt to relish his (sometimes highly ambiguous) remarks on performances, offered with an infectious smile. His presence at concerts was important since he would sit right up front and encourage the artistes with nods and smiles.
When I joined the Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, I got to see more of Seshadri and to appreciate his many qualities, especially his simplicity and warmth.
Seshadri leaves behind a legacy that few academics can hope to: not only make deep contributions to the discipline but also help set up institutions characterized by integrity and high quality research.
Canada Research Chair, Department of Mathematics
University of British Columbia, Canada
Seshadri dared to dream even if his dreams were interrupted. His dream of creating a liberal arts undergraduate institution with an emphasis on Mathematics, through the establishment of Chennai Mathematical Institute will be remembered as his legacy. His tireless efforts to reimagine learning spaces and bring together artists, musicians, scholars and activists to interact with undergraduate students will be cherished, along with his enduring contributions to mathematics. His generosity, disarming naivete and unmitigated love for Math and Music will not be forgotten. He will be missed.
Senior Deputy Editor, Business Line
I am M Ramesh, Senior Deputy Editor, Business Line newspaper and am based in Chennai.
I was introduced to Dr Seshadri in the early 2000s by Mr R Thyagarajan of the Shriram group, who wanted me to write about the Chennai Mathematical Institute. I met Dr Seshadri in CMI's office, which then used to be in T Nagar, Chennai. The photo presented in the CMI website now, alongside the obituary of Dr Seshadri, which was taken by my photographer-colleague, Bijoy Ghosh, was carried in "Business Line" with the news story I published after that meeting.
I met him subsequently quite a few times and on one such occasion, when I ventured to suggest that it should be quite easy for the CMI to raise funds from the corporate sector, Dr Seshadri remarked, "I am sorry to say this, Ramesh, but you are very naive." I had a good laugh at it.
Talking to Dr Seshadri has always been a pleasurable experience, not in the least because of his smiling, down-to-earth manner.
The last I met him was—if I remember right—in a closed door concert of Aruna Ranganathan, to which I had been also invited. After the concert, I dropped Dr Seshadri home which was just a few streets away. We discussed carnatic music all through the short drive.
A great scholar and a fine man, I'm sure the good Lord will give Dr Seshadri the eternal peace that he richly deserves.
Former Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister
Former Governor, RBI
Chairman, Madras School of Economics
I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of Prof. Seshadri. We were together in college. He was a great scholar and institution builder.
Chennai Mathematical Institute
I first met Professor Seshadri in 1990 when he was visiting Purdue for a conference to celebrate Shriram Abhyankar's birthday. He had lunch with me at the Purdue cafeteria and I enquired about my old friend Vikraman Balaji. At that time I had no idea I would be working as his junior colleague two years later.Thereby hangs a tale. I had joined TIFR as a post-doc in July 1991. I had applied to IMSc and to the SPIC Science Foundation before I left the US for TIFR, and received an e-mail from Sesahdri a day or so before I left telling me that my application had been received and asking me to stay in touch after I joined TIFR. When at TIFR I got an interview call from IMSc and I had privately made up my mind that I would accept an offer from them if they made one. Professor Balasubramaniam met me and told me that I had the job, and that Seshadri would come that afternoon to meet me and he too would offer me a job. And so it happened. Except Seshadri asked me to come home with him to Besant Nagar. And there I got Sundari's wonderful dosas followed by some excellent coffee. Who knows what it was — the coffee or the very interesting mathematics we talked — but by the time I returned to TIFR I had more or less decided to join the School of Mathematics at the SPIC Science Foundation (as CMI was known then). A month later I officially visited CMI for my interview and once again Seshadri worked his magic. He did it again many years (2007-2008 to be exact). I will say more about that later.
Seshadri made sure there was something or the other interesting going on at the institute those days. He gave three superb series of lectures (courses) in my first two years there. The first was on GIT and moduli spaces of (semi-stable) vector bundles on curves, emphasising the improvements by Simpson on the techniques Seshadri had forged and used some twenty odd years earlier. The other two courses were on basic Lie Algebras and on infinite dimensional Lie Algebras. I found him a careful and systematic lecturer who showed us the subtle points of the subject. It would be an understatement to say I learnt a lot from those courses. They showed me a way of thinking and I am forever grateful to him this. At this point a private comment made by the late (and excellent) mathematician Subhashis Nag comes to my mind. He said that somehow when Seshadri is around there is a buzz. There is no other way to describe his hand in these matters. The institute was housed in the East Coast building on G.N. Chetty Road (opposite Vani Mahal). When I joined it occupied one half of a floor, sharing the floor with various enterprises. There was a chartered accountant's office either on that floor or the floor below it. I have vague memories of an office for frozen food importers/exporters. And yet, impossibly, there was an undeniable academic atmosphere. A buzz, as Subhashis Nag put it. Seshadri and Prof P.S. Thiagarajan were surely the key reasons for that. We saw a stream of top international mathematicians and computer scientists visit the School of Mathematics those days, happy to eat lunch at Sri Balaji Bhavan or the numerous eateries and restaurants in Pondy Bazar, Nair Road, and GN Chetty Road. I especially remember a remarkable series of lectures by Kashiwara on D-Modules and representation theory.
I was young, but I could see the extraordinary energy, toughness, and most importantly resilience beneath the easy going manner. As well as his largely unerring instinct about what makes an institute tick. Matters such as where the students will get their PhD from (the School of Mathematics could not award degrees on its own) etc., bothered him a lot, but he knew that the core enterprise has to be solid academic work. He led by example, and by creating a buzz (I keep returning to Subhashis's telling phrase).
Many years later M.S. Narasimhan was at Toronto giving a series of lectures on moduli spaces. We renewed an old relationship (he had been very kind to me at Trieste many years earlier). Since he was staying very close to our home we talked a lot. One late night over dinner at our place he told me that Seshadri had proved the existence of GIT quotients of the semistable locus of a linear action on a projective variety by a reductive group without using Haboush's Theorem (Mumford's Conjecture). One consequence is another proof of Mumford's conjecture. I was quite struck. I wrote to Seshadri and he sent me his write up. That started a dialogue. In the middle of it I moved to East Carolina University in North Carolina. At Seshadri's request I visited CMI in July 2007 when we continued our conversation about his proof. The next semester (Spring 2008) I was free from teaching because of a grant. But there was no real way Swati and I could see for me to spend a semester or even a month at CMI because of our special needs son who would not have taken easily to such uprooting. On the other hand, our son would be quite at home at my brother's place in Bangalore. In the end, with some trepidation, I asked Seshadri if he (and Balaji) could come to Bangalore. Seshadri knew of my predicament. He agreed immediately and he and Balaji stayed at the Indian Academy of Sciences guest house at the Raman Research Institute. I would commute everyday from my brother's home. It worked very well. And that is when Seshadri once again made his pitch for me to return to India, and to CMI. He asked me if Swati, Karun, and I could visit Chennai and he knew a few experts on the special needs my son had. We did make that visit (with my brother), staying with our close friends, Krishna Maddaly and Shanthi Srivastava (and their daughter Sadhu). And after some more vacillation (including a three month summer visit to Chennai in 2008 by us), Seshadri once again proved impossible to say no to. The memory I carry of that long extended period starting from M.S. Narasimhan's visit to Toronto and ending with my joining CMI in July 2009, is of a warm hearted and a very sensitive man.
We have two joint papers (the second with Lakshmibai and Manoj Kummini), and I regard myself as fortunate to have collaborated with him.
I also have very warm memories of his extraordinary musical talent. I have had the privilege of listening to him at his home, and also at a room he used to rent (I think) in the 1990s near his home at Besant Nagar to practice music. My wife and I have very warm memories of him and Sundari who would always enquire about our son.
There is a deep sense of personal loss. I would like to convey to his sons Giridhar and Narasimhan my heartfelt condolences. Losing both parents in such a short interval has to be a shock and a bereavement which hurts. Perhaps the fact that both of them have such a large place in our hearts may be a source of solace. Please do accept my condolences.
Chennai Mathematical Institute
Retired from TIFR, Mumbai
M R Srinivasan
Former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission
Mrs Srinivasan and I are very sorry to learn about the passing away of Prof Seshadri. We have known Prof Seshadri and Mrs Seshadri from the time he was at TIFR. Prof Seshadri conceived and built up CMI from its very beginning. He was an outstanding mathematician and institutional builder. He faced many challenges in building a centre of excellence. He collected around him a group of younger colleagues to carry forward teaching and research in many branches of Mathematics. The foundation laid by him will hopefully take the institution to greater recognition in the future. Prof Seshadri was easily approachable and helpful to all his colleagues. We pray that his soul may rest in peace and that his family be given the strength to bear this irreparable loss.
Jugal K Verma
Head, National Centre for Mathematics
We have lost a great mathematician of modern India. He was a prolific writer, a musician and an institution builder. His mathematics was of the highest quality. It combined geometric insight with mastery over whatever mathematical tools were needed to solve problems of contemporary interest. He contributed to several fundamental areas in algebraic geometry and commutative algebra such as projective modules, theory of vector bundles, geometric invariant theory and the standard monomial theory.
Seshadri solved Serre's conjecture in dimension 2 which was a major problem in commutative algebra. This work inspired a several generations mathematicians at TIFR to work on projective modules and affine geometry. But Seshadri's real love was algebraic geometry a subject which is much more demanding but well connected with all the fields in mathematics. While he was at TIFR, the school of mathematics at TIFR became a leading centre of research in algebraic geometry and related fields. His work on numerous areas in algebraic geometry has insprired generations of mathematicians to pursue them further.
He was a great source of inspiration for fellow mathematicians and teachers. He could connect very easily to people of all ages. He was eager to discuss mathematics anytime with anyone. He remained active in research and music until the end. He founded the Chennai Mathematical Institute in a PPP model that was unheard of in those days. It is now a leading centre of research in mathematics and computer science. His aim was to attract the best undergraduate students to take up careers in academics. For many decades education at CMI was almost free. It regularly attracts leading mathematicians from all over the world.
Whenever I met him at first at the SPIC Science Foundation Institute in T Nagar and later at the Chennai Mathematical Institute, he would welcome me with a big smile and inquire about research projects I was pursuing. The environment at CMI was very congenial for research and teaching. I advised all my Ph.D. students to join CMI for post-doctoral work. Most of my students went on to do post-doctoral work at CMI. They honed their teaching skills during this period by teaching talented undergruate students.
Whenever I gave a seminar at CMI, he asked the first question. He always sat in the first row and asked very penetrating questions which often led to further research. I met him regularly in recent years as a member of the Academic Council of CMI. I often wondered how he could manage his teaching, research, music and administration so beautifully. His philosophy of running an institute was simple and effective: attract the best faculty, best students, and offer very demanding courses. Students of B.Sc. at CMI usually know whatever we teach at M.Sc. level. No wonder so many of them have gone to the best graduate schools in Europe and USA and several are now faculty members in leading departments of mathematics.
Christian Helmut Wenzel
Distinguished Professor, National Taiwan University
It was in 1990, that I met Prof. Seshadri at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I had just finished my PhD with Prof. Haboush in the field of algebraic groups in algebraic geometry. Prof. Haboush was a good friend of Prof. Seshadri. We talk about mathematics over dinner, and Prof. Seshadri invited me to his Institute, the SPIC Science Foundation. It was a welcome and wonderful change after having been in the US for several years. I am German and I always liked the spirituality of India. It was a great experience to live in Madras. Later I moved from mathematics to philosophy. I did a PhD in philosophy in Germany while being an assistant professor in mathematics there. In my twenties, I had learned Chinese out of cultural interests and now I am Professor at the National Taiwan University. But the memories of my time with Prof. Seshadri in India always stayed with me. We did not only talk about mathematics, but he also introduced me to Carnatic music, which was a wonderful experience. I will always keep good memories of Prof. Seshadri in my mind.