Memory Book
Ashok P Maitra
May 05, 1938 - November 11, 2008

Sunday, November 27, 2011 9:25 PM

I first met Professor Maitra many years ago when I was a prospective M.Stat student invited for an oral exam following the written test for admission. The oral exam was about an hour long. It was quite an experience to answer probing questions and receive very informative feedback from the professors present. I still remember an elegant alternative approach that Professor Maitra indicated after I had answered one of his questions. Afterward, I learned about some kind comments he had made regarding my oral exam.

As an ISI student, I heard much praise of his teaching. Unfortunately, I didn't have the privilege of taking a class taught by him.

Years later, I gave a talk at Minnesota and met Professor Maitra again. During the seminar, I made a light-hearted prediction about the Minnesota-Wisconsin basketball game that was to be played that evening. The next day, Professor Maitra smilingly told me that it had been a good prediction. During my visit, his warmth and encouragement made for a special memory. I am sure many of his students, friends, and colleagues have treasured memories of this wonderful man.
Sudip Bose (Glenn Dale, MD)

Thursday, July 29, 2010 2:00 PM

I recently met Prof. Mukherjee at U. Conn, who was a student of Ashok at ISI. I was devasted to learn that he had passed away in 2008. I had made several attempts to contact him. I managed to track him down to Florida, but lost him the next time I called.

Ashok and I were class mates doing our masters in statistics at the Universiy of Bombay. It was during the early days when the building was on the then Hornby Rd., close to Flora Fountain, and marked by the majestic Rajabai Clock Tower. There were three of us as very close friends. Ashok. Bal Wagle, and myself. We played table tennis between classes, or went to the cafetaria of Elphinston College for coffee. We worked together to help each other in our studies as well as charting our future. We applied abroad together. It was convenient, since we also lived close to each other. Ashok lived in Matunga close to
Don Bosco, and Bal and I lived in Dadar which was about a mile away.

The great moment arrived when we found that we were all accepted to great universities abroad. Ashok to U. Cal. Bal to the London School of Economics, and I to Yale. We decided to leave together. We travelled on the same ship, the P.o. Liner the StrathNaver. that plied between Australia ad Southamton via the Ballard Pier in Bombay. It was both an exhilarating and sad moment to wave to our families on the pier as the ship slowly moved away. We spent 22 days on the ship stopping at ports of call. at Aden, Alexandia, Port Said, Pirius in Greece, then Marseilles, Malta, Gibralta, and finally reaching our destination in England. Bal stayed behind, Ashok and I flew to New York, and landed at Idlewild Airport (JFK Today). We went to Manhattan and stayed at the YMCA for a few days and took in the sights. It was lovely. Then came the time to say adios amigos. He decided to take the train from NY to California. I went with him to the station, and waved good bye as the train slowly pulled away. I next took the train to New Haven.

After spending our childhood together in Bombay, and two intense years together working on our M.Sc. in Statistics, we were finally scattered to plough our seperate futures.

Peace Be To You Forever.
Love Tapan.
Tapan Roy (West Hartford, CT)

Saturday, April 03, 2010 7:45 PM

I often visit this, not to say about him; but to know more about him.

Friday, December 04, 2009 11:02 AM

I am sad to hear of Dr.Maitras demise. Well, I was a young boy when Dr.Maitra was at ISI, Calcutta. But I remember him very well. He stayed in the building above us at the ISI quarters at BT Rd,Calcutta. He was married to a Swedish girl as far I can remember. My father Prof.TA Davis was head of the crop science unit at ISI. I remember very well Dr.CRRao and E.M.Paul. We used to play shuttle badminton in the court just outside our building
Jerry Davis (Bangalore)

Monday, January 12, 2009 3:27 AM

IN continuation of what I have stated earlier, I have to add the following;
Ashok andI grew up from childhood together. We were neighbours, great friends and competitors . We studied in Don Bosco High school together in Bombay from childhood to graduation. He was recognised as a genius in school esp.
maths, and from his early days he would tell me " I want to be a mathmatician only."
I would like to bring out the human side of Ashok as a child. It was his birthday and he had invited me home for a
party. Since I was poor, I could not give him a present,
but I had won a prize book in school earlier; and I gave it to him at the party.He accepted it, at the party, but later came to my houseand returned it " Saying this is yours and I can't take it."
He would get pocket money in school; and during the lunch
break at school;, he would come over to me and say " come on lets have ice candy together and pay it from his pocket.
This went on for a no. of years until we grew out of our childhood.
He was a great football fan of Mohan Bagan and one day we were listening in radio IFA shield football final live( no TV those days) It was an exciting match, but in the dying moments of the game a player called Venkatesh from the rival East Bengal side scored the winning goal. Ashok told me there' you traitor'ofcourse jokingly.
Surprisingly he did not do well in his final exam at school, but made up foritin college.
I lost contact with him once the Maitras moved out of Bombay, ;
I had always wanted to meet him thereafter but alas it will never be.
May his soul rest in eternal peace and may the Almighty comfort all his near and dear ones.


Sunday, January 11, 2009 8:20 AM

I have already posted my condolences of my dear friend
Ashok Maitra earlier.

Venkatesh Iyer (Chennai, India)

Thursday, December 11, 2008 8:42 PM

Here is my tribute to Ashok Maitra: Ashok Maitra was one of my dearest friends during the time I spent at the Indian Statistical Institute in Calcutta. We had parallel professional interests and it was always a pleasure to discuss them with him. After I returned to America Ashok,for a time became the Director of the Institute. The news of his passing came as a personal shock to me. I shall always miss him.
Gopinath Kallianpur (Nashville, TN)

Sunday, November 30, 2008 8:46 PM

My first contact with Dr, Maitra was before I joined ISI as a B Stat student in 1976. I came to get special permission so that I could apply for admission without being 17 years old as required by the admission rules at the time.

He was the Dean of Studies and I had the privilege of being a student under his “Chatra Chayya”. With the possible exception of Bimal Roy, who followed him more than 30 years later, Dr. Maitra was the most popular person to ever grace the Dean’s chair.

Dr. Maitra taught us Probability Theory in B. Stat. 4th year in 1980. While that was my one and only experience with him as my teacher in a formal setting, he guided me throughout my stay at ISI. When I was completing my M. Stat. in APMS in 1980-81, he would guide me as to which colleges to apply in the US. When I received admission from several of the, he guided me into choosing Urbana-Champaign, the land of Doob and Burkholder, as my destination.

I let Dr. Maitra down. I didn’t complete my Ph. D. at Urbana as he would have wanted me to do. I still have a copy of the testimonial that he wrote on my behalf which he recommended me and said “Atul is a hardworking young man and bears an excellent moral character”. I have always tried to live up to those words Dr. Maitra and from wherever you are watching; I will never let you down on that front.

I had the privilege of seeing him a few more times in the US. I have hosted an annual ISI get-together in the Washington DC area for the last 15 years and he graced one of them with his presence when he was visiting the campus of UMBC at Baltimore around 1994. He was as talkative and jovial than as when I knew I last saw him in 1981. We will miss you Dr. Maitra!
Atul Jain (Vienna, VA)

Sunday, November 30, 2008 3:18 AM

Ashok Maitra was the Dean at ISI when I joined as a B. Stat student in 1976. During our first few weeks of classes one day a teacher was absent, and so we, as school children are wont to do, were raising quite a commotion just talking and laughing. AM heard the noise from his Dean's office and came to our class. Without reprimanding us, he just took a piece of chalk and spent the next 30 minutes explaining to us what is meant by variance. That was the first time I learnt that variance was more than a mathematical calculation to be done on a Facit machine.

Something of him will always live with us, specially those of us who were fortunate to have had classes from him.
Rahul Roy (ISI, Delhi)

Sunday, November 30, 2008 2:29 AM

I knew Dr. Ashok Maitra from my B.Stat and M.Stat days in Indian Statistical Institue, Kolkata (circa 1974-1979).

As students we used to organize an annual camping trip - and it was our turn in 1978. The trip was planned for Darjeeling. The whole Darjeeling trip arrangement was under his sponsorship, as the officiating ISI Director. He even lent us his Jeep to wade through the floods and visit the possible travellers when we decided to call of the travel plans at the last minute. He was one of the most approachable director I knew.

We all loved and respected him.
Indranath Modak (Lausanne, Switzerland)
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