Founded by Asutosh Mukherjee on September 6, 1908 the society is in its hundredth year but it has no funds for everyday expenses.
At present, the society has one of the largest collections of mathematical journals, which numbers at about 160, from various countries in the world, and a large number of old books, including the works of Asutosh Mukherjee and S N Bose.
The society generates funds of its own by coaching students for the National Eligibility Test to meet its expenses.
The society’s expenses amount to about Rs 50,000 per month, which includes the maintenance of the ancillary staff and other expenses.
The society has 20 professors of mathematics teaching on an honorary basis, only for love of the subject.
Even the secretary, M R Adhikari, is only available on the weekends as he is a professor of pure mathematics and is occupied with his work and cannot be at the society on weekdays.
“We don’t have enough funds to buy new books. We have a good collection of old books and journals but we would like equipment to study various allied areas of mathematics, like DNA cryptography,” said Adhikari. The collection of old books also requires preservation and needs to be archived properly.
“Even after 100 years, we don’t have a computerised digital library,” he added.
“A proposal was sent to the Union ministry through the state government for making it an Institute of National Importance (INI) in 2005. But the state government forwarded the proposal with a clause that it would not bear any financial responsibility of the society,” said Adhikari.
The society also sent a proposal to Union External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee for its development but the matter has been put in cold storage, added Adhikari.
The society publishes four bulletins and journals annually. These journals have a circulation of about 1,000, of which 160 are sent abroad. The society has sent budget proposals for the national seminar held every year from September 6 to 8 and the international symposium held from December 16 to 18, to both the Centre and the state.
According to members, if they wait for funds, which are always late, they could never have the seminars. “The money approved reaches us months later and we have to use the money from periodicals and from students coaching to meet the expenditure,” a professor said.