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Celebration of 26th Birth anniversary of Dr. B.P.Pal by lecture of PadmaShree Dr.A.K.Sood at B.P.Pal Auditorium, I.A.R.I.

Dr. Sangeeta Soi
Dr. Sangeeta Soi

May 26 is Dr Pal's birth centenary, and we would be paying him appropriate homage if we ensure that in the next farm revolution we give as much importance to his knowledge of agriculture and science and his leadership as to environmental sustainability.

The history of agricultural development in India is intimately connected with the achievements of one of the country's foremost agricultural scientists, Dr B. P. Pal. The Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) was earlier located in Pusa, Bihar, but after a severe earthquake damaged its main building, the Institute was shifted to New Delhi in 1936. Dr Pal was the first Indian Director of the IARI in New Delhi at its campus, which was named Pusa, in 1950 and continued to serve in that capacity until May 1965, when he became the first Director-General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR). He held this position from May 1965 to January 1972, during which period the Green Revolution was launched with outstanding success.

Dr Pal's major contribution to the scientific aspects of the Green Revolution was in the area of wheat genetics and breeding. He observed that rust disease was largely responsible for low yields of wheat and, therefore, developed a systematic breeding method to develop varieties with resistance to rust disease.

To view Dr Pal's contributions in perspective it is important to remember that in the late 1960s that India faced a major crisis on the food front; it came to be viewed as a country of starving people. The Green Revolution, conceptualised and launched under Dr Pal's leadership, was a major achievement for independent India, which over a period not only led to a major increase in productivity and yields in several parts of the country, but also changed India's image, which was transformed from that of a populous country living on gifts of foodgrains largely from the US to an exporter of food.

Dr Norman Borlaug, who is regarded as the scientific inspiration behind the worldwide effort to achieve food self-sufficiency, stated: "It was during Dr Pal's leadership that the agronomic research on wheat in India equalled the best in the world. He was truly the architect of India's Green Revolution."

The lesson that scientists and researchers can derive from Dr Pal's outstanding example and record is that the economic gains for society from science depend not only on a high level of scientific knowledge, but also in the practice of certain values and ethics which are an essential ingredient of effective leadership and the ability to inspire others.

26th Dr. B.P.Pal Memorial Lecture, 2019

 IARI  celebrated the birth anniversary of Dr. B.P. Pal on 27.05.19. On this occasion, 26th Dr. B.P. Pal Memorial Lecture was organized at I.A.R.I.. Padmashri Dr. Ajay K Sood, the honorary professor, IISc, Bangalore delivered  the lecture on the topic " Why do we flock together: A physicists' view". Dr. T. Mohapatra, Secretary DARE, and DG ICAR  also graced the function.

The programme included Invocation and lightning og lamp with tribute to Dr. B.P. Pal. Welcome address by Dr. Rashmi Aggarwal, Dean and Joint Dir. Edn, I.A.R.I.Dr. A.K.Singh, DDG, Agriculture Extn. followed by Dr. Trilochan Mohapatra, Secretary, DARE who spoke about the speaker Dr. Ajay K.Sood,Padmashree who delivered a lecture on "Why do we flock together, a physicist view" Honorary Professor, IISc., Bangaluru.

Vote of thanks was given by Dr. Vinod, Professor, Genetics Division and president, Genetics club.

It is rare to have had a leader of the Green Revolution who was also concerned about protection of the environment. We hope that Dr Pal's example and the inspiration provided by his achievements would form the basis of the resurgence in Indian agriculture.

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