Birth: 14 November 1891, Shahpur (now in Pakistan)
The death: 10 April 1949, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
Scope of work: Mythology
Dr. Birbal Sahni was an Indian archaeologist who contributed significantly in this field by studying the fossils of the Indian subcontinent. He was also a geologist and was also deeply interested in archeology. He established ‘Birbal Sahni Institute of Paleobotany’ in Lucknow. He studied the flora of India and made significant contributions to the Puranaspati Shastra. Birbal Sahni was President of the National Academy of Sciences, India, and Honorary President of the International Botanical Congress, Stockholm, along with writing many letters and journals on these subjects.
Story of Jawaharlal Nehru
Birbal Sahni was born on 14 November 1891 in a village called Bheela of Shahpur district (now in Pakistan). His father’s name was Prof. Ruchiram was Sahni. Bhedha was a beautiful and beautiful village surrounded by salt rocks and hills. Child Birbal was raised in this beautiful delightful environment. His father Ruchiram Sawhney was a scholar, educationist and social worker who lived in an intellectual and scientific environment at home. Ruchiram Sahni took Birbal’s scientific interest and increased curiosity from childhood. Birbal was very fond of nature since childhood and used to fascinate the surrounding places, green trees and so on.
Nationalists like Motilal Nehru, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Sarojini Naidu and Madan Mohan Malviya used to visit his house.
Birbal Sahni did his early education at Central Model School in Lahore and after that he went to Government College University, Lahore, and Punjab University for higher education. His father was employed at Government College University, Lahore. He learned botany from the famous botanist Professor Shivdas Kashyap. In 1911, Birbal received his B.Sc. Passed the examination. When he was in college, the freedom struggle was going on and he also wanted to contribute in this, but the father got him higher education by giving him ICS. Birbal went to England, respecting his wish, because he wanted to make an officer. In 1914, he graduated from Immanuel College, Cambridge University, and then Professor A. Engaged in research work under the supervision of C. Neeward (who was the best botanist of the time). In 1919, he earned the degree of Doctor of Science from the University of London.
After this he went to Munich for some time, where he made famous botanist Prof. K. Gonal. Did research work under the direction of Birbal’s first research paper was published in the journal “New Phytology”, after which his influence in the world of botany increased. In the same year, his second paper was also published which was related to the mixed analysis of “Niphronipes balio bellis”. His research work continued and he wrote a paper on the development of branches in “Cliviles” and also sent him for the “Shidbury Hardy” award. In 1917, this paper was also published in the journal “New Phytology”.
Birbal Sahni was so promising in his subject that his education abroad was completed without financial help from parents because he continued to get scholarship. The Royal Society of London also assisted Birbal in research work.
During his stay abroad, Dr. Birbal Sahni met many eminent scientists and scholars. The University of London awarded him his doctorate. In 1919, he returned to India and started working as a professor of botany at Banaras Hindu University. After this he also worked in Punjab University, but he stayed here only for a short time because in 1921, he was appointed as Chairman of the newly established Botany Department at Lucknow University.
The University of Cambridge recognized his research and in 1929 he was awarded the Sc. Awarded the title of D.
Pro. Sahni preferred to work in the field rather than in the laboratory, and he traveled from Bheelgaon’s salt chains to the Rajmahal hills of Bihar and Dakshin’s Intertrophy Planto. In 1933, Prof. Sahni was appointed as the dean at Lucknow University. When the Geology Department was established in Lucknow University in 1943, he also did teaching work there.
He studied many sites of Happa, Mohenjodaro and Indus Valley and drew many conclusions about this civilization. He studied Rohtak, a site of the Indus Ghat civilization, and discovered that people who lived here centuries ago knew a special type of coin. In China, Rome, North Africa, etc., he also studied the special technique of minting coins.
He was a learned scholar of the whole plant and did not want to keep his knowledge to himself, so he encouraged the students and young scientists. As the Dean of the University, the special allowance he used to get, he used it in the encouragement of scientists doing new research work.
Dr. Birbal Sahni wanted to set up a complete botanical institute for which the necessary resources were a problem, but his efforts were successful only and on 3 April 1946, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru laid the foundation stone of Birbal Sahni Institute. Pro. Birbal Sahni also toured Canada, America, Europe and England to develop the institute.
In 1947, the then Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad sent him a proposal to become the education secretary of the country, but Dr. Sahni wanted to spend the rest of his life in the study, research and development of the entire botany, so the proposal was politely rejected.
Honours and awards
Pro. Birbal Sahni did important work in the field of Botany which was appreciated and respected in the country. In 1930 and 1935, he was appointed as the Vice President of the World Congress Pura Botanical Branch. He was elected President of the Indian Science Congress twice (1921 and 1928). In 1937-38 and 1943-44, he was the head of the National Academy of Sciences. In 1929, Cambridge University gave Dr. Sahni the Sc. Awarded the title of D. He was elected a Fellow by the Royal Society of London in 1936–37.
Birbal Sahni was married to Savitri in 1920 after returning from abroad. Savitri was the daughter of the iconic Raibahadur Sundaradas of Punjab and later helped in all possible ways in Dr. Sahni’s research work.
On his return from the US in September 1948, he became unwell and his body became very weak. On 10 April 1949, due to a heart attack, this great scientist turned to the hereafter.
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