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A great scientist who lived only for knowledge. He declined high posts. He was a genius who shone in several spheres. He was a great teacher and a great man.

Author - M.Jayarama Adiga

Birbal Sahani

Maulana Abul Kalam Azad was free India’s first Minister of Education. He invited a reputed scientist to become a secretary to the Government in the Ministry of Education. The scientist was an able officer and expert educationist. But he declined the offer. He wrote to theminister: ‘I have decicated my life to the work of a scientific institution. Please do not ask me to undertake any other responsibility.’ A high place in government had no attraction for him.

The scientist was Birbal Sahni, a world- famous palaeobotanist. Even as a young man, he had no love for an administrative career. He dedicated himself to the cause of science. His interest in the secrets of the nature persisted throughout his life. He was as much interested in spreading scientific knowledge as in research. He was a professor in Lucknow University and adored by thousands of students. He pioneered the studies of palaeobotany in India.

Palaeobotany is the study of fossil plants. These fossil plants are found in the layers of the earth and in certain types of rocks. The study of fossil plants is closely connected with geological and botanical research. Palaeobotanical research is helpful in solving the problems connected with the formation of the earth andevolution (gradual development) of plants. It also throws light upon questions of changes of climate in the past. It is said that long, long ago continents moved. Palaeobotany helps in the study of this problem. The knowledge of palaeobotany also useful in solving certain problems connected with the search for petroleum connected with the search for petroleum and coal. Birbal was master of both geology and botany. He was considered foremost among the authorities on palaeobotany in the world.

Even as a child Birbal was interested in nature. Excursions to mountains and collection of different types of leaves, shells and stones fascinated him.

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About Birbal Sahani
You are Here! Introduction
The Parents
An Earnest Student
A Fresh Question Paper!
In England
Begins Research
Back In India
Guiding Research
Devotion To Work
The Himalayas
The Study Of Coins
A Shower Of Honours
A Source Of Strength
For The Research Institute
He Remains An Inspiration
A Rare Personality
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