In 1930 Birbal Sahni became a member of the
Executive Council of Lucknow University. Three years later he was elected the Dean of the
Faculty ofScience. He held this position till his death.
In 1930 Birbal Sahni became a member of the Executive Council of Lucknow University.
Three years later he was elected the Dean of the Faculty ofScience. He held this position
till his death.
Birbal Sahni was of the opinion that a student who had studied both botany and geology
would make a better palaeo- botanist. With the inauguration of the Department of Geology
in the university in 1943, he was appointed as the head of that department also. He was
free from snobbery and officiousness. He was an excellent chief to work with. If he wanted
the service of his junior colleagues he never summoned them to his room; insisted on hard
work and cared for quality, too. He used to quote the saying, "Art is long and time
is fleeting", and "Hard work killed nobody". He was unwilling to waste even
the time spent on journeys. He found time to read and make notes while travelling.
Birbal Sahnis love of research and desire to encourage it found expression in his
instituting a Research Prize in the name of his father. The Ruchi Ram SahniResearch
Prize is awarded every year for the best work in botanical research. Professor
Sahnis monthly allowance as the Dean of the Faculty of Science formed the funds for
In the Department of Botany the number of students increased every year, and teachers
had only a small room. Sahni had not a room of his own. He used to sit in the Botany
Museum. Once a guest from abroad visited the department. On being shown round the
department, he casually asked, "Where does Professor Sahni work?" He was shown a
table in the corner of the museum and he exclaimed: "What! Doesnt Professor
Sahni have a room of his own?" Then he himself addedsmilingly, "Yes, great
scientists all the world over have worked only in garrets."