When anything new is discovered,
there will always be people who question it. The results of Bose's work, too, were not
accepted by all. There were people who challenged them and even said that there was not
much truth in them. Bose gave a lecture at the Linnean Society next year to a gathering of
scientists. He explained with suitable experiments how plants respond to stimuli. Even
those who had challenged him could not find fault with his experiments or conclusions.
There is an interesting story about a demonstration that Bose gave in
England. On that day he wanted to show some new things that he had found out. He had come
to the conclusion that plants can feel pain like animals; that when we pinch them they
suffer; and that they die in a few minutes after they are poisoned. Bose wanted to show
experiments to prove these conclusions. A number of scientists and other leading men and
women had gathered to hear him. Bose started the experiments by injecting poison into a
plant. The plant should have shown signs of death in a few minutes. On the contrary,
nothing happened. The learned audience started laughing. Even at this adverse moment Bose
showed admirable calmness. He thought quickly. The poison that he injected into the plant
did not kill it. So, he supposed that it would not hurt him also. With full confidence he
got ready to inject the poison into himself. At that instant a man got up and confessed
that instead of poison he had put similar colored water. Now, Bose conducted the
experiment again with real poison, whereupon the plant withered and died as expected.
Jagadishchandra Bose continued his work and made new discoveries. He
found that plants shrink a little during the night. He found out why plants always grow
towards light even if they have to bend. He also found out the reason why some plants grow
straight and some do not. He explained that this was due to the 'pulsation' in plants.
This pulsation quickens by heat and slows down by cold in plants.
Jagadishchandra Bose did remarkable work, - and scientists outside
India had honoured him. Yet there were people who opposed him. As a result even the Royal
Society delayed publishing his valuable work in its publications, But nothing could make
him give up his work. He was sure that years of research had led him to the truth. So he
did not feel that it was very necessary to depend on scientific journals only. He wrote
books and published them on his own.
By this time Bose had made a name for himself as a great scientist. The
instruments he had developed were being used in some Western countries too. He visited
Europe and America in 1907 and 1914; scientific institutions invited him to explain his
discoveries. He visited Japan also.
Most of us have seen a peculiar kind of plant called the mimosa
(touch-me-not') which spreads on the ground. It has very small leaves. It is extremely
sensitive. If we just touch one leaf, that leaf and the leaves nearby all fold up. The
greater the force we use, the larger the number of leaves which fold up. The whole row of
leaves of the branch can be made to fold like this by touching it with a little greater
force. Why does only this plant react like this? We have often wondered, haven't we? Bose
wondered, too. And he went on to find out. He found that other plants also react to a
man's touch in the same way. The only difference is this: We cannot see the reaction of
other plants but we can see the reaction of the mimosa. But Bose wanted to study the
reaction of other plants, too. He designed delicate instruments that would show such
reactions in them. When he went abroad he took these instruments and also some of the
plants with him. It was very difficult to' keep the plants alive in the, climate of
foreign countries. Jagadishchandra Bose showed the experiment in Cambridge and Oxford. The
scientists were fascinated by the extreme sensitivity of plants; they were also filled
with wonder when they saw the excellent instruments Jagadishchandra Bose himself had made.
No one had done work of this kind in Biology. It was news that plants could also
experience different sensations like us.
Jagadishchandra Bose continued his search for new knowledge. His
achievements were many. The British Government honoured him more than once. In 1915 when
retired from service he was made an Emeritus Professor. He was to get Rs. 1500 a month as
long as he lived.
He was honoured as a Fellow of the Royal Society (F.R.S) in 1920. In
1927 he presided over the Indian Science Congress.