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Association in 1891, where members ex- perimented with indigenous raw materi- als. Later on, the same Pramatha Nath Bose educated Sir Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata on the iron deposits of the Chhota Nagpur plateau and the Tata Steel mill was established at Jamshedpur.
In 1904, Jogendranath Ghose estab- lished the Association for the Advance- ment of Scientific and Industrial Educa- tion (AASIE). This association played an important role in sending Indian students abroad during the Swadeshi movement.
It is important to note, the pres- ent Jadavpur University and Rajabazar Science College are also the outcome of the National Council of Education set up in 1906, through Bengal Technical Institute and Bengal National College. The point to note is, these institutions were outside the purview of the finan- cial support of the British Government and survived only on donations from Indian philanthropists like Sir Tara- knath Palit, and politician and social worker Sir Rashbehari Ghosh. Despite discriminatory behaviour of the colonial masters, these institutions carried out advanced scientific research in Calcutta.
The establishment of the Calcutta Mathematical Society on September 6, 1908, was one of the similar efforts to generate opportunities and contribute to mathematics by Indian students. The society made its mark under the lead- ership of Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee, the then Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta Uni- versity and founder president of the so- ciety, along with Sir Gurudas Banerjee, Prof CE Cullis and Prof Gauri Sankar Dey as vice presidents and Prof Phanin- dra Lal Ganguly as the founder secre- tary of the organisation.
The story of Sir Jagadis Chandra Bose is another anecdote on the list. Bose, an extraordinary physicist, bota- nist and biologist of the time, attracted the attention of the significant scientific community across the globe through his demonstration of wireless transmission of electromagnetic radiations. However, he too had to endure intense racial dis- crimination by the British — he was ap- pointed in provisional education service
Rashbehari Ghosh was a leading philanthropist funding Indian initiatives in science
with one-third the full salary of a profes- sor, which they reserved only for profes- sors of European origin. In fact, during his official deputation at Cambridge, the authority did not sanction his paid leave and forced him to make arrangements to complete his studies. Bose lived his life with the Indian philosophical thoughts of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam by not patenting his research in the interest of humanity. A man of high calibre, his experiments discovered and proved the existence of life and sensitivity in plants through his innovative techniques and instruments. After he retired from Presi- dency College, he used all his savings to establish Bose Research Institute in 1917. His sheer interest was to continue the tradition of experimentations for the sake of science and for national prestige. In the inaugural function, he mentioned, “I dedicate this institute — not merely a laboratory but a temple...”, which was later known as Basu Vigyan Mandir.
Prof Shankar Purushottam Agharkar was yet another name who established educational institutions in Pune. He was an Indian morphologist and an expert on the biodiversity of Western Ghats, where he discovered the freshwater jellyfish, generally found in Africa. Agharkar was also secretary of the Indian Science Congress Association for several years. Inspired by Sircar’s IACS, he brought together many like- minded educationists and scientists of Pune and established the Maharashtra
Association for Cultivation of Science in Pune in 1946. Agharkar was unani- mously chosen as the founder-director of the institute. In the beginning, there was no fund available to run the insti- tute. Therefore, many scientists worked voluntarily without any pay. To estab- lish the institute, Agharkar even sold his wife’s gold ornaments. Such was the dedication and passion of people at that time. The institute was named after him in 1992 as the Agharkar Research Institute.
It is clear that the scientific national awakening of the country — an impor- tant constituent of the struggle for free- dom from British rule — was powered by India’s scientific community with the generous support of the country’s phi- lanthropists, businessmen and political leaders all of whom came together to free India from the colonial yoke at all levels of existence. It was a brave effort to create and nurture long-lasting indig- enous scientific institutions without the support of the colonial government and without antagonising it either.
A well-known example is of Swami Vivekanada’s suggestion to Sir Jamsetji Nusserwanji Tata during their voyage from Japan to Chicago in 1893 to es- tablish an indigenous science institute in India. It was about the typical char- acteristics of Britishers of not sharing the ideas and techniques when it came to the natural growth of science. Swami Vivekananda’s suggestion became a re- ality in 1908 when the Indian Institute of Science was established at the initia- tive of Jamsetji Tata and through the wholehearted support of the Maharaja of Mysore who donated 350 acres of land in Bangalore to set up the institute.
To conclude, we can infer that the establishments started by the British in India had the sheer aim to loot India and generate lower-income labour to increase their revenue. Therefore, the majority of institutions established by native Indians were highly spiritual in developing the Swadeshi spirit and na- tionalistic approach among the people of India.
*The writer is Scientist ‘F’ at Vigyan Prasar, NOIDA.
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