Page 60 - Science India August 2022
P. 60

Swatantrata ka Amrut Mahotsava
   Image Courtesy: Agharkar Research Institute
From the archives of Agharkar Research Institute in Pune
Principal JR Gharpure of the Law Col- lege Poona, on 17 October 1944, under the chairmanship of Dr MR Jayakar in which Pune’s eminent educationalists, scientists, agriculturists, and industri- alists interested in promoting higher education and scientific research partici- pated. It considered the steps to be taken for developing a nucleus for organising such a research institute for pure and ap- plied science. The meeting appointed a committee comprising Dr Jayakar as the Chairman, and Principal JR Gharpure, NC Kelkar, Dr RH Bhandarkar and Mahamahopadhyaya DV Potdar as its members. The committee was expanded by co-opting Professor SP Agharkar, Prof SL Ajrekar, Prof PR Awati, Dr PJ Deoras, Prof DL Dixit, Dr KC Ghar- pure, Dr KV Joshi, Dr NV Kanitkar, Dr DB Limaye, Prof GR Paranjape, Prof HP Parajnpye, Prof GB Patwardhan, Dr DL Sahasrabuddhe and Prof NV Joshi, who was nominated as the Honorary Secretary of the Committee.
ing its practical application to problems of national welfare; (b) Maintaining an institute or institutes for scientific re- search; (c) Establishing a science library; (d) Disseminating the knowledge of pure and applied sciences through lectures, publications, demonstrations, exhibi- tions, etc.
Its constitution was duly framed and registered under the Charitable Societies Act on 1 October 1946. Initially, a small fund was built from private donations and membership subscriptions. How- ever, those were the pre-independence days, and it was not easy to get financial aid from the government. Therefore, a group of scientists who decided to orga- nise it, offered to work in a purely hon- orary capacity without receiving any remuneration.
Prof SP Agharkar was unanimously elected as Founder Director of MACS in 1946. He was the most inspiring dynamic personality behind the whole initiative. The idea of starting a research
institute in Poona was in his mind for a long time. He was the maker and main organising hand behind several scien- tific societies and institutions in Cal- cutta and elsewhere. He had gathered immense experience running scientific institutions all over the country. He was the Secretary of the Indian Science Con- gress Association for several years and the Secretary of the National Institute of Sciences, now Indian Science Academy, for over 10 years.
Prof Agharkar gathered a small group of senior scientists in Poona who were prepared to work without any re- muneration in this new venture. The group included Prof NV Joshi, who cre- ated a nucleus for research in Microbiol- ogy and Biochemistry, Prof SL Ajrekar, who organised Mycology & Plant Pa- thology Department and Prof PJ Deoras who started investigations in Zoology. Prof Agharkar himself looked after the Botany and Soil-Science Departments. All these honorary workers tried hard to set up and organise departments in their respective subjects and ran them most economically. Prof SP Agharkar, Prof JJ Asana, Dr VN Likhite, and others donated their valuable personal collection of books, journals, and back volumes of periodicals consisting of important reference work worth more than Rupees 1.5 lakhs. This contribu- tion served as a nucleus for the library of the institute. Senior scientists like Prof MN Kamat, Dr N Narayana, and Dr GB Deodikar, in their turn, persuaded other scientists and promising research work- ers younger than them and got them to work at the Research Institute. They at- tracted several young research workers
During 1945-46, the committee
met several times. As a result of their
deliberations, it was decided to start a
science institute under the auspices of
MACS or Maharashtra
the Indian Law Society, that graciously
Association for the
provided two big rent-free halls in the
Cultivation of Science came basement of the Law College building
for conducting research with particular
into being in 1946 with emphasis on the requirements of rural
initial funds from private areas. It was also agreed that an associa-
donations and membership tion of persons interested in this project
would run the institute. Thus came into
subscriptions. Scientists existence the Maharashtra Association
behind the association
for the Cultivation of Science (MACS)
decided to forego
on 5 October 1946 with the following
remuneration and work in a aims and objectives:-
purely honorary capacity
(a) The promotion of Science, includ-

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