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Mainstream, VOL LV No 33 New Delhi August 5, 2017

Pushpa Mittra Bhargava (1928-2017

Saturday 5 August 2017



The following is a tribute to Prof P.M. Bhargava, the distinguished molecular biologist and indefatigable champion of promoting scientific temper and self-reliance, from the Council for Social Development. He passed away on August 1 in Hyderabad after a brief illness. He was the Chairperson of the CSD Southern Regional Centre’s Managing Committee at Hyderabad.

In the passing away of Professor Pushpa Mittra Bhargava, India has lost an eminent scientist, an influential public intellectual and a unique institution-builder. P.M. Bhargava breathed his last on August 1, 2017 at Hyderabad at the age of 89. In his death the Council for Social Development lost one of its great mentors. P.M. Bhargava was a Life Member of the CSD, Chairperson of its Research and Publication Committee and Chairperson of the Managing Committee of the Southern Regional Centre, Hyderabad.

Founder of the Centre for Cellular and Mole-cular Biology, Hyderabad, which he built as a global institute of excellence, P.M. Bhargava conducted pioneering research in biotechnology on the basis of which he influenced many of India’s policies on genetic engineering. Among his many outstanding researches, the discovery and analytical documentation of some 90,000 species of traditional plants from various parts of India will remain a lasting contribution to the welfare of humankind.

On the burning issues facing the country, he always took steadfast positions in public and presented objective critiques of policy. On the promotion of scientific temper and secular values in society as well as universalising school education he passionately pursued his efforts through his writings and joining various initiatives. His return of the Padma Bhushan award in 2015 was a unique gesture of protest against the increasing climate of intolerance.

As a mentor in the CSD P.M. Bhargava guided research and advocacy programmes of the CSD both in Delhi and in Hyderabad with insights and critical advice. In the past two decades he helped the CSD to grow into a national centre for research on core issues of social development that concerned the marginalised. Under his leadership the CSD undertook several new programmes on themes on the borderline of natural sciences and social sciences. His insistence that good research should not only meet rigorous academic standards but must also be presented to the public in order to lead to fresh policy initiatives and social action to benefit the common people will always remain the inspiring canon before the CSD. Under his leadership the CSD Southern Regional Centre developed into a major centre for innovative research and purposeful public initiatives.

The CSD community deeply mourns the passing of Pushpa Mittra Bhargava and sends sincere condolences to his family.

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