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RIP Pushpa Mittra Bhargava: Noted scientist who returned Padma Bhushan leaves behind a strong legacy

Bhargava Was Never Afraid To Take Strong Decisions, Whether It Was Opposing The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project Or Returning 'Padma Bhushan' Which He Received In 1986. He Returned India's Third Highest Civilian Award As A Mark Of Protest And Concern Against The Intolerant Climate That Was Prevailing In The Country.

News Nation Bureau | Edited By : Abhishek Ranjit | Updated on: 02 Aug 2017, 07:08:44 PM
Pushpa Mitra Bhargava (File photo)

New Delhi:

Pushpa Mitra Bhargava, one of the eminent scientists that India has ever seen, died on Tuesday. He will be remembered for his remarkable contribution to the field of science and for introducing modern biotechnology in India. He died at the age of 89, leaving behind a very strong legacy. He was suffering from various health issues and breathed his last at around 6pm. He is now survived by a a daughter and a son. 

Bhargava played a key role in establishing Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad in 1977. He continued to head the centre till 1990 and it was his numerous efforts that paved way for an institution for basic biology.

The Ajmer born scientist completed his masters in organic chemistry from Queens College, Varanasi  and Ph.D in synthetic chemistry from Lucknow University. He was awarded with several international and national awards. Many don't know, but the very same person blocked the production of genetically modified food crop in our country.

Bhargava was never afraid to take strong decisions, whether it was opposing the Kudankulam nuclear power project or returning 'Padma Bhushan' which he received in 1986. He returned India's third highest civilian award as a mark of protest and concern against the intolerant climate that was prevailing in the country. 

The scientist never backed out from taking the authority and went on to file a petition in the Supreme Court of India when Murli Manohar Joshi tried to introduce astrology in our universities. He even didn't shy away from opposing the Indira Gandhi led government in his essay, 'A Statement on Scientific Temper’. 

Bhargava dared to do what others couldn't. He had strong words for the scientific community and didn't hesitate to question why it was bowing down before the people who had power in hand. He was unabashed in his opinion and even gave a case for banning the Science Congress and renaming it as Anti-Science Congress. 

Being a logical person, he was completely against the superstitions and orthodox practices that are prevalent in various parts of the country. Bhargava truly believed that as a scientist he should always promote scientific temper in the country.  He was actually worried about the emergence of miracle makers and god-men and their influence on the people of India.

He was also the vice-chairman of National Knowledge Commission and a member of National Security Advisory Board. 

Despite that fact that he was wheelchair bound for the remaining ten years of his life, he never backed down from a fight. If GM Brinjal was not approved for cultivation, then he is the one who can be credited for the same. It is his scientific evidence which is actually helping the activists to stage a protest against GM Mustard. 

He wanted to protect the interests of the farmers as he believed that the American seed company, Monsanto was only interested in profit-making and would exploit the poor farmers. 

All said and done, Bhargava was truly an institution in himself and a pioneer who believed in a change. Research and controversy both were present in every sphere of his life. Indeed, people like him are not born everyday. 

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First Published : 02 Aug 2017, 03:13:39 PM