Great scientists of India-Triloki Nath Khoshoo
Great scientists of India
A pioneer in environmental research
Dr. Triloki Nath Khoshoo
*Awtar Krishan Ganju
As a young graduate student, I had heard about Dr. Triloki Nath Khoshoo in the Botany Department of the Panjab University. In 1959, I was in Amritsar and decided to visit him and pay my respects. He was very kind, listened carefully, offered advice and till the end I did not tell him that I was from Srinagar and distantly related to him. Dr. Khoshoo asked me about my PhD research project and I told him about the antique but standard methods I was using to study bird chromosomes. He suggested that I use a new squash method and gave me the procedure and a small supply of the special stain. I followed his advice and the excellent results launched my career as a cytogeneticist of some repute.
In the following years, I met him many times at the Panjab University Campus in Chandigarh. My last conversation with Dr. Khoshoo was in 2002 just a few months before he left for his heavenly abode. To this great teacher and a true Karma Yogi, I am paying my respects by writing this brief article about him. He was one of the first Kashmiri Pundits (KP) who made me proud of being a KP. He had all the attributes of a gentleman and an intellectual scholar.
Besides being a great scientist and administrator, Dr. Khoshoo was a gentle and humble man. I remember visiting him in Chandigarh when Mrs. Khoshoo told me about the offer of Botany Department Chairmanship from J& K University. Without any deep thought, I blurted out that he wont like it as he is a gentleman and in spite of a keen desire to return to the state of their birth, he would be no match to the dirty sectarian politics of J & K. Ironically, I was correct and in 1962, when I visited them on the eve of my departure for Canada, he told me he was fed up and was leaving J &K.
Dr, Khoshoo was a prolific writer, published more than 250 research article and several books in cytogenetics and environmental science. His book Mahatma Gandhi: An apostle of Applied Human Ecology is a masterpiece and shows the depth of his understanding and wisdom. Dr. Khoshoo is eulogized and remembered every year at the awarding of Dr. T.N. Khoshoo Memorial award ceremony which honours outstanding environmental scientists in India. It is people like him for whom the sloka Guru Brahma, Guru Vishu, Guru Sakhshat Maheshwara was written.
*Dr. Awtar Krishan is a brilliant scientist himself. He obtained his PhD's from Panjab University (1962) and the Univ. of Western Ontario, Canada (1963) in Cytogenetics and Anatomy. From 1965 to 1977, he was at the Sidney Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School as Head of the Tissue Ultrastructure and Experimental Pathology Labs.
He has developed flow cytometric techniques for rapid analysis of DNA content by hypotonic propidium iodide, monitoring of drug retention and resistance, and more recently for monitoring hormone receptor expression in archival tumors. He is currently Director, Analytical Cytometry Laboratory , at University of Miami, Florida.
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