Celebrating creative dissent in science

Celebrating creative dissent in science

It gives me great pleasure to share with you the news of the recognition by the State of the work done by Dr Baharul Mazumder by bestowing the Acharya PC Ray award to Dr Baharul Majumder. One of the greatest learnings that I have had in understanding SRI is the recognition that despite having some of the most uncreative structures such as the ICAR in science research in India, people like Baharul are able to show what could and should be the real relation between science and democracy. When we had the 2nd national symposium in Tripura in Oct 2007 we coined this phrase 'Small state: Big results'. It is quite possible that many such small initiatives exist in other parts of the country too. I think the award is not only a recognition for SRI but also for new roles for agricultural scientists such as Baharul. It is not often that the Department of Science and Technology feels called upon to recognise the work of agricultural scientists. That the award is named after PC Ray, the scientist who was active in the freedom movement, makes it even more special.

Here is a rough translation of the citation.

AWARD FOR BAHARUL MAJUMDAR IN TRIPURA STATE

The Department of Science and Technology of the Government of Tripura has selected Dr. Baharul Islam Majumdar for the 2007-08 Acharya Praful Chandra Ray Award for his outstanding contributions in the field of agriculture, citing his leadership in popularizing the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) techniques across the state of Tripura. The prize carries a cash award of 10,000 Indian rupees plus a gold medal and certificate. This is the first such award given by the Science and Technology Council in the agriculture sector. Dr. Majumdar began his own trials of SRI methods in 2000 and and in 2002-03 started doing on-farm trials/ demonstrations with 44 farmers. By 2005-06 this number had expanded to 880 farmers on 352 hectares. Their good results and confidence in the methods helped get State government support for a popularization campaign, under Baharul's leadership. The next year, 73,390 farmers used SRI methods on 14,678 hectares, and in the 2007-08 season, over 160,000 farmers used SRI techniques on 32,500 hectares. The Tripura government goal for 2008-09 of 250,000 farmers using SRI methods on 50,000 hectares (21% of total rice area) is on track to be achieved. In 2007-08, the average SRI yield in Tripura was 4.3 tons/hectare compared with the state's average paddy yield of 2.5 tons/hectare.

View the Award Citation here:Award Citation - Acharya PC Ray Award

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