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PN Bose: The Geologist who brought Jamshedpur internationally acclaimed steel industry

Jamshedpur, May 11: As India marches steadily towards achieving its aim of ‘Atmanirbharta’ or self-reliance, it is prudent to remember the stalwarts who had been playing a major role in building India’s industrial sector. While India was still in the midst of the raging freedom struggle, there are others who silently dreamt of freeing India of its dependence on the British industry.

Among those visionaries was the geologist Pramatha Nath Bose whose most outstanding achievement was the discovery of iron ore deposits in the hills of Gorumahisani in the state of Mayurbhanj in modern day Odisha. After the discovery, Bose wrote a historic letter to J N Tata on February 24, 1904 which led to the setting up of the Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO) at Sakchi. The group, led by Jamsetji’s sons, set out to prove his findings, and Bose’s prediction was proved right. Odisha continues to be the largest producer of iron ore in the country.

It is well known that it was he who could see that great potentialities of iron ore in and around the place where Jamsetji Tata founded his Iron and Steel Works.

May 12 is 167th birth anniversary of Pioneering Geologist P N Bose

Bose was born on May 12, 1855 in Gaipur, some 60 kms north east of Kolkata. After his education in Krishnagar College and later at St. Xavier’s College, Bose went on to graduate in science from London University before returning in 1880 to become the first Indian graded officer in the Geological Survey of India (GSI).

While initially he focussed on the Siwalik fossils, what he did at GSI over the next two decades included the discovery of petroleum in Assam, and several mineral and coal deposits across India and modern Myanmar. He even helped in setting up the first soap factory in India!

India’s first President Dr Rajendra Prasad eulogised Bose: later recall Bose’s contribution: “He could even at that age foresee great potentialities for industrial expansion by the development of geological resources, particularly of coal, iron and steel.”

P N Bose remains an icon of inspiration and pride. In India, he will always be remembered in the annals of history as the geologist who paved the way for steel for the nation. To make India self-sufficient in terms of natural resources aided with development of scientific and technical skills, P N Bose truly pioneered `Atmanirbhar Bharat’, as far as industrialisation of India is concerned.

Bose is counted amongst India’s most eminent scientists, and his many achievements spearheaded the technological revolution in India.

During his tenure at the Geological Survey of India, P N Bose wrote his monumental book-‘A History of Hindu Civilisation under the British Rule’, published in 3 volumes, between 1894 and 1896.

P N Bose’s efforts at promoting technical and commercial education led to the establishment of the Bengal Technical Institute. It stands today as the Jadavpur University, at Kolkata and P N Bose was the first honorary principal of the Institute.

As a child, his close association with nature ignited in him a passion for the study of Earth, compelling him to pursue Geology as his profession.

He carried out surveys of Narmada Valley, Shillong Plateau and is credited with the discovery of petroleum in Assam. He was the first to identify distinct volcanic centres around Mandaleshwar in the Narmada Valley. He also reported the manganese deposits in Jabalpur district, coal in Darjeeling, copper in Sikkim and Petroleum in Assam.

He was the first person to introduce the study of micro-sections as an aid to petrological work in the Geological Survey of India. He contributed one memoir and thirteen papers to GSI publications.

P N Bose looked forward to leveraging scientific knowledge for the betterment and progress of this country. A staunch nationalist, Pramatha Nath Bose, along with India’s leading scientists of the age, were determined to secure India’s future in the promotion of education and industrialisation of the country and material advancement.

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