Genesis & History of the Society


The Botanical Society of Bengal, established in the year 1935 in Calcutta, created a new era of Botanical Research and investigations in India, especially in the then Bengal (now West Bengal).

After the 22nd session of the Indian Science Congress (Calcutta) in January 1935, the Botanists of Bengal conceived the idea of forming a Society to promote research in Botany as well as to promote a feeling of fellowship among the Botanists in Bengal. A Committee was appointed to ascertain opinions about this from persons in the state and elsewhere, interested in Botany and its applications to agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and so on.

A meeting was organised in the Botany Laboratory, Presidency College, Calcutta, on 11th April 1935, under the Presidentship of Prof. S. P. Agharkar, Head of the Department of Botany, Calcutta University, where it was unanimously resolved that "The Botanical Society of Bengal" be formed which shall be primarily concerned with all matters effecting the study of Botany so far as Bengal is concerned. In the meeting the following resolutions were finally adopted.

1. That the name of the Society should be “Botanical Society of Bengal”.
2. That it shall never be constituted as a branch of any other parent body.
3. That under the present financial position, the Society should not have a journal of its own.

A Committee was appointed to draft rules and regulations of the Society which were adopted in a General Meeting held on 25th April 1935 at the Botanical Laboratory, Calcutta University.

1. Dr. S, P. Agharkar, Chairman (Calcutta University).
2. Prof. G. P. Majumdar (Presidency College, Calcutta).
3. Mr. I. Banerji (Calcutta University).
4. Prof. S. N. Banerjee (Ripon College).
5. Prof. M. L. Chakravarty (Bangabasi College).
6. Dr. P. K. Sen Gupta (Calcutta University).
7. Prot. A. K. Ghosh, Secretary (Diocesan College).
8. 8. Dr. Syed Hedayatullah (Calcutta University).

The inaugural meeting of the Society was held at the Botanical Laboratory, C.U. on 13th December 1935. Mr. Shyamaprasad Mukherjee, M. A., B. L., Barrister at Law, NI.L.A. Vice Chancellor presided. He felt that “this was a move in the right direction. There was a time when it was possible for individuals to carry on research work alone. Specialisation had, however, progressed to such a degree that it is now not possible for any individual, however eminent he may be, to do anything very substantial without the cooperation of others." He said "the members of the Society should not confine their activities to the prosecution and publication of scientific researches alone which might bring, credit to the individual workers but should also disseminate their knowledge to the general public by arranging for popular lectures, exhibitions, etc." He said that he knew that investigations could not be carried on without money, but he was sure that if proper work or its practical utility was ensured, financial help would be forthcoming, from even the most unexpected quarters. The University was in fact, intended to encourage such activities and the Society can rely on getting necessary help from them, if their work was directed to such objects. He wished the Society a long and successful career of usefulness.

A triangular crest with a banyan tree, jute, rice and padma plants was approved as the symbol of the Society, in the Sixteenth Annual Meeting for the session 1951-52 and it was implemented from the next session, 1952-53.However, at present the Society's symbol is the Great Banyan Tree of the Indian Botanical Garden, Shibpur, Howrah.

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