«Edited by Govindjee Urbana, Illinois, USA and Shyam Lal Srivastava Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, India i The Cover A photograph of Krishnaji (Dada), 1980 ...»
Krishnaji never hesitated in developing sophisticated experimental arrangement if the nature of the problem so required. For the first time in India, he developed, with Suresh Chandra, the modulation spectroscopy in the microwave region, extensively pursued later by Shyam Lal Srivastava, Late Arjun Singh Rajput, Vinod Prakash, Late Suresh Chandra (Agarwal), Gopal Krishna Pandey, Prem Chand Pandey, Kalyan Kumar Kirty, Late Gajendra Kumar Johri and Nabin Kumar Narain. Development of the dielectric spectroscopy of liquids ran parallel to this effort and a wide variety of techniques were developed by Prof. Krishnaji and his many associates (Surendra Kumar Garg, Abhai Mansingh, Dina Nath, Suresh Chandra Srivastava,Vinod Kumar Agrawal, Pradip Kumar, Mohan Swarup Sinha, Maya Swarup Mathur, Shyam Behari Lal, Prem Prakash Srivastava, Dinesh Chandra Dwivedi and Shrimati Archana Sinha).
The low frequency Electron Spin Resonance set up for studying free radicals developed by Prof. Krishnaji with late Baikunth Nath Mishra (assisted at initial stages by Subhas Chandra, Bhupendra Swarup Mathur and Ashoka Chandra) can now be seen as a standard equipment in many postgraduate laboratories. Ram Kripal continues working on ESR (Electron Spin Resonance).
By 1960, Prof. Krishnaji’s laboratory in microwaves at the University of Allahabad had become an internationally recognized center of excellence. In the 1960s, international hot field of research was LASERS. Prof. Krishnaji developed elliptical cavity for Ruby Laser in 1968 with Rajendra Kumar Laloraya and late Bibhuti Prasad Tripathi. Prof. Krishnaji and his associates always attempted to find the theoretical basis for their experiments, be it a case of microwave lineshape, liquid dielectrics, composites, relaxation in single crystals (by Suresh Chandra, with Vinai Krishna Agrawal), or nonlinear polarizability at laser frequency (by Shyam Lal Srivastava with late Bibhuti Prasad Tripathi). He also helped in starting thin film work at the University of Allahabad, with Ramji Srivastava and Parmendu Kant.
Prof. Krishnaji had many study tours and visits abroad; he delivered invited talks at many international conferences all over the world. He spent a year from May 1970 to April 1971 at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia as H.C. Webster Visiting Fellow.
Prof. Krishnaji’s students, spread all over the country, have established centers in Microwaves and Dielectrics research and many new emerging fields. Prominent centers have grown around his students in various universities, institutions and national laboratories.
Indian Science can certainly be proud of Prof. Krishnaji’s indigenous high-level instrumentation innovation and research in physics carried out with meager resources. Emulating Prof. Krishnaji’s ideology in research should serve as a guideline for carrying out purposeful research in the present climate of changing world order and resource crunch.
There is no way one can list all the honors and awards won by Prof. Krishnaji. Some of the more prominent awards are: the Hari Om Trust Sir C.V. (Chandrasekhar Venkat) Raman National award for outstanding experimental research in Physical Science in 1976;
Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, India; Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (USA);
President of the Physical Science Section of the National Academy of Science, India, in 1974; University Grant Commission National Lecturer in Physics in 1976; Member Secretary of the National Committee of International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, 1978University Grant Commission National Fellow, 1977-1980;
and President of the Physics Section of the Indian Science Congress Association, 1982-1983.
Prof. Krishnaji is fondly remembered as an excellent academic administrator, be it as the Pro-Vice Chancellor or the Dean of the Faculty of Science or the Head of the Physics Department at his Alma Mater, the University of Allahabad.
Professor Krishnaji breathed his last on 14th of August 1997.
1. Amma and Babuji: Our Life at Allahabad (Govindjee, Ed.), March, 2007, PDQ Printing, Urbana, Illinois, USA.
Krishnaji – My Class Fellow Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar Flat # 419, Janki Apartments, Plot 7, Sector 22, Dwarika, New Delhi–110075, India Telephones: (91)11-329-862-03 (landline); (91)98-71-750-931(mobile) I first came to know Krishnaji as my class fellow during 1942in our MSc (Previous) Physics class at the University of Allahabad. I had come from the honors stream and he from the general course. We had been allotted the same experiment. Even at that early stage, he showed a special aptitude for doing experiments. In MSc (Final), he opted for the section on Wireless and I on Spectroscopy.
During this period, he lost his father in December 1943 but, in spite of this calamity, he still obtained a first class in MSc (Physics) in
1944. During those days only a few could get a first division in MSc Physics. This showed his brilliance, grit and determination to fight the difficult circumstances. Being the eldest son of the family, he had simultaneously the responsibility of educating his two brothers Gopalji and Govindjee and a younger sister Malati.
The year 1942 was also eventful for the Physics Department in the sense that Prof. K.S. (Kariamanickam Srinivasa) Krishnan had joined as Professor and Head of the Department after Dr. Megh Nad (also written as Meghnad) Saha had left Allahabad in 1938 to join Calcutta University as Palit Professor. We were very fortunate to be taught by Prof. Krishnan, an eminent scientist and educationist. Prof C.V. (Chandrasekhar Venkat) Raman, a Nobel-laureate in Physics, also visited the department during this period and gave stimulating lectures, and inspired many brilliant students to take up Physics as a career. After MSc (Physics), I joined as a Lecturer in Allahabad Agriculture Institute at Allahabad and Krishnaji was appointed as a Lecturer in the Physics Department of the University of Allahabad.
We continued to be in touch with each other. I became a Lecturer in the Physics Department at Allahabad University in 1949. Thus began an association which lasted a life time.
Soon after Krishnaji’s appointment, Dr. Govind Ram Toshniwal left the department to establish his own company, later known as the Toshniwal Brothers Ltd. India. Krishnaji took over the charge of the wireless lab. This was a tall order as Dr. Toshniwal, the founder of the wireless section, was a great teacher. Krishnaji proved equal to the occasion. He organized the laboratory and research and during his stewardship in all these years, this center of Microwave Research became recognized all over India. Later in his life, Krishnaji received the prestigious Sir C.V. Raman Award for his pioneering basic research on Microwave Spectroscopy, Microwave Transmission and Solid State Physics (See Part C, Fig. 3, p. 163); the prize was given to him by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. His life revolved around the laboratory and his co-workers. He was very helpful in setting up my infra-red lab, in 1959, after my return to the Department of Physics, University of Allahabad, from University of Toronto, Canada.
Krishnaji had a great love for the department, and he was always thinking of ways and means for its advancement. He was definitely a very dedicated and innovative scientist, taller than many Physicists of our era.
For me, he was a perfect gentleman, a loyal friend and a tower of strength in the time of need.
Our Dada, the Great Professor Krishnaji Baldev Behari Lal Saxena* 4/10 C, Lowther Road, Medical College Crossing, Allahabad–211001, UP, India Telephone: (91) 532- 225-6985 N ineteen thirties to nineteen fifties were the golden days of the University of Allahabad. In every field, whether academic or administrative, the University was on the top and very rightly called the “Oxford of the East”. Faculty members in all the departments were outstanding, including distinguished academicians like (late) Megh Nad Saha (Physics), Neel Ratan Dhar (Chemistry), Amiya Charan (A.C.) Banerjee (Mathematics), Dakshini Ranjan (D.R.) Bhattacharya (Zoology), Julian Mitter and Shri Ranjan (Botany), Sir Shafaat Ahmad Khan, Beni Prasad, Tara Chand and Ishwari Prasad (History). In the Hindi department, we had Dhirendra Verma and Ram Kumar Verma, among others. In the English department, we had Raghupati Sahai ‘Firaq’ Gorakhpuri, Satish Chandra (S.C.) Deb, Harivansh Rai Bachchan (father of the movie idol Amitabh Bachchan), and Phiroz Edulji Dastoor. There used to be a keen contest between the departments to surpass each other in excellence.
When Megh Nad Saha left the headship of the Physics Department in 1938, the Late Amar Nath Jha, the most illustrious Vice-Chancellor of University of Allahabad, had negotiated with Erwin Schrödinger, of Germany, the Nobel laureate, founder of the quantum mechanics to fill the gap, to which he had agreed. But unfortunately the Second World War broke out on September 3, 1939 which disrupted the plan. However, late Sir Kariamanickam Srinivasa (K.S.) Krishnan, an illustrious student of Sir Chandrashekhar Venkat (C.V.) Raman joined the Physics department. Sir C. V. Raman visited the Department of Physics quite often and gave scientific talks on various subjects including his new field in Science: Smell, Taste and Sight.
Hence to get admission, especially in the post graduate classes, was rather difficult as the competition was very tough for a very small number of available seats. Only the most brilliant graduates could get in. Our Dada, fondly called so by some of us, the Late Prof.
Krishnaji, was a meritorious graduate and readily obtained admission in the MSc course in Physics. Just after completing his MSc, he joined the Department of Physics as a faculty member. The knowledge of his brilliance as an excellent teacher and researcher soon spread far and wide. He guided a large number of doctoral (DPhil) students in the field of microwaves.
Dada’s brilliance was spontaneous as revealed in all walks of his life, understanding the problems and providing their solutions.
He commanded tremendous respect from students and associates alike. Along with the academic pursuits, he rendered very valuable services to the University administration in his capacity as the ProVice-Chancellor of the University of Allahabad, a position just next to the Vice-Chancellor, during the full term of the vice-chancellorship of the late Ram Sahay and during part of the term of Dr. Prahlad Das Hajela. Krishnaji had very good rapport with all the students, whether they opted to go to the academic or the administrative field. On several occasions of students’ agitations, his qualities of the ‘head and the heart’ defused crises.
Dada was a man of many qualities. Despite his problems of assorted nature, he would always keep his cool. He was a very sincere and loyal friend, always ready to help. In a team work he would shine as a leader of all. For him, family and friends were of equal value, helping all of them to his best capacity.
He promoted the National Academy of Sciences, India to reach greater heights with his wise guidance. Today it is an Academy known internationally.
After retiring as Professor of Physics, he joined Mahesh Yogi’s organization as a science advisor. Again, there, he made his mark, but due to the most unfortunate death of his younger son (Raj Ranjan) in a car accident, he decided to leave Mahesh Yogi ji to rehabilitate the younger son’s family to bear such a great tragedy.
He left us on 14th August 1997 due to stroke at a comparatively early age, with great loss to his family and friends.
May his soul rest in peace!
S uddenly, one shivering winter evening Professor Shyamlal Srivastava, a colleague from the Physics Department, of the Allahabad University, walked into my sitting room to apprise me of a noble resolve to publish a booklet in memory of our loving teacher, Professor Krishnaji, and pay our tribute to his greatness as a teacher, as a researcher and as a man. I was happy that he had thought it worthwhile to give me a chance to write a few words and to share in this good cause.
We sat down exchanging memories of the days that were and soon the chilly winter was gone in the warmth of loving reminiscences of the old teacher, and other colleagues who had left us as well as the several incidents that left sweet as well as sour impressions on our minds. After Shyamlal left, I sat down and several images flashed past my mind; the thoughts of the days when I was younger, of the friends I had made who are, alas, no more, of the teachers good, bad and indifferent, of the pranks I played in the class and outside, and of lots of other memories that came flooding in.
After some hours of these dreams, I thought it better to write down what was relevant to record my humble tribute lest the thoughts wither away and the warmth of the loving reminiscences get lost in the memory lane leaving me wordless.
My first image of Krishnaji was, when as a student of the K.P.
(Kayastha Pathshala, now Kali Prasad) Inter College, I used to visit Ratan Kumar, living next door to a lanky, tall, dhoti-kurta clad boy, generally addressed as ‘Dada’ by all the juniors around him. The first impression was of a serious and reserved person who kept to himself and seemed a determined, ‘no-nonsense’ personality. Days and years passed by; our interest varied and this image just merged into a forgotten chapter.
I came to know Krishnaji better when after my MSc (Previous), I wanted to opt for a study of “Wireless” as my special subject in the MSc (Final) class. In those days, X-rays and Spectroscopy were less fancied options—almost everyone wanted ‘Wireless’. Professor Saligram Bhargava, the then Head of Physics, an unassuming softspoken person in Rajasthani Chooridar, Kurta, Saafa, had the task to persuade, sort out our claims, and to try best to satisfy all and fill up the seats for all the three subjects. Not being a brilliant student, who had passed the MSc (Previous) examination without high marks, it was but natural that my admission to the coveted branch of specialization would be denied. But, Professor Bhargava was a kindly soul and he relented to give me a seat in the “Wireless” class, perhaps by giving me credit for being the ‘Ward of a teacher’ (my father Dr.
Piare Mohan was a renowned and respected teacher in the Department of Mathematics, University of Allahabad).