TREASURE TROVE OF INFORMATION – D.N.WADIA

d.n.wadia post
 

Darashaw Nosherwan Wadia was born on 23th October 1883 at Surat, to Nosherwan and Gooverbai Wadia.  In 1909 he married Miss Alan G. Contractor. Wadia’s wife died in Kashmir in the mid 1930s and he married Meher Gustadji K. Medivala at Colombo in 1940. His inspiration to the subject of Science was his older brother who was an educationist. The pioneership of geological foundation in India accounts to Mr.Wadia. He was the first  Indian Scientist to work on the Geological Survey of India.

 

He did his early education in a school at Surat and at the Sir J.J.English School. At the age of 16, he moved to Baroda College and obtained BSc degree in botany, zoology and geology. He was also graduated with M.A in biology and geology. He started his teaching profession then. At the age of 23, Wadia became the Professor of Geology at the Prince of Wales College at Jammu.

 

He had a strong passion in the field of geology and his stay at Jammu certainly helped him to do a study on the rocks and fossils at the Himalayan region. He worked on the stratigraphy of the Himalayas. In the year 1919, he published his first book on the Geology of India. With this credential, he joined as a member in the Geological Survey of India (GSI) at the age of 37. He  constantly kept continuing his research and in the year 1925, while exploring the Siwalik hills, he discovered tusks and fragments of the extinct elephant-like animal which was known as “Stegodon Ganesha”. The tusk is regarded as the world biggest tusk and measures about 10 feet and 9 inches. He further continued as the Paleontologist at the GSI from 1928 to 1935.

 

Wadia explained the abnormal sequence of rock formations of varied ages in the North-Western Himalayas. Through his exploration and study, he explained in detail about the Himalyan bend like a knee around the pivot of Nanga Parabat. For the first time he gave a detailed geological account of the districts of Chilas, Astor-Deosai and Hazara.

 

He also worked for Ceylon as a Mineralogist in 1938. In the year 1945, he returned to his native land ,India, worked as an advisor to Jawaharlal Nehru’s Government. In 1948, with the help of Homi Bhabha, he created the Indian Atomic Energy Act and thereby formed a commission for the same. Wadia served as the chairman of the commission and helped in surviving raw materials for atomic energy. He also founded the Indian Bureau of Mines in 1947.

 

He received many awards and honours for his contributions to the Indian geology. Some of them are as follows;

 

  • The Back Award from the Royal Geographical Society in 1934
  • The Lyell Medal from the Geological Society of London in 1943
  • The Joyakishan Medal from the Indian Association for the Advancement of Science in 1944
  • The Jagdish Bose Memorial Medal from the Royal Asiatic Society in 1947
  • An honorary degree of D.Sc. from the University of Delhi in 1947
  • The Nehru Medal of the National Geographic Society from India in 1958
  • The Padma Bhushan award from India in 1958
  • The Institute of Himalayan Geology was renamed after him in 1976 as Wadia Institue of Himalayan Geology
  • In 1951, a 2 Anna Indian postage stamp to commemorate the centenary of the Geological Survey of India illustrated Stegodon ganesa was released.
  • In 1984 an Indian postal stamp with a portrait of D N Wadia was issued.

 

He died on June 15th, 1969. It adds up pride for Indians to own such an eminent person in our native land.

 

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