Scientists and scholars

Scientists and scholars

Nain Singh Rawat, C.I.E., first person to survey Tibet :

Nain Singh Rawat (October 21, 1830 ā€“ February 1, 1882), was one of the first of the late 19th century Indian explorers (pundits) who explored the Himalayas for the British. He hailed from the Johar Valley of Kumaon. He mapped the trade route through Nepal to Tibet, determined for the first time the location and altitude of Lhasa, and mapped a large section of the Brahmaputra.

Early life

Rai Bahadur Nain Singh Rawat was born to Lata Burha in 1830 in Milam village, a Bhotia village in the valley of Johar, at the foot of the Milam glacier where the river Goriganga originates. The Rawats ruled over the Johar valley, during the reign of Chand dynasty in Kumaon; this was followed by the Gorkha rule. In 1816 the British defeated the Gorkhas but maintained a policy of non-interference and friendship towards the Johar Bhotias. The famous Bhotia explorers mostly belong to the village of Johar.

After leaving school, Nain Singh helped his father. He visited different centres in Tibet with him, learned the Tibetan language, customs and manners and became familiar with the Tibetan people. This knowledge of Tibetan language and local customs and protocol came in handy in Nain Singh’s work as a “spy explorer”. Due to the extreme cold conditions, Milam and other villages of the upper Johar valley are inhabited only for a few months from June to October. During this time the men used to visit Gya’nyima, Gartok and other markets in Western Tibet.

Krishna Singh Rawat, surveyor:

Krishna Singh Rawat (also known as Kishen Singh) was an Indian explorer and cartographer, what the British called a pundit, the cousin of the explorer Nain Singh Rawat. He came from Dehradun.

Singh’s last and greatest journey commenced in 1878. He followed the northern trade route from Lhasa to Xinjiang and China. He followed the route all the way to Dunhuang, and on his way back explored the eastern Tibet border region. At one point the caravan leader wanted the caravan to go by horse to cross a bandit-ridden area faster. Krishna, unable to count his steps during this period, measured the distance (230 miles) by counting his horse’s steps instead.

Khadg Singh Valdiya, Geologist and environmentalist

Khadg Singh (KS) Valdiya is an Indian geologist and a former vice chancellor of Kumaon University, known for his contributions in the field of geodynamics.A 2007 recipient of Padma Shri,he was honoured again by the Government of India in 2015 with Padma Bhushan, the third highest Indian civilian award.

Field of Specialization
Tectonics with special reference to active faults. Environmental Geology with special reference to natural hazards and geo-hydrology of springs.

Internationally recognized for his path-breaking work in the fields of Geology and Environmental Science, Prof. Valdiya was born to Dev Singh Valdiya and Nanda Valdiya on 20 March 1937 in Myanmar.In 1947 his family returned to their hometown in Pithoragarh in the Indian state of Uttarakhand.After schooling in Pithoragarh,he did his bachelor (BSc), masters (MSc) and doctoral (PhD) studies at Lucknow University and joined the university as a member of faculty in 1957.A 1965ā€“66 Fulbright scholar at Johns Hopkins University, he has also taught at Rajasthan University, Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) and Kumaon University. He was the vice chancellor of Kumaon University in 1981.

Valdiya has been involved with the establishment of such geological institutions as Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Central Himalayan Environmental Association, Nainital, G. B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Almora, and the Geology Department of the Kumaon University.He is an elected fellow of Indian National Science Academy, National Academy of Sciences, India (FNASc),Indian Academy of Sciences (FASc), and the Third World Academy of Sciences (FTWAS) and is a fellow of Geological Society of India, Geological Society of America and Geological Society of Nepal. He has served as a member of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India. He has written over 110 research papers, authored 20 books, edited 9 books and penned 40 articles in Hindi towards popularization of science.

Pooran Chand Joshi, Social Anthropologist

P. C. Joshi (born 1 June 1956 at Village Khairakot, Manan, Almora) is a Professor of Social Anthropology at the Department of Anthropology, University of Delhi, India. His area of specialization is Medical Anthropology and he focuses on Anthropology of Disasters, Anthropology of Development and on issues related to Social Exclusion and Adverse Inclusion.

Education :

P. C. Joshi received his B.Sc. (Hons.), M.Sc., M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology from the University of Delhi, India. He did advanced courses on “Anthropology and Epidemiology: integrating concepts and methods” and “Health of Unstable Populations ā€“ Health Care in Unstable Situations and Complex Emergencies” at the Department of Tropical Hygiene and Public Health, University of Heidelberg, Germany, in 2003 and 2007, respectively. He also attended Certificat dā€™ universite, Assessing Public Health in Emergency Situations, Universite Catholique de Louvain in Brussels, Belgium, 2007.

Career :

Joshi started his teaching career in 1985 from Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University (HNBG) and served as Head of the Department of Anthropology until 1997. He joined the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), New Delhi, in 1997 and held the position of Head Department of Medical Anthropology at IHBAS from 1997 through 2003. He is credited with establishing the Department of Anthropology at HNBG University and the Department of Medical Anthropology at IHBAS. He is currently Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Delhi, India.

Joshi was a delegate of the European Union at the United Nations Framework Climate Change Conference held at Poznan, Poland in 2008.

Awards and honours :

P. C. Joshi was a recipient in 1987 of the Indira Priyadarshini Vriksha Mitra National Award as a founder member of Friends of Trees, and the Inter-University Centre Associateship Award in Humanities and Social Sciences, 1996-1999, Certificate of Honour at the First France-India Meet on Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, 2007, Plaque of Appreciation from Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Xavier University Ateneo de Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines, 2008, and Certificate of Appreciation on his research on disaster impacts in Asia and Europe by Faculty of Public Health, University of Indonesia in 2009, among other honours and distinctions.

He also has the distinction of discovering a Paleolithic site in Delhi in 1983.