Prof. NC Subrahmanyam Commemorative Symposium was held on October 3rd 2019 by Department of Plant Sciences, University of Hyderabad (UoH). He was a renowned Crop Geneticist and an inspiring teacher who served the university for 20 years from 1979-1999 and fondly called as Prof NCS. His path breaking discoveries revolutionized method of cereal breeding. He was known as the man of “bulbosum technique” where haploid genome crops were generated by chromosomal elimination. It is nature’s rule that every life have to have an end. Prof. NCS departed us and left for heavenly abode on February 14, 2019.
The symposium was coordinated by Prof. Sarada D. Tetali, Dr. Santosh R. Kanade and Dr. Jogi Madhuprakash, Department of Plant Sciences and the students of Prof. NCS. Honourable Vice Chancellor Prof. Appa Rao Podile gave the Presidential address. He lauded the ground breaking work done by Prof NCS in the field of Genetics and Plant breeding at the University and praised him as exemplary teacher who guided several students for their doctoral degrees. They worked on genetics of plant pathogen interactions resulting in several important findings. Today the University stands as Centre for Excellence due to the efforts of several pioneering researchers like him in various departments. He advocated that all Faculties and students should strive hard to make UoH as intellectual powerhouse of our Nation.
Prof G. Padmaja, Head Department of Plant Sciences gave welcome address and Prof S. Dayananda Dean School of Life Sciences gave introductory remarks and contributions of Prof NCS to Plant Science and Life Science Department as a whole. Ms N. Naveena daughter of NCS spoke about his early life working on his father’s land and his hardships for obtaining higher education. His passion for research and agriculture lead him to do Bachelors and Masters in agriculture with gold medals from Banaras Hindu University and PhD from University of Guelph with distinction. He overcame medical illnesses to pursue his passion of teaching and research. She said that Prof NCS has shown that a poor farmers son could become Nations much revered Plant geneticist. His life should be an inspiration to youngsters who have meagre economic resources to follow their dreams and achieve their life’s goals.
Prof M.N.V. Prasad, Emeritus Professor at UoH said their mutual passion for Pearl Millet plant linked them both and had several fruitful discussions on Genetics and Cytogenetics of this plant. NCS developed a field near Gurbaksh Singh Maidan (adjacent to old library) for maintaining pearl millet genetic stocks. After his retirement from UoH in 1998, that field was further developed by Prof MNV Prasad for several research projects. Numerous endangered plant species were rescued and grown successfully. The medicinally important plants germplasm could serve as repository for researchers to identify novel therapies for several human diseases.
Several former colleagues of Prof NCS, Prof A.S. Raghavendra, Prof R.P. Sharma, Prof Chanchal K. Mitra and Prof Muralidhar spoke about the contributions of Prof NCS to the School of Life Sciences. His former students, Dr MK Reddy (ICGEB) and Dr Satish Kumar (Nuziveedu seeds Ltd, Hyderabad) said that Prof NCS was a strict disciplinarian who performed experiments with his students to obtain answers for scientific questions with outmost enthusiasm. Prof Sarada Tetali proposed the words of thanks. His former students Dr Satish Kumar, Dr Satyaprasad (Nuziveedu Ltd, Hyderabad), Dr George Thomas ( RCB Thiruvanthapuram), Dr Rajeswari Ramanan (CCMB, Hyderabad) Dr M. Sujatha (DOR, Hyderabad) and Dr Sailaja V Elchuri ( Vision Research Foundation, Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai) spoke in the scientific section covering topics like Genetics of several crop plants, Biotechnology for crop and seed improvement and green synthesis of plant based nanomaterials. Prof R.P. Sharma and Prof K. Padmasri spoke about modern cutting- edge tools for trait improvements in vegetable plants and inhibitors derived from plants for insect control, respectively.
The conference ended with concluding remarks by Dr Sailaja Elchuri to take forward the legacy of Prof NCS by emulating high research ethics and make seminal contribution to science in our country. Several teaching, Non-teaching staff and students paid homage to Prof NCS.