Ludhiana (Punjab): Internationally renowned agriculture scientist Dr Sohan Singh Parhar has passed away. He was 82. He was born in 1932 in the remote village of Karnana in Nawanshahr district. He earned his BSc (Agriculture) in 1952 and MSc (Agriculture) in 1961, both from Punjab University, and PhD in 1965 from Ohio State University, U.S.
On returning to India, he joined the newly established Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, as Soil Physicist in 1966 and later became Professor there in 1971. He retired as the Head of Department of Soil Conservation at PAU, Ludhiana. He was the one of founder scientists of the Green Revolution in India. Dr. Parhar and his colleagues became pioneers in exploiting synergies among water, nutrients and tillage for increasing input-use efficiency. He also made worthwhile contributions to literature on miscible displacement of non-interacting salts in soil. His book ‘Reducing Soil Water Evaporation with Tillage and Straw Mulching’ is very mentionable in agriculture literature. He also guided more than two dozen postgraduate students.
Professor Parhar established a strong laboratory of Soil Physics, which was then a new subject for state agricultural universities. He worked on many scientific panels and review committees including the one that reviewed the working of ICRISAT, Hyderabad, in 1996. He also served as a Member of INSA Council. He served as Executive Councilor and Vice President of Indian Soil Science Society, New Delhi. He was Vice Chairman (1978-82) and Chairman (1982-86) of Commission-I of International Society of Soil Science.
Awards and Honours:
Professor Parhar won many awards including the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Memorial Award, Om Parkash Bhasin Science and Technology Foundation Prize, ICAR Team Research Award, and Dr. N.S. Randhawa Medal (Lifetime Achievement Award) of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (NAAAS), New Delhi. He was elected Fellow of the NAAS, and the American Society of Agronomy; and Honorary Member and Fellow of the Indian Society of Soil Science.
Punjab Education Minister Dr. Daljit Singh Cheema and Prof. H.S. Bains, Media Advisor to the Punjab Chief Minister, expressed deep sorrow on the demise of Dr. Parhar. Dr. Cheema said in his condolence message that Dr. Parhar’s contribution and services rendered in the field of agriculture and soil conservation will be remembered forever.