Dr Triloki Nath Khoshoo

Born on 27th April 1927, the world of Cannaceae lost Dr Triloki Nath Khoshoo on the 10th June 2002. We have to thank Dr Khoshoo, one of the greatest botanists of the last century, for most of our current knowledge of the Canna genus, and have to be grateful for his interest in Cannas.

In all, Dr Khoshoo authored and co-authored over 10 separate papers on the subject of canna, many which were bought together in a single paper called ‘Origin and Evolution of Cultivated Cannas’.

A world-renowned botanist and environment scientist and an able administrator, Dr. T. N. Khoshoo started his professional career as the co-founder of the Department of Botany that moved to Khalsa College, Amritsar, soon after the partition of India.

After a brief stint as Chairman of the Botany Department at Jammu and Kashmir University, he joined the National Botanical Gardens, Lucknow in 1964 as the Assistant Director.

He soon became the Director, and due to his untiring efforts, the institution rose to the stature of being the National Botanical Research Institute in 1978.

In 1982, he became the Secretary of the newly created Department of Environment in Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s cabinet with the responsibility of developing an Environment policy for the country. In 1985, he joined The Energy Research Institute as a Distinguished Fellow and contributed to public policy discussions at national as well as international forums.

Dr. T. N. Khoshoo was a prolific writer. Over the course of five decades, he authored more than 250 research papers on plant genetics and evolution, biomass, energy, forestry, conservation and the utilization and management of natural resources.

He has written and edited seven and eleven books respectively on a wide range of subjects. His book on ‘Mahatma Gandhi: An Apostle of Applied Human Ecology’ published in 1996 was widely applauded for the practical relevance of the Gandhian views in today’s world. In 1992, he was decorated with one of India’s highest civilian awards, the ‘Padma Bhushan’. He was honoured by the United Nations in 1996, when he was awarded the Sasakawa Environmental Prize by the United Nation’s Environmental Program.

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