Baini Prashad

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Baini Prashad OBE FRSE (13 March 1894 – 18 January 1969) was an Indian zoologist who specialized chiefly in malacology and ichthyology. He served as the first India director of the Zoological Survey of India, succeeding R.B.S. Sewell. He was also a scholar of Persian and took an interest in the history of zoology.

Prashad was born at Kirtarpur to Rai Sahib Devi Das, who was an administrative officer in the government in Punjab. His paternal grandfather Rai Sahib Gopal Das had been a commissioner. Prashad studied in Lahore and graduated from the Government College in Lahore in 1913 followed by a MSc in 1914. He worked on a Ph.D. under J. Stephenson, a specialist on annelids and professor of Zoology and was the first person to receive a non-honorary D.Sc. degree from Punjab University in 1918. His research was on the calciferous glands of earthworms.[1] In 1927 he also received a D.Sc. from the University of Edinburgh. He was appointed to the department of fisheries in Calcutta in 1918 during which time he collaborated with T. Southwell on research on the Indian shad Hilsa ilisha and its parasites. Prashad became the third permanent director of the ZSI and the first Indian to hold the position following the retirement of Lieutenant-Colonel Sewell in 1934.[2] In 1942, while Prashad was director, Calcutta was threatened by a Japanese air attack and the specimen collections were shifted to Varanasi but some of the fish and insect specimens were damaged due to floods during September 1943. Prashad worked on a wide range of taxa including substantial work on the termite fauna of India.[3] Prashad became an advisor to the government of India in 1947 and was succeeded by Sundar Lal Hora as director of the Zoological Survey of India.

Prashad also helped translate The Maathir-Ul-Umarâ, a biography of Timurid rulers from Persian to English.[4] Prashad was a Stephenson Research Gold Medallist and a recipient of the Joy Gobind Law Gold Medal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. He was decorated with the Order of the British Empire in 1943.[5][3]


A partial list of publications include the following:


  1. ^ Stephenson, J; Prashad, Baini (2012). "XVII.—The Calciferous Glands of Earthworms". Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. 52 (2): 455. doi:10.1017/S0080456800012187.
  2. ^ Prashad, Baini (1933). "The retirement of Lieutenant-Colonell Sewell" (PDF). Records of the Indian Museum. 35 (3): 267–275.
  3. ^ a b Silas, E.G. (1968). "Obituary: Dr Baini Prashad" (PDF). Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India. 10 (2): 1–4.
  4. ^ Khan, Nawwâb Şamşam-Ud-Daula Shâh Nawâz, 1941, The Maathir-Ul-Umarâ : Biographies Of The Muhammadan And Hindu Officers Of The Timurid Sovereigns Of India From 1500 To About 1780 A.D, 2 Volumes, trans. H. Beveridge, B.C.S. (Retd.) Revised, Annotated Compiled By Baini Prashad, D.Sc, F.R.A.S.B., New Delhi.
  5. ^ "Supplement To The London Gazette, 11 June 1942, page 2497" (PDF). The London Gazette. Government of the United Kingdom. 11 June 1942. p. 2497. Retrieved 28 June 2018.