Pramatha Nath Bose

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Pramatha Nath Bose (1855–1934) was a pioneering Indian geologist and paleontologist.[1] P. N. Bose was educated at Krishnagar College and later at St. Xavier's College of the University of Calcutta when he obtained a Gilchrist scholarship to study in London in 1874.[2] During his study at Cambridge he became a friend of Rabindranath Tagore. He was one of the early Indians to join the Geological Survey of India as a graded officer. His initial work was on the Siwalik fossils. He is credited with the discovery of petroleum in Assam and the setting up of the first soap factory in India and was instrumental in the setting up of Jamshedpur by writing to J. N. Tata about the rich iron ore reserves.[3]

Born on 12 May 1855 in a remote village of Gaipur, near Gobardanga, in 24 Parganas district, West Bengal, geologist PN Bose graduated in science from London University and passed out from the Royal School of Mines the following year in 1878. During his years as geologist, he discovered iron ore mines in Dhulli and Rajhara in Madhya Pradesh. The most outstanding achievement of his life was the discovery of iron ore deposits in the hills of Gorumahisani in the state of Mayurbhanj. Following the discovery, PN Bose wrote a letter to JN Tata on 24 February 1904, which led to the establishment of Tata Iron and Steel Company at Sakchi.

Bose has several firsts to his credit. He was the first Indian graduate in science from a British University; first to discover petroleum in Assam; first to set up a soap factory in India and also the first to introduce micro sections as an aid to petrological work. He was also the first Indian to hold a graded position in the Geological Survey of India where he served with distinction. As a man of science, he had constantly taken up the cause of technical education in the country. His efforts also catalysed the foundation of the Bengal Technical Institute which is better known as the Jadavpur University today of which Bose was the first honorary principal. Pramatha Nath married Kamala Dutt, daughter of Romesh Chunder Dutt, a President of the Congress party and an Indian civil servant, economic historian and writer, on 24 July 1882.[4] One of his Sons Director Madhu Bose was married to actress - dancer Sadhana Sen, later Sadhana Bose (Grand daughter of Keshab Chandra Sen). A grandson of Pramatha Nath Bose is Indian Filmmaker Amit Bose.[citation needed]

Milestones of his life:

12 May 1855: Pramatha Nath Bose was born on in Gaipur, a village near Gobardanga, in the district of North 24 Parganas, West Bengal. Recalling his early childhood in Gaipur, P.N. Bose has mentioned "we had five best physicians- sunshine, air, water, exercise and diet". Clearly a person who grew up in the lap of nature, this stood him in good stead during his long and tedious survey trips.

1864: At the start of his education, Pramatha Nath came under the influence of the famous Brahmo reformer Keshab Chandra Sen from whom he conceived the idea of going to England for higher education.

1871: A booklet title Abkash Kusum, containing 6 poems were published from Calcutta.

1874 : He appeared for the competitive examination and won the coveted Gilchrist Scholarship which was tenable for 5 years.

October 1874 to May 1880: Pramatha Nath stayed in London for six years and pursued the study of Chemistry, botany, zoology, geology, physical geography and logic. He secured the 3rd position in geology while graduating from the London University.

13 May 1880: He joined the Geological Survey of India.

24 June 1882: P.N. Bose married Kamala Dutt

1884: P.N. Bose emphasized the need of writing scientific books in Bengali for the rapid diffusion of scientific knowledge among the masses and thus wrote Prakritik Itihas in Bengali.

1892: He wrote shishupath.

1886 Pramatha Nath in a pamphlet suggested that a ‘Society for the Development of Indian Industries’ should immediately be formed.

1891. Through his efforts an Industrial Conference was organized for the first time in Calcutta

1894 and 1896 During his tenure at the Geological Survey, Pramatha Nath also took time to write his monumental book- "A history of Hindu Civilization under British Rule".It was published in three separate volumes.

1903: The discriminatory policies of the British Government forced Pramatha Nath to retire from the Geological Survey of India .During the period of his service;

  • He carried out surveys of the Narmada Valley, of Rewa State, Central India.
  • He was the first person to report occurrence of trachyte from the Narmada region.
  • He reported the presence of Lameta and Bagh beds for correlating similar sequences in other parts of India.
  • He was the first to identify distinct volcanic centres around Mandaleshwar in the Narmada Valley.
  • He also reported the manganese deposits in Jabbalpur district, coal in Darjeeling, copper in Sikkim and Petroleum in Assam.
  • He was the first person to introduce into the Geological survey of India the study of micro-sections as an aid to petrological work, and to give accounts of micro-sections in Progress Reports.
  • He contributed one memoir and thirteen papers to the publications of the Geological Survey.

1904: After leaving the Geological Survey of India he joined the service of Mayurbhanj State and informed J.N. Tata through a letter of the large deposits of iron ore he had discovered.

1906: His efforts for technical and commercial education led to the establishment of Bengal Technical Institute. It proudly stands today as the Jadavpur University, at Calcutta. P.N. Bose was the first honorary principal of the Institute.

1934: P.N. Bose passed into the annals of our history at the age of 79.


  • Bose, P.N., 1880. Undescribed Fossil Carnivora from the Siválik Hills in the Collection of the British Museum. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society; 1880; v. 36; issue 1-4; p. 119-136.
  • Bose, P.N., 1884. Geology of Lower Narbada Valley between Nimawar and Kawant. Memoir Geological Survey of India. 21, pt. 1.
  • Bose, P.N., 1896. A History of Hindu Civilization. (3 Volumes)
  • Bose, P.N., 1908. Notes on the Geology and Mineral Resources of Rajpipla State. Records of the Geological Survey of India. 37, 167-190.


  1. ^ Chakrabarti, R., 2006. P. N. Bose (1855-1934) - An Eminent Geologist. Indian Journal of History of Science. 41(2), 199-206.
  2. ^ Arnold, David, 2000. Science, Technology and Medicine in Colonial India. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56319-4.
  3. ^ N/A, 2005. Tribute to (a) forgotten master. The Telegraph, Calcutta. May 13, 2005. [1]
  4. ^ Radhakrishna BP (1997). "Pramatha Nath Bose (1855-1934)" (PDF). Current Science. 72 (3): 222.

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