What is common between Meghnad Saha and Meghnad Desai? I’m afraid there’s no prize for correct answer. For it is so obvious. There is however another common between the two stalwarts. It is the quest for pursuing knowledge.
As per news report in Khaleej Times, Lord Meghnad Desai is so enamored by his namesake that he has chosen Kolkata to set up a liberal arts college that will offer an integrated 4-year B.Phil course.
Dr. Meghnad Saha was an eminent Physicist. In 1949 he established in the city the country’s first-ever institute to study nuclear physics, later christened as Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics. Earlier in 1927 he became Fellow of London’s Royal Society.
Dr. Saha’s eminence can be gauged by the following observation by noted physicist Jayant Narlikar in his book The Scientific Edge (taken from Wikipedia):
“Meghnad Saha’s ionization equation (c. 1920), which opened the door to stellar astrophysics” was one of the top ten achievements of 20th century Indian science [and] could be considered in the Nobel Prize class.”
Lord Meghnad Desai is a Vadodara-born economist of great repute who earned his PhD at age 22 at the University of Pennsylvania having completed masters’ before age 20.
Professor Desai taught for long time at London School of Economics and presently he is Professor Emeritus there. He was conferred life peerage as Baron Desai in 1991 in UK.
As for his newly planned institute of liberal arts, Lord Desai has this to say:
“It will not be another run-of-the mill college aping the IITs or IIMs. I want to introduce a free-standing liberal arts college instead of a straitjacketed science or arts curriculum.”
“Students can take their pick from a host of subjects ranging from physics to anthropology. The idea is to stretch their ability to explore, assimilate, and think independently. That’s what global employers are now looking for.”
The state government is actively looking for land to locate Lord Desai’s institute and it appears possible that the institute will come up at Kalyani where already a new central-government accredited institute of science similar to Bangalore’s IIS is underway.