in memoriam - Dr KL Sahrawat (1941-2016)
Dr Sahrawat at ICRISAT soil lab, ©Vidyasagar
Human face of science lived out in Dr KL Sahrawat
The untimely demise of Dr Kanwar Lal Sahrawat on 3 February 2016 has shocked and deeply saddened colleagues and partners of ICRISAT. His contributions towards science and his positive attitude towards life, has lifted the spirits of many young scientists and staff of ICRISAT and national research programs in both India and Africa.
Dr Sahrawat, born on 7 November 1941, served ICRISAT as a Soil Chemist from February 1978 to December 1991 in the Resource Management Program. He them moved to Côte d’Ivoire as Principal Soil Scientist at West Africa Rice Development Association (WARDA) from April 1991 to June 2001 in the Rainfed Program. Dr Sahrawat returned to ICRISAT-India as a Consultant/Visiting Scientist from May 2002 to February 2016. As a soil chemist, he played an important role in standardizing and comparing different methods of analysis by using conventional and state of the art technologies. As a scientist, his role was to conduct research in the areas of soil chemistry and fertility of the semi-arid tropic soils with emphasis on the role of sulfur and micronutrients on crop production under dryland agriculture. He also played a pivotal role in preparing the soil fertility atlas to help showcase various types of soils and their deficiencies. Also, his role as mentor and guide for several short term interns, PhD students and MSc students makes him a role model for many in the field of research.
Dr Sahrawat’s scientific achievements were also reflected in the many awards and honorary positions he received. In 1974 he was awarded the Seth Lachhi Ram Chudiwala medal by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. He has held the position of an Adviser for the International Foundation of Science, Stockholm, Sweden from the year 1998-till present. He also played a pivotal role as a Member of the Watershed team, which was honored with the Doreen Mashler Award in the year 2006 by ICRISAT, Patancheru, and the Resource Mobilizer Award in the year 2006 for outstanding efforts in mobilizing resources in Asia. In 2008 he received the Millennium Science Award as a coauthor for the Scientific Article entitled “Carbon sequestration in the semi-arid tropics for improving livelihoods’ published in the International Journal of Environmental Studies, 2007. Being an avid writer, Dr Sahrawat has contributed to 186 refereed journal articles and authored more than 100 publications, book chapters, research bulletins and workshop proceedings.
Dr Sahrawat was a warm, gentle, honest, and hard-working human being who was considered a friend to many and a mentor to all who had the good fortune of knowing him. The ICRISAT family conveys our sincere condolences to his family members who are in our thoughts and prayers at this time of grief, loss and mourning.
May his soul rest in peace.
“Dr Sahrawat was such a gentleman, a scholar and a mentor to many, including me. His passion was helping people through science. Mary and I spent time with him last Friday afternoon in the soils lab and he explained the importance of analytical sciences such as modern soils analysis techniques. He retells the establishment of Africa Rice’s (then WARDA) soil analysis lab from scratch with such passion. He will be sadly missed by many from around the globe.”
Dr David Bergvinson, Director General