As a saying in The sacred and Divine language Sanskrit, “Vruksho Rakshathi Rakshitaha” which means if you save the trees you will be saved by them. Plants form the basis for the human existence. It is well known fact that the ancient scriptures like Vedas, which form the basis of the Sanatana Dharma (The Eternal Law, which is mistakenly given a name as Hinduism and made as a religion in modern times) gave a huge importance to the plants by making all the medicinally important plants be worshiped everyday in all the houses.
Plants are really beautiful, source for oxygen, and more importantly, they feed people all over the world. In fact, there are approximately 399 million Indians (2006), 7.3 million Americans, 3.6 million in UK, and another 3.8 million in rest of Europe, etc., depend “only” on plants for food.
These are not the only reasons to like plants. As Nobel laureate Richard Feynman says if you go deeper everything is interesting, Plant biology is also an addiction.
It is always interesting to know what it takes for a plant to look like what it looks like? What it takes for a plant to stand steady and adapt to of different environmental conditions even there is no motility for them. And more than that, I’m jealous of them personally because unlike me they are completely independent on their parents. (I’m not saying depending is bad :P)
I was brought up in a district which is identified as 2nd lowest rainfall receiving district in the country after Jaisalmer district in Rajasthan and one of 31 drought prone districts out of 671 districts, by Govt. of India. Being a child, looking at headlines in News papers “Crop failure, Millions of rupees loss, farmers suicides” almost every year. I was always puzzled by questions like, ‘why does these plants grow normally and give profits to the farmers? What’s wrong with them’. With out my knowledge, I started being passionate for plant biology and fortunately my Father backed me and accepted for me to study biology, which is like an adventure for him to send his son, 500 km away in an unknown place. And that’s where I was so fascinated by the way the plant parts look under microscopes. I wanted to explore more and chose to go for Biotechnology in my bachelor’s degree and I must acknowledge, my father did adventures at all stages of my studies, for my bachelors he sent me to another state in India and for my masters to another country. Being a bachelor’s student I started exploring plant science in what every possible way. I worked in industries that deals with plant tissue culture, Bio control agents, bio pesticides, did work on anti bacterial evaluation of few medicinal plants of India. And that’s when I realized, plants are greater than humans. The bacteria which we are scared of, being killed by the secondary metabolites of those plants. Isn’t that amazing?
Studying Plant growth and development at Uppsala University is an amazing experience, for the first time I got to look at plant root under confocal microscope, and plant flowers under an electron microscope and learning its mechanisms. What more I want other than just being in the presence of the beauty of the plant. Whether it may be evolution’s natural selection or God’s creation, it doesn’t matter for the fact that plants are beautiful, not just by the way they look outside, but by their structural, functional and physiological beauty. These things improved my passion for plants.
A: Scanning Electron Microscope image of Arabidopsis ovule, taken by my best friends and lab partners, Patrick Martin, David Solbach and myself at Uppsala University during Plant Growth and Development course.
B. Amazing little plant in Skokloaster forests and a picture that gave me confidence that I can also take good pictures.
C. Photograph by myself at Uppsala University botanical garden.
D. Victoria plant leafs, considered as the largest leaf. Photo by myself at Uppsala University Botanical garden.