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Indigenous Knowledge is a boon for drug discovery says Director BSI

JAMMU: Department of Botany, University of Jammu, Jammu organised virtual inauguration of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh Chapter of Society of Ethnobotanists (SEB), Lucknow. 

SEB is one of the premier science societies established by Dr. S.K. Jain - Father of Indian Ethnobotany in 1980.

The society has a vast experience of working with tribal people within the country and mushrooming the growth of ethnobotanical research in India.

Event was inaugurated by Prof. Manoj K Dhar, Vice Chancellor of the University of Jammu and Chief Patron of the Local Chapter with his opening remarks. Prof. Dhar said that the opening of the local chapter by SEB in Department of Botany, University of Jammu is an encouraging step and will intensify ethnobotanical research and activities in the region.

Talking about the importance of ethno-botanical research, he said that like biotechnology, molecular biology, there is an equal need to nurture the traditional subjects like ethnobotany and plant taxonomy.

Chief Guest of the function, Dr. A.A. Mao, Director, Botanical Survey of India (BSI), who is the President of SEB in his inaugural lecture stressed upon the requirement of Ethnobotanical Research in the country.
He said that many drug discoveries are the result of ethnobotanical leads obtained by the botanists and ethnobotanists in the country. According to him one has to think that what is the outcome of his research, publishing one or another research paper should not be the goal of a researcher. Ethnobotany has a lot of scope which is evident from the fact that now-a-days indigenous tribal food has become now the superfood in big markets across the globe.

Vice President of SEB, Dr. A. K. Goel while introducing the history and the objectives of the society said that the society was started in 1980 with a very minimal number of members at National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow and now the society has more than 250 members in different states and UTs of the country.

Dr. Goel, further said that to popularise the ethnobotanical research, society is honouring the leading and budding researchers every year with many prestigious awards, medals and fellowships and also publishes an international journal "Ethnobotany" wherein researchers can publish their research for wide dissemination.

During the event, Dr. S. K. Srivastava, editor, Ethnobotany, who is former Joint Director and Head of Northern Regional Circle of BSI put forth the contributions and vision of Dr. S.K. Jain- founder of SEB. Further, he elaborated on the scope of ethnobotany in Ladakh as he has a wide experience on the flora of Ladakh and extensively worked on the ethnobotany of Ladakh.

Earlier, Prof. Veenu Kaul, Head of the Department of Botany, University of Jammu and patron of the chapter, welcomed all the dignitaries and participants of the event whereas Prof. Namrata Sharma introduced Dr. Mao to the audience.

Dr Harish Chander Dutt, co-ordinator of the chapter apprised the participants with the objectives and scope of the chapter in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and in concluding remarks Dr. Ranee Om Prakash, curator of Natural History Museum, London and vice-president of SEB put emphasis on the fact that researchers should not forget the contribution of the local source and should acknowledge their contribution.

Dr. Ranee, also spoke on the various research opportunities in the British Council for the researchers especially women scientists. Programme was coordinated by Dr. Skarma Nonzom, wherein more than 70 researchers including Dr. Manjoosha Srivastava (Secretary, SEB), Prof. B.K. Bajaj, Prof. Sanjana Kaul, Dr. Sikander Pal, Ishey Namgial (Ladakh), Dr. Anzar Khuroo (KU), Dr Vartika (Rajasthan), Dr. Varinder Nath (CSIR-IHBT), Dr. Seemavati (M.P.), Dr. Mahroof Khan, O.P Sharma Vidyarthi, Prof. Bikham Pal, Dr. Sandeep Kotwal, Prof. Sania Hamid, from all over the country and research scholars of the department attended the inauguration through virtual mode.

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