Study In India
Geologists-Maharajapuram Seetharaman Krishnan
Recipient of associateship to pursue post-graduate studies in England during the British rule, Doctorate in geology by the age of 26, rare distinction to chair as President of Geology Section of the then prestigious Indian Science Congress by 37 years of age, first Indian to head the Geological Survey of India, and to cap it all a national recognition–the award of Padma Bhushan from the President of India in 1970.

Maharajapuram Seetharaman Krishnan has become synonymous for Geology of India and Burma, the classic textbook and a ‘ible’ for every geology student in India.

Early in his professional life he taught at various institutions like Presidency College, Madras (1920–21), Forest College, Dehra Dun (1928–30), Presidency College, Calcutta (1933–35).

He served as a member of Coal Mining Committee (1936–37), Member of Indian Delegation to Empire Scientific Conference in England (1946) and United Nations Conference on Conservation and Utilization of Resources, New York (1949), Chairman of Committee on Conservation of Metallurgical Coal (1949–50) (when he suggested nationalization of coal mining), and member of several research committees, Fellow or Member of many learned societies and scientific associations in India and abroad, and before he retired, served as Government of India’s Mineral Adviser and Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Scientific Research (1955–57).

Soon after India’s independence in 1947, Krishnan was deputed to United States to study methods in radioactive mineralogy and rare earth geology and this enabled him to initiate reconnaissance of promising tracts with a small team, which later separated to form the Atomic Minerals Division, of the Department of Atomic Energy.

He was the Director of Indian Bureau of Mines (New Delhi) from 1948 to 1951, Director of Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, during 1957–58, Head of the Geology and Geophysics Department, Andhra University, Waltair from 1958 to 1960, and was a moving force behind the beginning of National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad, of which he was also the Director between 1961 and 63. His untiring involvement in geological studies and exploration earned for him laurels in India and abroad.

Krishnan’s early years in GSI were in the company of such well-known giants of Indian geology like Lewis Fermor, C. S. Fox, J. A. Dunn, A. M. Heron, H. C. Jones, and J. B. Auden, who were known for painstaking fieldwork and observations which, in those days, were the backbone for geological inferences.

He had carried out extensive mapping, spanning the years 1925–33 and 1937–38, in Gangpur, Bonai, Bamra and Keonjar (parts of present Orissa State) and made some pioneering observations on the stratigraphic succession in the region.

Krishnan never rested on his laurels and had always explored avenues to keep Indian geology abreast with advances the subject had made over the years in the fields of mapping, exploration and basic studies and added new sections in the GSI to cover them.

India has been fortunate to have a person of the caliber of Krishnan at a time when the country, on the threshold of industrialization soon after independence, badly needed one who could organize and plan suitable surveys for some of the economic minerals and ores, and help to build proper infrastructure for their recovery.