Professor Sankatha Prasad

Prof. Harkishan Singh

Sankatha Prasad lived all his seventy-five years at Banaras (Varanasi), but for some years he spent in the United States of America in late 1940s for his higher studies. His master degree was in agricultural science. On joining the Department of Pharmaceutics of the Banaras Hindu University he developed into a pioneer pharmacognosist. He had the merit of possessing degrees of doctor of science and doctor of philosophy. His election thrice to the Pharmacy Council of India showed the level of his status as a pharmacy professional. He actively served the profession through the medium of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association and remained editor of its official publication the Indian Journal of Pharmacy for some years. Sankatha Prasad was born and brought up at Banaras.1,2 His father was the Jailor of a jail in Banaras.1 During 1927-31 Sankatha studied at the London Mission High School, which later changed to Cutting Memorial High School, and the Queen’s Intermediate College.3 After his graduating for B.Sc. degree from the Banaras Hindu University, he went in for his master degree and carried out his M.Sc. research (1933-35) at the Institute of Agriculture.

Pioneer Pharmacognosist
S. Prasad was chosen as a lecturer in pharmacognosy and he joined the BHU Department of Pharmaceutics in December 1937.4 He diligently carried out his pedagogic duties and also engaged in research. He published many solo papers which attracted attention. He was selected for Watumull Foundation Scholarship for higher studies in the United States of America.5 He proceeded to the USA in 1946. He studied at the University of Wisconsin for Ph.D. degree, with major in pharmaceutical chemistry and minor in microbiology.6 On the basis of the research he had carried out earlier at the BHU he qualified for D.Sc. in pharmacognosy. The Banaras Hindu University promoted Dr Prasad to the position of professor of pharmacognosy.7 On retirement of Professor N. K. Basu in 1962, Dr Prasad became head of the Department of Pharmaceutics. Later, in 1963 he was appointed University Professor of Pharmceutics.8 He became Dean of the BHU Faculty of Technology.8 He superannuated in 1971.9 Professor S. Prasad distinguished himself as a teacher and researcher in his subject. He got to be known as ‘a pioneer in the development of pharmacognosy discipline in the country’.10 He carried out extensive studies on Indian medicinal plants.
Dr Prasad became eminent as teacher and a researcher in pharmacognosy. He established his name as an academic and professional. In his own right he gained respect as proponent of pharmacognosy. He raised his voice on flouting of the provisions of the Pharmacy Act as no teacher of pharmacognosy having been taken on the Pharmacy Council of India and also reacted to the absence of any pharmacognosist on the Indian Pharmacopoeia Committee.11,12 Amends were made and Dr Prasad did become member of first Pharmacy Council of India.13 When the PCI was reconstituted in 1954, he was re-elected to the membership by the Inter-University Board.14 Prasad became member of the PCI for his third term when the Board elected him again in 1965.15 Dr Prasad served as a member of the Education Regulations Committee of the Pharmacy Council of India.16,17 He also remained on Screening Committee for screening and editing the inspection reports.18 Dr Prasad was a member of the Pharmacognosy Subcommittee of the Indian Pharmacopoeia Committee.19 He became a member of the first Unani Pharmacopoeia Committee constituted in 1964 of which Col. Sir R. N. Chopra was the chairman.20 He was also a member of the Ayurvedic & Unani Drugs Technical Advisory Board, constituted under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.21



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