s o m d e v a . o r g




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Herbarium Somdeva
Vijaya Sharma
Dr. Gopal Singh Rawat
Dr. Anil K. Goel
Dr. Sachin Biswas
Dr. S. K. Upadhyaya
Arun Gupta
Dr. Wazahat Husain
Madhulika Choudhry
Dr. Govind. S. Rajwar
Dr. Ravindra Chibbar
Dr. Mahesh Bhandari
Surgeon Commodore (Retd.) Dr. A. K. Verma
Dr. Ravindra Chibbar
Dr. Mahesh Bhandari
Dr. M. A. Rau
Sandeep Puran Singh
Pradeep Sharma



My memories of Mr Som Dev Sharma
Madhulika Choudhry

My association with Mr Som Dev Sharma has been since I was an infant when my parents came to live across the road at number 16 Circular Road. For me he has always been Sharma Uncle, a man so generous with his love and affection and along with Sharma aunty has made such an impression on our lives. Our families developed a friendship which resulted n buying land together and built houses side by side and have shared each others heart felt sorrows and happiness to this day.

 Some of my most memorable moments, which I often think about start in the 1950’s and early 60’s when we were still living in Circular Road, my high point was to go and see their meticulous garden when it was in full bloom, especially the long rows of sweet peas in different colours. Uncle and aunty counting the number of flowers along each stem and saying, “I think this is a record”. I remember the library in their house, full of rows of books.

Uncle got his first Lambretta scooter, it was one of the very few in Dehra Dun, my sister and myself were given treats to go for a ride up to the race course, Vivek then small standing in front and us on the back seat.

In the early sixties we moved to our new house, uncle and aunty planned their gardens with great thought and planning which have now matured into a haven of beautiful plants and trees. One can’t think of any plant that does not have its pride position in the garden. Over the years we were growing up and I became the quiet, shy one in the family, my eldest sister Mridula, the outgoing one built more of a raport with the family. Our older brother joined the army. Uncle was away for long periods of time collecting plants to add to his Herbarium collection, a great many of them discovered for the first time. The department peon, Pancham Singh, uncle had trained in pressing plants and he accompanied him on many occasions. D.A.V. College upgraded up to offering M.Sc. in Botany, Uncle was working day and night in his office upstairs, preparing meticulous notes for the first batch. Whenever I went to the house I could smell the cigarette smoke coming from upstairs and I knew that he should not be disturbed. I would go to aunty and she would say “See uncle upstairs” and as I climbed up the stairs, he would take of his glasses and say with a smile “ Hanh beti, kaise ho” I would ask him “ Uncle aap kya kar rahe ho” and he would show me the drawings on thin like tissue paper he had prepared labeled so that they served his notes while he was teaching and he said that they would be light to carry.


For my graduation I decided to study at D.A.V. College and decided to take Botany, Zoology and Chemistry as my main subjects and part of the lectures in Taxonomy, were taught by him. All the students feared him as a strict disciplinarian and were quite quick to take their places before he walked into the lecture room. The doors were closed once he walked in and after attendance we would all listen with great interest, we wrote down points here and there, but did not need to make notes as the lecture was interesting and informative unlike other professors, where we just sat down and took down notes which were dictated to us.

I decided to do my Masters in Botany, in those days only ten students to a year; once again I had the honour of being his student. For our finals, chits were drawn for the subjects for which we and to submit for thesis. It was my good luck that Sachin Biswas and myself drew to work under him as our mentor. I came home looking quite worried and my sister asked what the matter was, I said that I had drawn to work under him and I wasn’t sure that I could work up to his standards, immediately she said that I was a fool to think so and I was so fortunate to have the chance. After that, I never looked back. He helped me every step of the way, I had access to his work, notes, his herbarium, his library and above all his vast personal knowledge- A walking, talking encyclopedia into which a great number of students tapped into for information. He just stood above the rest.

After completing my masters I got married and moved to the UK, my first visit was after 6 years and when I went to visit them both, he said to aunty “ Where is that dinner set you got for Madhu” Although aunty did all the purchases, he was aware of everything.

 These are just a few flashes of my memories over the past 50 years and I would just like to say that along side uncle, Sharma aunty as I call her, has been with him every step of the way, hand in hand, enjoying and living the same dream they both dreamt together. She has a wonderful world of plants, so many wonderful memories to remind her of her life with uncle. “ True soul mates completely devoted to each other”