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Herbarium Somdeva
Vijaya Sharma
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. M. A. Rau
Sandeep Puran Singh
Pradeep Sharma






Dr. Anil K. Goel
It was shocking and unbelievable to me when I received a telephonic call from Dr. G.S. Rawat, Sr. Scientist in the Wildlife Institute of India, Derhradun during first week of February, 2005 about the sudden demise of Prof. Som Deva Sharma on 29 January, 2005. 

I recall my memories when I was a M. Sc. (Botany) student in the Department of Botany at H.N.B. Garhwal University, Srinagar (Uttaranchal) in 1975 and was assigned the Flora of Kirtinagar Tahisil for M.Sc. dissertation by my teacher Dr. R. K. Kohli, the then Head of botany department. I explored the region and prepared voucher specimens for identification which was a Herculean task for me. Dr. Kohli gave me a reference letter for Prof. Som Deva Sharma and asked me to go to Dehradun with herbarium specimens and meet him. I was very much afraid. But when I met Prof. Som Deva  at his 13 - Balbir Avenue residence, my all fears had gone. He also gave me some important tips of plant taxonomy which became the driving force and created my keen interest in this subject. During my studies in Himalayan region, I started observing the plants more closely and carefully. I completed my M. Sc. in 1977.


I applied for junior research fellowship in the Botanical Survey of India and with God’s grace,  I received a interview call from BSI, Northern Circle, Dehradun and was also selected for fellowship under the Flora of India Project there in September, 1977.  I was allotted the Herbaceous Flora of Tehri Garhwal  for pursuing my D.Phil. Degree.    


He had extensively explored the west Himalayan region. Prof. Som Deva was down to earth in his field. He was very deep in taxonomic studies and he was never satisfied with his observations which prevented him many times to publish several important findings. He had studied very critically the grasses of Himalayas, the genus Corydalis but was never satisfied. He was very shy of publishing his interesting findings. Though he published some excellent and very critical research papers on the flora of Himalayan region and the Upper Gangetic Plains. He always encouraged and inspired me and took keen interest in my taxonomic studies and remained a guiding force. During my 5 years stay at Dehradun I received his complete guidance, encouragement as well as lot of affection. Whenever I visited Dehradun on my official or personal visits, I never missed any opportunity to visit him and discuss the matters of mutual interest. Mrs. Som Deva  is also a great lover of living wild and as well as ornamental plants. They were maintaining an excellent garden in their house and were always ready to share the plant material. I have seen beautiful collections of Bamboos, Orchids and Bonsais in his garden. Aunti ji has been very hospitable and both of them never hesitated to show their herbarium and garden even during the odd hours. I was overwhelmed to see Prof. Som Deva once in the botanic garden at NBRI, Lucknow sometimes during 1995. 


Prof. Som Deva & H.B. Naithani had written a well illustrated monumental book on The Orchid Flora of North West Himalaya and supplemented 66 species of orchids after J.F. Duthie’s work on  orchids. He presented me a copy of this publication during my last visit to his house on 5 August, 2003.  I always remember both of them from the core of my heart.

We have lost a great plant explorer and taxonomist. I offer my condolences and pray God for the ever lasting peace to the departed soul. May God give the strength to respected Aunti ji, his son and the entire family members in the time of grief.  As a well wisher, I can wish a happy and prosperous life for the family members of Prof. Som Deva Sharma.


(Anil K. Goel)
Sr. Assistant Director
Plant Conservation & Eco-education
National Botanical Research Institute
Lucknow – 226 001 (UP)