Botany Department

A brief history of the Department

Around 1864, there was a famine in Orissa and then Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, Sir George Campbell was firm that agricultural education was key to avoiding similar disasters and following the recommendations of Sir John Strachey’s Famine Commission, a need to carry out scientific study to improve the food supply in India was noted. In order to fulfill this requirement, and on the recommendation of J.D. Hooker, Dr George Watt, a graduate of Doctor of Medicine from the University of Glasgow was selected for the post of Professor of Botany, at Presidency College, Calcutta University. He accepted and moved to India in late 1873 but he joined as a professor of botany in Hooghly College in January 1874. Before George watt, J. willson from Trinity College, Dublin, joined Hooghly College as Professor of Chemistry and Botany in March 1873.
Towards the end of 1878, Jadav Chandra Banerjee, Assistant Surgeon, taught Chemistry and Botany as Assistant Lecturer. But unfortunately, he died in the next year.
In 1875, Dr George Watt laid out a botanic garden in the western half of the College compound and eastern strip of Madrasa Hostel. A large number of plant specimens from Shibpur Botanic Garden were planted out. Several cement ponds were made for the water plants. In 1876 a special grant of Rupees 1000/- was made for books on Botany. A large staff of Malis and menials attended the garden and the Herbarium. The Botany Department of the college was at that time was most efficient in Bengal Province.
As part of the Indian Government service, Dr George Watt had a number of other roles.
• Burma-Manipur Boundary Commission as Medical Officer, 1882
• Scientific Assistant Secretary, Government of India, 1881
• In-charge of the India Section of the Calcutta International Exhibition, 1884
• Commissioner, Colonial and Indian Exhibition, London, 1885–86
• Reporter to Government of India on Economic Products, 1887–1903
• Governor of Imperial Institute, 1892
• Editor, The Agricultural Ledger, 1892–1903
• President, Pharmacological Section of the Indian Medical Congress, 1894
• In-charge of Calcutta Industrial Museum, 1894-03
• Honorary Secretary, Indigenous Drug Committee of India, 1901
• Director, Indian Art Exhibition, Delhi, 1903
Probably his magnum opus was A Dictionary of the Economic Products of India. The 9 parts published in between 1889-1893 has been regarded as the greatest compilation of commercial plants in India and covers both agricultural and non-agricultural plants.

Sir George Watt is credited with devising a system of where numbered tags were detached from a field book and could be tied to specimens as they were collected in the field. This made it much simpler to correctly identify the correct specimen with the correct entry in a field book. His system became widely used.
Sir George Watt also published an article Tea and the Tea Plant looking at the commercial varieties of Tea grown in India in the Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society. The specimens used to illustrate the varieties are held at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. For his services to Indian botany and science he was knighted in 1903.

From his time in India, he amassed a sizable personal herbarium of around 20,000 collections which were donated to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. It contains over 150 Type specimens of Indian taxa described by Watt and others.
In 1907 Watt published a major monograph on the Wild and Cultivated Cotton Plants of the World in which he published many new taxa in the genus Gossypium. He also published new Indian species in the family Primulaceae (Primula, Androsace)

After transfer of Dr Watt, Dr Gregg had carried on the teaching of Botany. But he went on furlough in 1886 and the question of retention of classes was raised. Botany had once been very popular, but new University Regulation added Physiology to Botany and the number of students immediately fell. The Principal recommended abolition, but Mr. Croft, then Director took a large view. “If Botany classes at Hooghly are to be closed, there will remain only the class at Cuttack-a small and insignificant remnant-and it may be apprehended that even that classes will be forced to follow suit, owing to the difficulty in finding teachers in Botany, who have hitherto been found among the MA students of Hooghly College. “The only possibility” He continued, “of creating a class of Indian Botanists lies in the maintenance of Botany classes in some of the Government Colleges”. But these arguments were wasted and Government decided to abolish the classes as there was no real demand of the subject. The result of that attitude, Botany was never been taught in any college in Bengal apart from Presidency College during the British Period.
Post-independence period
After the establishment of Burdwan University on 15th June 1960 with some humanities departments, gradually science departments were included and Hooghly Mohsin College, erstwhile Hooghly College became one of the affiliated colleges under Burdwan University.
Department of Botany, Hooghly Mohsin College got rebirth in 1965 with Honours course. However, intermediate course and degree course for pass students were introduced before 1965.
M.Sc. in Botany classes started in this college from 2007-08 academic sessions, affiliated under the University of Burdwan, along with under graduate courses for the pass and Honours students.
Source: 1. History of Hooghly College, 1836 -1936, by K. Zachariah.
2. George Watt(botanist)- Wikipedia
3. Sir George Watt(1851-1930)-Botanics Stories.

Sl. Programme Level of study
1 B.Sc. Botany(Hons.) U.G.(HONS)
2 B.Sc. Botany(General) U.G.(GEN.)
3 M.Sc. in Botany P.G.


Sl. No. Name of the Teachers Designation Qualification Specialization
1 Dr. Subrata Mitra Associate Professor M.Sc., Ph.D. Mycology  Plant Pathology
2 Dr. Sukumar Sarkar Associate Professor M.Sc., Ph.D. Plant Physiology and Biochemsitry
3 Dr. Biswajit De Associate Professor M.Sc., Ph.D. Cytogenetics
4 Dr. Dipan Adhikari Associate Professor M.Sc., Ph.D. Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Plant Biotechnology
5 Pulakesh Parai Assistant Professor M.Sc. Cytogenetics
6 Moutushi Sen Assistant Professor M.Sc. Cell Biology, Molecular Genetics and Plant Biotechnology
7 Dr. Manashi Aditya Assistant Professor M.Sc., Ph.D. Plant Physiology and Biochemsitry



Year Program Code Program Name Number of students appeared in the final year examination Success Rate 1st Class University Ranks (First 20) Highest Marks(%)
2021 B.Sc. in Botany(H) B.Sc. (Honours) 12 100% 12/td> 1st class 1st 95%
2020 B.Sc. in Botany(H) B.Sc. (Honours) 18 100% 17/td> 1st class 4th 87.2%


Year Program Code Program Name Number of students appeared in the final year examination Success Rate 1st Class University Ranks (First 20) Highest Marks(%)
2021 M.Sc. in Botany M.Sc. 14 100% 14 NA 84%
2020 M.Sc. in Botany M.Sc. 15 950% 7 NA 78%


Number of students qualifying in state/national/ international level examinations during the year (eg: NET/SET//GATE/ GMAT/CAT/GRE/ TOEFL/ Civil Services/State government examinations)

Year Registration number/roll number for the exam Names of students selected/ qualified NET/SLET/GATE
2017 353273 APARNA BORAL NET
2019 344490 DWAIPEE DE NET


2. discussed an important topic “Bacterial Polysaccharides for Extreme environments: A treasure hunt”.

Session Date Speaker Seminar Type Topic
2016 02.12.2016 1.Prof.Dr. P.K. Pal(BU) Dr. ArabindoPramanik AJC Bose Indian Botanic garden One day Regional Semina on Plant Science , conducted by Mohon Lal Ghosh 1. Emergence & early diversification Of Plant life on earth .
2. Conservation Perspective-an Overview
2017 15.9.2017 1.Prof. Dr. T.K. Maity(BU) / 2. Dr. Kanad Das (BSI) One day Regional Semina on Plant Science , conducted by Mohon Lal Ghosh 1. Genetic Recombination in Bacteria .
2. Diversity & Systematics of wild Mushrooms
2019 08.02.2019 1.Prof.Dr.SikhaDutta(BU) /. 2.Prof.Dr. KoushikBrahmmachary One day Regional Semina on Plant Science , conducted by Mohon Lal Ghosh 1. Mushroom &Nutraceuticals.
2. Organic Farming and cultivation
2020 04-03-2020 1. Dr. RajibBndhyopadhyay (Prof. in Botany, BU )–. 2. scientist Dr. Aparna Banerjee (University of Chile, South America) One day Regional Semina on Plant Science , conducted by Mohon Lal Ghosh


Session Date Seminar Type
( State /National /International Level)
Seminar Topic Sponsored By Collaboration With
2020 11-08-2020 One Day Sate Levl Webinar on COVID (on Line, Google Meet), Organized By PG dept of Botany Covid-19, Searching Newer paves From Molecules to Medicine Dr. Dipan Adhikari IQAC, HMC
2021 28-06-2021 National Webinar on Plant Science (on Line, Google Meet) EmbryogenicTissue:A key cellular source of research in basic and applied biotechnology, Dr. Mohonlal Ghosh IQAC, HMC


A Compendium cum E-Proceedings, of Departmental Seminars given by the students of UG, Botany Honours, an initiative taken by the Department of Botany (UG and PG), Hooghly Mohsin college, Chinsurah, Hooghly, West Bengal, India, has been prepared in a consolidated format.