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Named after world fabled Rice Breeder and a World Food Prize Laureate, Gurdev Singh Khush Institute of Genetics, Plant Breeding and Biotechnology; and Gurdev Singh Khush Museum were inaugurated by the Punjab Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister Sardar Gurmeet Singh Khuddian at the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) today. Commemorating PAU’s 60 years of splendid service to the agricultural community, the event was a part of the XXth Triennial Congress of International Association of Agricultural Museums (CIMA), all set to kick-start in the evening at PAU in collaboration with The Heritage Foundation.

The Minister Sardar Khuddian, who was the chief guest, extolled Dr Khush for his unwavering commitment and unflagging hard work that have gone a long way in loading the godowns with food grains, wiping tears by shutting the doors for famine and bringing smiles with the rebirth of agriculture as well as the humanity.

Expressing his sincere gratitude to Dr Gosal and Mr SS Sekhon, Former Chief Architect, Punjab, for establishing this institute and museum, the guest of honor Dr Khush observed that this institute would focus on advanced sciences entailing genomics and biotechnology as well as the development of high-yielding and insect-pest and disease resistant crop varieties. About museum, Paddy Daddy Dr Khush stated that it would stimulate the younger generations for the years to come. Dwelling upon bajra like rice production, Dr Khush paid glowing tributes to a renowned agricultural biotechnologist Dr DS Brar who had a long association with the School of Agricultural Biotechnology at PAU.

In his presidential remarks, Dr Satbir Singh Gosal, Vice-Chancellor, PAU, highlighted Dr Khush’s colossal contribution to the rice farming via the development of more than 300 rice varieties, being cultivated across the globe. “A PAU alumnus, Dr Khush’s academic brilliance and ground-breaking research have made him an iconic figure in the realm of rice breeding,” he added, while lauding his benevolence and philanthropic gesture of donating 35 million to PAU for bolstering research and teaching.

Dr DS Cheema, Former Dean, College of Agriculture, PAU, called it historic day with the twin celebration of the establishment of Gurdev Singh Khush Institute and Museum at PAU, and World Food Day on October 16 across the world.

Sharing the rich legacy of Father of Rice Revolution – Dr Khush, the Professor of School of Agricultural Biotechnology Dr JS Sandhu said that the rice varieties comprising IR 8, PR 106, IR 36 and IR 64 were the revolutionary varieties that brought in Rice Revolution after Wheat Revolution in the late 1960s. Dr Khush’s oldest role in advancement of agricultural sciences speaks of his unswerving dedication, he added.

While welcoming Dr Khush and his wife Mrs Harwant Kaur Khush, the Director of Research Dr AS Dhatt said: “Although he has spent his life abroad, yet his mind has always been absorbed in PAU. His vital contribution to plant breeding technologies is indeed laudable and an unparalleled feat.”

Dr (Mrs) PK Chuuneja, Director, School of Agricultural Biotechnology, proposed a vote of thanks, while Dr Vishal Bector, Associate Director (Institutional Linkages), coordinated the programme.

The museum celebrates the successful journey of Dr Khush who was born and brought up in Punjab; studied at PAU, Ludhiana and US; and served at the University of California, USA and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Philippines. In addition to prism of life, professional education and career profile, the museum features his research work and torrent of accolades bestowed upon this highly decorated scientist. The major attraction is the scientific applause for the Rice-man Dr Khush, where the words of Father of Green Revolution Dr Norman E Borlaug, “Dr Khush has done much to provide basic building block to millions of people throughout the world;” and Father of Green Revolution in India Dr MS Swaminathan, “Dr Khush combines remarkable capacities in both theoretical and practical work” find a special mention and speak of his (Dr Khush’s) stellar success during his commendable career. It also showcases Director General of IRRI Dr Ronald Cantrell’s encouraging words, “While Dr Khush’s name may have passed through the lips of many, his life’s work has passed through the lips of almost half the humanity.”

On the occasion, a biography of Dr Khush, and a brochure on “Rice, Revolutions and Legacy: The Story of Dr Gurdev Singh Khush” authored by Dr Sheetal Thapar, Professor of Journalism, were released on the occasion.

Later, PAU VC felicitated Sardar Khuddian and Dr Khush with a sketch of Dr GS Khush and shawls. Besides, a 32-member delegation led by Prof Debra Reid, Curator of Agriculture and the Environment, The Henry Ford Museum, USA, also participated in the programme.

Present on the occasion were Dr SS Johl, Former Vice-Chancellor, PAU; Dr Deepak Pental, Former Vice-Chancellor, Delhi University; Dr Inderjeet Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University; Dr Gurbachan Singh, Former Chairman, Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board; Dr Sukhpal Singh, Chairman, Punjab State Farmers’ Commission; Mr Devinder Sharma, a noted columnist; and many other agricultural stalwarts and writers.

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