Profile & Tributes
The Dauntless Crusader of the Environment |Suptendu P. Biswas
LA 55
A tribute to Dr. Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, 1947-2018

Dr. Dhrubajyoti Ghosh- an engineer, ecologist, researcher and activist- was well known for his seminal work on East Kolkata Wetlands. Having devoted himself to sustaining the environment, he is fondly remembered by Mr. Suptendu P. Biswas and Ms. Dhruba Das Gupta as they recount instances from his dedicated and disciplined life.

Dhrubajyoti Ghosh (1947-2018) was a unique disciplinary mix. An engineer, ecologist, researcher and activist, he worked as a government official for long. It is a matter of pride for many of us that he was an alumnus from our alma mater, the erstwhile Bengal Engineering College, Sibpur (presently IIEST), where he also started taking a course towards the end to share his vast body of knowledge.

I knew of him because of his seminal work on East Kolkata Wetlands, but did not have the opportunity to interact with him till late 2016. Our trust, SEARCH (Trust for Sustainable Education and Action in Architecture), was then organizing an international workshop on the Canals of Kolkata. I emailed to him with a request to deliver a lecture on East Kolkata Wetlands that were significantly connected with the larger ecology and landscape of Kolkata city. His response was prompt. He congratulated us on our effort and humbly mentioned that he had been 'trying to understand the wetlands of Kolkata for long'. Since then, we spoke many a time. His warmth and affection was touching. It took little time for me, otherwise a formal person at least for initial interactions, to call him 'Dhruba-da', especially when we got to know that both of us were from the same college. A thorough professional, Dhruba-da was always willing to share an extra bit of information and advice to take any positive initiative forward.

It was amazing to see the zeal with which he gave his presentation at the workshop. Among the many slides in his presentation, he had projected only one slide on the map of East Kolkata Wetlands and completely forgot about its existence and that of the entire presentation he brought with him. He extemporized the talk drawing from his real-life experiences. His was a deeply grounded talk, unorthodox in delivery and original in narrative, which is rare these days in academia and elsewhere. Everyone listened to him with rapt attention. I finally had to remind him to talk about the pioneering work of mapping that his team had undertaken.

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