Hon D Sc degree for architect of India`s first test baby

Kolkata: Premier research organisation
Indian Statistical Institute on Saturday decided to confer an
honorary DSc degree posthumously on Dr Subhas Mukhopadhyay,
who pioneered the country`s first and the world`s second test
tube baby in 1978.

Unfortunately the path-breaking achievement of
Mukhopadhyay was not recognised by the medical fraternity,
which saddened the scientist so much that he committed suicide
three years later.

The Council, the highest policy-making body of the ISI,
of which Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is the
chairman, today decided at a meeting to confer the degree to
the scientist posthumously, sources in the ISI said.

The pioneer of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) technique,
Mukhopadhyay created Durga (Kanupriya Agarwal) on October 3,
1978, barely 67 days after British scientist Robert G Edwards
was able to bring to the world its first test tube baby.

Edwards was awarded the Nobel prize in medicine for 2010,
while Mukhopadhyay died unsung on June 19, 1981 after his
failure to convince the state government, which had set up
an enquiry committee in the wake of the controversy
generated by his feat.

However, 15 years after his death, another Indian IVF
specialist delved into the notes Mukhopadhyay had left and
gave him his due recognition in 1996 acknowledging that Durga
was indeed the country`s first test tube baby.

After October 4, 2010, when Edwards`s name was announced
for the Nobel prize, a professor proposed to ISI`s academic
council to consider conferring the honorary degree to
Mukhopadhyay for his contribution to medical sciences, the
sources said.

A committee which was formed to look into the feasibility
of the proposal recommended in its favour.

The recommendation was placed today before the Council
meeting which okayed the proposal. Pranab Mukherjee and ISI
Director Prof Bimal K Roy were present at the meeting, the
sources said.

Inspired by Mukhopadhyay`s life and death, filmmaker
Tapan Sinha had made a film, Ek Doctor Ki Maut (Death of a
doctor) in 1991.