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Title: Sir Jagadis Chunder Bose - His Life and Speeches
Author: Bose, Sir Jagadis Chunder
Language: English
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        Transcriber's Notes:

Typos and spelling variants (including hyphenated words) have been
checked against the Oxford English Dictionary (online edition, July
2007) and corrected as needed. Archaic spellings have been retained. In
rare cases, where a word replacement or correction was either uncertain
or impossible, the word was identified with [_sic._]

Bold and small cap text has been rendered as all caps in the text
version.

Reference on 168 to the "The Presidency College Magazine" must be to the
second issue, as the 25th issue was in 1939 and the events mentioned on
p. 168 happened in 1915.

By-lines after various sections sometimes show as "Patrika," and at
other times as "A. B. Patrika." A. B. Patrika is not a person, but is
rather "Amrita Bazar Patrika," an English language daily newspaper in
India. To reduce confusion I have standardized the by-lines to "Amrita
Bazar Patrika."


       *       *       *       *       *


SIR JAGADIS
CHUNDER BOSE


HIS LIFE AND SPEECHES


Price Rs. 2      GANESH & CO.



The Cambridge Press, Madras.



CONTENTS

                                                             Page
His Life and Career                                             1
Literature and Science                                         79
Marvels of Plant Life                                         102
Plant Autographs--How Plants can record their own story       106
Invisible Light                                               113
Lecture on Electric Radiation                                 117
Plant Response                                                122
Evidence before the Public Services Commission                126
Prof. J. C. Bose at Madura                                    143
Prof. J. C. Bose Entertained--Party at Ram Mohan Library      147
History of a Discovery                                        154
A Social Gathering                                            165
Light Visible and Invisible                                   169
Hindu University Address                                      172
The History of a Failure that was Great                       177
Quest of Truth and Duty                                       187
The Voice of Life                                             200
The Praying Palm of Faridpur                                  222
Visualisation of Growth                                       292
Sir J. C. Bose at Bombay                                      231
Unity of Life                                                 235
The Automatic Writing of the Plant                            243
Control of Nervous Impulse                                    247
Marvels of Growth as Revealed by the "Magnetic Crescograph"   254
The Night-Watch of Nymphaea                                   262
Wounded Plants                                                267



SIR JAGADIS CHUNDER BOSE


On the 30th November, 1858, Jagadis Chunder was born, in a respectable
Hindu family, which hails from village Rarikhal, situated in the
Vikrampur Pargana of the Dacca District, in Bengal. He passed his
boyhood at Faridpur, where his father, the late Babu Bhugwan Chunder
Bose, a member of the _then_ Subordinate Executive Service was the
Sub-Divisional Officer; and it was there that he derived "the power and
strength that nerved him to meet the shocks of life."[1]


HIS FATHER

His father was a fine product of the Western Education in our country.
Speaking of him, says Sir Jagadis "My father was one of the earliest to
receive the impetus characteristic of the modern epoch as derived from
the West. And in his case it came to pass that the stimulus evoked the
latent potentialities of his race for evolving modes of expression
demanded by the period of transition in which he was placed. They found
expression in great constructive work, in the restoration of quiet
amidst disorder, in the earliest effort to spread education both among
men and women, in questions of social welfare, in industrial efforts, in
the establishment of people's bank and in the foundation of industrial
and technical schools."[2] However, his efforts--like most pioneer
efforts--failed. He became overpowered in the struggle. But his young
son, who witnessed the struggle, derived a great lesson which enabled
him "to look on success or failure as one"--or rather "failure as the
antecedent power which lies dormant for the long subsequent dynamic
expression in what we call success." "And if my life" says Sir Jagadis
"in any way came to be fruitful, then that came through the realisation
of this lesson."[2] So great was the influence exerted on him by his
father that Sir Jagadis Chunder has observed "To me his life had been
one of blessing and daily thanksgiving."[2]


HIS EARLY EDUCATION

Little Jagadis received his first lesson in a village _pathsala_. His
father, who had very advanced views in educational matters, instead of
sending him to an English School, which was then regarded as the only
place for efficient instruction, sent him to the vernacular village
school for his early education. "While my father's subordinates" says
Sir Jagadis "sent their children to the English schools intended for
gentle folks, I was sent to the vernacular school, where my comrades
were hardy sons of toilers and of others who, it is now fashion to
regard, were belonging to the depressed classes."[3] Speaking of the
effect it produced on him, observes Sir Jagadis "From these who tilled
the ground and made the land blossom with green verdure and ripening
corn, and the sons of the fisher folk, who told stories of the strange
creatures that frequented unknown depths of mighty rivers and stagnant
pools, I first derived the lesson of that which constitutes true
manhood. From them too I drew my love of nature."[3]

"I now realise" continues Sir Jagadis "the object of my being sent at
the most plastic period of my life to the vernacular school where I was
to learn my own thoughts and to receive the heritage of our national
culture through the medium of our own literature. I was thus to consider
myself one with the people and never to place myself in an equivocal
position of assumed superiority."[3]

"The moral education which we received in our childhood" adds Sir
Jagadis "was very indirect and came from listening to stories recited by
the "Kathaks" on various incidents connected with our great epics. Their
effects on our mind was Very great."[4]

And it is very interesting to learn from the lips of Sir Jagadis himself
"that the inventive bent of his mind received its first impetus" in the
industrial and technical schools established by his father.[4]


HIS COLLEGIATE EDUCATION IN INDIA

After he had developed, in the _pathsala_, some power of observation,
some power of reasoning and some power of expression through the healthy
medium of his own mother tongue, young Jagadis was sent to an English
School for education. He passed the Entrance Examination, in 1875, from
the St. Xavier's Collegiate School, Calcutta, in the First Division. He
then joined the College classes of that Institution, and there, in the
"splendid museum of Physical Science Instruments," he drew his early
inspirations in Physics from that remarkable educationist and brilliant
experimentalist, the Rev. Father E. Lefont, S.J., C.I.E., M.I.E.E., who
had the rare gift of enkindling the imagination of his pupils. He passed
the First Examination in Arts, in 1877, in the Second Division and the
B.A. Examination by the B. Course (Science Course), in 1880, in the
Second Division. "It is the paramount duty of the University" says Sir
Ashutosh Mookerjea "to discover and develop unusual talent."[5] The
Calcutta University, by the test of examination which it applied,
totally failed to _discover_ (not to speak of _developing_) the powers
of an original mind which was destined to enrich the world by giving
away the fruits of its experience.


HIS STUDY ABROAD

After Jagadis had graduated himself, in the Calcutta University, he
longed to get a course of scientific education in England. He was sent
to Cambridge and joined the Christ's College. He came in "personal
contact with eminent men, whose influence extorted his admiration and
created in him a feeling of emulation. In the way he owed a great deal
to Lord Rayleigh, under whom he worked."[6] He passed the B.A.
Examination of the Cambridge University, in Natural Science Tripos, in
1884. He also secured, in 1883, the B.Sc. Degree with Honours of London
University. Jagadis had, by birth, the speculative Indian mind. And, by
his scientific education, at home and abroad, he developed a capacity
for accurate experiment and observation and learnt to control his
Imagination--"that wonderous faculty which, left to ramble uncontrolled
leads us astray into a wilderness of perplexities and errors, a land of
mists and shadows; but which, properly controlled by experience and
reflection, becomes the noblest attribute of man; the source of poetic
genius, the instrument of discovery in Science."[7] His strength and
fertility as a discoverer is to be referred in a great measure to the
harmonious blending of the burning Imagination of the East with the
analytical methods of the West.


APPOINTED AS A PROFESSOR

After having completed his education abroad. Jagadis chose the teaching
of Science as his vocation. He was appointed as Professor of Physical
Science at the Presidency College, Calcutta. He joined the service on
the 7th January, 1885. Although he was appointed in Class IV of the
_then_ Bengal Educational Service, (which afterwards merged in the
present Indian Educational Service), he was not admitted to the full
scale of pay of the Service. He, being an Indian, was allowed to draw
only two-thirds the pay of his grade. This humiliating distinction was,
however, removed in his case, on the 21st September 1903, when the
bureaucracy could not any longer ignore the pressure of enlightened
opinion that was brought to bear on it.


HIS RESEARCHES ON ELECTRIC WAVES

It was in 1887, some times after Professor J. C. Bose had joined the
Presidency College, Hertz demonstrated, by direct experiment, the
existence of Electric Waves--the properties of which had been predicted
by Clerk Maxwell long before. This great discovery sent a reverberation
through the gallery of the scientific world. And, at once, the
scientists in all countries began to devote their best energies to
explorations in this new Realm of Nature. Young J. C. Bose--who had
drunk deep at the springs of Scientific Knowledge and whose imagination
had been very deeply touched by the scientific activities of the West
and who had in him the burning desire that India should 'enter the world
movement for that advancement of knowledge'--also followed suit.


DIFFICULTIES OF RESEARCHES

When, however, Prof. J. C. Bose joined the Presidency College, there was
no laboratory worth the name there, nor had he any of 'those mechanical
facilities at his disposal which every prominent European and American
experimental scientist commands'. He had to work under discouraging
difficulties before he could begin his investigations. He was, however,
not a man to quarrel with circumstances. He bravely accepted them and
began to work in his own private laboratory and with appliances which,
in any other country, would be deemed inadequate. He applied himself
closely to the investigation of the invisible etheric waves and, with
the simple means at his command, accomplished things, which few were
able to perform in spite of their great wealth of external appliances.

As the wave-length of a Hertzian (electric) ray was very large--about 3
metres[8] long--compared with that of visible light, considerable
difficulties were experienced in carrying on experiments with the same.
It was thought, for instance, that very large crystals, much larger
than what occur in nature, would be required to show the polarisation of
electric ray. Prof. Bose who 'combined in him the inventiveness of a
resourceful engineer, with the penetration and imagination of a great
scientist'--designed an instrument which generated very short electric
waves with a length of about 6 millimetres or so. And, by working with
Electric radiations having very short wave-lengths, he succeeded in
demonstrating that the electric waves are polarised by the crystal
_Nemalite_ (which he himself discovered) in the very same way as a beam
of light is polarised by the crystal Tourmaline. He then showed that a
large number of substances, which are opaque to Light (_e.g._ pitch,
coal-tar etc.) are transparent to Electric Waves. He next determined the
Index of Refraction of various substances for invisible Electric
Radiation and thereby eliminated a great difficulty which had presented
itself in Maxwell's theory as to the relation between the index of
refraction of light and the di-electric constant of insulators. He then
determined the wave length of Electric Radiation as produced by various
oscillators.


HIS EARLY CONTRIBUTIONS AND THEIR APPRECIATIONS

His first contribution was 'On Polarisation of Electric Rays by Double
Refracting Crystals.' It was read at a meeting of the Asiatic Society of
Bengal, held on the 1st May 1895, and was published in the Journal of
the Society in Vol. LXIV, Part II, page 291. His next contributions were
'On a new Electro polariscope' and 'On the Double Refraction of the
Electric Ray by a Strained Di-electric.' They appeared, in the
_Electrician_, the leading journal on Electricity, published in London.
These 'strikingly original researches' won the attention of the
scientific world. Lord Kelvin, the greatest physicist of the age,
declared himself 'literally filled with wonder and admiration for so
much success in the novel and difficult problem which he had attacked.'
Lord Rayleigh communicated the results of his remarkable researches to
the Royal Society. And the Royal Society showed its appreciation of the
high scientific value of his investigation, not only, by the
publication, with high tributes, of a paper of his 'On the Determination
of the Indices of Electric Refraction,' in December 1896, and another
paper on the 'Determination of the Wave-length of Electric Radiation,'
in June 1896, but also, by the offer, of their own accord, of an
appropriation from the Special Parliamentary Grant made to the Society
for the Advancement of Knowledge, for continuation of his work.

In recognition of the importance of the contribution made by Prof. Bose,
the University of London conferred on him the Degree of Doctor of
Science and the Cambridge University, the degree of M.A., in 1896. And,
to crown all, the Royal Institution of Great Britain--rendered famous by
the labour of Davy and Faraday, of Rayleigh and Dewar--honoured him by
inviting to deliver a 'Friday Evening Discourse' on his original work.
It would not be out of place to observe that the rare privilege of being
invited to deliver a 'Friday Evening Discourse' is regarded as one of
the highest distinction that can be conferred on a scientific man.


HIS FIRST SCIENTIFIC DEPUTATION. (1896-97)

The Government of India showed its appreciation of his work by deputing
him to Europe to place the results of his investigations before the
learned Scientific Bodies. He remained on his Deputation from the 22nd
July 1896 to the 19th April 1897. He read a paper 'On a complete
Apparatus for studying the Properties of Electric Waves' at the meeting
of British Association, held at Liverpool, in 1896. He then communicated
a paper 'On the Selective Conductivity exhibited by Polarising
Substances,' which was published by the Royal Society, in January 1897.
He next delivered his 'Friday Evening Discourse,' at the Royal
Institution, 'On Electric Waves,' on the 29th January 1897. "There is,
however, to our thinking" wrote the _Spectator_ at the time "something
of rare interest in the spectacle presented of a Bengalee of the purest
descent possible, lecturing in London to an audience of appreciative
European savants upon one of the most recondite branches of the modern
physical science." He was then invited to address the Scientific
Societies in Paris. "Prof. J. C. Bose" wrote the Review Encyclopedique,
Paris "exhibited on the 9th of March before the Sorbonne, an apparatus
of his invention for demonstrating the laws of reflection, refraction,
and polarisation of electric waves. He repeated his experiments on the
22nd, before a large number of members of the Academie des Sciences,
among whom were Poincare, Cornu, Mascart, Lipmann, Cailletet, Becquerel
and others. These savants highly applauded the investigations of the
Indian Professor." M. Cornu, President of the Academy of Science, was
pleased to address Professor Bose as follows:--

"By your discoveries you have greatly furthered the cause of Science.
You must try to revive the grand traditions of your race which bore
aloft the torch light of art and science and was the leader of
civilization two thousand years ago. We, in France applaud you." This
fervent appeal, we shall see, as we proceed, did not go in vain.

He was next invited to lecture before the Universities in Germany. At
Berlin, before the leading physicists of Germany, he gave an address on
Electric Radiation, which was subsequently published in the
_Physikaliscen Gesellschaft Berlin_, in April 1897.


FURTHER RESEARCHES ON ELECTRIC WAVES

Having received the most generous and wide appreciation of his work, Dr.
J. C. Bose continued, with redoubled vigour, his valuable researches on
Electric Waves. He studied the influence of thickness of air-space on
total reflection of Electric Radiation and showed that the critical
thickness of air-space is determined by the refracting power of the
prism and by the wave-length of the electric oscillations. He next
demonstrated the rotation of the plane of polarisation of Electric Waves
by means of pieces of twisted jute rope. He showed that, if the pieces
are arranged so that their twists are all in one direction and placed in
the path of radiation, they rotate the plane of polarisation in a
direction depending upon the direction of twists; but, if they are mixed
so that there are as many twisted in one direction as the other, there
is no rotation.[9] He communicated to the Royal Society the results of
his new researches. And the Royal Society published, in November 1897,
his papers 'On the Determination of the Index of Refraction of glass for
the Electric Ray' and 'On the influence of Thickness of Air-space on
Total Reflection of Electric Radiation' and, in March 1898, his further
contributions 'On the Rotation of Plane of Polarisation of Electric
Waves by a twisted structure' and 'On the Production of a "Dark cross"
in the Field of Electro-magnetic Radiation.'


SELF-RECOVERING "COHERER"

The study of Electric Waves by Dr. J. C. Bose led not only to the
devising of methods for the production of the shortest Electric Waves
known but also to the construction of a very delicate 'Receiver' for the
detection of invisible other disturbances. The most sensitive form of
detector hitherto known was the "Coherer." One of the forms made by Sir
Oliver Lodge consisted simply of a glass tube containing iron turnings,
in contact with which were wire led into opposite ends of the tube. The
arrangement was placed in series with a galvanometer and a battery; when
the turnings were struck by electric waves, the resistance between loose
metallic contacts was diminished and the deflection of the galvanometer
was increased. Thus the deflection of the galvanometer was made to
indicate the arrival of electric waves. The arrangement was, no doubt, a
sensitive one, but, to get a greater delicacy, Dr. Bose used, instead
of iron turnings, spiral springs which were pushed against each other by
means of a screw.[10] Still the arrangement laboured under one great
disadvantage. The 'receiver' had to be tapped between each experiment.
So something better than a 'cohering' receiving was needed--something
that was self-recovering, like a human eye. To discover that something,
Dr. Bose began a study of the whole theory of 'coherer action.' It was
hitherto believed that the electric waves, by impinging on iron and
other metallic particles in contact, brought about a sort of fusion--a
sort of 'coherence'--and that the diminution of resistance was the
result of that 'coherence.' To satisfy himself as to the correctness of
this theory, Dr. Bose engaged himself in a most laborious investigation
to find out the action of electric radiation not only on iron particles
but on all kinds of matter and ultimately discovered the surprising fact
that, though the impact of electric waves generally produced a
diminution of resistance, with _potassium_ there was an _increase_ of
resistance after the waves had ceased.[11] This discovery at once showed
the untenability of the old theory and pointed to the conclusion that
the effect of electric radiation on matter is one of discriminative
molecular action--that the Electric Waves produced a re-arrangement of
the molecules which may either increase or decrease the contact
resistance. It may be incidentally mentioned here that this detection of
molecular change in matter under electric stimulation has given rise to
a new theory of photographic action.

As a result of his painstaking investigation on the action of Electric
Waves on different kinds of matter, Dr. Bose invented a new type of
self-recovering electric receiver, "so perfect in its action that the
Electrician suggested its use in ships and in electro-magnetic
light-houses for the communication and transmission of danger-signals at
sea through space. This was, in 1895, several years in advance of the
present wireless system." Practical application of the results of Dr.
Bose's investigations appeared so important that the Governments of
Great Britain and the United States of America granted him patents for
his invention of a certain crystal receiver which proved to be the most
sensitive detector of the wireless signal. Dr. Bose, however, has made
no secret at any time as to the construction of his apparatus. He has
never utilised the patents granted to him for personal gain. His
inventions are "open to all the world to adopt for practical and
money-making purposes." "The spirit of our national culture" observes
Sir J. C. Bose "demands that we should for ever be free from the
desecration of utilising knowledge for personal gain."[12]


HIS RESEARCHES TAKE A NEW TURN

This inquiry which Dr. J. C. Bose started for the purpose of
ascertaining 'coherer action'--why the "receiver" had to be tapped in
order to respond again to electric waves--took him unconsciously to the
border region of physics and physiology and gave an altogether new turn
to his researches. "He found that the uncertainty of the early type of
his receiver was brought on by 'fatigue' and that the curve of fatigue
of his instrument closely resembled the fatigue curve of animal
muscle."[13] He did not stop there but pushed on his investigations and
found "that the 'tiredness' of his instrument was removed by suitable
stimulants and that application of certain poisons, on the other hand,
permanently abolished its sensitiveness." He was amazed at this
discovery--this parallelism in the behaviour of the 'receiver' to the
living muscle. This led him to a systematic study of all matter, Organic
and Inorganic, Living and Non-Living.


RESPONSE IN LIVING AND NON-LIVING

He began an examination of inorganic matter in the same way as a
biologist examines a muscle or a nerve. He subjected metals to various
kinds of stimulus--mechanical, thermal, chemical, and electrical. He
found that all sorts of stimulus produce an excitatory change in them.
And this excitation sometimes expresses itself in a visible change of
form and sometimes not; but the disturbance produced by the stimulus
always exhibits itself in an _electric response_. He next subjected
plants and animal tissues to various kinds of stimulus and also found
that they also give an _electric response_. Finding that a universal
reaction brought together metals, plants and animals under a common law,
he next proceeded to a study of _modifications in response_, which occur
under various conditions. He found that they are all benumbed by cold,
intoxicated by alcohol, wearied by excessive work, stupified by
anaesthetics, excited by electric currents, stung by physical blows and
killed by poison--they all exhibit essentially the same phenomena of
fatigue and depression, together with possibilities of recovery and of
exaltation, yet also that of permanent irresponsiveness which is
associated with death--they all are responsive or irresponsive under the
same conditions and in the same manner. The investigations showed that,
in the entire range of response phenomena (inclusive as that is of
metals, plants and animals) there is no breach of continuity; that "the
living response in all its diverse modifications is only a repetition of
responses seen in the inorganic" and that the phenomena of response "are
determined, not by the play of an unknowable and arbitrary _vital
force_, but by the working of laws that know no change, acting equally
and uniformly throughout the organic and inorganic matter."[14]


SECOND SCIENTIFIC DEPUTATION, 1900-01

In the year 1900, the International Scientific Congress was held, in
Paris. And Dr. J. C. Bose was deputed by the Government of India to the
Congress as a delegate from this country. Before the assembled
scientists, Dr. Bose delivered a remarkable address on the results of
his researches on the similarity of Response of Inorganic and Living
Substances to Electric stimulus ... 'De la gênêralitê de Phênomênes
Moleculairs produits par l'Ectricité sur la matiriê Inorganique et sur
la matiêre Vivante.' He next read a paper 'On the Similarity of effect
of Electric Stimulus on Inorganic and Living Substances' before the
Bradford meeting of the British Association in 1900. He then contributed
a very interesting paper 'on Binocular Alteration of Vision,' which was
published by the Physiological Society of London, in November 1900. It
may be mentioned here, by the way, that, in course of his investigations
on the Response of the Living and Non-Living substances, Dr. Bose
constructed an "artificial retina" to study the characteristics of the
excitatory change produced by a stimulus on the retina and these
characteristics gave him a clue to the unexpected discovery of the
"binocular alteration of vision" in man--"each eye supplements its
fellow by turns, instead of acting as a continuously yoked pair, as
hitherto believed."[15] He next communicated to the Royal Society his
researches 'On the Continuity of Effect of Light and Electric Radiation
on Matter,' and 'On the Similarities between Mechanical and Radiation
Strains,' and 'On the Strain Theory of Photographic action,' which were
published in April 1901. Then, on the 10th May 1901, he delivered his
remarkable 'Friday Evening Discourse,' at the Royal Institution, on the
'Response of Inorganic Matter to Stimulus.'


OPPOSITION OF THE PHYSIOLOGISTS

Then, on the 5th June 1901, he gave an experimental demonstration,
before the Royal Society, on the subject of his researches 'On Electric
Response of Inorganic Substances' which had already been communicated to
that Society, on the 7th May 1901. He was strongly assailed by Sir John
Burden Sanderson, the leading physiologist, and some of his followers.
They objected to a physicist straying into the preserve especially
reserved for them. They dogmatically asserted _as physiologists_ that
the excitatory response of ordinary plants to mechanical stimulus was an
impossibility. But they failed to urge anything against the experiment
of the physicist. In consequence of this opposition, Dr. Bose's paper,
which was already in print, was not published but was placed in the
archives of the Royal Society. "And it happened that eight months after
the reading of his Paper, another communication found publication in the
Journal of a different Society which was practically the same as Dr.
Bose's but without any acknowledgment. The author of this communication
was a gentleman who had previously opposed him at the Royal Society. The
plagiarism was subsequently discovered and led to much unpleasantness.
It is not necessary to refer any more to this subject except as an
explanation of the fact that the determined hostility and
misrepresentation of one man succeeded for more than 10 years to bar all
avenues of publications for his discoveries."[16]

The opposition of the physiologists, however, did one good. It spurred
Dr. Bose on and made him stronger in his determination not to encompass
himself, within the narrow groove of physical investigation. He took
furlough for one year, in extension of the period of his Deputation,
and applied himself vigorously to the investigations, which he had
already commenced in India and received facilities from the Managers of
the Royal Institution to work in the Davy-Faraday Laboratory. He next
read, at the Glasgow meeting of the British Association, in 1901, a
paper 'On the Conductivity of Metallic particles under Cyclic
Electro-magnetic Variation.' Then, in March 1902, "Prof. Bose" says the
_Nature_ "performed a series of experiments before the Linnean Society
showing electric response for certain portions of the plant organism,
which proved that as concerning fatigue, behaviour at high and low
temperatures, the effects produced by poisons and anaesthetics, the
responses are identical with those held to be characteristic of muscle
and nerve." The Linnean Society published, in its Journal, in March
1902, his paper 'On Electric Response of Ordinary Plants under
Mechanical Stimulus.' He then communicated to the Société de Physique,
Paris, his paper 'Sur la Résponse Electrique dans les Métaux, les Tissu
Animaux et Végétaux.' The Royal Society published, in April 1902, his
contribution 'On the Electromotive Wave accompanying Mechanical
Disturbance in Metals in contact with Electrolyte.' He was next asked by
the Royal Photographic Society to give a discourse 'On the Strain Theory
Vision and of Photographic Action,' which was published by the Society,
in its Journal, in June 1902. He then wrote a paper 'On the Electric
Response in Animal, Vegetable and Metal,' which was read before the
Belfast meeting of the British Association, in 1902. The President of
the Botanical Section at Belfast, in his address, observed "Some very
striking results were published by Bose on Electric Response in ordinary
plants. Bose's investigations established a very close similarity in
behaviour between the vegetable and the animal. Summation effects were
observed and fatigue effect demonstrated, while it was definitely shown
that the responses were physiological. They ceased as soon as the piece
of tissue was killed by heating. These observations strengthen
considerably the view of the identical nature of the animal and
vegetable protoplasm."

Dr. Bose then brought out a systematic treatise embodying the results of
his researches under the significant title of 'Response in the Living
and Non-living.' He returned to India, in October, 1902.


GOVERNMENT RECOGNITION

After he had come back, from the Second Scientific Deputation, the
Government of India conferred on him the distinction of Companion of the
Order of the Indian Empire, in 1903, in recognition of his valuable
researches.


PLANT LIFE AND ANIMAL LIFE

Next Dr. Bose, in natural sequence to the investigation of the response
in 'inorganic' matter commenced 'a prolonged study of the activities of
plant life as compared with corresponding functioning of animal life.'


ALL PLANTS ARE "SENSITIVE"

It was believed that so-called 'sensitive' plants alone exhibited
excitation by _electric response_. But Dr. Bose, believing in continuity
of responsive phenomena, used the same experimental devices, with which
he had already succeeded in obtaining the _electric response_ of
inorganic substances, to test whether ordinary plants also--meaning
those usually regarded as 'insensitive'--would or would not exhibit
excitatory _electrical response_ to stimulus. With the help of very
delicate instruments, Dr. Bose demonstrated the very startling fact
that not only every plant, but every organ of every plant gave true
_excitatory electric response_--and that response was not confined alone
to 'sensitive' plants like _Mimosa_.

Dr. Bose then proceeded to investigate whether the responsive effects
which he had shown to occur in ordinary plants might not be further
exhibited by means of _visible mechanical response_, thus fully removing
the distinction commonly assumed to exist between the 'sensitive' and
supposed 'non-sensitive.' Dr. Bose invented 'special apparatus of
extreme delicacy,' which detected infinitesimal tremors, and showed that
ordinary plants, usually regarded as insensitive, gave _motile
responses_, which had hitherto passed unnoticed. His later investigation
shows that "all plants, even the trees, are fully alive to changes of
environment; they respond visibly to all stimuli, even to the slight
fluctuations of light by a drifting cloud."[17]


'TROPIC' MOVEMENTS

Finding that the plants give, not only _electric_ but _motile_ response
as well, to stimulus, Dr. Bose proceeded to study the nature of
responses evoked in plants by the _stimuli of the natural forces_. He
found that plants respond visibly, by movements, to _environmental
stimuli_. But the movements induced--'tropic' movements--are extremely
diverse. Light, for example, induces sometimes positive curvature,
sometimes negative. Gravitation, again, induces one movement in the
root, and the opposition in the shoot. Dr. Bose applied himself to find
out whether the movements in response to external stimuli, though
apparently so diverse, could not be ultimately reduced to a fundamental
unity of reaction. As a result of a very deep and penetrating study of
the effects of various environmental stimuli, on different plant organs,
he showed that the cells on two sides are unequally influenced, on
account of different external conditions, and contract unequally, and
hence the various movements are produced--that the many anomalous
effects, hitherto ascribed to 'specific sensibilities,' are due to the
'differential sensibilities'--differential excitability of anisotropic
structures and to the opposite effects of external and internal
stimuli--that all varieties of plant movements are capable of a
consistent mechanical explanation. Dr. Bose's "latest investigations
recently communicated to the Royal Society have established the single
fundamental reaction which underlies all these effects so extremely
diverse."[18]


EXTENDED APPLICATION OF MECHANICAL THEORY

With an extended application of his mechanical theory, Dr. Bose has
gradually removed the veil of obscurity from many a phenomenon in plant
life. The 'autonomous' movements of plants, for example, which remained
enveloped in mystery, received a satisfactory solution at his hands.


'AUTONOMOUS' MOVEMENTS

It was believed that automatically pulsating tissues draw their energy
from a mysterious "vital force" working within. By controlling external
forces, Dr. Bose stopped the pulsation and re-started it and thus
demonstrated that the 'automatic action' was not due to any internal
vital force. He pointed out that the external stimulus--instead of
causing, as was customary to suppose, an explosive chemical change and
an inevitable run-down of energy--brings about an accumulation of energy
by the plant. And with the accumulation of absorbed energy, a point is
reached when there is an overflow--the excess of energy bubbles over, as
it were, and shows itself in 'spontaneous' movements. The stimulus being
strong a single response--a single twitching of the leaflets--is not
enough to express the whole of the leaf's responsive energy and it
yields a multiple response--it reverberates--it manifests itself in
'automatic' pulsations. When, however, the accumulated energy is
exhausted, then there is also an end of 'spontaneous movements.' There
are strictly speaking, no 'spontaneous' movements; those known by that
name are really due either to the immediate effects of external stimulus
or to the stimulus previously absorbed and held latent in the plant to
find subsequent expression--due to the direct or indirect action of
external forces which are transformed in the machinery of the plants in
obedience to the principle of the Conservation of Energy.


"ASCENT OF SAP" "AND GROWTH"

Dr. Bose then showed that, not gross mechanical movements alone, but
also other invisible movements are initiated by the action of stimulus,
and that the various activities, such as the "ascent of sap" and
"growth" are in reality different reactions to the stimulating action of
energy supplied by the environment. In this way, Dr. Bose showed that
several obscure phenomena, in the life-processes of the plant, can be
very satisfactorily explained by the Mechanical Theory.

It would not be out of place to mention that Dr. Bose, to carry on his
researches on the Ascent of Sap, invented a new type of instrument
(Shoshungraph). And for an accurate investigation on the phenomenon of
growth of plants he devised an instrument (Growth Recorder) for
instantaneous measurement of the rate of growth and another instrument
(Balanced Crescograph) for determining the influences of various
agencies on growth. So very marvellous these instruments that the
growth, which takes place, during a few beats of pendulum, is measured,
and, in less than a quarter of an hour, the action of fertilizers,
foods, electrical currents and various stimulants are determined. "What
is the tale of Aladdin and his wonderful lamp" exclaims the Editor of
the _Scientific American_ "compared with the true story told by the
crescograph?... Instead of waiting a whole season, perhaps years, to
discover whether or not it is wise to mix this or that fertilizer with
the soil one can now find in a few minutes!" Yet these are the
instruments which are better known in Washington than in Calcutta! The
question of their application to practical agriculture has excited more
interest in the United States of America than in this unfortunate land,
which is an essentially agricultural country!


FUNDAMENTAL IDENTITY OF REACTIONS

Dr. Bose showed that there is no physiological response given by the
most highly organised animal tissue that is not also to be met with in
the plant. He carried on "Researches on Diurnal Sleep" and showed that
the plant is not equally sensitive to an external stimulus during day
and night, and that there is a fundamental identity of life-reaction in
plant and animal, as seen in a similar periodic insensibility in both,
corresponding to what we call _sleep_. He also showed that the passage
of life in the plant, as in the animal, is marked by an unmistakable
spasm. He invented, an instrument (Morograph) with which he recorded the
critical point of death of a plant with great exactness. He
demonstrated, in the most conclusive manner, that there is an essential
unity of physiological effects of drugs on plant and animal tissues and
showed the modifications which are introduced into these effects by the
factor of individual 'constitution.' It may be mentioned casually that
"this physiological identity in the effect of drugs is regarded by
leading physicians as of great significance in the scientific advance of
Medicine; since we have a means of testing the effect of drugs under
conditions far simpler than those presented by the patient, far subtler
too, as well as more humane than those of experiments on animals."[19]
Dr. Bose further demonstrated that there is conduction of the excitatory
impulse in the plant, like the nervous impulse in the animal; and showed
the possibility of detecting the wave in transit and measured the speed
with which the excitation coursed through the plant and also showed that
the velocity of excitation is modified, by different agencies, even in
the case of ordinary plants. He also showed that the polar effects
induced by electric currents, both in plants and animals, are identical.

These remarkable researches on Plant Response have 'revolutionised in
some respects and very much extended in others our knowledge of the
response of plants to stimulus.'


FURTHER DIFFICULTIES

Dr. Bose communicated his paper 'On the Electric Pulsation accompanying
Automatic Movements in Desmodium Gyrans' to the Linnaean Society, which
was published, in December 1902. Then, in 1903, he communicated to the
Royal Society his researches on 'Investigation on Mechanical Response in
Plants,' 'On Polar effects of Currents on the Stimulation of Plants,'
'On the Velocity of Transmission of Excitatory waves in Plants,' 'On the
excitability and conductivity of Plant Tissues,' 'On the Propagation of
the Electromotive Wave concomitant of Excitatory Waves in Plants,' 'On
Multiple Response in Plants,' 'On an enquiry into the cause of Automatic
Movements.'

"These new contributions" made by Dr. Bose on Plant Response "were
regarded as of such great importance that the Royal Society showed its
special appreciation by recommending them to be published in their
Philosophical Transactions. But the same influence, which had hitherto
stood in his way, triumphed once more, and it was at the very last
moment that the publication was withheld. The Royal Society, however,
informed him that his results were of fundamental importance, but as
they were so wholly unexpected and so opposed to the existing theories,
that they would reserve their judgment until, at some future time,
plants themselves could be made to record their answers to questions put
to them. This was interpreted in certain quarters here as the final
rejection of Dr. Bose's theories by the Royal Society and the limited
facilities which he had in the prosecution of his researches were in
danger of being withdrawn."[20]


HE BUILT HIS LIFE ON THE ROCK OF FAITH

But these difficulties--sufficient to crush many a spirit--could hardly
quench the ardour of his burning soul, which was 'hungering and
thirsting' for the establishment of a truth in which he had a firm
Faith. Though the surges would beat against him, he would not give way.
With the true spirit of a _Sadhak_, he devoted himself to the
realisation of the great dream of his life. And, for the next ten years,
the one _tap_, _jap_ and _aradhana_ of his life--the one all-engrossing
idea of his mind--was how to make the plant give testimony by means of
its own autograph.


PUBLICATION OF "PLANT RESPONSE"

Though his researches did not find an outlet, in the Proceedings of the
Royal Society, he did not lose heart. He brought out, in April 1906, a
systematic treatise--"The Plant Response as a Means of Physiological
Investigation"--in which he incorporated the results of his
investigations on plant life.


ADOPTS A NEW METHOD OF INVESTIGATION

Hitherto Dr. Bose detected the various excitatory effects of plants by
means of _mechanical response_. Being now confronted with opposition, he
turned his attention to the finding of corroboration of the various
results, which he had already obtained, by some other method of
investigation. And for this he employed the method of _electric
response_. He found that the results obtained by this new method of
inquiry corroborated those already obtained by him by the old method.
Emboldened by this corroboration, he next proceeded to extend this new
method of inquiry by means of _electric response_ into the field of
Animal Physiology with a view to explain responsive phenomena in general
on the consideration of that fundamental molecular reaction which occurs
even in inorganic matter.'[21]


RESULT OF THE INVESTIGATION

Dr. Bose found, in the plant as well as in the animal, "a similar series
of excitatory effects, whether these be exhibited mechanically or
electrically. Both alike are responsive, and similarly responsive, to
all the diverse forms of stimulus that impinge upon them. We ascend, in
the one case as in the other, from the simplicities of the isotropic to
the complexities of the anisotropic; and the laws of these isotropic and
anisotropic responses are the same in both. The responsive peculiarities
of epidermis, epithelium, and gland; the response of the digestive
organ, with its phasic alterations; and the excitatory electrical
discharge of an anisotropic plate, are the same in the plant as in the
animal. The plant, like the animal, is a single organic whole, all its
different parts being connected, and their activities co-ordinated, by
the agency of those conducting strands which are known as nerves. As in
the plant nerve, moreover, so also in the animal, stimulation gives rise
to two distinct impulses, exhibiting themselves by two-fold mechanical
and electrical indications of opposite signs.... The dual qualities or
tones known to us in sensation, further, are correspondent with those
two different nervous impulses, of opposite signs, which are occasioned
by stimulation. These two sensory responses--positive and negative,
pleasure and pain--are found to be subject to the same modifications,
under parallel conditions, as the positive and negative mechanical and
electrical indications with which they are associated. And finally,
perhaps, the most significant example for the effect of induced
anisotropy lies in that differential impression made by stimulus on the
sensory surfaces, which remains latent, and capable of revival, as the
memory-image. In this demonstration of continuity, then, it has been
found that the dividing frontiers between Physics, Physiology, and
Psychology have disappeared."[22]


CLASH WITH CURRENT VIEWS

The results, which Dr. Bose obtained from actual experiments, clashed,
however, with the theories in vogue. The reactions of different issues
were hitherto regarded as _special differences_. As against this, a
_continuity_ is shown to exist between them. Thus, nerve was universally
regarded as typically _non-motile_; its responses were believed to be
characteristically different from those of muscle. Dr. Bose, however,
has shown that nerve is indisputably motile and that the characteristic
variations in the response of nerve are, generally speaking, similar to
those of the muscle.

It was customary to regard plants as devoid of the power to conduct true
excitation. Dr. Bose had already shown that this view was incorrect. He
now showed, by experiment, that the response of the _isolated_ vegetal
nerve is indistinguishable from that of animal nerve, throughout a large
series of parallel variations of condition. So complete, indeed, is the
similarity between the responses of plant and animal, found, of which
this is one instance, that the discovery of a given responsive
characteristic in one case proves a sure guide to its observation in the
other, and the explanation of phenomenon, under the simpler conditions
of the plant, is found fully sufficient for its elucidation under the
more complex circumstances of the animal. Dr. Bose found 'differential
excitability' is widely present as a factor in determining the character
of special responses and showed that many anomalous conclusions, with
regard to the response of certain animal tissues, had arisen from the
failure to take account of the 'differential excitability' of
anisotropic organs. Hitherto Pfluger's Law of the polar effects of
currents was supposed to rest on secure foundations. But Dr. Bose showed
that Pfluger's Law was not of such universal application as was
supposed. He demonstrated that, above and below a certain range of
electromotive intensity, the polar effects of currents are precisely
opposite to those enunciated by Pfluger.


SENSATION

It was supposed that nervous impulse, which, must necessarily form the
basis of sensation, was beyond any conceivable power of visual scrutiny.
But Dr. Bose showed that this impulse is actually attended by change of
form, and is, therefore capable of direct observation. He also showed
that the disturbance, instead of being single, is of two different
kinds--_viz._, one of expansion (positive) and the other of contraction
(negative)--and that, when the stimulus is feeble, the positive is
transmitted, and, when the stimulus is stronger, both positive and
negative are transmitted, but the negative, however, being more intense,
masks the positive. He identified the wave of expansion travelling along
the nerve with the tendency to pleasure, and the wave of contraction,
with the tendency to pain. It thus appears that all pain contains an
element of pleasure, and that pleasure, if carried too far becomes
pain--that "the tone of our sensation is determined by the intensity of
nervous excitation that reaches the central perceiving organ."


MEMORY IMAGE AND ITS REVIVAL

Dr. Bose next pointed out that there remains, for every response, a
certain residual effect. A substance, which has responded to a given
stimulus, retains, as an after-effect, a 'latent impression' of that
stimulus and this 'latent impression' is capable of subsequent revival
by bringing about the original condition of excitation. The impress made
by the action of stimulus, though it remains latent and invisible, can
be revived by the impact of a fresh excitatory impulse.

Experimenting with a metallic _leaf_, Dr. Bose demonstrated the revival
of a latent impression under the action of diffused stimulus. The
investigation by Dr. Bose on the after-effects of stimulus has thrown
some light on the obscure phenomenon, of 'memory.' It appears that, when
there is a mental revival of past experience, the diffuse impulse of the
'will' acts on the sensory surface, which contains the latent impression
and re-awakens the image which appears to have faded out. Memory is
concerned, thus, with the after-effect of an impression induced by a
stimulus. It differs from ordinary sensation in the fact that the
stimulus which evokes the response, instead of being external and
objective, is merely psychic and subjective.

Dr. Bose has, by experimental devises, shown the possibility of tracing
'memory-impression' backwards even in inorganic matter, such latent
impression being capable of subsequent revival. An investigation of the
after-effects of stimulus, on living tissues would open out the great
problem of the influence of past events on our present condition.


DEATH-STRUGGLE AND MEMORY REVIVAL

There is a wide-spread belief that, in the case of a sudden
death-struggle, as for example, when drowning, the memory, of the past
comes in a flash. "Assuming the correctness of this," says Sir Jagadis
"certain experimental results which I have obtained may be pertinent to
the subject. The experiment consisted in finding whether the plant, near
the point of death, gave any signal of the approaching crisis. I found
that at this critical moment a sudden electrical spasm sweeps through
every part of the organism. Such a strong and diffused stimulation--now
involuntary--may be expected in a human subject to crowd into one brief
flash a panoramic succession, of all the memory images latent in the
organism."[23]


"COMPARATIVE ELECTRO-PHYSIOLOGY"

Dr. Bose published the results of these new researches, in 1907, in
another remarkable volume, which was styled 'The Comparative
Electro-Physiology.'


THIRD SCIENTIFIC DEPUTATION, 1907-08

After the publication of 'The Comparative Electro-Physiology,' the
Government of India again sent Dr. Bose on a Scientific Deputation. He
went over to England and America and placed the results of his
researches before the learned Scientific Bodies. He read a paper 'On
Mechanical Response of Plants' at the Liverpool meeting of British
Association, in 1907. He then read a paper on 'The Oscillating Recorder
for Automatic Tracing of Plant Movements' before the New York Academy of
Sciences, and, in December 1908, he gave an address on 'Mechanical and
Electrical Response in Plants,' at the Annual Meeting of the American
Association for the Advancement of Science, held at Baltimore, and, in
January 1909, he delivered a lecture on 'Growth Response of Plants'
before the United States Department of Agriculture and, in February
1909, he read a paper on 'Death-spasm in Plants,' before the University
of Illinois, and, in March 1909, a paper on 'Multiple and Autonomous
Response in Plants' before the Madison University. He also lectured
before the New York Botanical Society, the Medical Society of Boston,
the Society of Western Electric Engineers at Chicago. He also delivered
a series of post-graduate lectures on Electro-Physics and Plant
Physiology at the Universities of Wisconsin, Chicago, Ann Arbor. He
returned to India, in July 1909.


FURTHER EXPERIMENTAL EXPLORATION

By his new and newer methods of investigation, Dr. Bose got a deep and
deeper perception of that underlying unity, for the demonstration of
which he had been labouring since 1901. But the dream of his life was
not yet realised. No direct method of obtaining response record was yet
obtained. Hitherto the response recorder employed was a modification of
the optical lever, automatic records being secured by the very
inconvenient and tedious process of photography (which again introduced
complications by subjecting a plant to darkness and thereby modifying
its normal excitability); and the plant was not automatically excited by
stimulus, besides the results obtained were liable to be influenced by
personal factor. So Dr. Bose set about the invention of an apparatus,
which should discard the use of photography and in which the plant
(attached to the recording apparatus) should be automatically excited by
stimulus absolutely constant, should make its own responsive record,
going through its own period of recovery, and embarking on the same
cycle over again without assistance at any point on the part of the
observer. Great difficulties were encountered in realising these ideal
requirements. They appeared, at first, to be insurmountable. But, with
continuous toil and persistence, Dr. Bose succeeded in designing a long
battery of supersensitive instruments and apparatus, which made the
seeming impossible possible. His ingenious "Resonant and Oscillating
Recorders" gave a simple and direct method of obtaining the record. The
plant, being automatically excited by stimulus, made its own responsive
record. The closed doors, at last, opened. The secret of plant life
stood revealed by the autographs of the plant itself. The great
_sadhana_ of his life now received its fulfilment. "It has been
beautifully said--and it is a law of the moral world as unchangeable as
physical laws--'Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you; for every one that asketh
receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth and to him that knocketh it shall
be opened."[24]


TRANSMISSION OF EXCITATION IN MIMOSA

Dr. Bose had shown that all plants are sensitive--that there is no
difference between the so-called 'sensitive' and the supposed
'non-sensitive'--that they gave alike the true excitatory _electric
response_ as well as _motile response_. The evidence of plant's script
now removed beyond any doubt the long-standing error which divided the
vegetable world into 'sensitive' and 'insensitive.' There remained,
however, the question of nervous impulse in plants, the discovery of
which, though announced by Dr. Bose, ten years ago, did not yet find
full acceptance.

Finding that the scope of his investigation has been very much enlarged
by the devise of the Resonant Recorder, Dr. Bose proceeded to attack the
_current_ view "that there was no transmission of true excitation in
Mimosa, the propagated impulse being regarded as merely
hydromechanical." This conclusion was based on the experiments of the
leading German plant physiologists, Pfeffer and Haverlandt who failed to
bring on any variation in the propagated impulse in plants either by
scalding or by application of an anaesthetic. Dr. Bose pointed out that,
as Pfeffer applied the chloroform to the _outer_ stalk and Haverlandt
scalded the _outer_ stem, neither the stimulant nor the anaesthetic
reached the nerves. So he, instead of applying the stimulant or the
anaesthetic, in the _liquid_ form, to the outer stalk or stem, confined
the Mimosa, in a little chamber, and subjected it to the influence of
the _vapour_ of the drug. The fumes now penetrated and reached the
nerves and the plant was made to record, by its own script, the
variations, if any, produced by the drugs. The plant, by its self-made
records, showed exultation with alcohol, depression with chloroform,
rapid transmission of a shock with the application of heat, and an
abolition of the propagated impulse with the application of a deadly
poison like potassium cyanide. This variation in the transmitted
impulse, under physiological variations, showed that it was not a
physical one. This sealed the fate of the hydromechanical theory.

Dr. Bose went further and showed that the impulse is transmitted in both
directions along the nerve but not at the same rate. And, by interposing
an electric block, he arrested the nervous impulse in a plant in a
manner similar to the corresponding arrest in the animal nerve and
thereby produced nervous _paralysis_ in plant, such paralysis being
afterwards cured by appropriate treatment. "If he had made no other
discovery," says the Editor of the _Scientific American_ "Dr. Bose would
have earned an enduring reputation in the annals of science. We know
very little about paralysis in the human body, and practically nothing
about its cause. The nervous system of the higher animals is so
complicated, so intricate, that it is hard to understand its
derangement. The human nerve dies when isolated. It is killed by the
shock of removal, and responds for the moment abnormally and therefore
deceptively. But, if we study the simplest kind of a nerve,--and the
simplest is that of a plant,--we may hope to understand what occurs when
a hand or a foot cannot be made to move. To find out that plants have
nerves, to induce paralysis in such nerves and then to cure them--such
experiments will lead to discoveries that may ultimately enable
physicians to treat more rationally than they do, the various forms of
paralysis now regarded as incurable."


MIMOSA AND MAN

Dr. Bose showed not only that the nervous impulse in plant and in man is
exalted or inhibited under identical conditions but carried the
parallelism very far and pointed out the blighting effects on life of a
complete seclusion and protection from the world outside. "A plant
carefully protected under glass from outside shocks", says Sir Jagadis
"looks sleek and flourishing; but its higher nervous function is then
found to be atrophied. But when a succession of blows is rained on this
effete and bloated specimen, the shocks themselves create nervous
channels and arouse anew the deteriorated nature. And is it not shocks
of adversity, and not cotton-wool protection, that evolve true
manhood?"[25]


ROYAL SOCIETY

Having found that his investigation on Mimosa had broken down the
barriers which separated kindred phenomena, Dr. Bose next communicated
the results of his wonderful researches to the Royal Society. His paper
was read, at a meeting of the Society, held on the 6th March 1913. The
Royal Society _now_ found that Dr. Bose had rendered the seemingly
impossible, possible--had made the plant tell its own story by means of
its self-made records. It could no longer withhold the recognition which
was his due. The barred gates, at last, opened and the paper of Dr. Bose
"On an Automatic Method, for the investigation of the Velocity of
Transmission of Excitation in Mimosa" found publication in the
"Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society" in Vol. 204, Series B.


HIS FURTHER INVESTIGATIONS

Dr. Bose next pursued with great vigour his investigations on the
Irritability of Plants. By making the plant tell its own story, by means
of its self-made records, he showed that there is hardly any phenomenon
of irritability observed in the animal which is not also found in the
plant and that the various manifestations of irritability in the plant
are identical with those in the animal and that many difficult problems
in Animal Physiology find their solution in the experimental study of
corresponding problems under simpler conditions of vegetable life.


HOURS OF SLEEP OF THE PLANT

It may be mentioned that Dr. Bose showed one very remarkable fact--from
the summaries of the automatic records of the responses given by a plant
(which was subjected to an impulse during all hours of the day and
night)--that it wakes up during morning slowly, becomes fully alert by
noon, and becomes sleepy only after midnight, resembling man in a
surprising manner.


"IRRITABILITY OF PLANTS"

Dr. Bose embodied the results of his fascinating researches,
obtained by the introduction of new methods, in another remarkable
volume--"Researches on Irritability of plants"--which was published, in
1913.


FURTHER RECOGNITION

In recognition of his valuable researches, Dr. J. C. Bose was invested
with the insignia of the Companion of the Order of the Star of India by
His Majesty the King Emperor, on the occasion of his Coronation Durbar,
at Delhi, in 1911.

The _intelligentsia_ of Bengal showed also their tardy appreciation by
calling on him to preside over the deliberations of the Mymensing
meeting of the Bengal Literary Conference, held on the 14th April 1911,
when he delivered a unique Address,[26] in the Bengali language, on the
results of his epoch-making researches.

The Calcutta University next showed its belated recognition, by
conferring on him the degree of D.Sc. _honoris causa_, in 1912.

And the Punjab University also showed its appreciation by inviting him,
in 1913, to deliver a course of lectures on the results of his
investigation.


PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION

Dr. J. C. Bose was invited to give his evidence before the Royal
Commission on the Public Services in India. With reference to the Method
of Recruitment, he observed, in his written statement, as follows:--
"... I think that a high standard of scholarship should be the only
qualification insisted on. Graduates of well-known Universities,
distinguished for a particular line of study, should be given the
preference. I think the prospects of the Indian Educational Service are
sufficiently high to attract the very best material. In Colonial
Universities they manage to get very distinguished men without any
extravagantly high pay.... At present the recruitment in the Indian
Educational Service is made in England and is practically confined to
Englishmen. Such racial preference is, in my opinion, prejudicial to the
interest of education. The best men available, English or Indian, should
be selected impartially, and high scholarship should be the only
test.... It is unfortunate that Indian graduates of European
Universities who had distinguished themselves in a remarkable manner do
not for one reason or other find facilities for entering the higher
Educational Service.... I should like to add that these highly qualified
Indians need only opportunities to render service which would greatly
advance the cause of higher education.... If promising Indian graduates
are given the opportunity of visiting foreign Universities, I have no
doubt that they would stand comparison with the best recruits that can
be obtained from the West.... As teachers and workers it is an
incontestable fact that Indian Officers have distinguished themselves
very highly, and anything which discriminates between Europeans and
Indians in the way of pay and prospects is most undesirable. A sense of
injustice is ill-calculated to bring about that harmony which is so
necessary among all the members of an educational institution,
professors and students alike."[27] Pressing next for a high level of
scholarship, in the Indian Educational Service, he wrote:--

     "It has been said that the present standard of Indian Universities
    is not as high as that of British Universities, and that the work
    done by the former is more like that of the 6th form of the public
    schools in England. It is therefore urged that what is required for
    an Educational officer in the capacity to manage classes rather than
    high scholarship. I do not agree with these views. (1) There are
    Universities in Great Britain whose standards are not higher than
    ours; I do not think that the Pass Degree even of Oxford or
    Cambridge is higher than the corresponding degree here (2) the
    standard of the Indian University is being steadily raised; (3) the
    standard will depend upon what the men entrusted with Educational
    work will make it. For these reasons it is necessary that the level
    of scholarship represented by the Indian Educational Service should
    be maintained very high."[28]

He then dwelt on what should be the aim of Higher Education in India and
observed as follows:--

     "... I think that all the machinery to improve the higher
    education in India would be altogether ineffectual unless India
    enters the world movement for the advancement of knowledge. And for
    this it is absolutely necessary to touch the imagination of the
    people so as to rouse them to give their best energies to the work
    of research and discovery, in which all the nations of the world are
    now engaged. To aim anything less will only end in lifeless and
    mechanical system from which the soul of reality has passed
    away."[28]

He was called, on the 18th December 1913, and was put to a searching
examination by the Members of the Royal Commission. The evidence that he
gave is instinct with patriotism and is highly remarkable for its
simplicity and directness about the things he said. To the Chairman
(Lord Islington) he stated that he "favoured an arrangement by which
Indians would enter the higher ranks of the service, either through the
Provincial Service or by direct recruitment in India. The latter class
of officers, after completing their education in India, should
ordinarily go to Europe with a view to widening their experience. By
this he did not wish to decry the training given in the Indian
Universities, which produce some of the very best men, and he would not
make the rule absolute. It was not necessary for men of exceptional
ability to go to England in order to occupy a high chair. Unfortunately,
on account of there being no openings for men of genius in the
Educational Service, distinguished men were driven to the profession of
Law. In the present condition of India a larger number of distinguished
men were needed to give their lives to the education of the people.

"... The educational service ought to be regarded not as a profession,
but as a calling. Some men were born to be teachers. It was not a
question of race, of course; in order to have an efficient educational
system, there must be an efficient organisation, but this should not be
allowed to become fossilised, and thus stand in the way of healthy
growth.... A proportion of Europeans in the service, was needed, but
only as experts and not as ordinary teachers. Only the very best men
should be obtained from Europe and for exceptional cases. The general
educational work should be done entirely by Indians, who understood the
difficulties of the country much better than any outsider. He advocated
the direct recruitment of Indians in India by the local Government in
consultation with the Secretary of State, rather than by the Secretary
of State alone. Indians were under a great difficulty, in that they
could not remain indefinitely in England after taking their degrees and
being away from the place of recruitment their claims were overlooked.
There was no reason why a European should be paid a higher rate of
salary than an Indian on account of the distance he came. An Indian felt
a sense of inferiority if a difference was made as regards pay. The very
slight saving which Government made by differentiating between the two
did not compensate for the feeling of wrong done. This feeling would
remain even if the pay was the same, but an additional grant in the
shape of a foreign service allowance was made to Europeans. All workers
in the field of education should feel a sense of solidarity, because
they were all serving one greet cause, namely, education."[29]

Being asked by Sir Valentine Chirol, he said "If a foreign professor
would not come and serve in India for the same remuneration as he
obtained in his own country, he would certainly not force him to
come."[29]

To Mr. Abdur Rahim he said: "Recruitment for the Educational Service
should be made in the first place in India, if suitable men were
available; but if not then he would allow the best outsiders to be
brought in. In the present state of the country it would be very easy to
fill up many of the chairs by selecting the best men in India. The aim
of the universities should be to promote two classes of work--first,
research; and, secondly, an all-round sound education...."[29]

In answer to questions of Mr. Madge, he said: "Any idea that the
educational system of India was so far inferior to that of England, that
Indians, who had made their mark, had done so, not because of the
educational system of the country, but in spite of it, was quite
unfounded. The standard of education prevailing in India was quite up
to the mark of several British Universities. It was as true of any other
country in the world as of India that education was valued as a means
for passing examination, and not only for itself, and there was no more
cramming in India than elsewhere. The West certainly brought to the East
a modern spirit, which was very valuable, but it would be dearly
purchased by the loss of an honourable career for competent Indians in
their own country. The educational system in India had in the past been
too mechanical, but a turn for the better was now taking place and the
Universities were recognising the importance of research work, and were
willing to give their highest degrees to encourage it."[30]

To Mr. Fisher, he said that he "desired to secure for India Europeans
who had European reputations in their different branches of study. If it
was necessary to go outside India or England, to procure good men, he
would prefer to go to Germany. This was the practice in America where
they were annexing all the great intellects of Europe. He would like to
see India entering the world movement in the advance and march of
knowledge. It was of the highest importance that there should be an
intellectual atmosphere in India. It would be of advantage if there were
many Indians in the Educational Service. For they came more in contact
with the people, and influenced their intellectual activity. Besides, on
retirement they would live in India, and their ripe experience would be
at their countrymen's service."[31]

To Mr. Gokhale, he said that he "knew of three instances in which the
Colonies had secured distinguished men on salaries which were lower than
those given to officers of the Indian Educational Service. One was at
Toronto, another was in New Zealand and the third at Yale University.
The salaries on the two latter cases were £600 and £500 a year. The same
held good as regards Japan. The facts there had been stated in a
Government of India publication as follows: 'Subsequent to 1895 there
were 67 professors recruited in Europe and America. Of these 20 came
from Germany, 16 from England and 12 from the United States. The average
pay was £384. In the highest Imperial University the average pay is
£684. As soon as Japanese could be found to do the work, even tolerably
well, the foreigner was dropped.' When he first started work in India,
he found that there was no physical laboratory, or any grant made for a
practical experimental course. He had to construct instruments with the
help of local mechanics, whom he had to train. All this took him ten
years. He then undertook original investigation at his own expense. The
Royal Society became specially interested in his work and desired to
give him parliamentary grant for its continuation. It was after this
that the Government of Bengal came forward and offered him facilities
for research. In the Educational Service he would take men of
achievement from any where; but men of promise he would take from his
own country."[32]

To Sir Theodore Morison, he said: "There should be one scale of pay for
all persons in the higher Educational Department. The rate of salary,
Rs. 200 rising to Rs. 1,500 per month, was suitable subject to the
proviso that a man of great distinction, instead of beginning at the
lowest rate of pay, should start some where in the middle of the list,
say, at Rs. 400 or Rs. 500. He would make no difference in regard to
Europeans or Indians in that respect.... It would not be right for a
great Government to grant a minimum of pay to Indian Professors and an
extravagantly high pay to their European Colleagues, for doing the same
kind of work."[33]

To Mr. Gupta, he said that "He desired one Service, because he thought
it was most degrading that certain man, although they were doing the
same work should be classed in a Provincial Service, while others should
be classed in an Imperial Service. The prospects of the members of the
Provincial Service were not at all what they ought to be, and that was
the reason why the best men were not attracted to it."[33]


FOURTH SCIENTIFIC DEPUTATION (1914-15)

Though the theories of Dr. Bose received acceptance from the leading
scientific men of the Royal Society, yet Dr. Bose realised the necessity
of bringing about a _general conviction_ as to the truth of the identity
of life-reactions in plant and in animal. So he looked for an
opportunity of giving demonstration of his discoveries before the
leading Scientific Societies of the World. And that opportunity came.
The Royal Institution of Great Britain again invited him to deliver a
'Friday evening discourse' on the results of his new researches. The
University of Oxford and Cambridge also followed suit. The Government of
India also showed their appreciation by sending him again on a
Deputation for placing his discoveries before the Scientific world. He
remained on deputation from the 3rd April 1914 to the 12th June 1915.


DR. BOSE IN EUROPE

Proceeding on his Deputation to England, Dr. Bose gave his first
lecture, on the 20th May 1914, at Oxford,--where the late Sir John
Burden Sanderson and his followers were the leaders of biological
thought--in presence of very distinguished scientists. It was a grand
success. Actual visualisation by physical demonstration of the results
of his novel researches at once convinced those who were present. He
next proposed to give a discourse on Plant Response before the
University of Cambridge. The interest in this lecture became so very
keen that the Botanical Department of Cambridge went to the length of
importing soil from India to give the plants the most favourable
conditions for exhibiting their specific reactions. At the lecture, the
large Botanical Theatre became filled with scientific specialists, dons
and advanced students, who followed with great attention the experiments
with which he illustrated his discourse. He was greeted with applause by
the eminent scientists who thronged the lecture-theatre, at the end of
every experiment. Sir Francis Darwin, the eminent botanist, in proposing
a vote of thanks to Dr. Bose, said that 'he was filled with admiration,
not only for the brilliancy of the work but for the convincing character
of the experiments.' The scientists next assembled in great force, on
the 29th May 1914, to hear the 'Friday Evening Discourse' of Dr. J. C.
Bose on 'Plant Autographs and their Revelations,' at the Royal
Institution, which was highly appreciated. At the end of the Discourse,
Sir James Dewar, President of the Institution, gave an 'At Home' in
honour of Dr. and Mrs. Bose.[34]


THE MAIDA VALE LABORATORY

The demonstrations of a far-reaching character which Dr. Bose gave
evoked considerable public interest in England. His private laboratory
at Maida Vale, in London, became the object of pilgrimage to the leading
men of thought there. Sir William Crookes, the President of the Royal
Society, came and became 'much impressed by the most ingenious and novel
self-recording instruments.' Professor Starling, the author of the
standard work on Physiology, and Professor Oliver, the well-known
Plant-Physiologist, also became impressed by the delicacy and importance
of Dr. Bose's work and methods. Professor Carveth Read, author of
"Metaphysics of Nature," wondered how far the researches would
profoundly affect the philosophical thoughts. Mr. Balfour, the
ex-premier, became enthralled with what he saw. Professor James A. H.
Murray, Editor of the 'Oxford New English Dictionary,' and Bernard Shaw,
the famous dramatist, felt themselves attracted to the great Indian
Scientist and came to pay their homage to him. Even Lord Crewe, the then
Secretary of State for India, paid a visit to his laboratory and spoke
warmly of the pride which he and the Government of India felt for his
discoveries and of high gratification to him that India should once more
make such contributions for the intellectual advancement of the world.
The leading newspapers wrote eulogistically of his researches. The
well-known scientific journal _Nature_ devoted ten columns to an
illustrated synopsis of his discoveries. Lord Hardinge, the then
Viceroy, wrote a congratulatory letter to him--"It has been a source of
immense gratification to the Viceroy to know that the foremost place in
the special branch of research has been taken by one of India's most
distinguished sons. The success you have won will only serve to
stimulate your efforts and those of your pupils to other scientific
investigations which will redound still further to the honour of those
who conduct them, and of India, the country of their birth."[35]

From England Dr. Bose proceeded to the Continent, where his researches
had already evoked keen interest.

On the 27th June 1914, he gave an address, illustrated with experiments,
before the University of Vienna, which stands foremost in Biological
researches. He was greeted with enthusiasm by the savants there. Some of
the workers in plant physiology became so very much impressed with his
demonstrations that they expressed a desire to be trained under him.
Professor Molisch, the Director of the Pflanzen-physiologisches
Institute of the Imperial University of Vienna, in proposing a vote of
thanks, spoke highly of the great inspiration which the Viennese
scientific men received from his discourse and dwelt on the
indebtedness of Europe to India for the method of investigation
initiated by Dr. Bose--method, which rendered it possible to prove deep
into plant-life and bring forth results of which they could not hitherto
dream. And the University of Vienna officially addressed the Secretary
of State for India asking that special thanks of the University be
conveyed to the Government of India for the impetus given to them by Dr.
Bose's visit. Dr. Bose was next to start for Germany on his scientific
mission, and address the University of Strassburg, Leipzic, Halle,
Berlin and Bonn and then attend the international congress at Munich,
but, as the War broke out, he was compelled to come back to London.[36]
On his way back, he gave a Discourse before the eminent scientific men
in Paris.

On his return to London, medical men evinced great interest in his
researches. Sir John Reid, President of the Royal Society of Medicine,
and Sir Lauder Brunton, Physician of His Majesty the King Emperor, paid
a visit to his laboratory to witness the action of drugs upon plants.
Sir Lauder Brunton became of opinion that 'much light would be thrown on
action of drugs on animals, by first observing their effects on plants.'
As a result of this visit, Dr. Bose was invited to give an address to
the Royal Society of Medicine in the beginning of winter. But, as the
period of his Deputation was about to expire, the Society cabled to the
Government of India for an extension, which was granted. Dr. Bose then
delivered a lecture, before the Royal Society of Medicine, on the 30th
October 1914. The Royal Society of Medicine officially addressed the
Secretary of State for India as follows:--

    "... The lecture was one of the most successful we have had yet and
    evoked the keenest interest in the audience, Sir Lauder Brunton,
    Bt., and others taking part in the discussion, and warmly
    congratulating Prof. Bose and the Society on the value of his work.
    Since then I have received many expressions of appreciation that the
    Society was able to offer its fellows such an interesting
    demonstration of an entirely new departure in Biological Science."
    "At the invitation of the Psychological Society of London, Dr. Bose
    next delivered an interesting lecture on his theory of Memory
    Image."[37] He also gave an Address before the London Imperial
    college of Science.


DR. BOSE IN AMERICA

Dr. Bose's discoveries in the meantime evoked great interest in America.
He was invited by several leading scientific bodies to come over there
and acquaint them with the results of his wonderful researches. So he
next went to America. "While in America, he was swamped with letters and
telegrams for lecture engagements from Maine to California" wrote
Professor Sudhindra Bose M.A., Ph.D., of the Iowa University at that
time, in the Modern Review.[38] "He has had so many calls for lectures
from various Scientific societies, Colleges and Universities, that if he
could speak twice a day and every day in the week, he could not hope to
comply with all of those invitations in much less than a year." As he
was in the United States, only for a few weeks, "he spoke before such
learned bodies as the New York Academy of Sciences, the American
Association for the Advancement of Science, the Brooklyn Institute of
Arts and Science, the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia, and joint
meeting of Academy of Science, the Botanical Society, and the Bureau of
Plant Industry at Washington. Among the larger Universities, he gave
addresses at Harvard, Columbia, Iowa, Illinois, Chicago, Michigan,
Wisconsin.... Everywhere Dr. Bose has met with a very hearty welcome
from the people of the American Republic. Even the Hon'ble Secretary of
State, William Jennings Bryan, invited him to give a demonstration of
his work at the State Department in Washington--an honour of unusual
significance.... Dr. Bose has been made the subject of many magazine
articles, newspaper editorials, cartoons and poems"[38].... "The famous
Smithsonian Institute showed its high appreciation by submitting a
report of Prof. Bose's work to the Congress. The Bureau of Plant
Industry in Washington recognised his work on plant physiology as a very
important contribution for the advancement of agriculture.... At the
Harvard University his work has been received with high appreciation.
President Stanley Hall, who is one of the leading psychologists of the
day, has introduced Prof. Bose's work in the Post-graduate course of the
Clarke University. His books have also been prescribed for physiological
courses in different Universities in America, and in one of the leading
Universities there, a special course of lectures is devoted to Prof.
Bose's investigations on plant irritability...."[39]

The Columbia University, the largest in the United States, requested Dr.
Bose to provide facilities in his Laboratory "for the reception of
foreign students, who are desirous of familiarising themselves first
hand with his apparatus and methods."


WHAT DR. BOSE SAW IN JAPAN

Dr. Bose then came back to India, in June 1915, _via_ Japan. During his
stay, in Japan, he acquainted himself with the efforts of the people and
their aspirations towards a great future. He found that, "in
materialistic efficiency, which, in a mechanical era, is regarded as an
index of civilisation, they have surpassed their German teachers. A few
decades ago, they had no foreign shipping and no manufactures. But,
within an incredibly short time, their magnificent lines of steamers
have proved so formidable a competitor that the great American lines in
the Pacific will soon be compelled to stop their sailings. Their
industries again, through the wise help of the State and other
adventitious aids, are capturing foreign markets. But far more admirable
is their foresight to save their country from any embroilment with other
nations with whom they want to live in peace. And they realise that any
predominant interest of a foreign country in their trade or manufacture
is sure to lead to misunderstanding and friction. Actuated by this
idea, they have practically excluded all foreign manufactured articles
by prohibitive tariffs."[40] "Is our country slow to realise the danger"
asks Dr. Bose "that threatens her by the capture of her market and the
total destruction of her industries? Does she not realise that it is
helpless passivity that directly provokes aggression?... There is,
therefore, no time to be lost and the utmost effort is demanded of the
Government and the people for the revival of our industries...."[41]


A PATRIOTIC CALL

"A very serious danger" continues Dr. Bose "is thus seen to be
threatening the future of India, and to avert it will require the utmost
effort of the people. They have not only to meet the economic crisis but
also to protect the ideals of ancient Aryan civilisation from the
destructive forces that are threatening it.... There is a danger of
regarding the mechanical efficiency as the sole end of life; there is
also the opposite danger of a life of dreaming, bereft of struggle and
activity, the degenerating into parasitic habits of dependence. Only
through the noble call of patriotism can our nation realise the highest
ideals in thought and in action...."[42]


BACK TO INDIA

After his return to India, Dr. Bose attended the Indian Science Congress
at Lucknow. He then attended the ceremony of the laying of the
foundation stone of the Hindu University at Benares. On that occasion he
delivered a masterly address. He said:--

"In tracing the characteristic phenomena of life from simple beginnings
in that vast region which may be called unvoiced, as exemplified in the
world of plants, to its highest expression in the animal kingdom, one is
repeatedly struck by the one dominant fact that in order to maintain an
organism at the height of its efficiency something more than a
mechanical perfection of its structure is necessary. Every living
organism, in order to maintain its life and growth, must be in free
communion with all the forces of the Universe about it.

"Further, it must not only constantly receive stimulus from without, but
must also give out something from within, and the healthy life of the
organism will depend on these two-fold activities of inflow and
outflow. When there is any interference with these activities, then
morbid symptoms appear, which ultimately must end in disaster and death.
This is equally true of the intellectual life of a Nation. When through
narrow conceit a Nation regards itself self-sufficient and cuts itself
from the stimulus of the outside world, then intellectual decay must
inevitably follow.

"So far as regards the receptive function. Then there is another
function in the intellectual life of a Nation, that of spontaneous flow,
that going out of its life by which the world is enriched. When the
Nation has lost this power, when it merely receives, but cannot give
out, then its healthy life is over, and it sinks into a degenerate
existence, which is purely parasitic.

"How can our Nation give out of the fulness of the life that is in it,
and how can a new Indian University help in the realisation of this
object? It is clear that its power of directing and inspiring will
depend on its world status. This can be secured to it by no artificial
means, nor by any strength in the past....

"This world status can only be won by the intrinsic value of the great
contributions to be made by its own Indian scholars for the advancement
of the world's knowledge. To be organic and vital our new University
must stand primarily for self-expression and for winning for India a
place she has lost. Knowledge is never the exclusive possession of any
particular race, nor does it recognise geographical limitations. The
whole world is interdependent, and a constant stream of thought has been
carried out throughout the ages enriching the common heritage of
mankind. Although science was neither of the East nor of the West but
international, certain aspects of it gained richness by reason of their
place of origin."[43]


OUTCOME OF THE SCIENTIFIC MISSION

The scientific mission of Dr. Bose to the West was a great success. The
very convincing character of the demonstrations that he gave, before the
leading Scientific Societies of the world, with his newly invented
Resonant Recorder and other delicate instruments, secured a world-wide
acceptance of his theories and results. Not only that. He secured also a
recognition from the leading thinkers of "that trend of thought which
led him unconsciously to the dividing frontiers of different sciences
and shaped the course of his work."[44] It has come to be recognised
that "India through her habit of mind is peculiarly fitted to realise
the idea of unity and to see in the phenomenal world an orderly
universe," to realise that "there can be but one truth, one Science
which includes all other branches of knowledge,"[44] and that the store
of world's knowledge would be incomplete without India's special
contribution to it. Thus he has raised India in the estimation of the
intellectual world.


RETIREMENT FROM GOVERNMENT SERVICE

Dr. Bose reached the age limit of 55 on the 29th November 1913 but he
was granted an extension till the 13th September 1915. The period of his
extension having expired, he retired from the Professorship in the
Presidency College after 31 years of service. The Governing Body of the
College, however, "in recognition of his eminent services to Science and
Presidency College," appointed him _honoris causa_ Emeritus Professor of
the College. His duties as a member of the staff ceased. But he was
given facilities to continue his work in the Physical Laboratory of the
College.[45]


FURTHER RECOGNITION

After his retirement, the Secretary of State, who had already been
impressed with the high value of his researches, sanctioned a recurring
grant of Rs. 30,000 a year (for him and his assistants) for 5 years and
a non-recurring grant of Rs. 25,000 (for equipment) for continuation of
his original work.... And, in further recognition of his valuable
scientific work, the Government conferred on him a Knighthood, on the
1st January 1917. It may, however, be mentioned that this high honour
has been bestowed for the first time on an Indian for his original work
in Science.


FEELS THE NECESSITY FOR THE FOUNDATION OF AN INSTITUTE

Relieved of the trammels of service, Dr. Bose felt the necessity for
realising a dream that wove a network round his wakeful life for years
past--for establishing an Institute--a Study and Garden of Life--where
the creepers, plants and trees would be played upon by their natural
environment and would transcribe in their own script the history of
their experience, where "the student would watch the panorama of life"
and, "isolated from all distractions, would learn to attune himself with
Nature and to see how community throughout the great ocean of life
outweighs apparent the dissimilarity," and where "the genius of India
would find its true blossoming," where the "synthetical intellectual
methods of the East would co-operate with the analytical methods of the
West," and whence would emanate a rich and peculiar current of thought
and to which would be attracted votaries from all lands.[46]


THE BOSE INSTITUTE

Though the realisation of such a glorious Institute would not be
effected through one life or one fortune, he wanted to accomplish
something--something, so far as it lay in his power. So he proceeded to
build and equip an Institute--the "Bose Institute"--at a cost of about 5
lakhs, the entire savings of his lifetime. While it was being
constructed Their Excellencies the Viceroy and the Governor of Bengal
paid a visit to Dr. Bose's private laboratory. On the 30th November
1917--the anniversary of his sixtieth birthday--he dedicated the
Institute to the Nation, for the progress of Science and for the Glory
of India.


THE AIMS OF THE INSTITUTE

In this Institute, Dr. Bose intends to go on with "the further and
fuller investigation of the many and ever-opening problems of the
nascent science which includes both Life and None Life" and wants to
train up a devoted band of workers, with the Sanyasin mind, who would
keep alive the flame kindled by him, and who, by acute observation and
patient experiment would "wring out from Nature some of her most
jealously guarded secrets" and who would thus lead to the establishment
of a great Indian School of Science and to the "building of the greater
India yet to be." There would be no academic limitation here to the
widest possible diffusion of knowledge. The facilities of the Institute
would be available to workers from all countries and there would be no
desecration of knowledge here by its utilisation for personal gain--no
patent would be taken of the discoveries here made. The high aim of a
great Seat of Learning would be sought to be maintained here. The
lectures here given would not be mere repetitions, second-hand knowledge
but would announce for the first time to the world the new discoveries
here made.[47]

The efforts of Dr. Bose have also animated our countrymen. Maharaja Sir
Manindra Chandra Nandy of Kasimbazar has made a gift of two lakhs to the
Institute. Mr. S. R. Bomanji has given one lakh. Mr. Moolraj Khatao has
endowed the Institute with two lakh and a quarter. Other contributions
are still pouring in.


A GREAT 'SADHAK'

With a true _Sanyasin_ spirit, Dr. Bose applied himself to the study of
Nature. His ardour was ever compassable. Even the limitations of the
senses would hardly fetter him in his explorations in the regions of the
Unknown. He expended the range of perception by means of wonderfully
sensitive instrumental devices. By acute observations and patient
experiment he wrung out from Nature some of her most jealously guarded
secrets in the realm of Electric Radiation, which "literally filled with
wonder and admiration" the greatest scientist of the age. Allurements of
great material prospects--which might lead him to the path of immense
fortune--came to him, in the shape of the patents of his inventions.
But they had no attraction for him. In utter disregard of all worldly
advancement, he continued in his pursuit of knowledge.

In pursuit of his investigations on Electric Radiation, he was
unconsciously led into the border region of Physics and Physiology. He
caught a glimpse of ineffable wonder that remained hidden behind the
view. He attempted to lift the veil. And, at once, difficulties
presented themselves one after another. An unfamiliar caste in the
domain of Science got offended. He was asked not to encroach on the
special preserve of the Physiologists and, as he did not pay any heed to
the warning, misrepresentations began. Even the evidence of his
supersensitive appliances failed to convince many. And the Royal Society
withheld publication of his researches. He was recompensed with ridicule
and reviling. The limited facilities that he had in the prosecution of
his researches were in danger of being withdrawn. But he had a burning
Faith in the Vision and was not to be boggled at with these
difficulties. He became stronger in his determination. Realising an
inner call, he dedicated himself for the establishment of the truth
underlying his Faith. He cast his life, as an offering, regarding
success and failure as one, and engaged himself in a protracted struggle
to get behind the deceptive seeming into the reality that remained
unseen. After years of sustained efforts, he succeeded in overcoming
almost insuperable difficulties in the way of the realisation of the
great dream of his life. The closed doors at last opened, and the
seemingly impossible became possible. The secret of the plant world
stood revealed by the autographs of the plants themselves. "It was when
I came upon the mute witness of these self-made records," said Sir J. C.
Bose, when he stood before the Royal Institution "and perceived in them
one phase of a pervading unity that bears within it all things: the mote
that quivers in ripples of light, the teeming life upon our earth, and
the radiant suns that shine above us--it was then that I understood for
the first time a little of that message proclaimed by my ancestors on
the banks of the Ganges thirty centuries ago."

    "They who see but one in all the changing manifestations of this
    universe, unto them belongs Eternal Truth--unto none else, unto none
    else." [48]

The Rishis of ancient India, by their intense Yoga, realised the One in
the Many. But Sir Jagadis Chandra, by rigorous experimental
demonstration, realised a Unity amidst Diversity. He perceived that
"there was no such thing as brute matter, but that spirit suffused
matter in which it was enshrined."[49]


EFFECT OF HIS WORK

It is impossible to estimate the effect of his epoch-making researches.
The psychic stone flung by him into the pool of physical botany, has
made the ripples run in so many directions. There have been produced
"unexpected revelations in plant life, foreshadowing the wonders of the
highest animal life." And there "have opened out very extended regions
of inquiry in Physics, in Physiology, in Medicine, in Agriculture and
even in Psychology. Problems, hitherto regarded as insoluble, have now
been brought within the sphere of experimental investigation."

Sir J.C. Bose has not only extended the distant boundaries of Science,
but, by his peculiarly Indian contribution, has secured a recognised
place for India and has revived a hope in the Indian mind that India
may yet regain a place among the intellectual nations of the world. Men
like him are rare not only in India but rare any where in the world. May
he live long!

[Footnote 1: Vide 'History of a Failure that was great'--Modern Review,
Vol. XXI, p. 221.]

[Footnote 2: Vide 'History of a Failure that was great'--Modern Review.
Vol. XXI p. 221.]

[Footnote 3: _Vide_ 'History of a failure that was great'--Modern
Review, Vol. XXI, p 221.]

[Footnote 4: 'History of a Failure that was great'--Modern Review. Vol,
XXI, p. 221.]

[Footnote 5: Convocation Address, dated 2nd March 1907, delivered by Sir
Ashutosh Mookerjea.]

[Footnote 6: Vide Evidence of Dr. J. C. Bose before the Public Services
Commission,--Vol. XX, p. 136.]

[Footnote 7: Address to the Royal Society by its President, Sir Benjamin
Brodie, 30th November 1859.]

[Footnote 8: 1 metre = 39.4 inches]

[Footnote 9: Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th Edition, Vol IX, p. 206.]

[Footnote 10: Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th Edition, Vol. IX, p. 206.]

[Footnote 11: See 'History of a Discovery'--Modern Review, Vol. XVIII,
p. 693.]

[Footnote 12: See 'Voice of Life'--Modern Review, Vol. XII, p. 590.]

[Footnote 13: Vide 'History of a Discovery'--Modern Review, Vol. XVIII,
p. 694.]

[Footnote 14: Response in Living and Non-Living, p. 191.]

[Footnote 15: See 'Voice of Life'--Modern Review, Vol. XXII, p. 588.]

[Footnote 16: See 'History of a Discovery'--Modern Review, Vol. XVIII,
p. 694.]

[Footnote 17: Vide 'Voice of Life'--Modern Review, Vol. XXII, p. 592.]

[Footnote 18: See 'Voice of Life'--Modern Review, Vol. XXII, p. 592.]

[Footnote 19: Vide 'Voice of Life'--Modern Review, Vol. XXII, p. 592.]

[Footnote 20: Vide 'History of a Discovery'--Modern Review, Vol. XVIII,
p. 694.]

[Footnote 21: Cf. Preface to 'Comparative Electro-Physiology' p. IX.]

[Footnote 22: Vide 'Comparative Electro-Physiology' pp. 732-733.]

[Footnote 23: Vide 'Memory Image and its Revival,' Sir J. C.
Bose--Modern Review, Vol. XXIV, p. 447.]

[Footnote 24: Sri Sermon on "Prayer" delivered by Keshub Chunder Sen at
the Prarthana Samaj, Bombay, on March 26, 1868.]

[Footnote 25: See 'Voice of Life'--Modern Review, Vol. XXII, p. 588.]

[Footnote 26: Vide Modern Review Vol. XI, p. 539.]

[Footnote 27: Vide Appendix to the Report of the Royal Commission on the
Public Services in India, Vol. XX, p. 135-136.]

[Footnote 28: Vide Appendix to the Report of the Royal Commission on the
Public Services in India, Vol. XX, p. 135.]

[Footnote 29: Vide Appendix to the Report of the Royal Commission on the
Public Services in India, Vol. XX, p. 136]

[Footnote 30: Vide Appendix to the Report of the Royal Commission on the
Public Services in India, Vol. XX, p. 137.]

[Footnote 31: Vide Appendix to the Report of the Royal Commission on the
Public Services in India, Vol. XX, p. 137.]

[Footnote 32: Vide Appendix to the Report of the Royal Commission on the
Public Services in India, Vol. XX, p. 137.]

[Footnote 33: Vide Appendix to the Report of the Royal Commission on the
Public Services in India, Vol. XX, p. 139.]

[Footnote 34: Vide Modern Review--Vol. XVI, pp. 16, 118, 120.]

[Footnote 35: Vide Modern Review, Vol. XVI, pp. 120, 121, 126.]

[Footnote 36: Vide Modern Review, Vol. XVII, P. 559.]

[Footnote 37: Vide Modern Review, Vol. XVI, p. 246.]

[Footnote 38: Vide Modern Review, Vol. XVII, p. 559.]

[Footnote 39: Vide Modern Review, Vol. XVIII, p. 1.]

[Footnote 40: Vide Modern Review, Vol. XVIII. p. 214.]

[Footnote 41: Vide Modern Review, Vol. XVIII. p. 215.]

[Footnote 42: Vide Modern Review, Vol. XVIII, p. 215.]

[Footnote 43: Vide Modern Review, Vol. XIX, p. 277.]

[Footnote 44: Vide 'Voice of Life'--Modern Review, Vol. XXII, p. 591.]

[Footnote 45: Presidency College Magazine, Vol. II, p. 335.]

[Footnote 46: Presidency College Magazine, Vol. II, p, 335.]

[Footnote 47: Vide 'Voice of Life'--Modern Review, XXII, p. 590.]

[Footnote 48: Vide 'Voice of Life'--Modern Review Vol XXII, p. 590.]

[Footnote 49: Vide Modern Review, Vol. XXI, p. 343.]



LITERATURE AND SCIENCE


The following is a substance of the Address delivered in Bengali by
Prof. J. C. Bose, on the 14th April 1911, as the President of the Bengal
Literary Conference, which met in the Easter of 1911 at Mymensing.

In this Literary Congress it would appear that you have interpreted
Letters in no exclusive sense. We are not met to discuss the place that
literature is to hold in the gospel of beauty. Rather are we set upon
conceiving of her in larger ways. To us to-day literature is no mere
ornament, no mere amusement. Instead of this, we desire to bring beneath
her shadow all the highest efforts of our minds. In this great communion
of learning, this is not the first time that a scientific man has
officiated as priest. The chair which I now occupy has already been held
by one whom I love and honour as friend and colleague, and glory in our
countryman, Praphulla Chandra Ray. In honouring him, your Society has
not only done homage to merit, but has also placed before our people a
lofty and inclusive ideal of literature.

You are aware that in this West, the prevailing tendency at the moment
is, after a period of synthesis, to return upon the excessive
sub-division of learning. The result of this specialisation is rather to
accentuate the distinctiveness of the various sciences, so that for a
while the great unity of all tends perhaps to be obscured. Such a caste
system in scholarship, undoubtedly helps at first, in the gathering and
classification of new material. But if followed too exclusively, it ends
by limiting the comprehensiveness of truth. The search is endless.
Realisation evades us.

The Eastern aim has been rather the opposite, namely, that in the
multiplicity of phenomena, we should never miss their underlying unity.
After generations of this quest, the idea of unity comes to us almost
spontaneously, and we apprehend no insuperable obstacle in grasping it.

I feel that here in this Literary Congress, this characteristic idea of
unity has worked unconsciously. We have never thought of narrowing the
bounds of literature by a jealous definition of its limits. On the
contrary, we have allowed its empire to extend. And you have felt that
this could be adequately done only, if in one place you could gather
together all that we are seeking, all that we are thinking, all that we
are examining. And for this you have to-day invited those who sing along
with those who meditate, and those who experiment. And this is why,
though my own life has been given to the pursuit of science, I had yet
no hesitation in accepting the honour of your invitation.


POETRY AND SCIENCE

The poet, seeing by the heart, realises the inexpressible and strived to
give it expression. His imagination soars, where the sight of others
fails, and his news of realm unknown finds voice in rhyme and metre. The
path of the scientific man may be different, yet there is some likeness
between the two pursuits. Where visible light ends, he still follows the
invisible. Where the note of the audible reaches the unheard, even there
he gathers the tremulous message. That mystery which lies behind the
expressed, is the object of his questioning also; and he, in his
scientific way, attempts to render its abstruse discoveries into human
speech.

This vast abode of nature is built in many wings, each with its own
portal. The physicist, the chemist, and the biologist entering by
different doors, each one his own department of knowledge, comes to
think that this is his special domain, unconnected with that of any
other. Hence has arisen our present rigid division of phenomena, into
the worlds of the inorganic, vegetal, and sentient. But this
attitude of mind is philosophical, may be denied. We must remember that
all enquiries have as their goal the attainment of knowledge in its
entirety. The partition walls between the cells in the great laboratory
are only erected for a time to aid this search. Only at that point where
all lines of investigation meet, can the whole truth be found.

Both poet and scientific worker have set out for the same goal, to find
a unity in the bewildering diversity. The difference is that the poet
thinks little of the path, whereas the scientific man must not neglect.
The imagination of the poet has to be unrestricted. The intuitions of
emotion cannot be established by rigid proof. He has, therefore, to use
the language of imagery, adding constantly the words 'as if.'

The road that the scientific man has to tread is on the other hand very
rugged, and in his pursuit of demonstration he must pay a severe
restraint on his imagination. His constant anxiety is lest he should be
self-deceived. He has, therefore, at every step to compare his own
thought with the external fact. He has remorselessly to abandon all in
which these are not agreed. His reward is that he gets, however little
is certain, forming a strong foundation for what is yet to come. Even by
this path of self-restraint and verification, however, he is making for
a region surpassing wonder. In the range of that invisible light, gross
objects cease to be a barrier, and force and matter become less
aesthetic. When the veil is suddenly lifted, upon the vision hitherto
unsuspected, he may for a moment lose his accustomed self-restraint and,
exclaim "not 'as if'--but the thing itself!"


INVISIBLE LIGHT.

In illustration of this sense of wonder which links together poetry and
science, let me allude briefly to a few matters that belong to my own
small corner in the great universe of knowledge, that of light invisible
and of life unvoiced. Can anything appeal more to the imagination than
the fact that we can detect the peculiarities in the internal molecular
structure of an opaque body by means of light that is itself invisible?
Could anything have been more unexpected than to find that a sphere of
China-clay focuses invisible light more perfectly than a sphere of glass
focuses the visible; that in fact, the refractive power of this clay to
electric radiation is at least as great as that of the most costly
diamond to light? From amongst the innumerable octaves of light, there
is only one octave, with power to excite the human eye. In reality, we
stand, in the midst of a luminous ocean, almost blind! The little that
we can see is nothing, compared to the vastness of that which we cannot.
But it may be said that out of the very imperfection of his senses man
has been able, in science, to build for himself a raft of thought by
which to make daring adventure on the great seas of the unknown.


UNVOICED LIFE.

Again, just as, in following up light from visible to invisible, our
range of investigation transcends our physical sight, so also does our
power of sympathy become extended, when we pass from the voiced to the
unvoiced, in the study of life: Is there then any possible relation
between our own life and that of the plant world? That there may be such
a relation, some of the foremost of scientific men have denied. So
distinguished a leader as the late Burdon-Sanderson declared that the
majority of plants were not capable of giving any answer, by either
mechanical or electrical excitement, to an outside stock. Pfeffer,
again, and his distinguished followers, have insisted that the plants
have neither a nervous system, nor anything analogous to the nervous
impulse of the animal. According to such a view, that two streams of
life, in plant and animal, flow side by side, but under the guidance of
different laws. The problems of vegetable life are, it must be said,
extremely obscure, and for the penetrating of that darkness we have long
had to wait for instruments of a superlative sensitiveness. This has
been the principal reason for our long clinging to mere theory, instead
of looking for the demonstration of facts. But to learn the truth we
have to put aside theories, and rely only on direct experiment. We have
to abandon all our preconceptions, and put our questions direct,
insisting that the only evidence we can accept is that which bears the
plant's own signature.

How are we to know what unseen changes take place within the plant? If
it be excited or depressed by some special circumstance, how are we, on
the outside, to be made aware of this? The only conceivable way would
be, if that were possible, to detect and measure the actual response of
the organism to a definite external blow. When an animal receives an
external shock it may answer in various ways if it has voice, by a cry;
if it be dumb, by the movement of its limbs. The external shock is a
stimulus; the answer of the organism is the response. If we can find out
the relation between this stimulus and the response, we shall be able to
determine the vitality of the plant at that moment. In an excitable
condition, the feeblest stimulus will evoke an extraordinarily large
response: in a depressed state, even a strong stimulus evokes only a
feeble response; and lastly, when death has overcome life, there is an
abrupt end of the power to answer at all.

We might therefore have detected the internal condition of the plant,
if, by some inducement, we could have made it write down its own
responses. If we could once succeed in this apparently impossible task
we should still have to learn the new language and the new script. In a
world of so many different scripts, it is certainly undesirable to
introduce a new one! I fear the Uniform Script Association will cherish
a grievance against us for this. It is fortunate however that the
plant-script bears, after all, a certain resemblance to the
Devanagari--inasmuch as it is totally unintelligible to any but the very
learned!

But there are two serious difficulties in our path; first, to make the
plant itself consent to give its evidence; second, through plant and
instrument combined, to induce it to give it in writing. It is
comparatively easy to make a rebellious child obey: to extort answers
from plants is indeed a problem! By many years of close contiguity,
however, I have come to have some understanding of their ways. I take
this opportunity to make public confession of various acts of cruelty
which I have from time to time perpetrated on unoffending plants, in
order to compel them to give me answers. For this purpose, I have
devised various forms of torment,--pinches simple and revolving, pricks
with needles, and burns with acids. But let this pass. I now understand
that replies so forced are unnatural, and of no value. Evidence so
obtained is not to be trusted. Vivisection, for instance, cannot furnish
unimpugnable results, for excessive shock tends of itself to make the
response of a tissue abnormal. The experimental organism must therefore
be subjected only to moderate stimulation. Again, one has to choose for
one's experiment a favourable moment. Amongst plants, as with ourselves,
there is, very early in the morning, especially after a cold night,
certain sluggishness. The answers, then, are a little indistinct. In the
excessive heat of midday, again, though the first few answers are very
distinct, yet fatigue soon sets in. On a stormy day, the plant remains
obstinately silent. Barring all these sources of aberration, however, if
we choose our time wisely, we may succeed in obtaining clear answers,
which persist without interruption.

It is our object, then, to gather the whole history of the plant, during
every moment between its birth and its death. Through how many cycle of
experience it has to pass! The effects on it of recurring light and
darkness; the pull of the earth, and the blow of the storm; how complex
is the concatenation of circumstances, how various are the shocks, and
how multiplex are the replies which we have to analyse! In this vegetal
life which appears so placid and so stationary, how manifold are the
subtle internal reactions! Then how are we to make this invisible
visible?


THE DIARY OF THE PLANT.

The little seedling we know to be growing, but the rate of its growth is
far below anything we can directly perceive. How are we to magnify this
so as to make it instantly measurable? What are the variations in this
infinitesimal growth under external shock? what changes are induced by
the action of drugs or poisons? will the action of poison change with
the dose? Is it possible to counteract the effect of one by another?

Supposing that the plant does not give answers to external shock, what
time elapses between the shock and the reply? Does this latent period
undergo any variation with external conditions? Is it possible to make
the plant itself write down this excessively minute time-interval?

Next, does the effect of the blow given outside reach the interior of
the plant? If so, is there anything analogous to the nerve of the
animal? If so, again, at what rate does the nervous impulse travel the
plant? By what favourable circumstances will this rate of transmission
become enhanced, and by what will be retarded or arrested? Is it
possible to make the plant itself record this rate and its variations?
Is there any resemblance between the nervous impulse in plants and
animals? In the animal there are certain automatically pulsating tissues
like the heart. Are there any such spontaneously beating tissues in a
plant? What is the meaning of spontaneity? And lastly, when by the blow
of death, life itself is finally extinguished, will it be possible to
detect the critical moment? And does the plant then exert itself to make
one overwhelming reply, after which response ceases altogether? Its
autobiography can only be regarded as complete, if, with the help of
efficient instruments, all these questions can be answered by it, so as
to form the different chapters.

"If the plant could have been made thus to keep its own diary, then the
whole of its history might have been recovered!" But words like these
are born of day dreams merely. Vague imaginings of this kind may furnish
much gratification to an idle life. When, awaking from these pleasant
dreams of science, we seek to actualise the conditions imposed by them,
we find ourselves face to face with a dead wall. For the doorway of
nature's court is barred with iron, and through it can penetrate no mere
cry of childish petulance. It is only by the gathered force of many
years of concentration, that the gate can be opened, and the seeker
enter to explore the secrets that have baffled him so long.


DIFFICULTIES OF RESEARCH IN INDIA.

We often hear that without a properly equipped laboratory, higher
research in this country is an absolute impossibility. But while there
is a good deal in this, it is not by any means the whole truth. If it
were all, then from these countries where millions have been spent on
costly laboratories, we should have had daily accounts of new
discoveries. Such news we do not hear. It is true that here we suffer
from many difficulties, but how does it help us, to envy the good
fortune of others? Rise from your depression! Cast off your weakness!
Let us think, "In whatever condition we are placed, that is the true
starting-point for us." India is our working-place, and all our duties
are to be accomplished here, and nowhere else. Only he who has lost his
manhood need repine.

In carrying out research, there are other difficulties, besides the
want of well-equipped laboratories. We often forget that the real
laboratory is one's own mind. The room and the instruments only
externalise that. Every experiment has first to be carried out in that
inner region. To keep the mental vision clear, great struggles have to
be undergone. For its clearness is lost, only too easily. The greatest
wealth of external appliances is of no avail, where there is not a
concentrated pursuit, utterly detached from personal gain. Those whose
minds rush hither and thither, those who hunger for public applause
instead of truth itself, by them the quest is not won. To those on the
other hand, who do long for knowledge itself, the want of favourable
conditions does not seem the principle obstacle.

In the first place, we have to realise that knowledge for the sake of
knowledge is our aim, and that the world's common standard of utility
have no place in it. The enquirer must follow where he is led, holding
the quiet faith that things which appear to-day to be of no use, may be
of the highest interest to-morrow. No height can be climbed, without the
hewing of many an unremembered step! It is necessary, then, that the
enquirer and his disciples should work on ceaselessly, undeterred by
years of failure, and undistracted by the thunder of public applause. We
may one day come to realise that India in the past has shared her
knowledge with the world, and we may ask ourselves, is that destiny now
ended for us? Are we of to-day to be debtors only? Perhaps when we have
once felt this, a new Nalanda may arise.


THE PHYTOGRAPH

I was speaking of the need of various delicate instruments--phytographs,
as I shall call them--for the automatic record of the plant's responses.
What was, ten years ago, a mere aspiration, has now after so many years
of effort, become actual fact. It is unnecessary to tell here of many a
fruitless and despairing attempt. Nor shall I trouble you with any
account of intricate mechanism. I need only say that with the aid of
different types of apparatus, it is now possible for all the responsive
activities of the plant to be written down. For instance, we can make an
instantaneous record of the growth and its variations, moment by moment.
Scripts can be obtained of its spontaneous movement. And a recording arm
will demarcate the line of life from that of death. The extreme delicacy
of one of these instruments will be understood, when it is said that it
measures and records a time-interval so short as one-thousandth part of
a second!

It has been supposed that instruments for research of this delicacy and
precision, were only possible of construction in the best scientific
manufactories of Europe. It will therefore be regarded as interesting
and encouraging to know that every one of these has been executed
entirely in India, by Indian workmen and mechanicians.

With perfect instruments at our disposal, we may proceed to describe a
few amongst the many phenomena which now stand revealed. But before
this, it is necessary to deal briefly with the superstition that has led
to the division of plants into sensitive and insensitive. By the
electrical mode of investigation, it can be shown that not only Mimosa
and the like, but all plants of all kinds are sensitive, and give
definite replies to impinging stimuli. Ordinary plants, it is true, are
unable to give any conspicuous mechanical indication of excitement. But
this is not because of any insensitiveness, but because of equal and
antagonistic reactions which neutralise each other. It is possible,
however, by employing appropriate means, to show that even ordinary
plants give mechanical replies to stimulus.


THE DETERMINATION OF THE LATENT PERIOD

When an animal is struck by a blow, it does not respond at once. A
certain short interval elapses between the incidence of the blow, and
the beginning of the reply. This lost time is known as the latent
period. In the leg of a frog, the latent period according to Helmwoltz,
is about one-hundredth of a second. This latent period, however,
undergoes appropriate variation with changing external conditions. With
feeble stimulus, it has a definite value, which, with an excessive blow,
is much shortened. In the cold season, it is relatively long. Again,
when we are tired our perception time, as we may call it, may be greatly
prolonged. Every one of these observations is equally applicable to the
perception time of the plant. In Mimosa, in a vigorous condition, the
latent period is six one hundredth of a second, that is to say, only six
times its value in an energetic frog! Another curious thing is that a
stoutish tree will give its response in a slow and lordly fashion,
whereas a thin one attains the acme of its excitement in an incredibly
short time! Perhaps some of us can tell from our own experience whether
similar differences obtain amongst human kind or not? The plant's latent
period in our cold weather may be almost doubled. Ordinarily speaking it
takes _Mimosa_ about fifteen minutes to recover from a blow. If a second
blow be given, before the full recovery of its equanimity, then the
plant becomes fatigued, and its latent period is lengthened. When
over-fatigued, it may temporarily lose its power of perception
altogether, what this condition is like, my audience is only too likely
to realise, at the end of my long address!


THE RELATION BETWEEN STIMULUS AND RESPONSE

According to varying circumstances, the same blow will evoke responses
of different amplitudes. Early in the morning, after the prolonged
inactivity of a cold night, we find the plant inclined to be lethargic,
and its first answers correspondingly small. But as blow after blow is
delivered, this lethargy passes off, and the replies become stronger and
stronger. A good way to remove this lethargy quickly, is to give the
plant a warm bath. In the heat of the midday, this state of things is
reversed. That is to say, after giving vigorous replies the plant
becomes fatigued, and its responses grow smaller. This fatigue passes
off, however, on allowing it a period of rest. On increasing the
intensity of the impinging stimulus, the response also increases. But a
limit is attained, beyond which response can no longer be enhanced.
Again, just as the pain of a blow persists longer with ourselves, in
winter than in summer, so the same holds good of the reaction of the
plant also. For instance, in summer it takes _Mimosa_ ten to fifteen
minutes to recover from a blow, whereas in winter the same thing would
take over half an hour. In all this, you will recognise the similarity
between human response and that of the plant.


SPONTANEOUS PULSATION

In certain tissues, a very curious phenomenon is observed. In man and
other animals, there are tissues which beat, as we say, spontaneously.
As long as life lasts, so long does the heart continue to pulsate. There
is no effect without a cause. How then was it that these pulsations
became spontaneous? To this query, no fully satisfactory answer has been
forthcoming. We find, however, that similar spontaneous movements are
also observable in plant tissues, and by their investigation the secret
of automatism in the animal may perhaps be unravelled.

Physiologists, in order to know the heart of man, play with those of the
frog and tortoise. "To know the heart," be it understood, is here meant
in a purely physical, and not in a poetic sense. For this it is not
always convenient to employ the whole of the frog. The heart is
therefore cut out, and make the subject of experiments, as to what
conditions accelerate, and what retard, the rate and amplitude of its
beat. When thus isolated, the heart tends of itself to come to a
standstill, but if, by means of fine tubing, it be then subjected to
interval blood pressure, its beating will be resumed, and will continue
uninterrupted for a long time. By the influence of warmth, the frequency
of the pulsation may be increased, but its amplitude diminished. Exactly
the reverse is the effect of cold. The natural rhythm and the amplitude
of the pulse undergo appropriate changes, again, under the action of
different drugs. Under either, the heart may come to a standstill, but
on blowing this off the beat is renewed. The action of chloroform is
more dangerous, any excess in the dose inducing permanent arrest.
Besides these, there are poisons also which arrest the heart beat, and a
very noticeable fact in this connection is, that some stop in a
contracted, and others in a relaxed condition. Knowing these opposed
effects, it is sometimes possible to counteract the effect of one poison
by administering another.

I have thus briefly stated some of the most important phenomena in
connection with spontaneous movements in animal tissues. Is it possible
that in plants also any parallel phenomena might be observed? In answer
to this question, I may say that I have found numerous instances of
automatic movements in plants.


RHYTHMIC PULSATIONS IN DESMODIUM

The existence of such spontaneous movements can easily be demonstrated,
by means of our Indian _Bon charal_, the telegraph plant, or Desmodium
gyrans, whose small leaflets dance continually. The popular belief that
they dance in response to the clapping of the hands is quite untrue.
From readings of the scripts made by this plant, I am in a position to
state that the automatic movements of both plants and animals are guided
by laws which are identical.

Firstly, when, for convenience of experiment, we cut off the leaflet,
its spontaneous movements, like those of the heart, come to a stop. But
if we now subject the isolated leaflet, by means of a fine tube, to an
added internal pressure of the plant's sap, its pulsations are renewed,
and continue uninterrupted for a very long time. It is found again that
the pulsation frequency is increased under the action warmth, and
lessened under cold, increased frequency being attended by diminution of
amplitude and _vice versa_. Under either, there is temporary arrest,
revival being possible when the vapour is blown off. More fatal is the
effect of chloroform. The most extraordinary parallelism, however, lies
in the fact that those poisons which arrest the beat of the heart in a
particular way, arrest the plant--pulsation also in a corresponding
manner. I have thus been able to revive a leaflet poisoned by the
application of one, with a dose of a counteracting poison.

Let us now enquire into the causes of these automatic movements
so-called. In experimenting with certain types of plant tissues, I find
that an external stimulus may not always evoke an immediate reply. What
happens, then, to the incident energy? It is not really lost, for these
particular plant tissues have the power of shortage. In this way, energy
derived in various ways from without--as light, warmth, food, and so
on--is constantly being accumulated, when a certain point is reached,
there is an overflow, and we call this overflow spontaneous movement.
Thus what we call automatic is really an overflow of what has previously
been stored up. When this accumulated energy is exhausted, then there is
also an end of spontaneous movements. By abstracting its stored-up
heat--through the application of cold water--we can bring to a stop the
automatic pulsations of Desmodium. But on allowing a first accession of
heat from outside, these pulsations are gradually restored.

In the matter of these so-called spontaneous activities of the plant, I
find that there are two distinct types. In one, the overflow is
initiated with very little storage, but here the unusual display of
activity soon comes to a stop. To maintain such specimens in the
rhythmic condition, constant stimulation from outside is necessary.
Plants of this type are extremely dependent on outside influences, and
when such sources of stimulus are removed, they speedily come to an
inglorious stop. _Kamranga_ or _Averrhoa_ is an example of this kind. In
the second type of automatic plant activity I find that long continued
storage is required, before an overflow can begin. But in this case, the
spontaneous outburst is persistent and of long duration, even when the
plant is deprived of any immediately exciting cause. These, therefore,
are not so obviously dependent as the others on the sunshine of the
world. Our telegraph-plant, _Desmodium_ or _Bon charal_, is an example
of this.

It appears to me that we have here a suggestive parallel to certain
phenomena with which this audience will surely prove more familiar than
I, namely, the facts of literary inspiration. For the attainment of this
exalted condition, also, is it not necessary to have previous storage,
with a consequent bubbling overflow? Certain indications incline me to
suspect that perhaps in this also we have an example of so-called
spontaneity, or automatic responsiveness. If this be so, aspirants, to
the condition might well be asked to decide in whose footsteps they will
choose to tread--those of _Kamranga_, with its dependence on outside
influences, and inevitably ephemeral activity, or those of _Bon charal_,
with its characteristic of patient long enduring accumulation of forces,
to find uninterrupted and sustained expression.


THE PLANT'S RESPONSE TO THE SHOCK OF DEATH

A time comes when, after one answer to a supreme shock, there is a
sudden end of the plant's power to give any response. This supreme shock
is the shock of death. Even in this crisis, there is no immediate change
in the placid appearance of the plant. Drooping and withering are events
that occur long after death itself. How does the plant then, give this
last answer? In man, at the critical moment, a spasm passes through the
whole body, and similarly in the plant, I find that a great contractile
spasm takes place. This is accompanied by an electrical spasm also. In
the script of the Morograph, or Death recorder, the line that up to this
point was being drawn, becomes suddenly reversed, and then ends. This is
the last answer of the plant.

These are mute companions, silently, growing beside our door, have now
told us the tale of their life-tremulousness and their death spasm, in
script that is as inarticulate as they. May it not be said that this
their story has a pathos of its own, beyond any that the poets have
conceived?



PROF. J. C. BOSE AT MAYAVATI

MARVELS OF PLANT LIFE


On the 8th June 1912, Dr J. C. Bose, who had gone to Advaita Ashrama,
Mayavati, on a holiday trip, gave an illuminating discourse on the
marvels of plant life.

He began by stating that a stimulus takes a certain time before it gets
a response. This stimulus may be of different forms, _e.g._, it may be a
sound stimulus, a light stimulus, an electric stimulus, and so on. The
feebler the stimulus, the greater is the time it takes to elicit the
response. For instance if one is called by a distant voice, one doubts
whether he has been called at all, but in the case of a piercing scream,
he starts up at once.

Now, the difficulty is that when the stimulus, the blow, is so strong as
to get an instantaneous response, how is one to measure this
infinitesimal time between the blow and the response? And this must be
done absolutely free from any personal interference, so as to ensure
correct results.

Dr. Bose here described how after deep thought and careful experiments
and researches of several years he invented and manufactured a highly
sensitive instrument which could automatically record the "response
time" of a plant even to one thousandth part of a second. And in order
to convey a graphic idea of the principles under which it worked, he had
even made by means of a few simple things a crude form of his
instrument, which helped the audience to form a clear idea of how a
shock given to a plant which was experimented upon, would be recorded
automatically by the apparatus by means of dots on its writing pad, and
also how to ascertain the exact time each plant took to respond to the
stimulus received. Thus the plant now records its own history unerringly
by its own hand as it were. And that the _same_ results are obtained
each time the experiment is repeated under similar conditions, shows
that this recording of the response time is a scientific phenomenon.

As an example of the similarities of reactions in plant and animal,
Prof. Bose described the rhythmic activities of certain plants, in which
automatic pulsations are maintained as in the animal heart. This
phenomenon is exemplified by the Telegraph plant, which grows wild in
the Gangetic plane; its Indian name is _Bon charal_ or 'forest churl',
the popular belief being that it dances to the clapping of the hand.
There is no foundation however for this belief. It is a papilionaceous
plant with trifoliate leaves, of which the terminal leaflet is large,
and the two lateral, very small. Each of these is inserted on the
petiole by means of pulvinule. The lateral leaflets are seen to execute
pulsating movements which are apparently uncaused, and are not unlike
the rhythmic movement of the heart to which we shall see later that
their resemblance is more than superficial.

In the intact plant, under favourable conditions, these movements are
easily observed to take place more or less continuously; but there are
times when they come to a standstill. For this reason and because of the
fact that a large plant cannot easily be manipulated as a whole and
subjected to various changing conditions which the purpose of the
investigation demands, it is desirable, if possible, to experiment with
the detached petiole, carrying the pulsating leaflet. The required
amputation however may be followed by arrest of the pulsating movements.
But, as in the case of the isolated heart in a state of standstill, Dr.
Bose found that the movement of the leaflet can be renewed, in the
detached specimen, by the application of the internal hydrostatic
pressure. Under these conditions, the rhythmic pulsations are easily
maintained uniform for several hours. This is a great advantage, in as
much as in the undetached specimen, the pulsations are not usually found
to be so regular as they now become. So small a specimen, again, can
easily be subjected to changing experimental conditions, such as the
variation of internal hydrostatic pressure and temperature, application
of different drugs, vapours and gases.

Under varying conditions the same plant has been observed to take
different response times, as for instance, less in heat than in cold,
less in summer than in winter, less in the morning than in the evening,
and so forth. Again, different plants have different response times.

It is a remarkable fact that the mimosa is ten times as sensitive as a
frog in giving the response. And the native idea that plants are of a
lower order than animal life will cost many a sad disappointment.

In the course of his lecture Dr. Bose spoke of some of his startling
discoveries recently made.... The lecturer gave quite a spiritual turn
to his discourse as he finished it with the remark that, as it has been
the earnest endeavour of scientists to minimise material friction in
order to get the best results, so in our human concerns, it should be
our best aim to minimise friction,--which is, Ignorance.

--_Modern Review_, Vol. XII, pages 314-315.



PLANT AUTOGRAPHS

HOW PLANTS CAN RECORD THEIR OWN STORY


Under the presidency of His Excellency Lord Carmichael, Prof. J. C. Bose
delivered on Friday, the 17th January 1913 an interesting address on his
recent researches at the Physical Laboratory of the Presidency College,
Calcutta, his subject being "Plant Autographs."

Professor Bose has been long engaged in researches on the "Irritability
of Plants," with results of great interest. These results have been made
possible by the invention of a series of instruments of extraordinary
precision and delicacy. Some of Professor Bose's instruments measure and
record a thousandth of a second. Invisible movements in plants,
hitherto beyond human scrutiny, have been brought within the range of
immediate perception through the wonderful devices shown by the
lecturer's demonstration of same on the screen.

Among those present were:--Sir William and Lady Duke, the Maharaja of
Nashipur, Sir Gurudas Bannerjee, Sir Chundra Madhab Ghose, Sir Lawrence
and Lady Jenkins, Sir Richard Harington, Hon. Mr. P. C. Lyon, Mr.
Justice Holmwood, Mr. Justice Chaudhuri, Hon. Mr. S. L. Maddox, Maharaja
of Cossimbazar, Hon. Dr. Kuchler, Mr. Bhupendra Nath Basu, Hon. Mr. E.
W. Collin, Mr. W. Graham, Mr. Fraser Blair, Hon. Mr. B. Chuckerbutty,
Hon. Mr. J. G. Apcar, Hon. Mr. B. C. Mitter, Hon. Rai Radha Charan Pal
Bahadur, Hon. Dr. D. P. Sarbadhikari, Mr. and Mrs. Williams, Mr. L. P.
E. Pugh, Mr. Lanford James, Dr. P. K. Roy, Khan Bahadur Moulvie Mahomed
Yusuf, Rai Bahadur Dr. Chunilal Bose, Mr. W. J. Simmons, Mr. and Mrs. J.
H. Hechle, Principal H. R. James and Mrs. James, Mr. T. J. Waite, Dr. P.
C. Roy and Rai P. N. Mukherji Bahadur.

His Excellency, as President, called upon Dr. Bose to deliver his
lecture.

Professor Bose commenced with a reference to the claims made by those
who profess to discriminate character by handwriting. As to the
authenticity of such claims, scepticism was permissible; but there was
no doubt that one's handwriting might be modified profoundly by
conditions, physical and mental. There still existed, at Hatfield House,
documents which contained the signature of the historical Guy Fawkes. A
photograph projected on the screen showed a sinister variation in those
signatures. The crabbed and distorted characters of the last words which
Guy Fawkes wrote on earth told their own tale of that fateful night.
Such was the tale that might be unfolded by the lines and curves of a
human autograph. Could plants be made similarly to write their own
autographs revealing their hidden story? Storm and sunshine, the warmth
of summer and the frost of winter, drought and rain, would come and go
about the plants. What subtle impress did they leave behind? How were
the invisible, internal changes to be made externally visible?


AUTOMATIC RECORDERS

The lecturer had succeeded in devising experimental methods and
apparatus by which the plant was made to give an answering signal, which
was then automatically recorded into an intelligible script. The results
of the new investigations were so novel that Professor Bose spent
several years in perfecting automatic instruments which completely
eliminated all personal equations. The plant attached to the recording
apparatus was automatically excited by a stimulus absolutely constant,
making its own responsive records, going through its period of recovery,
and embarking on the same cycle over again without assistance at any
point from the observer. The most sensitive organ for perception of a
stimulus was the human tongue. An average European could by his tongue
detect an electrical current as feeble as six micro-amperes, a
micro-ampere being a millionth part of a unit of electrical current.
Professor Bose found that his Hindu peoples could detect a much feebler
current, namely, 1.5 micro-amperes. It was an open question whether such
a high excitability of the tongue was to be claimed as a distinct
advantage. But the fact might explain the eminence of his countrymen in
forensic domains! (Laughter.) The plant, when tested, was found to be
ten times more sensitive than a human being.


EFFECT OF FOOD AND DRUGS

It was shown that when the plant had a surfeit of drink, it became
excessively lethargic and irresponsive. By extracting fluid from the
gorged plant, its motor activity was at once re-established. Under
alcohol its responsive script became ludicrously unsteady. A scientific
superstition existed regarding carbonic acid as being good for a plant.
But Professor Bose's experiments showed distinctly that the gas would
suffocate the plant as readily as it did the animal. Only in the
presence of sunlight could the effect be modified by secondary reaction.


AUTOMATISM AND GROWTH

It was impossible in a limited space, said Professor Bose, to do more
than mention the numerous other remarkable experiments which riveted the
attention of the audience. By means of apparatus specially devised,
pulsative plants were made to record their rhythmic throbbings. It was
shown that the pulse beats of the plants were affected by the action of
various drugs, and divers stimuli, in a manner similar to that of the
animal heart. Perhaps the most weird experience was to watch the
death-struggle of a plant under the action of poison. Turning from death
to its antithesis life and growth, the audience were shown how the
latter was made visible by means of the appliances invented by Professor
Bose. The infinitesimal growth of a plant became highly magnified in the
experiment.


RESEARCHES AT PRESIDENCY COLLEGE

When the lecturer commenced his investigations, original research in
India was regarded as an impossibility. No proper laboratory existed,
nor was there any scientific manufactory for the construction of a
special apparatus. In spite of these difficulties it had been a matter
of gratification to the lecturer that the various investigations already
carried out at the Presidency College had done something for the
advancement of knowledge. The delicate instruments seen in operation at
the lecture, which had been regarded with admiration by many
distinguished scientific men in the West, were all constructed at the
College workshops by Indian mechanics.

It was also with pride that the lecturer referred to the co-operation of
his pupils and assistants, through whose help the extensive works,
requiring ceaseless labour by day and night, had been accomplished.
Doubt had been cast on the capacity of Indian students in the field of
science. From his personal experience Professor Bose bore testimony to
their special fitness in this respect. An intellectual hunger had been
created by the spread of education. An Indian student demanded something
absorbing to think about and to give scope for his latent energies. If
this could be done, he would betake himself ardently to research into
Nature, which could never end. There was room for such toilers who by
incessant work would extend the bounds of human knowledge.


FROM PLANT TO ANIMAL LIFE

Before concluding the lecturer dwelt on the fact that all the varied and
complex responses of the animal had been foreshadowed in the plant. The
phenomena of life in the plant were thus not so remote as had been
hitherto supposed. The plant world, like the animal, was a thrill and a
throb with responsiveness to all the stimuli which fell upon it. Thus,
community throughout the great ocean of life, in all its different
forms, outweighed apparent dissimilarity. Diversity was swallowed up in
unity.

--_Amrita Bazar Patrika_, 20-1-1913.



INVISIBLE LIGHT


A most instructive and interesting lecture was delivered on Thursday,
the 30th January, 1913, at the Calcutta University Institute Hall, by
Dr. J. C. Bose, on the above subject. It was illustrated with
experiments and in spite of the technical nature of the subject, the
manner of treatment made the discourse extremely palatable and easy of
apprehension to the lay understanding and intelligence. The truths of
science could seldom be exposed so light-heartedly and in language
leavened with balmy humour. The lecture was very largely attended by
ladies and gentlemen, European and Indian, representing the light and
leading of the city. The chair was taken by Mr. W. R. Gourlay. Amongst
those present we noticed the Hon. Mr. Ramsay McDonald, Mr. Justice
Harington, Mr. Justice Chaudhuri, Hon'ble Mr. Gokhale, Hon'ble Mr. Lyon,
Hon'ble Mr. D. N. Sarvadhikari, Sir Gurudas Banerji, Hon'ble Mr. Apcar
and Dr. Chuni Lal Bose Rai Bahadur.

The Chairman, in a few well chosen words introduced the lecturer.

Professor Bose in going to deliver his highly interesting lecture first
showed how on account of the imperfection of our senses we fail to
detect various forces which play around us. We are not only deaf, but
practically blind. While we perceive eleven octaves of sound, we can see
only a single octave of other vibration which is called light. In order
to detect the invisible light a special detector has to be devised.
Prof. Bose showed his artificial retina previously exhibited at the
Royal Institution which not only detected luminous radiation but also
invisible lights in the intra red and ultra violet regions. In the
course of his remarks illustrating the nature of electric or Hertzian
waves, which gave rise to the invisible radiation he proceeded to
enumerate some of the conditions necessary for experimenting with them,
and to describe the apparatus he had invented for the purpose. Hertz had
used waves which were about 10 metres in length. It was impossible to
attempt any quantitative measurement of their optical properties on
account of large waves curling round corners. The lecturer had succeeded
in producing the shortest waves, with frequency of 50,000 millions of
vibrations per second, the particular invisible radiation being only
thirteen octaves below visible light. His generator produced the small
sharp beam which alone could be employed for quantitative measurements.
By means of this apparatus experiments on electric radiation could be
carried on with as much certainty as could experiments with ordinary
light. Prof. Bose then performed experiments illustrative of the
properties possessed in common by light waves and electric waves. He
exhibited the power of selective absorption to electric rays displayed
by many substances pointing out that while water stopped them, pitch,
coal tar, and others were quite transparent to them. He showed how the
rays were reflected by mirrors, obeying the same laws as light. The hand
of the experimenter was found to be a good reflector, the rays
rebounding after impact. Electric rays also undergo refraction and he
described an ingenious method he had devised by which the index of
refraction of numerous opaque substances could be obtained with the
highest exactitude. In conclusion he gave an account of his discovery of
the polarisation of electric rays by crystals. He showed that these
polarised the electric rays just as they did ordinary light. He further
proved that substances under pressure and strain could produce double
refraction in them, as did glass under the same conditions in light.
Tourmaline was useless for electric rays; but a lock of human hair was
extraordinarily efficient. According to this theoretical prediction, an
ordinary book was shown to exhibit selective absorption in a striking
manner. Thus while the Calcutta University Calendar was, usually, very
opaque, it became quite transparent when held in a particular direction
as regards the impinging ray.

Mr. Gourlay observed that the lecture opened out to himself, as well as
to other vistas, which they had never dreamt of before.

--_Amrita Bazar Patrika_, 31-1-1913.



PROFESSOR J. C. BOSE AT LAHORE

LECTURE ON ELECTRIC RADIATION


A crowded assembly met at the University Hall, on the 22nd February,
1913, to hear the first of Prof. Bose's discourses before the University
of Lahore.

Dr. Bose opened his address by alluding to the historic journey of
Jivaka, who afterwards became the physician of Buddha, making his way
from Bengal to the University of Taxila, in quest of knowledge.
Twenty-five centuries had gone by and there was before them another
pilgrim who had journeyed the same distance to bring, as an offering
what he had gathered in the domain of knowledge.

The lecturer called attention to the fact that knowledge was never the
exclusive possession of any particular race nor did it ever recognise
geographical limitations. The whole world was interdependent, and a
constant interchange of thought had been carried on throughout the ages
enriching the common heritage of mankind. Hellenistic Greeks and Eastern
Aryans had met here in Taxila to exchange the best each had to offer.
After many centuries the East and West had met once more, and it would
be the test of the real greatness of the two civilisations that both
should be finer and better for the shock of contact. The apparent
dormancy of intellectual life in India had been only a temporary phase.
Just like the oscillations of the seasons found the globe, great
pulsations of intellectual activity pass over the different peoples of
the earth.

With the coming of the spring the dormant life springs forth; similarly
the life that India conserves, by inheritance, culture and temperament,
was only latent and was again ready to spring forth into the blossom and
fruit of knowledge. Although science was neither of the East nor of the
West, but international in its universality, certain aspect of it gained
richness of colour by reason of their place of origin. India, perhaps
through its habit of synthesis, was apt to realise instinctively the
idea of unity and to see in the phenomenal world an universe instead of
a multiverse. It was this tendency, the lecturer thought, which had led
Indian physicist, like himself, when studying the effect of forces on
matter to find boundary lines vanishing, and to see points of contact
emerge between the realms of the living and non-living. In taking up the
subject of the evening's discourse on electric radiation of Hertzian
waves, the lecturer explained the constitution of the apparatus which he
had devised for an exhaustive study of the properties of electric waves.
His apparatus permitted experiments with the electric rays to be carried
on with as much certainty as experiments with ordinary light, and he
demonstrated the identity of electric radiation and light. The electric
rays are reflected from plane and curved mirrors in the same way and
subject to the same laws. Electric rays, like rays of light are
refracted. Like race of light too, electric waves can be selectively
stopped by various substances, which are "electrically" coloured. Water
which is a conductor of electricity stops the electric ray; where as
liquid air which is a non-conductor is quite transparent to the rays.

Finally Professor Bose explained his discovery of Polarisation of these
rays by various crystals. Tourmaline, which was a good polariser for
ordinary light, was not so effective. The lecturer discovered that the
crystal Nemalite possessed the power of polarising the electric rays in
the most perfect manner. Professor Bose also explained how the internal
constitution of an opaque mass was revealed by the help of light which
was itself invisible.

The lecturer concluded his discourse by drawing attention to the
limitations of human perception. Man's power of hearing was confirmed to
eleven octaves of sound notes. In the case of vision the limitation was
far more serious, his power of sight extending only through a single
octave of those ether waves which constituted light. These ether
vibrations of various frequencies could be maintained by electrical
means. By pressing the stop button of the apparatus which was exhibited,
ether vibrations, 50,000 millions per second, were produced. A second
stop gave rise to a different vibration. Let his audience imagine a
large electric organ provided with an infinite number of stops, each
stop giving rise to a particular ether note. Let the lowest stop produce
one vibration a second. They should then get a gigantic wave of 186,000
miles long. Let the next stop give rise to two vibrations in a second,
and let each succeeding stop produce higher and higher notes. Let them
imagine an unseen hand pressing the different stops in rapid succession,
producing higher and higher notes. The ether note would thus rise in
frequency from one vibration in a second, to tens, to hundreds, to
thousands, to hundreds of thousands, to millions, to millions of
millions! While the ethereal sea in which they were all immersed were
being thus agitated by these multitudinous waves, they would remain
entirely unaffected, for they possessed no organs of perception, to
respond to these waves.

As the ether note rose still higher in pitch, they would for a brief
moment perceive a sensation of warmth. This would be the case when the
ether vibration reached a frequency of several billions of times in a
second. As the note rose still higher, their eyes would begin to be
affected, a red glimmer of light being the first to make its appearance.
From this point the few visible colours would be comprised within a
single octave of vibration--from 400 to 800 billions in one second. As
the frequency of vibration rose still higher their organs of perception
would fail them completely; a great gap in their consciousness would
obliterate the rest. The brief flash of light would be succeeded by
unbroken darkness. How circumscribed was their knowledge? In reality
they stood in the midst of a luminous ocean almost blind! The little
they could see was as nothing compared to the vastness of that which
they could not. But it may be said that, out of the very imperfection of
his senses, man has been able, in science, to build for himself a raft
of thought by which to make daring adventure on the great seas of the
unknown.

--_Amrita Bazar Patrika_, 24-2-1913.



DR. BOSE IN LAHORE

PLANT RESPONSE


In his third lecture delivered, on the 25th February 1913, at the Punjab
University Hall, Dr. Bose of Calcutta dealt with "Plant Response." He
said:--

In strong contrast to the energetic animal, with its various reflex
movements and pulsating organs, stands the plant, in its apparent
placidity and immobility. Yet that same environment which with its
changing influences affects the animal is playing upon it also. Storm
and sunshine, the warmth of summer and the frost of winter, drought and
rain, all these come and go about it. What coercion do they exercise
upon it? What subtle impress do they leave behind? These internal
changes are entirely beyond our visual scrutiny. Is it possible in any
way to have these revealed to us? Dr. Bose had shown the possibility of
this by detecting and measuring the actual response of the organism to a
questioning shock. In an excitable condition the feeblest stimulus
should evoke in the plant an extraordinarily large reply in a depressed
state even a strong stimulus would only call forth a feeble response;
and lastly, when death overcome life, there would be an abrupt end of
the power to answer to all. By the invention of different types of
apparatus, the lecturer had succeeded in making the plant itself write
an answering script to a testing stimulus. Scripts could also be
obtained of the plant's spontaneous movements; and a recording arm
demarcated the line of life from that of death.

In taking the self-made records made by the plant it was found that
after the prolonged inactivity of a cold night the plant was apt to be
lethargic, and its first answers indistinct. But as blow after blow was
delivered, the lethargy passed off, and the replies became stronger and
stronger. After the fatigue of the day, the state of things was
reversed. The plant became very lethargic after excessive absorption of
food; but the normal activity might be restored by artificial removal of
the excess. The effect of alcohol and of various narcotics were clearly
followed in the modification of the automatic record made by the plant.

A prevailing scientific error had overcome in life, there would be an
abrupt end regarding a certain class of plants to be alone sensitive.
The lecturer showed by certain remarkable experiments that all plants
and all organs of plants were sensitive.

In certain animal tissues, a very curious phenomenon was observed. In
man and other animals there were tissues which beat spontaneously. As
long as life lasted, so long did the heart continue to pulsate. There
could be no effect without a cause. How then was it that these
pulsations became spontaneous? To this query, no satisfactory answer had
been forthcoming. Similar spontaneous movements were also observable in
plant tissues, and by their investigation the secret of automatism in
the animal world became unravelled. The existence of these spontaneous
movements could easily be demonstrated by means of the Indian "Bon
Charal", the telegraph plant, whose small leaflets danced continuously
up and down. The popular belief that they danced in response to the
clappings of the hand was quite erroneous. From the readings of the
scripts made by this plant, the lecturer was in a position to state that
the automatic movements of both plants and animals were guided by laws
which were identical. Thus in the rhythmic tissues of the plant and the
animal the pulsation frequency was increased under the action of warmth
and lessened under cold, increased frequency being attended by
diminution of amplitude, and "_vice versa_". Under ether, there was a
temporary arrest, revival being possible when the vapour was blown off.
More fatal was the effect of chloroform. The most extraordinary
parallelism, however, lay in the fact that those poisons which arrested
the beat of the heart in a particular way arrested the plant pulsation
in a corresponding manner. The lecturer had succeeded in reviving a
leaflet poisoned by the application of one with a dose of counteracting
poison.

A time came when after one answer to a supreme shock there was a sudden
end of the plant's power to give any response. This supreme shock was
the shock of death. Even in this crisis, there was no immediate change
in the placid appearance of the plant. In man at the critical moment, a
spasm passed through the whole body, and similarly in the plant the
lecturer had discovered that a great contractile spasm took place. This
was accompanied by an electrical spasm also. In the script of the death
recorder the line that up to this point was being drawn became suddenly
reversed, and then ended. This was the last answer of the plants.

Thus the responsiveness of the plant world was one. There was no
difference of any kind between sunshine plants, and those which had
hitherto been regarded as insensitive or ordinary. It had also been
shown that all the varied and complex responses of the animal were
foreshadowed in the plant. An impressive spectacle was thus revealed of
that vast unity in which all living organisms, from the simplest plant
to the highest animal, were linked together and made one.

--_Amrita Bazar Patrika_, 5-3-1913.



EVIDENCE BEFORE THE PUBLIC SERVICES COMMISSION


The following is the evidence given by Dr. J. C. Bose, C. S. I., C. I.
E., Professor of Physics, Presidency College, Calcutta, on the 18th
December, 1913, before the Royal Commission on the Public Services in
India, presided over by Lord Islington, and published, in the Minutes of
Evidence relating to the Education Department, at pages 135 to 137, in
volume XX, Appendix to the Report of the Commissioners:


WRITTEN STATEMENT RELATING TO THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT

83, 627 (I) _Method of recruitment._--The first question on which I have
been asked to give my opinion is as regards the method of recruitment. I
think that a high standard of scholarship should be the only
qualification insisted on. Graduates of well-known Universities,
distinguished for a particular line of study, should be given the
preference. I think the prospects of the Indian Educational Service are
sufficiently high to attract the very best material. In colonial
Universities they manage to get very distinguished men without any
extravagantly high pay. Possibly the present departmental method of
election does not admit of sufficiently wide publicity of notice to
attract the best candidates.

83, 628 (II) _System of training and probation._--As regards probation
and training, Educational officers should first win a reputation as good
teachers before the appointment is confirmed as they are transferred to
important colleges.

83, 629 (IV) _Conditions of Salary._--As regards conditions of Salary,
the pay should be moderately high, but not extravagant, and settled once
for all under some simple and well-defined rules. It is not only very
humiliating but degrading to a true scholar to be scrambling for money.
The difference between the pay of the higher and lower services should
be minimised.

83, 630 (VI) _Conditions of pension._--With reference to pension, I
think it is very unfair that more favourable terms are offered, when the
pensioner elects to retire in England.

83, 631 (VII) _Such limitations as exist in the employment of
non-Europeans._--Passing on to the question of limitations that exist in
the employment of Indians in the higher service, I should like to give
expression to an injustice which is very keenly felt. It is unfortunate
that Indian graduates of European Universities who have distinguished
themselves in a remarkable manner do not for one reason or other find
facilities for entering the higher Educational Service.

As teachers and workers it is an incontestable fact that Indian officers
have distinguished themselves very highly, and anything which
discriminates between Europeans and Indians in the way of pay and
prospects is most undesirable. A sense of injustice is ill-calculated to
bring about that harmony which is so necessary among all the members of
an educational institution, professors and students alike.

83, 632 (VIII) _Relations of the service with the Indian Civil Service
and with other services._--As regards the relations with the Indian
Civil Service, I am under the impression that they are somewhat
strained, but of this I have no personal experience.

83, 633 (IX) _Other points._--I have endeavoured to give my opinion on
the definite questions which have been asked. There is another aspect of
educational work in India which I think of the highest importance,
though I am not exactly sure whether it falls within the terms of
reference to the Royal Commission. I think that all the machinery to
improve the higher education in India would be altogether ineffectual
unless India enters the world movement for the advancement of knowledge.
And for this it is absolutely necessary to touch the imagination of the
people so as to rouse them to give their best energies to the work of
research and discovery, in which all the nations of the world are now
engaged. To aim at anything less will only end in a lifeless and
mechanical system from which the soul of reality has passed away. On
this subject I could have said much, but I will confine myself to one
point which I think at the present juncture to be of importance. The
Government of Bengal has been foremost in a tentative way in encouraging
research. What is necessary is the extension and continuity of this
enlightened policy.

83, 634. _Supplementary Note._--I would like to add a few remarks to
make the meaning of paragraphs 83, 627 and 83, 631 in my note more
explicit.

At the present recruitment in the Indian Educational Service is made in
England and is practically confined to Englishmen. Such racial
preference is in my opinion, prejudicial to the interest of education.
The best man available, English or Indian should be selected
impartially, and high scholarship should be the only test.

It has been said that the present standard of Indian Universities is
not as high as that of British Universities, and that the work done by
the former is more like that of a sixth form of public schools in
England. It is therefore urged that what is required for an Educational
officer is the capacity to manage classes rather than high scholarship.
I do not agree with these views: (1) there are Universities in Great
Britain whose standards are not higher than ours; I do not think that
the Pass Degree even of Oxford or Cambridge is higher than the
corresponding degree here; (2) the standard of the Indian Universities
is being steadily raised; (3) the standard will depend upon what the men
entrusted with Educational work will make it. For these reasons it is
necessary that the level of scholarship represented by the Indian
Educational Service should be maintained very high.

In paragraph 83,631 I have stated that even these Indians who have
distinguished themselves in European Universities have little chance of
entering the higher Educational Service. I should like to add that these
highly qualified Indians need only opportunities to render service which
would greatly advance the cause of higher education. As regards
graduates of Indian Universities, I have known men among them whose
works have been highly appreciated. If promising Indian graduates are
given the opportunity of visiting foreign Universities, I have no doubt
that they would stand comparison with the best recruits that can be
obtained from the West.


DR. J. C. BOSE CALLED AND EXAMINED

83,635. (Chairman). The witness favoured an arrangement by which Indians
would enter the higher ranks of the service, either through the
Provincial Service or by direct recruitment in India. The latter class
of officers, after completing their education in India, should
ordinarily go to Europe with a view to widening their experience. By
this he did not wish to decry the training given in the Indian
Universities, which produced some of the very best men, and he would not
make the rule absolute. It was not necessary for men of exceptional
ability to go to England in order to occupy a high chair. Unfortunately,
on account of there being no openings for men of genius in the
Educational Service, distinguished men were driven to the profession of
Law. In the present condition of India a larger number of distinguished
men were needed to give their lives to the education of the people.

83,636. The witness himself had spent part of his career in Europe, and
looking back he could say that this had been of great profit to him,
not so much on account of the training he got, as by being brought into
personal contact with eminent men whose influence extorted his
admiration, and create in him a feeling of emulation. In this way he
owed a great deal to Lord Rayleigh under whom he worked, but he did not
see why that advantage should not eventually be secured by Indians in
India under an Indian Lord Rayleigh.

83,637. There should be only one Educational Service, but men who were
distinguished in any subject should not start from its very lowest rung
but should be placed somewhere in the middle of it.

83,638. There were men in the Provincial Service who were very
distinguished; it was all a question of genius. The Educational Service
ought to be regarded not as a profession, but as a calling. Some men
were born to be teachers. It was not a question of race, of course; in
order to have an efficient educational system, there must be an
efficient organisation, but this should not be allowed to become
fossilised, and thus stand in the way of healthy growth.

83,639. In the Presidency College a young man fresh from an English
university was at once appointed a Professor regardless of his lack of
experience, whereas an Indian who passed in highest examination with
honours in India was appointed as an Assistant Professor. This grounding
often made him more efficient as a teacher than the Professor recruited
from England. There were now several Professors in the college, in the
Provincial Service, who were highly qualified, and who lectured to the
highest classes with very great success.

83,640. In the Physics Department he had under his direction several
Assistants who were so well qualified that they were allowed to give
lectures to several classes. These Assistants, after their experience at
the Presidency College, would be best fitted to become Professors in the
mofussil at Colleges. He would like to see them promoted to the higher
service after they had had experience. But before he gave them the
highest positions, he would make it compulsory for them to go to Europe.

83,641. A proportion of Europeans in the service was needed, but only as
experts and not as ordinary teachers. Only the very best men should be
obtained from Europe, and for exceptional cases. The general educational
work should be done entirely by Indians, who understood the difficulties
of the country much better than any outsider.

83,642. He advocated the direct recruitment of Indians in India by the
local government in consultation with the Secretary of State, rather
than by the Secretary of State alone. Indians were under a great
difficulty, in that they could not remain indefinitely in England after
taking their degrees and being away from the place of recruitment their
claims were overlooked.

83,643. There was no reason why a European should be paid a higher rate
of salary than an Indian on account of the distance he came. An Indian
felt a sense of inferiority if a difference was made as regards pay. The
very slight saving which government made by differentiating between the
two did not compensate for the feeling of wrong done. This feeling would
remain even if the pay was the same, but an additional grant in the
shape of a foreign service allowance was made to Europeans. All workers
in the field of education should feel a sense of solidarity, because
they were all serving one great cause, namely, education.

83,644. The term "professor", as at present used in India, was
undoubtedly a comprehensive one, but it was equally comprehensive in the
West.

83,645. (Sir Murray Hammick). The witness did not wish to recruit
definite proportions of the service in England and in India
respectively. He would for various reasons prefer a large number of
Indians engaged in education.

83,646. Even in Calcutta he would not make any difference between the
pay of the Indian and the pay of the European.

83,647. (Sir Valentine Chirol). The witness attached great value to the
influence of the teacher upon the student in the earlier stages of his
education, and it was in these stages that that influence could best be
exercised. At the same time he desired to limit the appointment of
non-Indians to men of very great distinction.

83,648. If a foreign professor would not come and serve in India for the
same remuneration as he obtained in his own country, the witness would
certainly not force him to come.

83,649. (Mr. Abdur Rahim). Recruitment for the Educational Service
should be made in the first place in India, if suitable men were
available; but if not then he would allow the best outsiders to be
brought in. In the present state of the country it would be very easy to
fill up many of the chairs by selecting the best men in India.

83,650. The aim of the universities should be to promote two classes of
work--first, research; and secondly, an all-round sound education. Men
of different types would be required for these two duties.

83,651. (Mr. Madge). Any idea that the educational system of India was
so far inferior to that of England, that Indians, who had made their
mark, had done so, not because of the educational system of the country,
but in spite of it, was quite unfounded. The standard of education
prevailing in India was quite up to the mark of several British
universities. It was as true of any other country in the world as of
India that education was valued as a means for passing examinations, and
not only for itself, and there was no more cramming in India than
elsewhere.

83,652. The West certainly brought to the East a modern spirit, which
was very valuable, but it would be dearly purchased by the loss of an
honorable career for competent Indians in their own country.

83,653. The educational system in India had in the past been too
mechanical, but a turn for the better was now taking place and the
universities were recognising the importance of research work, and were
willing to give their highest degrees to encourage it.

83,654. (Mr. Macdonald). The witness did not think it was necessary to
have a non-Indian element in the service in order to stiffen it up, but
he accepted the principle that there should be a certain small
proportion of non-Indians.

83,655. The title of professor at a college or University should carry
with it dignity and honour, and ought not to be so freely used as at
present. All he asked was that it should not be abolished at the expense
of such Indians as were doing as good work as their European colleagues.

83,656. If the Calcutta university continued to develop its teaching
side, there would be no objection to recruiting University Professors
from aided colleges. This would have certain advantages.

83,657. (Mr. Fisher). The witness desired to secure for India Europeans
who had European reputations in their different branches of study. If it
was necessary to go outside India or England to procure good men, he
would prefer to go to Germany. This was the practice in America where
they were annexing all the great intellects of Europe.

83,658. The witness would like to see India entering the world movement
in the advance and march of knowledge. It was of the highest importance
that there should be an intellectual atmosphere in India. It would be
of advantage if there were many Indians in the Educational Service. For
they came more in contact with the people, and influenced their
intellectual activity. Besides, on retirement they would live in India
and their life experience would be at their countrymen's service.

83,659. There was very little in the complaint made in certain quarters
that the work of the Professors in the colleges in India was hampered by
the Government regulations as to curricula. A good teacher was not
troubled by such matters.

83,660. (Mr. Sly). There was no scope for the employment of non-Indians
in the high schools as apart from the colleges. It was in the
professorial line that more help from the West was required.

83,661. (Mr. Gokhale). The witness knew of three instances in which the
colonies had secured distinguished men on salaries which were lower than
these given to officers of the Indian Educational Service. One was at
Toronto, another was in New Zealand and the third at Yale university.
The salaries on the two latter cases were £600 and £500 a year. The same
held good as regards Japan. The facts there had been stated in a
Government of India publication as follows: "Subsequent to 1895 there
were 67 Professors recruited in Europe and America, of those, 20 came
from Germany, 16 from England and 16 from the United States. The average
pay was £384. In the highest Imperial University the average pay is
£684. As soon as Japanese could be found to do the work, even tolerably
well, the foreigner was dropped."

83,662. When the witness first started work in India, he found that
there was no physical laboratory, or any grant made for a practical
experimental course. He had to construct instruments with the help of
local mechanics, whom he had to train. All this took him ten years. He
then undertook original investigation at his own expense. The Royal
Society became specially interested in his work and desired to give him
a Parliamentary grant for its continuation. It was after this that the
Government of Bengal came forward and offered him facilities for
research.

83,663. In the Educational Service he would take men of achievement from
anywhere; but men of promise he would take from his own country.

83,664. (Mr. Chaubal). He did not know whether the salaries he had
mentioned as having been paid in Japan, New Zealand and Yale were on an
incremental scale or not.

83,665. There was a difference of kind between the way in which
students were taught in schools and the way in which they were taught in
colleges. He did not agree with the witnesses who had said that during
the first year or two years at college the instruction given was similar
to that given in a school. It was very difficult to disprove or to prove
such statements. There would be no advantage in keeping boys to a school
course up the intermediate standard and making the colleges deal with
only those students who had passed the intermediate examination.

83,666. (Sir Theodore Morison). There should be one scale of pay for all
persons in the higher educational department. The rate of salary, Rs.
200 rising to Rs. 1,500 per month, was suitable, subject to the proviso
that the man of great distinction, instead of beginning at the lowest
rate of pay, should start some where in the middle of the list, say, at
Rs. 400 or Rs. 500. He would make no reference in regard to Europeans or
Indians in that respect. In effect this no doubt amounted to making
Indians eligible for higher educational posts both by direct recruitment
and by promotion.

83,667. He would not favour the handing over of all the Government
institutions in Bengal to private agencies; there must be one or two
Government colleges in order to keep up the standard. He should be
sorry to see the Government dissociating itself from one of its primary
duties, which was education.

83,668. Privately managed Colleges paid less in salary than the
Government Colleges. They paid about the same as was given in the
Provincial Service, and they obtained fairly good men. It would not be
right for a great Government to grant a minimum pay to Indian Professors
and an extravagantly high pay to their European colleagues, for doing
the same kind of work.

83,669. At the Presidency College the facilities for scientific work
were now greater than in many institutions in England. India was now
becoming a great country for Biological research. Again, the Physical
and Chemical Laboratories at the Presidency College were finer than many
in England. If young men of science in England thought they obtained
better opportunities in pursuing their subjects in New Zealand and
Toronto than in India, the India office ought to remove that impression
at once.

83,670. (Lord Ronaldshay). When an Indian graduate under the witnesses'
scheme was appointed direct to the higher service in India he would not
compel him to go to England for a period of training. The person who
would be appointed in India directly from the Indian Universities would
have to have previously served with distinction in subordinate
positions; a visit to Europe would be an advantage but not absolutely
necessary.

83,671. (Mr. Biss). The cost of living in Calcutta to an Indian
Professor or Lecturer would all depend as the style in which he lived.
In each service there is always a standard of living to which every
member is expected to conform. An Indian Professor had to go to Europe
from time to time to keep himself in touch with the developments of his
subject. An Indian officer had to support a large number of relations.
The question of a man's private expenses should not be raised in fixing
his pay. One might as well inquire whether the candidate for admission
to the service was a bachelor or married, or as to how many children he
had. He had known Europeans who had led a simple life, and had been all
the better for it.

83,672. He could not understand why men went to Japan and Canada instead
of coming to India on better terms. It was a mystery to him. He thought
it was either sheer ignorance or the spread of the commercial spirit.

83,673. All the students coming to his side of the University, were, as
a rule, keen and anxious to learn; he could not wish for better
students.

83,674. (Mr. Gupta). He desired one service, because he thought it was
most degrading that certain men, although they were doing the same work,
should be classed in a Provincial Service, while others should be
classed in an Imperial Service. The prospect of the members of the
Provincial Service were not at all what they ought to be, and that was
the reason why the best men were not attracted to it.



PROF. J. C. BOSE AT MADURA


On his way back to Calcutta from the Fourth Scientific Deputation to the
West, Prof. J. C. Bose visited Madura, 14th June 1915. The Tamil Sangam
presented him with an address. In reply Dr. Bose made an important
speech, in course of which he said:--

I am no longer a representative of Bengal nor have I come to a strange
place, but as an Indian addressing the mighty India and her people. When
we realise that unity of our destiny then a great future opens out for
us.

It may be we may theorise and attribute to the plants all the
characteristics of the animals; but that will be merely theory: there
will be no proof. There are certain classes of people who think that
plants are utterly unlike animals and some hold that they are like
animals. The mere theory is absolutely worthless in order to find out
the truth. We have to find by investigation, by means of researches, by
means of proofs, that one is identical with the other. We have not only
to drop all theory but we have to make the plant itself write down the
answers to the questions that we have to put to them. That was the great
problem,--how to make the plant itself answer and write down answers to
the question....

If the plants are acted on by various medicines and drugs like
ourselves, then we can create an agent or a spokesman on which we can
carry out all future investigations on the action of drugs. Then there
is opened out a great vista for the scientific study of medicine. And
let me tell you medicine is not yet an exact science. It is merely a
phase of tradition. We have not been able to make medicine scientific.
Now by the data of the influence of drugs on the fundamental basis of
life, as is seen in the plant, we shall be able to make the science of
medicine purely scientific.

In travelling all over the world, which I have done several times, I was
struck by two great characteristics of different nations. One
characteristic of certain nations is living for the future. All the
modern nations are striving to win force and power from nature. There is
another class of men who live on the glory of the past. Now, what is to
be the future of our nation? Are we to live only on the glory of the
past and die off from the face of the earth, to show that we are worthy
descendants of the glorious past and to show by our work, by our
intellect and by our service that we are not a decadent nation? We have
still a great and mighty future before us, a future that will justify
our ancestry. In talking about ancestry, do we ever realise that the
only way in which we can do honour to our past is not to boast of what
our ancestors have done but to carry out in the future something as
great, if not greater than they. Are we to be a living nation, to be
proud of our ancestry and to try to win renown by continuous
achievements? These mighty monuments that I see around me tell us what
has been done till very recent times. I have travelled over some of the
greatest ruins of the Universities of India. I have been to the ruins of
the University of Taxilla in the farthest corner of India which
attracted the people of the west and the east. I had been to the ruins
of Nalanda, a University which invited all the west to gain knowledge
under its intellectual fostering. I had been all there and seen them. I
have come here also and want to visit Conjeevaram. But are you to foster
the dead honours or to try to bring back your University in India and
drag once more from the rest of the world people who would come down and
derive knowledge from India? It is in that way and that way alone we can
win our self-respect and make our life and the life of the nation
worthy. The present era is the era of temples of learning. In order to
erect temples of learning we require all the offerings of our mighty
people. We want to erect temples and "viharas" which are so
indispensable to the study of nature and her secrets. It is a problem
which appeals to every thoughtful Indian. It is by the effort of the
people and by their generosity that all these mighty temples arose; and
now are we to worship the dead stones or are we to erect living temples
so that the knowledge that has been made in India shall be perpetuated
in India? I received requests from the different Universities in America
and Germany to allow students from those countries to come and learn the
science that has been initiated in India. Now, is this knowledge to pass
beyond our boundaries to that again in future time we may have to go to
the west to get back this knowledge or are we to keep this flame of
learning burning all the time?

(_Modern Review, Vol. xviii, p. 22-23_).



DR. J. C. BOSE ENTERTAINED

PARTY AT RAM MOHAN LIBRARY


On Saturday, 24th July, 1915, the members of the Ram Mohan Library and
Reading room received Dr. J. C. Bose, the President of the Library in a
right royal fashion, on his return to India from his Scientific
Deputation to the West.

There was a large and influential gathering, and the spacious hall was
tastefully decorated.

Dr. J. C. Bose arrived at 6:15 p.m. and was received at the gate by Mr.
D. N. Pal, Secretary. Dr. Bose then went round the hall accompanied by
the members of the Executive Committee while the Bharati Musical
Association played excellent Jaltaranga Orchestra.

Babu Bhupendra Nath Bose, Vice-President of the Library, made a
brilliant speech welcoming Dr. Bose and detailing the great services
done to the country by him.


DR. BOSE'S REPLY

Dr. Bose in reply expressed his thanks for the great interest shown in
different parts of this country in the success of his work. This was the
fourth occasion on which he had been deputed to the West by the
Government of India on a scientific mission, and the success that has
attended his visit to foreign countries has exceeded all his
expectations. In Vienna, in Paris, in Oxford, Cambridge and London, in
Harvard, Washington, Chicago and Columbia, in Tokio and in many other
places his work has uniformly been received with high appreciation. In
spite of the fact that his researches called into question some of the
existing theories, his results have notwithstanding received the fullest
acceptance. This was due to a great extent to the convincing character
of the demonstration afforded by the very delicate instruments he had
been able to invent and which worked under extremely difficult tests
with extraordinary perfection. Even the most critical savants in Vienna
felt themselves constrained to make a most generous admission. In these
new investigations on the border land between physics and physiology,
they held that Europe has been left behind by India, to which country
they would now have to come for inspiration. It has also been fully
recognised that science will derive benefit when the synthetic
intellectual methods of the East co-operate with the severe analytical
methods of the West. These opinions have also been fully endorsed in
other centres of learning and Dr. Bose had received applications from
distinguished Universities in Europe and America for admission of
foreign post graduate scholars to be trained in his Laboratory in the
new scientific methods that have been initiated in India.


RESEARCH LABORATORY FOR INDIA

This recognition that the advance of human knowledge will be incomplete
without India's special contributions, must be a source of great
inspiration for future workers in India. His countrymen had the keen
imagination which could extort truth out of a mass of disconnected facts
and the habit of meditation without allowing the mind to dissipate
itself. Inspired by his visits to the ancient Universities, at Taxila,
at Nalanda and at Conjevaram, Dr. Bose had the strongest confidence that
India would soon see a revival of those glorious traditions. There will
soon rise a Temple of Learning where the teacher cut off from worldly
distractions would go on with his ceaseless pursuit after truth, and
dying, hand on his work to his disciples. Nothing would seem laborious
in his inquiry; never is he to lose sight of his quest, never is he to
let it go obscured by any terrestrial temptation. For he is the Sanyasin
spirit, and India is the only country where so far from there being a
conflict between science and religion. Knowledge is regarded as religion
itself. Such a misuse of science as is now unfortunately in evidence in
the West would be impossible here. Had the conquest of air been achieved
in India, her very first impulse would be to offer worship at every
temple for such a manifestation of the divinity in man.


ECONOMIC DANGER OF INDIA

One of the most interesting events in his tour round the world was his
stay in Japan, where he had ample opportunity of becoming acquainted
with the efforts of the people and their aspirations towards a great
future. No one can help being filled with admiration for what they have
achieved. In materialistic efficiency, which in a mechanical era is
regarded as an index of civilisation, they have even surpassed their
German teachers. A few decades ago they had no foreign shipping and no
manufacture. But within an incredibly short time their magnificent lines
of steamers have proved so formidable a competitor that the great
American line in the Pacific will soon be compelled to stop their
sailings. Their industries again, through the wise help of the State and
other adventitious aids are capturing foreign markets. But far more
admirable is their foresight to save their country from any embroilment
with other nations with whom they want to live in peace. And they
realise any predominant interest of a foreign country in their trade or
manufacture is sure to lead to misunderstanding and friction. Actuated
by this idea they have practically excluded all foreign manufactured
articles by prohibitive tariffs.


REVIVAL OF INDIAN INDUSTRIES

Is our country slow to realise the danger that threatens her by the
capture of her market and the total destruction of her industries? Does
she not realise that it is helpless passivity that directly provokes
aggression? Has not the recent happenings in China served as an object
lesson? There is, therefore, no time to be lost and the utmost effort is
demanded of the Government and the people for the revival of our own
industries. The various attempts that have hitherto been made have not
been as successful as the necessity of the case demands. The efforts of
the Government and of the people have hitherto been spasmodic and often
worked at cross purposes. The Government should have an advisory body
of Indian members. There should be some modification of rules as regards
selection of Industrial scholars. Before being sent out to foreign
countries they should be made to study the conditions of manufacture in
this country and its difficulties. For a particular industry there
should be a co-ordinated group of three scholars, two for the industrial
and one for the commercial side. Difficulties would arise in adapting
foreign knowledge to Indian conditions. This can only be overcome by the
devoted labour of men of originality, who have been trained in our
future Research Laboratory. The Government could also materially help
(i) by offering facilities for the supply of raw materials (ii) by
offering expert advice (iii) by starting experimental industries. He had
reason to think that the Government is full alive to the crucial
importance of the subject and is determined to take every step
necessary. In this matter the aims of the people and the Government are
one. In facing a common danger and in co-operation there must arise
mutual respect and understanding. And perhaps through the very
catastrophe that is threatening the world there may grow up in India a
realisation of community of interest and solidarity as between
Government and people.


A CALL FOR NOBLER PATRIOTISM

A very serious danger is thus seen to be threatening the future of
India, and to avert it will require the utmost effort of the people.
They have not only to meet the economic crisis but also to protect the
ideals of ancient Aryan civilisation from the destructive forces that
are threatening it. Nothing great can be conserved except through
constant effort and sacrifice. There is a danger of, regarding the
mechanical efficiency as the sole end of life; there is also the
opposite danger of a life of dreaming, bereft of struggle and activity,
degenerating into parasitic habits of dependence. Only through the
nobler call of patriotism can our nation realise her highest ideals in
thought and in action; to that call the nation will always respond. He
had the inestimable privilege of winning the intimate friendship of Mr.
G. K. Gokhale. Before leaving England, our foremost Indian statesman
whose loss we so deeply mourn, had come to stay with the speaker for a
few days at Eastbourne. He knew that this was to be their last meeting.
Almost his parting question to Dr. Bose was whether science had anything
to say about future incarnations. For himself, however he was certain
that as soon as he would cast off his worn out frame he was to be born
once more in the country he loved, and bear all the country that may be
laid on him in her service. There can be no doubt that there must be
salvation for a country which can count on sons as devoted as Gopal
Krishna Gokhale.

--_Amrita Bazar Patrika_, 26-7-1915.



HISTORY OF A DISCOVERY


Substance of a Lecture delivered by Prof. J. C. Bose on the 20th
November 1915, at the Ram Mohan Library, under the Presidency of the
Hon'ble Mr. P. C. Lyon, and published at p. 693, Vol. xviii, of the
"Modern Review" (July to December, 1915).

At the tournament held before the court at Hastinapur, more than
twenty-five centuries ago, Karna, the reputed son of a Charioteer, had
challenged the supremacy of Prince Arjuna. To this challenge Arjuna had
returned a scornful answer; a prince could not cross swords with one who
could claim no nobility of descent. "I am my own ancestor," replied
Karna, and this perhaps the earliest assertion of the right of man to
choose and determine his own destiny. In the realm of knowledge also the
great achievements have been won only by men with determined purpose and
without any adventitious aids. Undismayed by human limitations they had
struggled in spite of many a failure. In their inquiry after truth they
regarded nothing as too laborious, nothing too insignificant, nothing
too painful. This is the process which all must follow; there is no
easier path.

The lecturer's research on the properties of Electric Waves was begun
just twenty-one years ago. In this he was greatly encouraged by the
appreciation shown by the Royal Society, which not only published his
researches, but also offered a Parliamentary grant for the continuance
of his work. The greatest difficulty lay in the construction of a
receiver to detect invisible ether disturbances. For this a most
laborious investigation had to be undertaken to find the action of
electric radiation on all kinds of matter. As a result of this long and
very patient work a new type of receiver was invented, so perfect in its
action that the _Electrician_ suggested its use in ships and
electro-magnetic high houses for the communication and transmission of
danger signals at sea through space. This was in 1895, several years in
advance of the present wireless system. Practical application of the
result of Dr. Bose's investigations appear so important that Great
Britain and the United States granted him patents for his invention of a
certain crystal receiver which proved to be the most sensitive detector
of wireless signals.


UNIVERSAL SENSITIVENESS OF MATTER

In the course of his investigations Dr. Bose found that the uncertainty
of the early type of his receiver was brought on by fatigue, and that
the curve of fatigue of his instrument closely resembled the fatigue
curve of animal muscle. He was soon able to remove the 'tiredness' of
his receiver by application of suitable stimulants; application of
certain poisons, on the other hand, permanently abolished its
sensitiveness. Dr. Bose was thus amazed at the discovery that inorganic
matter was anything but inert, but that its particles were a thrill
under the action of multitudinous forces that were playing on it. The
lecturer was at this time constrained to choose whether to go on with
the practical applications of his work, the success of which appeared to
be assured, or to throw himself into a vortex of conflict for the
establishment of some truth the glimmerings of which he was then but
dimly beginning to perceive. It is very curious that the human mind is
sometimes so constituted that it rejects lines of least resistance in
favour of the more difficult path. Dr. Bose chose the more difficult
path, and entered into a phase of activity which was to test all his
strength.


CASTE IN SCIENCE

Dr. Bose's discovery of Universal sensitiveness of matter was
communicated to the Royal Society on May 7th, 1901, when he himself gave
a successful experimental demonstration. His communication was, however,
strongly assailed by Sir John Burden-Sanderson, the leading
physiologist, and one or two of his followers. They had nothing to urge
against his experiments but objected to a physicist straying into the
preserve that had been specially reserved for the physiologist. He had
unwittingly strayed into the domain of a new and unfamiliar caste system
and offended its etiquette. In consequence of this opposition his paper,
which was already in print, was not published. This is not by any means
to be regarded as an injustice done to a stranger. Even Lord Rayleigh,
who occupies an unique position in the world of science, was subjected
to fierce attacks from the chemists, because he, a physicist, had
ventured to predict that the air would be found to contain new elements
not hitherto discovered.

It is natural that there should be prejudice against all innovations,
and the attitude of Sir John Burden-Sanderson is easily explained.
Unfortunately there was another incident about which similar explanation
could not be urged. Dr. Bose's Paper had been placed in the archives of
the Royal Society, so that technically there was no publication. And it
came about that eight months after the reading of his Paper, another
communication found publication in the Journal of a different society
which was practically the same as Dr. Bose's but without any
acknowledgment. The author of this communication was a gentleman who had
previously opposed him at the Royal Society. The plagiarism was
subsequently discovered and led to much unpleasantness. It is not
necessary to refer any more to the subject except as explanation of the
fact that the determined hostility and misrepresentations of one man
succeeded for more than ten years to bar all avenues of publication for
his discoveries. But every cloud has its silver lining; this incident
secured for him many true friends in England who stood for fair play,
and whose friendship has proved to be a source of great encouragement to
him.


FURTHER DIFFICULTIES

Dr. Bose's next work in 1903 was the discovery of the identity of
response and of automatic activity in plant and animal and of the
nervous impulse in plant. These new contributions were regarded as of
such great importance that the Royal Society showed its special
appreciation by recommending it to be published in their Philosophical
transactions. But the same influence which had hitherto stood in his way
triumphed once more, and it was at the very last moment that the
publication was withheld. The Royal Society, however, informed him that
his results were of fundamental importance, but as they were so wholly
unexpected and so opposed to the existing theories, that they would
reserve their judgment until, at some future time, plants themselves
could be made to record their answers to questions put to them. This was
interpreted in certain quarters here as the final rejection of Dr.
Bose's theories by the Royal Society, and the limited facilities which
he had in the prosecution of his researches were in danger of being
withdrawn. And everything was dark for him for the next ten years. The
only thought that possessed him was how to make the plant give testimony
by means of its own autograph.


LONG DELAYED SUCCESS

And when the night was at its darkest, light gradually appeared, and
after innumerable difficulties had been overcome his Resonant Recorder
was perfected, which enabled the plant to tell its own story. And in
the meantime something still more wonderful came to pass. Hitherto all
gates had been barred and he had to produce his passports everywhere. He
now found friends who never asked him for credentials. His time had come
at last. The Royal Society found his new methods most convincing and
honoured him by publication of his researches in the Philosophical
transactions. And his discoveries, which had so long remained in
obscurity, found enthusiastic acceptance.

Though his theories had thus received acceptance from the leading
scientific men of the Royal Society, there was yet no general conviction
of the identity of life reactions in plant and animal. No amount of
controversy can remove the tendency of the human mind to follow
precedents. The only thing left was to make the plant itself bear
witness before the scientific bodies in the West, by means of
self-records. At the recommendation of the Minister of Education, and of
the Government of Bengal, the Secretary of State sanctioned his
scientific deputation to Europe and America.


JOURNEY OF INDIAN PLANT ROUND THE WORLD

The special difficulty which he had to contend against lay in the fact
that the only time during which the plant flourished at all in the West,
was in the months of July and August, when the Universities and
scientific societies were in vacation. The only thing left was to take
the bold step of carrying growing plants from India and trust to human
ingenuity to keep them alive during the journey. Four plants, two
Mimosas and two Telegraph plants, were taken in a portable box with
glass cover, and never let out of sight. In the Mediterranean they
encountered bitter cold for the first time and nearly succumbed. They
were unhappier still in the Bay of Biscay, and when they reached London
there was a sharp frost. They had to be kept in a drawing room lighted
by gas, the deadly influence of which was discovered the next morning
when all the plants were found to be apparently killed. Two had been
killed, and the other two were brought round after much difficulty. The
plants were at once transferred to the hot-house in Regents Park. For
every demonstration in Dr. Bose's private Laboratory at Maida Vale, the
plant had to be brought and returned in a taxicab with closed doors so
that no sudden chill might kill them. When travelling, the large box in
which they were, could not be trusted out of sight in the luggage van.
They had practically to be carried in a reserved compartment. The
unusual care taken of the box always roused the greatest curiosity, and
in an incredibly short time large crowds would gather. When travelling
long distances, for example from London to Vienna, the carriage
accommodation had to be secured in advance. It was this that saved Dr.
Bose from being interned in Germany, where he was to commence his
lectures on the 4th August. He was to start for the University of Bonn
on the 2nd, but on account of hasty mobilisation of troops in Germany he
could not secure the reserved accommodation. Two days after came the
proclamation of War!


OUTCOME OF HIS WORK

The success of his scientific mission exceeded his most sanguine
expectations. The work in which he long persevered in isolation and
under most depressing difficulties, bore fruit at last. Apart from the
full recognition that the progress of the world's science would be
incomplete without India's special contributions, mutual appreciation
and better understanding resulted from his visit. One of the greatest of
Medical Institutions, the Royal Society of Medicine, has been pleased to
regard his address before the society as one of the most important in
their history and they expected that their science of medicine would be
materially benefited by the researches that are being carried out by him
in India. India has also been drawn closer to the great seats of
learning in the West, to the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge; for
there also the methods of inquiry initiated here have found the most
cordial welcome. Many Indian students find their way to America,
strangers in a strange land; hitherto they found few to advise and
befriend them. It will perhaps be different now, since their leading
Universities have begged from India the courtesy of hospitality for
their post graduate scholars. Some of these Universities again have
asked for a supply of apparatus specially invented at Dr. Bose's
laboratory which in their opinion will mark an epoch in scientific
advance.


THE INEFFABLE WONDER BEHIND THE VEIL

As for the research itself, he said its bearings are not exclusively
specialistic, but touch the foundation of various branches of science.
To mention only a few; in medicine it had to deal with the fundamental
reaction of protoplasm to various drugs, the solution of the problem why
an identical agent brings about diametrically opposite effects in
different constitutions; in the science of life it dealt with the new
comparative physiology by which any specific characteristic of a tissue
is traced from the simplest type in plant to the most complex in the
animal; the study of the mysterious phenomenon of death and the
accurate determination of the death point and the various conditions by
which this point may be dislocated backwards and forwards; in psychology
it had to deal with the unravelling of the great mystery that underlies
memory and tracing it backwards to latent impressions even in the
inorganic bodies which are capable of subsequent revival; and finally,
the determination of the special characteristic of that vehicle through
which sensiferous impulses are transmitted and the possibility of
changing the intensity and the tone of sensation. All these
investigations, Dr. Bose said, are to be carried out by new physical
methods of the utmost delicacy. He had in these years been able to
remove the obstacles in the path and had lifted the veil so as to catch
a glimpse of the ineffable wonder that had hitherto been hidden from
view. The real work, he said, had only just begun.


A SOCIAL GATHERING

At the Social Gathering held on the 16th December 1915, in the compound
of the Calcutta Presidency College, to meet him after his highly
successful tour through Europe, America and Japan, Dr. Bose spoke as
follows:--

He said that it was his rare good fortune to have been amply rewarded
for the hardships and struggles that he had gone through by the generous
and friendly feelings of his colleagues and the love and trust of his
pupils. He would say a few words regarding his experience in the
Presidency College for more than three decades, which he hoped would
serve to bring all who loved the Presidency College--present and past
pupils and their teachers--in closer bonds of union. He would speak to
them what he had learnt after years of patient labour, that the
impossible became possible by persistent and determined efforts and
adherence to duty and entire selflessness. The greatest obstacle often
arises out of foolish misunderstanding of each other's ideals, such as
the differing points of view, first of the Indian teacher, then of his
western colleague, and last but not least, the point of view of the
Indian pupils themselves. In all these respects his experience had been
wide and varied. He had both been an undergraduate and a graduate of the
Calcutta University with vivid realization of an Indian student's
aspirations; he had then become a student of conservative Cambridge and
democratic London. And during his frequent visits to Europe and America
he had become acquainted with the inner working of the chief
universities of the world. Finally he had the unique privilege of being
connected with the Presidency College for thirty-one years, from which
no temptation could sever him. He had the deepest sense of the sacred
vocation of the teacher. They may well be proud of a consecrated
life--consecrated to what? To the guidance of young lives, to the making
of men, to the shaping and determining of souls in the dawn of their
existence, with their dreams yet to be realised.

Education in the West and in the East showed how different customs and
ways might yet express a common ideal. In India the teacher was, like
the head of a family, reverenced by his pupils so deeply as to show
itself by touching the feet of their master. This in no servile act if
we come to think of it; since it is the expression of the pupils' desire
for his master's blessings, called down from heaven in an almost
religious communion of souls. This consecration is renewed every day,
calling forth patient foresight of the teacher. As the father shows no
special favour, but lets his love and compassion go out to the weakest,
so it is with the Indian teacher and his pupil. There is the relation
something very human, something very ennobling. He would say it was
essentially human rather than distinctively Eastern. For do we not find
something very like it in Mediaeval Europe? There too before the coming
of the modern era with its lack of leisure and its adherence to system
and machinery, there was a bond as sacred between the master and his
pupils. Luther used to salute his class every morning with lifted hat,
"I bow to you, great men of the future, famous administrators yet to be,
men of learning, men of character who will take on themselves the burden
of the world." Such is the prophetic vision given to the greatest of
teachers. The modern teacher from England will set before him an ideal
not less exalted--regarding his pupils as his comrades, he as an
Englishman will instill into them greater virility and a greater public
spirit. This will be his special contribution to the forming of our
Indian youths.

Turning to the Indian students he could say that it was his good fortune
never to have had the harmonious relation between teacher and pupils in
any way ruffled during his long connection with them for more than three
decades. The real secret of success was in trying at times to see things
from the student's point of view and to cultivate a sense of humour
enabling him to enjoy the splendid self-assurance of youth with a
feeling not unmixed with envy. In essential matters, however, one could
not wish to meet a better type or one more quickly susceptible to finer
appeals to right conduct and duty as Indian students. Their faults are
rather of omission than of commission, since in his experience he formed
that the moment they realised their teachers to be their friends, they
responded instantly and did not flinch from any test, however severe,
that could be laid on them.

--_The Presidency College Magazine._ _Vol. II, pages_ 339-341.



LIGHT VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE


On the 14th January 1916, Dr. J. C. Bose delivered a public lecture, on
Light Visible and Invisible, at the third Indian Science Congress held
at Lucknow, before a crowded audience which included the
Lieutenant-Governor (Sir James Meston).

Dr. Bose, in course of his lecture, spoke of the imperfection of our
senses. Our ear, for example, fails to respond to all sounds. There are
many sounds to which we are deaf. This was because our ear was tuned to
answer to the narrow range of eleven octaves of sound vibrations. He
showed a remarkable experiment of an artificial ear which remained
irresponsive to various sounds, but when a particular note, to which it
was tuned, was sounded even at the distant end of the hall, this ear
picked it up and responded violently. As there were sounds audible and
inaudible, so there were lights visible and invisible. The imperfection
of our eye as a detector of ether vibrations was, however, far more
serious. The eye could detect ether vibrations lying within a single
octave--between 400 to 800 billion vibrations per second. Comparatively
slow vibrations of ether did not affect our eye and the disturbances
they give rise to well-known as electric waves. The electric waves,
predicted by Maxwell, were discovered by Hertz. These waves were about
three metres long. They were about ten million times larger than the
beams of visible light. Dr. Bose showed that the three short electric
waves have the same property as a beam of light, exhibiting reflections,
refraction, even total reflection, through a black crystal, double
refraction, polarisation, and rotation of the plane of polarisation. The
thinnest film of air was sufficient to produce total reflection of
visible light with its extremely short wave lengths. But with the new
electric waves which he produced, Dr. Bose showed that the critical
thickness of air space determined by the refracting power of the prison
and by the wave length of electric oscillations. Dr. Bose determined the
index of refraction of electric waves for different materials, and
eliminated a difficulty which presented itself in Maxwell's theory as to
the relation between the index of refraction of light and the
di-electric constant of insulators. He also measured the wave lengths of
various oscillations. The order to produce short electric oscillations,
to detect them and study their optical properties, he had to construct a
large number of instruments. It was a hard task to produce very short
electric waves which had enough energy to be detected, but Dr. Bose
overcame this difficulty by constructing radiators or oscillators of his
own type, which emitted the shortest waves with sufficient energy. As a
receiver he used a sensitive metallic coherer, which in itself led to
new and important discoveries. When electric waves fall on a loose
contact between two pieces of metals, the resistance of the contact
changes and a current passes through the contact indicating the
existence of electrical oscillations. Dr. Bose discovered the surprising
fact that with potassium metal the resistance of the contact increases
under the action of electric waves and that this contact exhibits an
automatic recovery. He found further that the change of the metallic
contact resistance when acted upon by electric waves, is a function of
the atomic weight. These phenomena led to a new theory of metallic
coherers. Before these discoveries it was assumed that the particles of
the two metallic pieces in contact are, as it were, fused together, so
that the resistance decreases. But the increasing resistance appearing
for some elements, led to the theory that the electric forces in the
waves produced a peculiar molecular action or a re-arrangement of the
molecules, which may either increase or decrease the contact resistance.

--_Pioneer_,--16-1-1916.



HINDU UNIVERSITY ADDRESS


The foundation of the Hindu University was laid by Lord Hardinge on the
4th February 1916. "Many striking addresses were delivered on the
occasion. Professor J.C. Bose in his masterly address went to the root
of the matter and pointed in an inspiring manner what should be done to
make the Hindu University worthy of its name. He deprecated a repetition
of the Universities of the West." He said:--

In tracing the characteristic phenomenon of life from simple beginnings
in that vast region which may be called unvoiced, as exemplified in the
world of plants, to its highest expression in the animal kingdom, one is
repeatedly struck by the one dominant fact that in order to maintain an
organism at the height of its efficiency something more than a
mechanical perfection of its structure is necessary. Every living
organism, in order to maintain its life and growth, must be in free
communion with all the forces of the Universe about it.


STIMULUS WITHIN AND WITHOUT

Further, it must not only constantly receive stimulus from without, but
must also give out something from within, and the healthy life of the
organism will depend on these two fold activities of inflow and
outflow. When there is any interference with these activities, then
morbid symptoms appear, which ultimately must end in disaster and death.
This is equally true of the intellectual life of a Nation. When through
narrow conceit a Nation regards itself self-sufficient and cuts itself
from the stimulus of the outside world, then intellectual decay must
inevitably follow.


SPECIAL FUNCTION OF A NATION

So far as regards the receptive function. Then there is another function
in the intellectual life of a Nation, that of spontaneous outflow, that
giving out of its life by which the world is enriched. When the Nation
has lost this power, when it merely receives, but cannot give out, then
its healthy life is over, and it sinks into a degenerate existence which
is purely parasitic.


HOW INDIA CAN TEACH

How can our Nation give out of the fulness of the life that is in it,
and how can a new Indian University help in the realisation of this
object? It is clear that its power of directing and inspiring will
depend on its world status. This can be secured to it by no artificial
means, nor by any strength in the past; and what is the weakness that
has been paralysing her activities for the accomplishment of any great
scientific work? There must be two different elements, and these must be
evenly balanced. Any excess of either will injure it.


HOW TO SECURE THIS STATUS

This world status can only be won by the intrinsic value of the great
contributions to be made by its own Indian scholars for the advancement
of the world's knowledge. To be organic and vital our new University
must stand primarily for self-expression, and for winning for India a
place she has lost. Knowledge is never the exclusive possession of any
particular race, nor does it recognise geographical limitations. The
whole world is interdependent, and a constant stream of thought had been
carried out throughout the ages enriching the common heritage of
mankind. Although science was neither of the East nor of the West but
international, certain aspects of it gained richness by reason of their
place of origin.

In any case if India need to make any contribution to the world it
should be as great as the hope they cherished for her. Let them not
talk of the glories of the past till they have secured for her, her true
place among the intellectual nations of the world. Let them find out how
she had fallen from her high estate and ruthlessly put an end to all
that self satisfied and little-minded vanity which had been the cause of
their fatal weakness. What was it that stood in her way? Was her mind
paralysed by weak superstitious fears? That was not so; for her great
thinkers, the Rishis, always stood for freedom of intellect and while
Galileo was imprisoned and Bruno burnt for their opinions, they boldly
declared that even the Vedas were to be rejected if they did not conform
to truth. They urged in favour of persistent efforts for the discovery
of physical causes yet unknown, since to them nothing was extra-physical
but merely mysterious because of a hitherto unascertained cause. Were
they afraid that the march of knowledge was dangerous to true faith? Not
so. For their knowledge and religion were one.

These are the hopes that animate us. For there is something in the Hindu
culture which is possessed of extraordinary latent strength by which it
has resisted the ravages of time and the destructive changes which have
swept over the earth. And indeed a capacity to endure through infinite
transformations must be innate in that mighty civilisation which has
seen the intellectual culture of the Nile Valley, of Assyria and of
Babylon war and wane and disappear and which to-day gazes on the future
with the same invincible faith with which it met the past.

--_Modern Review, vol. XIX, pages_ 277, 278.



THE HISTORY OF A FAILURE THAT WAS GREAT


At the invitation of the President and the committee of the Faridpore
Industrial Exhibition, Dr. J. C. Bose gave a lecture on the life of his
father, the late Babu Bhugwan Chunder Bose, who founded the Exhibition
at Faridpore, where he was the sub-divisional officer, 50 years ago. It
was published in the Modern Review for February 1917--volume xxi, p.
221. In course of his address, said Dr. Bose:--

It is the obvious, the insistent, the blatant that often blinds us to
the essential. And in solving the mystery that underlies life, the
enlightenment will come not by the study of the complex man, but through
the simpler plant. It is the unsuspected forces, hidden to the eyes of
men,--the forces imprisoned in the soil and the stimuli of alternating
flash of light and the gloomings of darkness these and many others will
be found to maintain the ceaseless activity which we know as the fulness
of throbbing life.

This is likewise true of the congeries of life which we call a society
or a nation. The energy which moves this great mass in ceaseless effort
to realise some common aspiration, often has its origin in the unknown
solitudes of a village life. And thus the history of some efforts, not
forgotten, which emanated from Faridpore, may be found not unconnected
with which India is now meeting her problems to-day. How did these
problems first dawn in the minds of some men who forecast themselves by
half a century? How fared their hopes, how did their dreams become
buried in oblivion? Where lies the secret of that potency which makes
certain efforts apparently doomed to failure, rise renewed from beneath
the smouldering ashes? Are these dead failures, so utterly unrelated to
some great success that we may acclaim to day? When we look deeper we
shall find that this is not so, that as inevitable as in the sequence of
cause and effect, so unrelenting must be the sequence of failure and
success. We shall find that the failure must be the antecedent power to
lie dormant for the long subsequent dynamic expression in what we call
success. It is then and then only that we shall begin to question
ourselves which is the greater of the two, a noble failure or a vulgar
success.

As a concrete example, I shall relate the history of a noble failure
which had its setting in this little corner of the earth. And if some of
the audience thought that the speaker has been blessed with life that
has been unusually fruitful, they will soon realise that the power and
strength that nerved me to meet the shocks of life were in reality
derived at this very place, where I witnessed the struggle which
overpowered a far greater life.


STIMULUS OF CONTACT WITH WESTERN CULTURE

An impulse from outside reacts on impressionable bodies in two different
ways, depending on whether the recipient is inert or fully alive. The
inert is fashioned after the pattern of the impression made on it, and
this in infinite repetition of one mechanical stamp. But when an
organism is fully alive, the answering reaction is often of an
altogether different character to the impinging stimulus. The outside
shocks stir up the organism to answer feebly or to utmost in ways as
multitudinous and varied as life itself. So the first impetus of Western
education impressed itself on some in a dead monotony of imitation of
things Western; while in others it awakened all that was greatest in the
national memory. It is the release of some giant force which lay for
long time dormant. My father was one of the earliest to receive the
impetus characteristic of the modern epoch as derived from the West. And
in his case it came to pass that the stimulus evoked the latent
potentialities of his race for evolving modes of expression demanded by
the period of transition in which he was placed. They found expression
in great constructive work, in the restoration of quiet amidst disorder,
in the earliest effort to spread education both among men and women, in
questions of social welfare, in industrial efforts, in the establishment
of people's Bank and in the foundation of industrial and technical
schools. And behind all these efforts lay a burning love for his country
and its nobler traditions.


MATTERS EDUCATIONAL

In educational matters he had very definite ideas which is now becoming
more fully appreciated. English schools were at that time not only
regarded as the only efficient medium for instruction. While my father's
subordinates sent their children to the English schools intended for
gentle folks, I was sent to the vernacular school where my comrades were
hardy sons of toilers and of others who, it is now the fashion to
regard, were belonging to the depressed classes. From these who tilled
the ground and made the land blossom with green verdure and ripening
corn, and the sons of the fisher folk, who told stories of the strange
creatures that frequented the unknown depths of mighty rivers and
stagnant pools, I first derived the lesson of that which constitutes
true manhood. From them too I drew my love of nature. When I came home
accompanied by my comrades I found my mother waiting for us. She was an
orthodox Hindu, yet the "untouchableness" of some of my school fellows
did not produce any misgivings in her. She welcomed and fed all these as
her own children; for it is only true of the mother heart to go out and
enfold in her protecting care all those who needed succour and a
mother's affection. I now realise the object of my being sent at the
most plastic period of my life to the vernacular school, where I was to
learn my own language, to think my own thoughts and to receive the
heritage of our national culture through the medium of our own
literature. I was thus to consider myself one with the people and never
to place myself in an equivocal position of assumed superiority. This I
realised more particularly when later I wished to go to Europe and to
compete for the Indian Civil Service, his refusal as regards that
particular career was absolute. I was to rule nobody but myself, I was
to be a scholar not an administrator.


THE HISTORY OF A FAILURE THAT WAS GREAT

There has been some complaint that the experiment of meeting out cut and
dried moral texts as a part of school routine has not proved to be so
effective as was expected by their promulgators. The moral education
which we received in our childhood was very indirect and came from
listening to stories recited by the 'Kathas' on various incidents
connected with our great epics. Their effect on our minds was very
great; this may be because our racial memory makes us more prone to
respond to certain ideals that have been impressed on the consciousness
of the nation. These early appeals to our emotions have remained
persistent; the only difference is that which was there as a narrative
of incidents more or less historical, is now realised as eternally true,
being an allegory of the unending struggle of the human soul in its
choice between what is material and that other something which
transcends it. The only pictures now in my study are a few frescoes done
for me by Abanindra Nath Tagore and Nanda Lal Bose. The first fresco
represents Her, who is the Sustainer of the Universe. She stands
pedestalled on the lotus of our heart. The world was at peace; but a
change has come. And She under whose Veil of Compassion we had been
protected so long, suddenly flings us to the world of conflict. Our
great epic, the Mahabharata, deals with this great conflict, and the few
frescoes delineate some of the fundamental incidents. The coming of the
discord is signalled by the rattle of dice, thrown by Yudhisthira, the
pawn at stake, being the crown. Two hostile arrays are set in motion,
mighty Kaurava armaments meeting in shock of battle the Pandava host
with Arjuna as the leader, and Krishna as his Divine Charioteer. At the
supreme moment Arjuna had flung down his earthly weapon, Gandiva. It was
then that the eternal conflict between matter and spirit was decided.
The next panel shows the outward or the material aspect of victory.
Behind a foreground of waving flags is seen the battle field of
Kurukshetra with procession of white-clad mourning women seen by fitful
lights of funeral pyres. In the last panel is seen Yudhisthira
renouncing the fruits of his victory setting out on his last journey. In
front of him lies the vast and sombre plain and mountain peaks, faintly
visible by gleams of unearthly light, unlocalised but playing here and
there. His wife and his brothers had fallen behind and dropped one by
one. There is to be no human companion in his last journey. The only
thing that stood by him and from which he had never been really
separated is Dharma or the Spirit of Righteousness.


LIFE OF ACTION

Faridpur at that time enjoyed a notoriety of being the stronghold of
desperate characters, dacoits by land and water. My father had captured
single-handed one of the principal leaders, whom he sentenced to a long
term of imprisonment. After release he came to my father and demanded
some occupation, since the particular vocation in which he had
specialised was now rendered impossible. My father took the unusual
course to employ him as my special attendant to carry me, a child of
four, on his back to the distant village school. No nurse could be
tenderer than this ex-leader of lawless men, whose profession had been
to deal out wounds and deaths. He had accepted a life of peace but he
could not altogether wipe out his old memories. He used to fill my
infant mind with the stories of his bold adventures, the numerous fights
in which he had taken part, the death of his companions and his
hair-breadth escapes. Numerous were the decorations he bore. The most
conspicuous was an ugly mark on his breast left by an arrow and a hole
on the thigh caused by a spear thrust. The trust imposed on this
marauder proved to be not altogether ill placed for once in a river
journey we were pursued by several long boats filled with armed dacoits.
When these boats came too near for us to effect an escape the erstwhile
dacoit leader, my attendant, stood up and gave a peculiar cry, which was
evidently understood. For the pursuing boats vanished at the signal.


INDUSTRIAL EFFORTS

I come now to another period of his life fifty years from now, when he
foresaw the economic danger that threatened his country. This
Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition was one of the first means he
thought of to avert the threatened danger. Here also he attempted to
bring together other activities. Evening entertainments were given by
the performances of "Jatras," which have been the expression of our
national drama and which have constantly enriched our Bengali literature
by the contributions of village bards and composers. There were athletic
tournaments also and display of physical strength and endurance. He also
established here the people's Bank, which is now in a most flourishing
condition. He established industrial and technical schools, and it was
there that the inventive bend of my mind received its first impetus. I
remember the deep impression made on my mind by the form of worship
rendered by the artisans to Viswakarma God in his aspect as the Great
Artificer: His hand it was that was moulding the whole creation; and it
seemed that we were the instruments in his hand, through whom he
intended to fashion some Great Design.

In practical agriculture my father was among Indians one of the first to
start a tea industry in Assam, now regarded as one of the most
flourishing. He gave practically everything in the starting of some
Weaving Mills. He stood by this and many other efforts in industrial
developments. The success of which I spoke did not come till long
after--too late for him to see it. He had come before the country was
ready, and it happened to him as it must happen to all pioneers. Every
one of his efforts failed and the crash came. And a great burden fell on
us which was only lifted by our united effects just before his work here
was over.

A failure? Yes but not ignoble or altogether futile. Since it was
through the witnessing of this struggle that the son learned to look on
success or failure as one, to realise that some defeat was greater than
victory. And if my life in any way proved to be fruitful, then that came
through the realisation of this lesson.

To me his life had been one of blessing and daily thanksgiving.
Nevertheless every one had said that he wrecked his life which was meant
for far greater things. Few realise that out of the skeletons of myriad
lives have been built vast continents. And it is on the wreck of a life
like his and of many such lives there will be built the Greater India
yet to be. We do not know why it should be so, but we do know that the
Earth Mother is hungry for sacrifice.



QUEST OF TRUTH AND DUTY


Sir Jagadis Chandra Bose delivered the following Address, on the 25th
February 1917, to the students of the Presidency College on receiving
their _Arghya_ and congratulations on the occasion of his knighthood. It
was published in the Modern Review for March 1917--Volume XXI, p. 343.

In your congratulations for the recent honour, you have overlooked a
still greater that came to me a year ago, when I was gazetted as your
perpetual professor, so that the tie which binds me to you is never to
be severed. Thirty-two years ago I sought to be your teacher. For the
trust that you imposed on me could I do anything less than place before
you the highest that I knew? I never appealed to your weaknesses but
your strength. I never set before you that was easy but used all the
compulsion for the choice of the most difficult. And perhaps as a
reward for these years of effort I find all over India those who have
been my pupils occupying positions of the highest trust and
responsibility in different walks of life. I do not merely count those
who have won fame and success but I also claim many others who have
taken up the burden of life manfully and whose life of purity and
unselfishness has brought gleams of joy in suffering lives.


THE LAW UNIVERSAL

Through science I was able to teach you how the seeming veils the real;
how though the garish lights dazzle and blind us, there are lights
invisible, which glow persistently after the brief flare burns out. One
came to realise how all matter was one, how unified all life was. In the
various expressions of life even in the realm of thought the same
Universal law prevails. There was no such thing as brute matter, but
that spirit suffused matter in which it was enshrined. One also realised
dimly a mysterious Cyclic Law of Change, seen not merely in inorganic
matter but also in organised life and its highest manifestations. One
saw how inertness passes into the climax of activity and how that climax
is perilously near its antithetic decline. This basic change puzzles us
by its seeming caprice not merely in our physical instruments but also
in the cycle of individual life and death and in the great cycle of the
life and death of nations. We fail to see things in their totality and
we erect barriers that keep kindreds apart. Even science which attempts
to rise above common limitations, has not escaped the doom which limited
vision imposes. We have caste in science as in religion and in politics,
which divides one into conflicting many. The law of Cyclic change
follows us relentlessly even in the realm of thought. When we have
raised ourselves to the highest pinnacle, through some oversight we fall
over the precipice. Men have offered their lives for the establishment
of truth. A climax is reached after which the custodians of knowledge
themselves bar further advance. Men who have fought for liberty impose
on themselves and on others the bond of slavery. Through centuries have
men striven to erect a mighty edifice in which Humanity might be
enshrined; through want of vigilance the structure crumbled into dust.
Many cycles must yet be run and defeats must yet be borne before man
will establish a destiny which is above change.

And through science I was able to teach you to seek for truth and help
to discover it yourself. This attitude of detachment may possess some
advantage in the proper understanding of your duties. You will have,
besides, the heritage of great ideals that have been handed down to
you. The question which you have to decide is duty to yourself, to the
king and to your country. I shall speak to you of the ideals which we
cherish about these duties.


DUTY TO SELF

As regards duty to self, can there be anything so inclusive as being
true to your manhood? Stand upright and do not be either cringing or
vulgarly self-assertive. Be righteous. Let your words and deeds
correspond. Lead no double life. Proclaim what you think right.


IDEAL OF KINGSHIP

The Indian ideal of kingship will be clear to you if I recite the
invocation with which we crowned our kings from the Vedic Times:

     "Be with us. We have chosen thee
     Let all the people wish for thee
     Stand steadfast and immovable
     Be like a mountain unremoved
     And hold thy kingship in thy grasp."

We have chosen thee, our prayers have consecrated thee, for all the
wishes of the people went with thee. Thou art to stand as mountain
unremoved, for thy throne is planted secure on the hearts of thy people.
Stand steadfast then, for we have endowed thee with power irresistible.
Fall therefore not away; but let thy sceptre be held firmly in thy
grasp.

Which is more potent, Matter or Spirit? Is the power with which the
people endow their king identical with the power of wealth with which we
enrich him by paying him his Royal dues? We make him irresistible not by
wealth but by the strength of our lives, the strength of our mind, may,
we have to pay him more according to our ancient Lawgivers, in as much
as the eighth part of our deeds and virtues, and the merit we have
ourselves acquired. We can only make him irresistible by the strength of
our lives, the strength of our minds, and the strength that comes out of
righteousness.


DUTY TO OUR COUNTRY

And lastly, what are our duties to our country? These are essentially to
win honour for it and also win for it security and peace. As regards
winning honour for our country, it is true that while India has offered
from the earliest times welcome and hospitality to all peoples and
nationalities her children have been subjected to intolerable
humiliations in other countries even under the flag of our king.

There can be no question of the fundamental duty of every Indian to
stand up and uphold the honour of his country and strove for the removal
of wrong.

The general task of redressing wrong is not a problem of India alone,
but one in which the righteous men are interested the world over. For
wrong cries for redress everywhere, in the clashings interests of the
rich and poor, between capital and labour, between those who hold the
power and those from whom it has been withheld,--in a word in the
struggle of the Disinherited.

When any man is rendered unable to uphold his manhood and self-respect
and woman are deprived of the chivalrous protection and consideration of
men and subjected to degradation, the general level of manhood or
womanhood in the world is lowered. It then becomes an outrage to
humanity and a challenge to all men to safeguard the sacredness of our
common human nature.

What is the machinery which sets a going a world movement for the
redress of wrong? For this I need not cite instances from the history of
other countries but take one which is known to you and in which the
living actors are still among us. In the midst of the degradation of his
countrymen in South Africa, there stood up a man himself nurtured in
luxury, to take up the burden of the disinherited. His wife too stood by
him, a lady of gentle birth. We all know who that man is--he is
Gandhi,--and what humiliations and suffering he went through. Do you
think he suffered in vain and that his voice remained unheard? It was
not so, for in the great vortex of passion for Justice, there were
caught others--men like Polak and Andrews. Are they your countrymen? Not
in the narrow sense of the word but truly in a larger sense, that these
who choose to bear and suffer belong to one clan the clan from which
Kshatriya Chivalry is recruited. The removal of suffering and of the
cause of suffering is the Dharma of the strong Kshatriya. The earth is
the wide and universal theatre of man's woeful pageant. The question is
who is to suffer more than his share. Is the burden to fall on the weak
or the strong? Is it to be under hopeless compulsion or of voluntary
acceptance?


DEFENCE OF HOMELAND

In your services for your country there is no higher at the present
moment than to ensure for her security and peace. We have so long
enjoyed the security of peace without being called upon to maintain it.
But this is no longer so.

At no time within the recent history of India has there been so quick a
readjustment and appreciation as regards proper understanding of the
aspiration of the Indian people. This has been due to what India has
been able to offer not merely in the regions of thought but also in the
fields of battle.


MASS RESPONSE

And remember that when the world is in conflagration, this corner which
has hitherto escaped it, will not evade the peril which threatens it.
The march of disaster will then be terribly rapid. You have soon to
prepare yourself against any hostile sides. You can only withstand it if
the whole people realise the imminent danger. You can by your thought
and by your action awaken and influence the multitude. Do not have any
misgivings about the want of long previous preparations. Have you not
already seen how mind triumphs over matter and have not some of you with
only a few months' preparation stood fearless at your post in
Mesopotamia and won recognition by your calm collectedness and true
heroism? They may say that you are but a small handful, what of the vast
illiterate millions? Illiterate in what sense? Have not the ballads of
these illiterates rendered into English by our Poet touched profoundly
the hearts of the very elect of the West? Have not the stories of their
common life appealed to the common kinship of humanity? If you still
have some doubts about the power of the multitude to respond instantly
to the call of duty, I shall relate an incident which came within my own
personal experience. I had gone on a scientific expedition to the
borders of the Himalayan terrai of Kumaun; a narrow ravine was between
me and the plateau on the other side. Terror prevailed among the
villagers on the other side of the ravine; for a tigress had come down
from the forest. And numerous had been the toll in human lives exacted.
Petitions had been sent up to the Government and questions had been
asked in Parliament. A reward of Rs. 500 had been offered. Various
captains in the army with battery of guns came many a time, but the
reward remained unclaimed. The murderess of the forest would come out
even in broad day-light and leisurely take her victims from away their
companions. Nothing could circumvent her demoniac cunning. When all
hopes had nearly vanished, the villagers went to Kaloo Singh, who
possessed an old matchlock. At the special sanction of the Magistrate he
was allowed to buy a quantity of gunpowder; the bullets he himself made
by melting bits of lead. With his primitive weapon with the entreaties
of his villagers ringing in his ears Kaloo Singh started on his perilous
journey. At midday I was startled by the groanings of some animals in
pain. The tigress had sprung among a herd of buffalo and with successive
strokes of its mighty paws had killed two buffaloes and left them in the
field. Kaloo Singh waited there for the return of the tigress to the
kill. There was not a tree near by; only there was a low bush behind
which he lay crouched. After hours of waiting as the sun was going down
he was taken aback by the sudden apparition of the tigress which stood
within six feet of him. His limbs had become half paralysed from cold
and his crouching position. Trying to raise his gun he could take no aim
as his arm was shaking with involuntary fear. Kaloo Singh explained to
me afterwards how he succeeded in shaking off his mortal terror. "I
quietly said to myself, Kaloo Singh, Kaloo Singh, who sent you here? Did
not the villagers put their trust on you! I could then no longer lie in
hiding, and I stood up and something strange and invigorating crept up
strength into my body. All the trembling went and I became as hard as
steel. The tigress had seen me and with eyes blazing crouched for the
spring lashing its tail. Only six feet lay between. She sprang and my
gun also went off at the same time and she missed her aim and fell dead
close to me." That was how a common villager went off to meet death at
the call of something for which he could give no name and the mother
and wife of Kaloo Singh had also bidden him go. There are millions of
Kaloo Singhs with mother and sisters and wife to send them forth. And
you too have many loved ones who would themselves bid you arm for the
defence of your homes.


DIFFERENCE OF TEMPERAMENT

The issue is clear, and immediate action is imperative. But action is
delayed by misunderstanding arising out of temperamental differences
between the Governing Class and the People. Curiously enough the
respective responsive characteristics of the Anglo Saxon and the Indians
are paralleled by the two types of responses seen in all living matter.
In the one type the response is slow but proportionate to the stimulus
that excites it. The response grows with the strength of external force.
In the other it is quite different--here it is an all-or-none principle.
It either responds to the utmost or nothing at all. This is also
illustrated in the different racial characteristics. The Anglo Saxon has
even by his rights by struggle, step by step. The insignificant little
has, by accumulation, became large, and which has been gained, has been
gained for all time. But in the Indian the ideal and the emotional are
the only effective stimulus. The ideal of his King is Rama, who
renounced his kingdom and even his beloved for an idea. One day a king
and another day a bare-footed wanderer in the forest! Who cares? All or
nothing!

The concessions made by a modern form of Government safeguarded by
necessary limitations may appear almost as grudging gifts. The Indian
wants something which comes with unhesitating frankness and warmth and
strikes his ideality and imagination. But ancient and modern kingship
are sometimes at one in direct and spontaneous pronouncement of the
royal sympathy. Such was the Proclamation of Queen Victoria which
stirred to its depths the popular heart.

"In the Prosperity of Our subjects will be our strength, in their
contentment Our security, in their Gratitude Our best Reward."

That there are increasingly frequent reflexes in our Government to
popular needs and wishes is happily illustrated at a most opportune
moment from the statements in the recent _Gazette of India_ and cables
received from London. In the former we find that the Viceroy and his
council had recommended the abolition of the system of indentured
labour. In the telegram from London Mr. Chamberlain states that the
Viceroy has informed him that Indians will be eligible for commissions
in the New Defence of India Army.


MARCH OF WORLD TRAGEDY

In the meantime the Embodiment of World Tragedy is marching with giant
strides. Brief will be his hesitation whether he will choose to step
first to the East or to the West. Already across the Atlantic, they are
preparing for the dreaded visitation. In the farthest East they have
long been prepared. We alone are not ready. Pity for our helplessness
will not stay the impending disaster, rather provoke it. When that
comes, as assuredly it will unless we are prepared to resist, havoc will
be let loose and horrors perpetrated before which the imagination quails
back in dismay.

I have tried to lay before you as dispassionately as I could the issues
involved. But some of you may cry out and say, we can not live in cold
scientific and philosophic abstractions. Emotion is more to us than pure
reasoning. We cannot stay in this indecision which is paralysing our
wills and crushing the soul out of us. The world is offering their best
and behold them marching to be immolated so that by the supreme offering
of death they might win safety and honor for their motherland. There is
no time for wavering. We too will throw in our lot with those who are
fighting. They say that by our lives we shall win for our birth-land an
honoured place in their federation. We shall trust them. We shall stand
by their side and fight for our home and homeland. And let Providence
shape the Issue.



THE VOICE OF LIFE


The following is the Inaugural Address delivered by Sir J. C. Bose, on
the 30th November 1917, in dedicating the Bose Institute to the Nation.

I dedicate to-day this Institute--not merely a Laboratory but a Temple.
The power of physical methods applies for the establishment of that
truth which can be realised directly through our senses, or through the
vast expansion of the perceptive range by means of artificially created
organs. We still gather the tremulous message when the note of the
audible reaches the unheard. When human sight fails, we continue to
explore the region of the invisible. The little that we can see is as
nothing compared to the vastness of that which we cannot. Out of the
very imperfection of his senses man has built himself a raft of thought
by which he makes daring adventures on the great seas of the Unknown.
But there are other truths which will remain beyond even the
supersensitive methods known to science. For these we require faith,
tested not in a few years but by an entire life. And a temple is erected
as a fit memorial for the establishment of that truth for which faith
was needed. The personal, yet general, truth and faith whose
establishment this Institute commemorates is this: that when one
dedicates himself wholly for a great object, the closed doors shall
open, and the seemingly impossible will become possible for him.

Thirty-two years ago I chose teaching of science as my vocation. It was
held that by its very peculiar constitution, the Indian mind would
always turn away from the study of Nature to metaphysical speculations.
Even had the capacity for inquiry and accurate observation been assumed
present, there were no opportunities for their employment; there were no
well-equipped laboratories nor skilled mechanicians. This was all too
true. It is for man not to quarrel with circumstances but bravely accept
them; and we belong to that race and dynasty who had accomplished great
things with simple means.


FAILURE AND SUCCESS

This day twenty-three years ago, I resolved that as far as the
whole-hearted devotion and faith of one man counted, that would not be
wanting and within six months it came about that some of the most
difficult problems connected with Electric Waves found their solution in
my Laboratory and received high appreciation from Lord Kelvin, Lord
Rayleigh and other leading physicists. The Royal Society honoured me by
publishing my discoveries and offering, of their own accord, an
appropriation from the special Parliamentary Grant for the advancement
of knowledge. That day the closed gates suddenly opened and I hoped that
the torch that was then lighted would continue to burn brighter, and
brighter. But man's faith and hope require repeated testing. For five
years after this, the progress was interrupted; yet when the most
generous and wide appreciation of my work had reached almost the highest
point there came a sudden and unexpected change.


LIVING AND NON-LIVING

In the pursuit of my investigations I was unconsciously led into the
border region of physics and physiology and was amazed to find boundary
lines vanishing and points of contact emerge between the realms of the
Living and Non-living. Inorganic matter was found anything but inert; it
also was a thrill under the action of multitudinous forces that played
on it. A universal reaction seemed to bring together metal, plant and
animal under a common law. They all exhibited essentially the same
phenomena of fatigue and depression, together with possibilities of
recovery and of exaltation, yet also that of permanent irresponsiveness
which is associated with death. I was filled with awe at this stupendous
generalisation; and it was with great hope that I announced my results
before the Royal Society,--results demonstrated by experiments. But the
physiologists present advised me, after my address, to confine myself to
physical investigations in which my success had been assured, rather
than encroach on their preserve. I had thus unwittingly strayed into the
domain of a new and unfamiliar caste system and so offended its
etiquette. An unconscious theological bias was also present which
confounds ignorance with faith. It is forgotten that He, who surrounded
us with this ever-evolving mystery of creation, the ineffable wonder
that lies hidden in the microcosm of the dust particle, enclosing within
the intricacies of its atomic form all the mystery of the cosmos, has
also implanted in us the desire to question and understand. To the
theological bias was added the misgivings about the inherent bent of the
Indian mind towards mysticism and unchecked imagination. But in India
this burning imagination which can extort new order out of a mass of
apparently contradictory facts, is also held in check by the habit of
meditation. It is this restraint which confers the power to hold the
mind in pursuit of truth, in infinite patience, to wait, and reconsider,
to experimentally test and repeatedly verify.

It is but natural that there should be prejudice, even in science,
against all innovations; and I was prepared to wait till the first
incredulity could be overcome by further cumulative evidence.
Unfortunately there were other incidents and misrepresentations which it
was impossible to remove from this insulating distance. Thus no
conditions could have been more desperately hopeless than those which
confronted me for the next twelve years. It is necessary to make this
brief reference to this period of my life; for one who would devote
himself to the search of truth must realise that for him there awaits no
easy life, but one of unending struggle. It is for him to cast his life
as an offering, regarding gain and loss, success and failure, as one.
Yet in my case this long persisting gloom was suddenly lifted. My
scientific deputation in 1914, from the Government of India, gave the
opportunity of giving demonstrations of my discoveries before the
leading scientific societies of the world. This led to the acceptance of
my theories and results, and the recognition of the importance of the
Indian contribution to the advancement of the world's science. My own
experience told me how heavy, sometimes even crushing, are the
difficulties which confront an inquirer here in India; yet it made me
stronger in my determination, that I shall make the path of those who
are to follow me less arduous, and that India, is never to relinquish
what has been won for her after years of struggle.


THE TWO IDEALS

What is it that India is to win and maintain? Can anything small or
circumscribed ever satisfy the mind of India? Has her own history and
the teaching of the past prepared her for some temporary and quite
subordinate gain? There are at this moment two complementary and not
antagonistic ideals before the country. India is drawn into the vortex
of international competition. She has to become efficient in every
way,--through spread of education, through performance of civic duties
and responsibilities, through activities both industrial and commercial.
Neglect of these essentials of national duty will imperil her very
existence; and sufficient stimulus for these will be found in success
and satisfaction of personal ambition.

But these alone do not ensure the life of a nation. Such material
activities have brought in the West their fruit, in accession of power
and wealth. There has been a feverish rush even in the realm of science,
for exploiting applications of knowledge, not so often for saving as
for destruction. In the absence of some power of restraint, civilisation
is trembling in an unstable poise on the brink of ruin. Some
complementary ideal there must be to save man from that mad rush which
must end in disaster. He has followed the lure and excitement of some
insatiable ambition, never pausing for a moment to think of the ultimate
object for which success was to serve as a temporary incentive. He
forgot that far more potent than competition was mutual help and
co-operation in the scheme of life. And in this country through
milleniums, there always have been some who, beyond the immediate and
absorbing prize of the hour, sought for the realisation of the highest
ideal of life--not through passive renunciation, but through active
struggle. The weakling who has refused the conflict, having acquired
nothing has nothing to renounce. He alone who has striven and won, can
enrich the world by giving away the fruits of his victorious experience.
In India such examples of constant realisation of ideals through work
have resulted in the formation of a continuous living tradition. And by
her latent power of rejuvenescence she has readjusted herself through
infinite transformations. Thus while the soul of Babylon and the Nile
Valley have transmigrated, ours still remains vital and with capacity of
absorbing what time has brought, and making it one with itself.

The ideal of giving, of enriching, in fine, of self-renunciation in
response to the highest call of humanity is the other and complementary
ideal. The motive power for this is not to be found in personal ambition
but in the effacement of all littlenesses, and uprooting of that
ignorance which regards anything as gain which is to be purchased at
others' loss. This I know, that no vision of truth can come except in
the absence of all sources of distraction, and when the mind has reached
the point of rest.

Public life, and the various professions will be the appropriate spheres
of activity for many aspiring young men. But for my disciples, I call on
those very few, who, realising inner call, will devote their whole life
with strengthened character and determined purpose to take part in that
infinite struggle to win knowledge for its own sake and see truth face
to face.


ADVANCEMENT AND DIFFUSION OF KNOWLEDGE

The work already carried out in my laboratory on the response of matter,
and the unexpected revelations in plant life, foreshadowing the wonders
of the highest animal life, have opened out very extended regions of
inquiry in Physics, in physiology in Medicine, in Agriculture and even
in Psychology. Problems, hitherto regarded as insoluble, have now been
brought within the sphere of experimental investigation. These inquiries
are obviously more extensive than those customary either among
physicists or physiologists, since demanding interests and aptitudes
hitherto more or less divided between them. In the study of Nature,
there is a necessity of the dual view point, this alternating yet
rhythmically unified interaction of biological thought with physical
studies, and physical thought with biological studies. The future worker
with his freshened grasp of physics, his fuller conception of the
inorganic world, as indeed thrilling with "the promise and potency of
life" will redouble his former energies of work and thought. Thus he
will be in a position to win now the old knowledge with finer sieves, to
research it with new enthusiasm and subtler instruments. And
thus with thought and toil and time he may hope to bring fresher views
into the old problems. His handling of these will be at once more vital
and more kinetic, more comprehensive and unified.

The farther and fuller investigation of the many and ever-opening
problems of the nascent science which includes both Life and Non-Life
are among the main purposes of the Institute I am opening to-day; in
these fields I am already fortunate in having a devoted band of
disciples, whom I have been training for the last ten years. Their
number is very limited, but means may perhaps be forthcoming in the
future to increase them. An enlarging field of young ability may thus be
available, from which will emerge, with time and labour, individual
originality of research, productive invention and some day even creative
genius.

But high success is not to be obtained without corresponding
experimental exactitude, and this is needed to-day more than ever, and
to-morrow yet more again. Hence the long battery of supersensitive
instruments and apparatus, designed here, which stand before in their
cases in our entrance hall. They will tell you of the protracted
struggle to get behind the deceptive seeming into the reality that
remained unseen;--of the continuous toil and persistence and of
ingenuity called forth for overcoming human limitations. In these
directions through the ever-increasing ingenuity of device for advancing
science, I see at no distant future an advance of skill and of invention
among our workers; and if this skill be assured, practical applications
will not fail to follow in many fields of human activity.

The advance of science is the principal object of this Institute and
also the diffusion of knowledge. We are here in the largest of all the
many chambers of this House of Knowledge--its Lecture Room. In adding
this feature, and on a scale hitherto unprecedented in a Research
Institute, I have sought permanently to associate the advancement of
knowledge with the widest possible civic and public diffusion of it; and
this without any academic limitations, henceforth to all races and
languages, to both men and women alike, and for all time coming.

The lectures given here will not be mere repetitions of second-hand
knowledge. They will announce to an audience of some fifteen hundred
people, the new discoveries made here, which will be demonstrated for
the first time before the public. We shall thus maintain continuously
the highest aim of a great Seat of Learning by taking active part in the
_advancement_ and diffusion of knowledge. Through the regular
publication of the Transactions of the Institute, these Indian
contributions will reach the whole world. The discoveries made will thus
become public property. No patents will ever be taken. The spirit of our
national culture demands that we should for ever be free from the
desecration of utilising knowledge for personal gain. Besides the
regular staff there will be a selected number of scholars, who by their
work have shown special aptitude, and who would devote their whole life
to the pursuit of research. They will require personal training and
their number must necessarily be limited. But it is not the quantity
but quality that is of essential importance.

It is my further wish, that as far as the limited accommodation would
permit, the facilities of this Institute should be available to workers
from all countries. In this I am attempting to carry out the traditions
of my country, which so far back as twenty-five centuries ago, welcomed
all scholars from different parts of the world, within the precincts of
its ancient seats of learning, at Nalanda and at Taxilla.


THE SURGE OF LIFE

With this widened outlook, we shall not only maintain the highest
traditions of the past but also serve the world in nobler ways. We shall
be at one with it in feeling the common surgings of life, the common
love for the good, the true and the beautiful. In this Institute, this
Study and Garden of Life, the claim of art has not been forgotten, for
the artist has been working with us, from foundation to pinnacle, and
from floor to ceiling of this very Hall. And beyond that arch the
Laboratory merges imperceptibly into the garden, which is the true
laboratory for the study of Life. There the creepers, the plants and the
trees are played upon by their natural environments,--sunlight and wind,
and the chill at midnight under the vault of starry space. There are
other surroundings also, where they will be subjected to chromatic
action of different lights, to invisible rays, to electrified ground or
thunder-charged atmosphere. Everywhere they will transcribe in their own
script the history of their experience. From this lofty point of
observation, sheltered by the trees, the student will watch this
panorama of life. Isolated from all distractions, he will learn to
attune himself with Nature; the obscuring veil will be lifted and he
will gradually come to see how community throughout the great ocean of
life outweighs apparent dissimilarity. Out of discord he will realise
the great harmony.


THE OUTLOOK

These are the dreams that wove a network round my wakeful life for many
years past. The outlook is endless, for the goal is at infinity. The
realisation cannot be through one life or one fortune but through the
co-operation of many lives and many fortunes. The possibility of a
fuller expansion will depend on very large endowments. But a beginning
must be made, and this is the genesis of the foundation of this
Institute. I came with nothing and shall return as I came; if something
is accomplished in the interval, that would indeed be a privilege. What
I have I will offer, and one who had shared with me the struggles and
hardships that had to be faced, has wished to bequeath all that is hers
for the same object. In all my struggling efforts I have not been
altogether solitary while the world doubted, there had been a few, now
in the City of Silence, who never wavered in their trust.

Till a few weeks ago it seemed that I shall have to look to the future
for securing the necessary expansion of scope and for permanence of the
Institute. But response is being awakened in answer to the need. The
Government have most generously intimated their desire to sanction
grants towards placing the Institute on a permanent basis the extent of
which will be proportionate to the public interest in this national
undertaking. Out of many who would feel an interest in securing adequate
Endowment, the very first donations have come from two of the merchant
princes of Bombay, to whom I had been personally unknown.

A note that touched me deeply came from some girl students of the
Western Province, enclosing their little contribution "for the service
of our common motherland." It is only the instinctive mother-heart that
can truly realise the bond that draws together the nurselings of the
common homeland. There can be no real misgiving for the future when at
the country's call man offers the strength of his life and woman her
active devotion, she most of all, who has the greater insight and larger
faith because of the life of austerity and self-abnegation. Even a
solitary wayfarer in the Himalayas has remembered to send me message of
cheer and good hope. What is it that has bridged over the distance and
blotted out all differences? That I will come gradually to know; till
then it will remain enshrined as a feeling. And I go forward to my
appointed task, undismayed by difficulties, companioned by the kind
thoughts of my well-wishers, both far and near.


INDIA'S SPECIAL APTITUDES IN CONTRIBUTION TO SCIENCE

The excessive specialisation of modern science in the West has led to
the danger of losing sight of the fundamental fact that there can be but
one truth, one science which includes all the branches of knowledge. How
chaotic appear the happenings in Nature? Is nature a Cosmos! in which
the human mind is some day to realise the uniform march of sequence,
order and law? India through her habit of mind is peculiarly fitted to
realise the idea of unity, and to see in the phenomenal world an orderly
universe. This trend of thought led me unconsciously to the dividing
frontiers of different sciences and shaped the course of my work in its
constant alternations between the theoretical and the practical, from
the investigation of the inorganic world to that of organised life and
its multifarious activities of growth, of movement, and even of
sensation. On looking over a hundred and fifty different lines of
investigations carried on during the last twenty-three years, I now
discover in them a natural sequence. The study of Electric Waves led to
the devising of methods for the production of the shortest electric
waves known and these bridged over the gulf between visible and
invisible light; from this followed accurate investigation on the
optical properties of invisible waves, the determination of the
refractive powers of various opaque substances, the discovery of effect
of air film on total reflection and the polarising properties of
strained rocks and of electric tourmalines. The invention of a new type
of self-recovering electric receiver made of galena was the fore-runner
of application of crystal detectors for extending the range of wireless
signals. In physical chemistry the detection of molecular change in
matter under electric stimulation, led to a new theory of photographic
action. The fruitful theory of stereochemistry was strengthened by the
production of two kinds of artificial molecules, which like the two
kinds of sugar, rotated the polarised electric wave either to the right
or to the left. Again the 'fatigue' of my receivers led to the discovery
of universal sensitiveness inherent in matter as shown by its electric
response. It was next possible to study this response in its
modification under changing environment, of which its exaltation under
stimulants and its abolition under poisons are among the most
astonishing outward manifestations. And as a single example of the many
applications of this fruitful discovery, the characteristics of an
artificial retina gave a clue to the unexpected discovery of "binocular
alternation of vision" in man;--each eye thus supplements its fellow by
turns, instead of acting as a continuously yoked pair, as hitherto
believed.


PLANT LIFE AND ANIMAL LIFE

In natural sequence to the investigations of the response in 'inorganic'
matter, has followed a prolonged study of the activities of plant-life
as compared with the corresponding functioning of animal life. But since
plants for the most part seem motionless and passive, and are indeed
limited in their range of movement, special apparatus of extreme
delicacy had to be invented, which should magnify the tremor of
excitation and also measure the perception period of a plant to a
thousandth part of a second. Ultra-microscopic movements were measured
and recorded; the length measured being often smaller than a fraction
of a single wave-length of light. The secret of plant life was thus for
the first time revealed by the autographs of the plant itself. This
evidence of the plant's own script removed the long-standing error which
divided the vegetable world into sensitive and insensitive. The
remarkable performance of the Praying Palm Tree of Faridpore, which
bows, as if to prostrate itself, every evening, is only one of the
latest instances which show that the supposed insensibility of plants
and still more of rigid tree is to be ascribed to wrong theory and
defective observation. My investigations show that all plants, even the
trees, are fully alive to changes of environment; they respond visibly
to all stimuli, even to the slight fluctuations of light caused by a
drifting cloud. This series of investigations has completely established
the fundamental identity of life-reactions in plant and animal, as seen
in a similar periodic insensibility in both, corresponding to what we
call sleep; as seen in the death-spasm, which takes place in the plant
as in the animal. This unity in organic life is also exhibited in that
spontaneous pulsation which in the animal is heart-beat; it appears in
the identical effects of stimulants, anaesthetics and of poisons in
vegetable and animal tissues. This physiological identity in the effect
of drugs is regarded by leading physicians as of great significance in
the scientific advance of Medicine; since here we have a means of
testing the effect of drugs under conditions far simpler than those
presented by the patient far subtler too, as well as more humane than
those of experiments on animals.

Growth of plants and its variations under different treatment is
instantly recorded by my Crescograph. Authorities expect this method of
investigation will advance practical agriculture; since for the first
time we are able to analyse and study separately the conditions which
modify the rate of growth. Experiments which would have taken months and
their results vitiated by unknown changes, can now be carried out in a
few minutes.

Returning to pure science, no phenomena in plant life are so extremely
varied or have yet been more incapable of generalisation than the
"tropic" movements, such as the twining of tendrils, the heliotropic
movements of some towards and of others away from light, and the
opposite geotropic movements of the root and shoot, in the direction of
gravitation or away from it. My latest investigations recently
communicated to the Royal Society have established a single fundamental
reaction which underlies all these effects so extremely diverse.

Finally, I may say a word of that other new and unexpected chapter which
is opening out from my demonstration of nervous impulse in plants. The
speed with which the nervous impulse courses through the plant has been
determined; its nervous excitability and the variation of that
excitability have likewise been measured. The nervous impulse in plant
and in man is found exalted or inhibited under identical conditions. We
may even follow this parallelism in what may seem extreme cases. A plant
carefully protected under glass from outside shocks, looks sleek and
flourishing; but its higher nervous function is then found to be
atrophied. But when a succession of blows is rained on this effect and
bloated specimen, the shocks themselves create nervous channels and
arouse anew the deteriorated nature. And is it not shocks of adversity,
and not cotton-wool protection, that evolve true manhood?

A question long perplexing physiologists and psychologists alike is that
concerned with the great mystery that underlies memory. But now through
certain experiments I have carried out, it is possible to trace "memory
impressions" backwards even in inorganic matter, such latent impressions
being capable of subsequent revival. Again the tone of our sensation is
determined by the intensity of nervous excitation that reaches the
central perceiving organ. It would theoretically be possible to change
the tone or quality of our sensation, if means could be discovered by
which the nervous impulse would become modified during transit.
Investigation on nervous impulse in plants has led to the discovery of
a controlling method, which was found equally effective in regard to the
nervous impulse in animal.

Thus the lines of physics, of physiology and of psychology converge and
meet. And here will assemble those who would seek oneness amidst the
manifold. Here it is that the genius of India should find its true
blossoming.

The thrill in matter, the throb of life, the pulse of growth, the
impulse coursing through the nerve and the resulting sensations, how
diverse are these and yet how unified! How strange it is that the tremor
of excitation in nervous matter should not merely be transmitted but
transmuted and reflected like the image on a mirror, from a different
plane of life, in sensation and in affection, in thought and in emotion.
Of these which is more real, the material body or the image which is
independent of it? Which of these is undecaying, and which of these is
beyond the reach of death?

It was a woman in the Vedic times, who when asked to take her choice of
the wealth that would be hers for the asking, inquired whether that
would win for her deathlessness. What would she do with it, if it did
not raise her above death? This has always been the cry of the soul of
India, not for addition of material bondage, but to work out through
struggle her self-chosen destiny and win immortality. Many a nation had
risen in the past and won the empire of the world. A few buried
fragments are all that remain as memorials of the great dynasties that
wielded the temporal power. There is, however, another element which
find its incarnation in matter, yet transcends its transmutation and
apparent destruction: that is the burning flame born of thought which
has been handed down through fleeting generations.

Not in matter, but in thought, not in possessions or even in attainments
but in ideals, are to be found the seed of immortality. Not through
material acquisition but in generous diffusion of ideas and ideals can
the true empire of humanity be established. Thus to Asoka to whom
belonged this vast empire, bounded by the inviolate seas, after he had
tried to ransom the world by giving away to the utmost, there came a
time when he had nothing more to give, except one half of an _Amlaki_
fruit. This was his last possession and anguished cry was that since he
had nothing more to give, let the half of the _Amlaki_ be accepted as
his final gift.

Asoka's emblem of the _Amlaki_ will be seen on the cornices of the
Institute, and towering above all is the symbol of the thunderbolt. It
was the Rishi Dadhichi, the pure and blameless, who offered his life
that the divine weapon, the thunderbolt, might be fashioned out of his
bones to smite evil and exalt righteousness. It is but half of the
_Amlaki_ that we can offer now. But the past shall be reborn in a yet
nobler future. We stand here to-day and resume work to-morrow so that by
the efforts of our lives and our unshaken faith in the future we may all
help to build the greater India yet to be.



THE PRAYING PALM OF FARIDPUR


Under the presidency of Lord Ronaldshay Sir J. C. Bose delivered a
lecture on Friday the 4th January 1918, at the "Bose Institute" on 'The
Praying Palm-tree.' He said:

Perhaps no phenomenon is so remarkable and shrouded with greater mystery
as the performances of a particular palm tree near Faridpore. In the
evening while the temple bells ring calling upon people to prayer, this
tree bows down as if prostrate itself. It erects its head again in the
morning, and this process is repeated every day during the year. This
extraordinary phenomenon has been regarded as miraculous, and pilgrims
have been attracted in great numbers. It is alleged that offerings made
to the tree, that is to say to the custodian of the tree, have been the
means effecting marvellous cures. It is not necessary to pronounce any
opinion on the subject; these cures may be taken as effective as other
faith cures now so fashionable in the West.

I first obtained photographs of the two positions which proved the
phenomenon to be real. The next thing was to devise special apparatus to
record continuously the movement of the tree day and night. But
difficulties were encountered in getting the consent of the proprietor
to attach foreign instruments to the sacred tree. His misgivings were
however removed when it was explained that the instruments were pure
Swadeshi, being made in my Laboratory. The records of the Palm Tree
showed that it fell with the rise of temperature, and rose with the
fall. Records obtained with other trees brought out the extraordinary
and unsuspected fact that all trees are moving--such movements being in
response to changes in their environment.


SENSITIVE OR INSENSITIVE?

That not a "Mimosa" alone, but all plants are sensitive was demonstrated
by some striking experiments. A spiral tendril, under electric shock was
shown to writhe imitating the contortions of a tortured worm. In
ordinary plants, all sides being equally sensitive contraction takes
place on all directions with resulting neutral effect. Another striking
experiment was to show how ordinary plants could be made sensitive by
the mere process of amputation of the balancing half? Further
experiments were shown demonstrating the effects of light, of warmth and
other stimuli on the plant. Warmth worked antagonistically to light. The
numerous permutations brought about by two changing variations were
shown by a mechanical hand, which traced most complicated curves. In
actual life the number of changing factors are very numerous, hence the
intricacy involved in the manifestations of life.

The experiments that have been shown will help the audience to realise
in some measure that the world we live in is not a theatre of caprice or
chance, but that an all pervading law holds and regulates its destiny.
We have seen that the vast expanse of life which is unvoiced, seemingly,
so impassive, is instinct with sensibility. Thus the whole of the
vegetable world, including rigid trees perceive the changes in their
environment and respond to them by unmistakable signals. They thrill
under light and become depressed by darkness; the warmth of summer and
frost of winter, drought and rain, these and many other happenings
leave a subtle impression on the life of the plant. By invention of
apparatus of extreme delicacy, it is possible to make the plant itself
write down the history of its own experience in a hieroglyphic which it
is possible to decipher. From these pages, taken from the diary of the
plant, it will perhaps be possible some day to get an insight into the
great mystery that surrounds life itself. For I shall in the course of
lectures given here show how the life of plants is a mere reflection of
our own. I shall show how shocks and wounds affect them as they affect
animals; how a common death-throb marks the crisis when life passes into
death. The exuberance of life, on the other hand, will be shown by
pulsing throbs of animal's heart and spontaneous beat in vegetal
tissues. Another aspect of this exuberance will be shown in the
imperceptible growth of plants. My recently invented Crescograph, to be
exhibited at my lecture a fortnight hence, will magnify growth a
million-fold and record ultra microscopic movements, smaller than a
single wave length of light. By this apparatus growth will be
instantaneously recorded and conditions which foster or inhibit growth
discriminated. I shall demonstrate my discovery of the nervous system in
plants, and show how shocks from without pass within, and how this
nervous impulse modified during transit. It will further be shown how
various stimulants, anesthetics and poison induce effects which are
identical in man and in plant. It will be obvious how these studies
will open new fields of inquiry in different branches of science; in
Physiology and Psychology; in Medicine and in Agriculture.

--_Amrita Bazar Patrika_, 7-1-1918.



VISUALISATION OF GROWTH


Sir J. C. Bose delivered on the 18th January 1918, at the Bose
Institute, the second of the series of discourses on revelations of
plant life. This time the audience had the opportunity of witnessing the
working of Bose's newly perfected Crescograph which is undoubtedly one
of the marvels in modern Science. For this apparatus gives a visual
demonstration of movements which are far beyond the highest powers of
microscope. The invisible internal workings of life are thus for the
first time revealed to man.


LAW VERSUS CAPRICE

The lecturer first described the infinite variations in life reactions
in plants. The same external stimulus, he said apparently produces one
effect in one plant; and precisely opposite in another. Some leaves move
towards light; others are repelled by it. The root bends towards the
centre of the earth, the shoot rises above away from it. Numerous other
"tropic" movements are caused by contact, by electricity, by moisture
and by invisible radiations. These effects appear so extremely diverse
and capricious that some of the leading physiologists were forced to
come to the conclusion that there was no law guiding such movement, but
that the plant decides for itself what should be the effect of external
conditions on it.


RECORD OF GROWTH

Most of these tropic movements are brought about by changes induced in
growth by the action of different forces. But growth is so excessively
slow that slight changes induced in it is impossible of detection. The
proverbially slow paced snail moves two thousand times faster than the
growing point of a plant. Hence to visualise growth and its changes,
apparatus has to be invented which would magnify growth something like a
million times. If such a thing were possible the pace of the snail
would be quickened to the speed of a rifle bullet. The difficulties in
connection with the devising and construction of apparatus with this
extraordinary power appeared at first an impossibility. The Jewels for
the fittings of the apparatus could not be found fine enough. The
lecturer had to discard ordinary jewels for diamonds, such bearings
being only made in Germany. But the outbreak of the war put an end to
this source of supply. He had then to turn to resources available in
India.


ADVANCE OF AGRICULTURE

The invention of method for immediate record of growth and its
variations under various conditions is one of immense practical
importance. Experiments on gigantic scales are in progress all over the
world for this purpose. At Rothamstead, this work has been going on for
more than half a century. The great Department of Agriculture in
Mashington spends millions every year on such experiments, there being a
thousand men employed in research. Recently many experiments have been
undertaken on the effect of electricity on growth. The results obtained
have been mostly contradictory. For real advance in agriculture we must
first discover the laws of growth. Ordinary experiments on growth are of
little value because they take weeks for detecting changes of growth
which might have been brought about by charges in the environment. The
only satisfactory method is to devise an apparatus which would make the
plant itself record the rate of its growth, and the changes induced by
food or treatment in the course of less than a minute, during which
short time it is possible to maintain external conditions constant.


THE MAGNETIC CRESCOGRAPH

All the difficulties connected with the devising of apparatus has been
completely removed by the lecturer's successful invention of his new
magnetic crescograph in which practically unlimited magnification is
obtained without the difficulties arising from the unavoidable friction
of bearings. Magnetic forces are so exactly balanced that a disturbance
in the balance caused by slightest movements such as that of growth is
magnified ten millions of times. The application of this new principle
will be of great importance in various investigations in Physics.

Sir J. C. Bose next demonstrated some marvellous results obtained with
his apparatus. A seedling which on account of the Winter season appeared
stationary jotted down by taps on a moving plate, the rate of its
growth. The application of a chemical instantly arrested this growth,
but an antidote timely applied, not only removed the torpor but
enhanced the growth at an enormous rate. The life of the plant became
pliant at the will of the experimenter, and nothing appeared more
marvellous than the realisation that man has the power to pierce the
veil that shrouds the mystery that had hitherto baffled him.

The lecturer explained how the effect of a given agent--a chemical
solution or an electric current--is profoundly modified by the dose a
given intensity, producing one effect and a different intensity giving
rise to an effect diametrically opposite. This is the reason of the
inexplicable anomalies which have baffled many investigators. Numerous
are the forces which act on growth some helping, others retarding, the
effects being further modified by the strength and duration of
application. These factors that determine growth are each to be studied
in detail, and the laws of effect of each to be discovered. There can be
no real advance in scientific agriculture until this is done.

--_Amrita Bazar Patrika_, 19-1-1918.



SIR J. C. BOSE AT BOMBAY.


There was a brilliant gathering at the Royal Opera House on Tuesday the
22nd January 1918, when Sir Jagadis Bose gave a deeply interesting
lecture on the history of the inception of his Institute in Calcutta and
its aims together with an exposition of his scientific researches
illustrated by lantern slides. The theatre was full long before the
lecture commenced and several prominent people were present the bulk of
the audience consisting of Indians.

Mr. Tilak in introducing the distinguished lecturer to the audience
referred to Professor Bose's lasting services not only to the Indian
nation but to the whole world. These references to Dr. Bose and his work
elicited frequent applause from the large audience.


A FIFTY THOUSAND RUPEES LECTURE.

Sir Jagadis, who was accorded a most enthusiastic ovation on rising to
address the gathering, acknowledged his gratitude to the public of
Bombay who proved their appreciation of his work by their presence there
that evening, and the fact that they had subscribed Rs. 50,000 for the
occasion. He then gave a brief explanatory account of the nature and
scope of his work, which he had planned and carried out alone for many
years amidst many and varied difficulties. He gave an exposition by the
aid of one of the delicate instruments of his own invention of how
plants respond to various sounds and tunes and the beautiful colour
display which was observed in this connection appeared as though he were
a magician with a wand.


PLANTS UNDER ANAESTHETICS

The Doctor explained the meaning and significance of the thunderbolt
which has been adopted as the symbol of the institution. He explained
also the special uses to which the various parts of the buildings would
be put. The fact was brought out that the entire building and grounds
had been designed to suit the special needs of the Institute and care
had been taken to make it as far as possible self contained. An
interesting feature of the garden close to that portion which forms the
residence of Sir Jagadis was the open platform perched above two trees,
transplanted under anaesthetic conditions. A variety of apparatus is
displayed under these trees and the platform is intended for
observation or meditation or both. Dr. Bose here explained how trees
when transplanted frequently died under the shock of the operation just
as human being sometimes died, not from an operation but from the shock
caused thereby. Similarly he had discovered and proved that trees could,
like human beings, go through severe operations and survive the shock,
if placed under the influence of an anaesthetic.


SOME PHENOMENA OF PLANT LIFE

The Professor explained next other experiments which he had performed on
plants and whose results had exhibited the close parallel which plant
life bears to human life. With the aid of another delicate instrument he
showed how the growth of plants can be influenced by drugs and the
demonstration on the screen of the manner in which the slow growth of a
plant can be thus expedited was one of extraordinary interest. One was
able to see the flame of life moving up the screen and recording at
intervals the stages of growth, a lengthening of the intervals between
each recorded glow illustrating the acceleration of growth as soon as
the drug was applied. The instruments necessary to record this
phenomenon are of extraordinary delicacy, and barely survived the strain
of the journey from Calcutta.


ELECTRICITY AND AGRICULTURE

The last experiment was in regard to the effect of electricity on plant
life. He referred particularly to the fact that it was his aim to
discover the law of growth and atrophy among plants. Such a discovery
had a great bearing on the future of agriculture and would revolutionise
world thought. Electricity, he explained and illustrated, would promote
or retard the growth of life by reaction. In England and other countries
electricity had been applied to agriculture but without exact knowledge
of its varying effect on plant life. He then showed by another apparatus
of extreme delicacy that electricity might retard and even repel as well
as promote the growth of plant life. But if the law of growth and decay
could be ascertained, it was possible to regulate the control of life
under most varied conditions.

--_Amrita Bazar Patrika_, 29-1-1918.



UNITY OF LIFE


Under the auspices of the Bombay University, Sir Jagadis Chunder Bose
delivered on Thursday, the 31st January 1918, a lecture on the "Unity of
Life." It was illustrated by lantern slides and an instructive
exposition was given of some of his unique discoveries in the realm of
Plant Life....


HIDDEN HISTORY IN PLANTS LIFE

"The subject of my address to-night is the 'Unity of Life.' Under a
placid exterior there is a hidden history on the life of the plant. Is
it possible to make the plants write down their own autographs and thus
reveal their history? In order to succeed in this we have first to
discover some compulsive force which will make the plant give an
answering signal, secondly, we have to invent some instrument of extreme
delicacy for the automatic conversion of these signals into an
intelligent script; and last of all, we have ourselves to learn the
nature of the hieroglyphics."

Sir J. C. Bose then explained the principle of his epoch-making Resonant
Recorder which writes down the perception period of the plant within a
thousandth part of a second, and writes down the action of light and
warmth and drugs on the plant; the effect of vitiated air, of passing
clouds, of excess of food and of drink.

"The plant is very human in its virtues and weakness. Plants like
animals become exalted, grow tired or despond. An easy green-house life
makes them less than themselves, overgrown and flabby, capable of
response, till they have become hardened by adversity to a fuller
existence. A time comes when after an answer to a supreme shock, there
is a sudden end of the plant's power to give any further response. This
supreme shock is the shock of death. Even in this crisis there is no
immediate change in the placid appearance of the plant. Drooping and
withering are events that occur long after death itself. How does the
plant then give its last answer? In man at the critical moment a spasm
passes through the whole body and similarly in the plant I find a great
contractile spasm takes place. This is accompanied by an electrical
spasm also. In the script of the Death Recorder the line that up to this
time was being drawn, become suddenly reversed and then ends. This is
the last answer of the plant.

"These our mute companions, silently growing beside our door, have now
told us the tale of their life-tremulousness and their death-spasm in
script that is as inarticulate as they. May it not be said that this
story has a pathos of its own beyond any that we may have conceived?

"We have now before our mind's eye the whole organism of the perceiving,
throbbing and responding plant, a complex unity and not a congeries of
unrelated parts. The barriers which separated kindred phenomena in the
plant and animal are now thrown down. Thus community throughout the
great ocean of life is seen to outweigh apparent dissimilarity Diversity
is swallowed up in unity.

"In realising this, is our sense of final mystery of things deepened or
lessened? Is our sense of wonder diminished when we realise in the
infinite expanse of life that is silent and voiceless the foreshadowings
of more wonderful complexities? Is it not rather that science evokes in
us a deeper sense of awe? Does not each of her new advances gain for us
a step in that stairway of rock which all must climb who desire to look
from the mountain tops of the spirit upon the promised land of truth?"

Sir Jagadis then gave a most interesting exposition of his researches
with the aid of magic lantern slides.


SENSITIVENESS IN PLANTS

Referring first of all his discovery of sensitiveness in plants, he said
that in that respect they were akin to the human system. He illustrated
this truth by a demonstration of the reaction that takes place in the
frog when a shock is communicated and side by side presenting the
reaction that is similarly effected in the plant. "Plants have a nervous
system like our own," he said, and with the aid of an enlarged
illustration of the mimosa he showed the changes that took place when
the plant was disturbed. Turning to plant autograph, he spoke of the
Resonant Recorder, a special apparatus which he has invented to prove
how even plants are tuned to environment. Certain tunes had no effect on
plants, he said, while others had and he asked them specially to observe
the beautiful and variegated colour formation produced by their response
to tunes. He gave an interesting experiment on this point, and both Lord
and Lady Willingdon tried it. There was a great outburst of cheering,
which was renewed each time the effect was produced, and it was noticed
that the cheering, which was vociferous had its own effect. It had taken
him a long time, he said, to produce and perfect the complete apparatus
to determine the latent mimosa and by the aid of that apparatus, he was
able to record the movement of the plant to one thousandth of a second.

He next went on to say that all plants were endowed like ourselves, but
at first the news was received with great scepticism. He did not
despair, however, of success and was continuously engaged in
discovering, in collecting fresh evidence. Thanks to the action of the
Government of India in sending him on a world tour, he got at last the
opportunity to prove before the scientific societies of the world, the
truth of his discoveries. An illustration of the Mimosa which has
accompanied him in his world tour was screened.

The next illustration was to show how long plants took to feel shock and
what time they took to recover. Like the great human system plants were
subject to periodic conscianimal [_sic._, consciousness?] had their
periods of sleep and awakening. The extra water pressure produced during
sunset had nothing to do with true sleep. Plants, too, were subject to
exaltation and depression and at certain hours of the day they were
fully conscious and active while at other hours they were dormant and
lazy. He showed by means of a chart that they were fast asleep between 6
and 9 in the morning and his humorous remark that in that respect they
had taken a leaf from our modern society ladies provoked a great deal of
laughter. A series of records were then shown to illustrate the various
degrees of plant consciousness, which were deeply appreciated by the
audience.

Proceeding Dr. Bose said that plants were far more conscious of nature
than human beings and described his experience how plants were sensitive
even to passing clouds, which produced on them a depressing effect. He
spoke of the difference between thin and wiry grown plants and those
that were stout and robust. In that respect they resembled again human
beings and thin and wiry grown plants were far more susceptible of
excitement than the others. They, too, needed rest and without it, they
were flabby and depressed. A cartoon from the London "Punch" entitled "A
successful Trial" was screened to the merriment of the audience, in
which the Professor was humorously depicted by that journal, after his
exposition before the Royal Institute in London. He gave an illustration
of the "Praying Palm of Faridpur" and the changes it exhibited to
environment. All plants displayed similar power and these changes were
no longer inscrutable. They had been brought within the realm of
scrutability [_sic._] and could be recorded.


"PROTECTING" PLANTS

It was a mistake to suppose that when "protected" plants would thrive
better. Mothers had a tendency to keep their children away from contact
with the outside world with a view to "protect" them. He had placed a
plant under a glass case and the effect of it was he had a gloated and
effete specimen, flabby-looking in appearance and weary under adversity,
they recovered sooner and their growth was healthy just as it evolved
true manhood in men. It had been commonly believed that carbonic acid
gas was conducive to plant growth. That was a great mistake. In
sunshine, plants readily absorbed it; but it was no more true that
plants thrived on CO_2, than did human beings. He illustrated the effect
of carbonic acid gas as well as oxygen. The latter was as much necessary
for plants to thrive on as it was for them. Another illustration
exhibited the effect of alcohol on plants and he declared amidst
laughter that alcohol produced the same alternate maudlin depression and
exaltation on plants that is to be observed on the human system. He said
that this experiment had tickled the Americans a great deal and referred
to a conversation he had with Mr. Bryan, who was a teetotaller,
regarding alcohol given to plants. Some American papers had given
characteristic headlines to introduce his lecture on the effect of
stimulus to plants.

Another plant Desmodium which has accompanied him in his world tour was
filmed on the screen. He spoke, next, of the apparatus which he had
invented to record plant pulsation and the struggle they exhibited
between life and death. Poisons had as much effect on plants as on men,
and they could be revived by applying antidotes, this was illustrated by
another chart. Another point of interest dealt with by him was the
effect of warm water on plants, and he gave an exposition of his
discovery to show that plants died when placed in 60 degree (centigrade)
warm water. He referred to the stupendous phenomenon of invisible
writing by means of which the plant recorded its own evolution.

The lecture was listened to with profound interest and lasted for an
hour. Mr. Setalvad proposed a hearty vote of thanks to the Chancellor
for presiding at the meeting. Lord Willingdon, in acknowledging it, said
that the vote of thanks was due to Sir Jagadis rather than to himself.
As he had anticipated in the beginning, the lecture had proved
absorbingly interesting and he was afraid Sir Jagadis's discoveries
might be positively alarming when he next visited Bombay. He hoped that
they would accord Sir Jagadis a hearty vote of thanks with "true Bombay
cordiality." After a few suitable remarks by Sir Jagadis the meeting
terminated.

--_Amrita Bazar Patrika_, 5-2-1918.



THE AUTOMATIC WRITING OF THE PLANT


On the 8th February 1918, Sir J. C. Bose delivered the following
discourse on 'The Automatic Writing of the Plant,' at the Bose
institute:--

Sir J. C. Bose spoke of two different ways of gaining knowledge, the
lesser way is by dwelling on superficial differences, the mental
attitude which makes some say 'Thank God I am not like others:' The
other way is to realise an essential unity in spite of deceptive
appearance to the contrary. He had recently been on a visit to the
western Presidency, he went there as a stranger, but he has come back
with a pang at parting from kindreds. Never in his life did he realise
so vividly as now the great unity that drew together all who regarded
India as their home and place of work. They were bound to each other by
mutual ties of dependence. He had for many years been engaged in
discovering community in physical manifestations of life. Now he has
realised an abiding unity in the highest manifestations of human life,
in community of thoughts and ideals.

In the wide expanse of life itself few things would appear so strikingly
different as the life activities in plants and in animals. But if in
spite of the seeming differences, it could be proved that these life
activities are fundamentally similar, this would undoubtedly constitute
a scientific generalisation of very great importance. It would then
follow that the complex mechanism of the animal machine, that baffled us
so long, need not remain inscrutable for all time, for the intricate
problems of animal physiology would then naturally find their solution
in the study of corresponding problems under simpler conditions of
vegetative life. That would mean an enormous advance in the science of
physiology, of agriculture, of medicine, and even of psychology.

How then are we to know what unseen changes take place within the plant?
The only conceivable way would be, if that were possible, to detect and
measure the actual response of the organism to a definite testing blow.
When an animal receives an external shock it may answer in various ways;
If it has voice, by a cry, if dumb, by the movement of its limbs. The
external shock is the stimulus, the answer of the organism is the
response. If we can make it give some tangible response to a questioning
shock, then we can judge the condition of the plant by the extent of the
answer. In an excitable condition the feeblest stimulus will evoke an
extraordinarily large response, in a depressed state even a strong
stimulus evokes only a feeble response, and lastly, when death has
overcome life, there is an abrupt end of the power to answer at all.

Prof. Bose then explained the principle and action of his apparatus by
which the plant attached to it is automatically excited by successive
stimuli which are absolutely constant. In answer to this the plant makes
its own responsive records, goes through its own period of recovery, and
embarks on the same cycle over again without assistance from the
observer at any point. In this way the effect of changed external
conditions is seen recorded in the script made by the plant itself.

It has been thought that plants like mimosa alone were sensitive. But
Sir J. C. Bose's apparatus demonstrated the unsuspected fact that every
plant and every organ of every plant answered to a shock by a
contractile spasm, as by an animal muscle. If perception of feeble
stimulus be taken as a measure of ascent in the scale of life then the
superiority of man must be established on a foundation more secure than
sensibility. The most sensitive organ by which we can detect electric
current is our tongue. An average European can perceive a current as
feeble as six micro-amperes, a micro-ampere being a millionth part of
the electric unit. Possibly the tongue of a Celt is more excitable, and
I have no doubt that my countrymen can easily boast the Celt in this
particular test. But the plant mimosa is ten times more excitable than
the tongue of an advocate in this province.

Professor Bose then showed how identical were the effects of light,
warmth and various drugs on the plant and animal. These experiments
bring the plant much nearer than we ever thought. We find that it is not
a mere mass of vegetative growth, but that its every fibre is instinct
with sensibility. We are able to record the throbbings of its pulsating
life, and find these wax and wane according to the life conditions of
the plant, and cease in the death of the organism. In these and many
other ways the life reactions in plant and man are alike, and thus
through the experience of the plant, it may be possible to alleviate the
sufferings of man.

--_Amrita Bazar Patrika_, 9-2-1918.



CONTROL OF NERVOUS IMPULSE


At the first anniversary meeting of the Bose institute, held on the
30th November 1918, Sir J. C. Bose gave the following discourse on his
recent discoveries relating to the question of control of nervous
impulse, under the Presidency of His Excellency Lord Ronaldshay,
Governor of Bengal.

It is one of the greatest of all mysteries how we are put in connection
with the external world: how blows from without are felt within. Our
organs of sensation are like so many antennae radiating in various
directions and picking up messages of many kinds. All of these, when
analysed to their utmost, consist of shock effects on different chords.
An extremely feeble stimulus is below the limit of perception, a
moderate stimulus transmits excitation, which is perceived as sensation
of not an unpleasant character, but the tone of sensation becomes
painful when the excitation is very intense. Our sensation is thus
coloured by the intensity of the nervous excitation that reaches the
central organ. We are subject to human limitations, through the
imperfection of our senses on the one hand, and over-sensibility on the
other. There are happenings which elude us because the impinging
stimulus is too feeble to waken our senses; the external shock, on the
other hand, may be so intense as to fill our life with pain.

Since we have no direct power over the shocks which come to us from the
outside world, is it possible to control the nervous impulse so that it
should be exalted in one case, and inhibited or obliterated in the
other? Does advance of science hold any such possibility? This question
is plainly fraught with high significance.


PROBLEM OF CONTROL OF NERVOUS IMPULSE

Before proceeding further it will be necessary first to obtain a clear
idea of the function of a nervous tissue and its characteristics;
secondly the manner, in which the nervous impulse is propagated; and
lastly, we have to discover some compulsive force by which the impulse
may be intensified or inhibited during transit. The nerve circuit may be
liked to an electric circuit, and invisible impulse bringing about
response in the indicator, be it the brain or the galvanometer. In the
electric circuit the conducting power of the metallic wire is constant,
and the intensity of the electric impulse depends on the intensity of
the electric force applied. If the conducting power of the nerve were
constant then the intensity of the nervous impulse and its resulting
sensation would depend inevitably on the intensity of the shock from
outside which starts the impulse. In that case the possibility of the
modification of our sensation would be an impossibility. But there may
be a likelihood that the power of conduction possessed by a nerve is
not constant but capable of change. Should this surmise prove to be
correct then we arrive at the momentous conclusion that sensation itself
is modifiable, whatever the external stimulus. For the modification of
nervous impulse there remains only one alternative; namely, some power
to render the vehicle a very much better conductor or a non-conductor
according to particular requirements. We require the nervous path to the
supra-conducting to have the impulse due to feeble stimulus brought to
sensory prominence. When the external blow is too violent we would block
the painful impulse by rendering the nerve a non-conductor.

Under narcotic the nerve becomes paralysed and we can by its use save
ourselves from pain. But such heroic measures are to be resorted to in
extreme cases, as when we are under the surgeon's knife. In actual life
we are confronted with unpleasantness without notice. A telephone
subscriber has an evident advantage, for he can switch off the
connection when the message begins to be unpleasant. Statesmen or
politicians have been known to cultivate convenient deafness; but that
is a mere pretence. The unpleasant things heard, would still continue to
rankle. It is not every one that has the courage of Mr. Herbert Spencer
who openly resorted to his ear plugs whenever his visitor became
tedious.

The lecturer then explained that the propagation of nervous impulse is a
phenomenon of transmission of molecular disturbance. It occurred to him
that the transmission could be controlled if he succeeded in discovering
a compulsive force which would confer on the conducting particles two
opposite molecular dispositions, one of which would exalt and the other
resist the impulse. His experiments were first conducted with the
primitive type of nerve which he had previously discovered in plants. In
full confirmation of his theory, he succeeded in conferring on the
nervous tissue two opposite dispositions. Under favourable disposition
the nerve is rendered supra-conducting; subliminal stimulus now becomes
fully perceived. Under the opposite molecular disposition the violent
impulse due to excessive stimulus becomes weakened or arrested during
transit, and the plant remains quite unaffected by the external shock.

The lecturer has in his previous works demonstrated the unity of
life-reactions in the plant and animal. A climax is now reached when by
the application of identical treatment he is able to confer alternately
on the same animal nerve, supra-conducting or non-conducting property at
will. Under a particular molecular disposition the experimental frog
perceived and responded to stimulus which had hitherto been below its
threshold of perception. Under the opposite disposition violent tetanic
spasm caused by the irritant salt applied to the nerve became at once
quelled. The normal property of the nerve was at once restored on the
withdrawal of the predisposing force.


MAN VICTORIOUS OVER CIRCUMSTANCE

Thus by the control of molecular disposition of the conducting nerve,
nervous impulse, and the resulting sensation may become profoundly
modified. The external is not so overwhelmingly dominant, and man is not
to be merely passive in the hands of destiny. There is a latent power
which would raise him above the terrors of his inimical surroundings. It
remains with him that the channels through which the outside world reach
him should, at his command be widened or become closed. It may thus be
possible for him to catch those indistinct messages that had hitherto
eluded him or he may withdraw within himself, so that in his inner
realm, the jarring notes and the din of the world should no longer
affect him.

The whole audience heard the discourse with spell bound interest. The
Indian Scientist came to that realisation by experiments at which the
Indian Jogis of yore arrived by intuition. Following an absolutely
original line inventing his own apparatus of the most simple yet subtle
delicacy and having constructed them by the hands of Indian artisans,
working without collaborators and with the smallest modicum of
recognition by his fellow scientists, he has pursued his investigation
to a result which has been a revelation to the whole world. Dr. Bose has
proved that man and plant are one body and life in their physiology, in
their vital habits and nervous responses. He has clearly demonstrated
that nervous life in the plant responds to the same stimuli as in human
beings. He has established between animal and plant a unity of incipient
mind. The plant not only lives and dies, wakes and sleeps but it makes
the responses which in animal would be pleasure and pain.

Dr. Bose has made a great step towards the unification of knowledge. A
bridge has been built between man and inert matter. Even if we take Dr.
Bose's experiments with metals in conjunctions with his experiments on
plants, we may hold it to be practically proved for the thinker that
Life in various degrees of manifestation and organisation is omnipresent
in Matter and is no foreign introduction or accidental development, but
was always that to be evolved.

The ancient thinkers knew well that life and mind exist everywhere in
essence and vary only by the degree and manner of their emergencies and
functionings. All is in all and it is out of complete involution that
the complete evolution progressively appears. It is only appropriate
that for a descendant of the race of ancient thinkers who formulated
that knowledge, should be reserved the privilege of initiating one of
the most important among the many discoveries by which experimental
science is confirming the wisdom of his forefathers.

--_Amrita Bazar Patrika_, 4-12-1918.



MARVELS OF GROWTH AS REVEALED BY THE "MAGNETIC CRESCOGRAPH"


[Sir J. C. Bose has recently invented the "Magnetic" crescograph. It is
a supersensitive instrument and the very high magnification obtained by
it surpasses all existing appliances. By this instrument, phenomena
hitherto beyond the reach of investigation can now be studied with great
precision. It shows ultra-microscopic changes inducted in a growing
organism even by a puff of smoke or a gentle breeze, by a passing cloud
or fleeting brightness. This super magnifier was exhibited for the first
time by Sir J. C. Bose before an appreciative gathering 10-1-1919. A
number of lady students, professors, lawyers, doctors and several
eminent personages gathered to hear the great Indian scientist.]

In his Discourse on the above subject on Friday, Sir J. C. Bose
illustrated how the limitations imposed on the advance of science by the
imperfection of our senses, may stimulate the invention of
supersensitive apparatus which reveals to us the existence of phenomena
hitherto unknown. Thus the invention of the microscope from a simple
lens magnifying 3 or 4 times into progress up to 1500 diameters has
given birth to new sciences. But still higher magnification is demanded
in unravelling the mystery of movements associated with the simplest
type of life as seen in plants. Greatest potentiality in life is often
latent; the gigantic banian tree grows out of a thing which is smaller
than the mustard seed. Within the seed-coat the dormant life remains in
safety, protected from dangers outside. The seeds may thus be subjected
without harm to cold so intense as will freeze mercury into solid and
air into liquid. Winds and hurricanes scatter the seed of life and the
cocoa-nut rides the tumultuous waves till anchored safe in an island
yet to be inhabited. In due season there begins a series of most
astonishing transformations; the latent life wakens, and the seedling
begins to grow. The root turns downwards and the shoot upwards.
Underground, the root winds its way round stones and obstacles towards
moist places. Above ground the stem bends as if in search of light.
Tendrils twine about a support. These visible movements are striking
enough, but within the unruffled exterior of the plant body there are
others, energetic and incessant, which escape our scrutiny. The bending
of a growing organ towards or away from stimulus must be due to unequal
growth on two sides of the organ, a retardation of growth on the
proximal or acceleration on the distant sides. Various theories have
been advanced which have proved inadequate. For the identical stimulus
of gravity produces one kind of curvature in the root and the very
opposite in the shoot. The possibility of direct experimental
investigation has been frustrated by the excessive slow rate of growth
rendering accurate measurement impossible.


THE SLOWNESS OF GROWTH

The movement of growth is two thousand times less rapid than the place
of the proverbially slow-footed snail. Taking the average annual growth
in height of a tree to be 5 ft., it will take a tree a thousand years
to cover a distance of a mile. We take a piece of 2 ft. in the course of
half a second, during the interval plant grows through a length of
1,100,000 part of an inch or half the length of a wave of light. For
investigation on the effect of external conditions on growth we have to
measure even a fraction of that excessively small length.

The peasant has eagerly watched the growth of his plants on which his
own life and the world's depend and, even realised something of its
vicissitudes, so the vegetable physiologist has here one of the many
problems of his science. The invention of growth-measuring instruments
has thus been one of his main endeavours. He has hitherto succeeded by
the use of levers with unequal arms to obtain a magnification of about
20 times, and even then it takes many hours for growth to become
perceptible; owing to the practical impossibility of maintaining the
external conditions constant for so many hours, the results of
measurement of growth become vitiated. It is therefore necessary to
produce a magnification so high that growth should become measurable in
less than a minute. The first improvement effected by the lecturer, now
some fourteen years ago, was his Optical Lever, which at once raised the
magnification from 20 to 1000 times, an advance which at the time seemed
to many incredible, but it is at length coming into use in advanced
laboratories in Europe.


THE RECORDING CRESCOGRAPH

A new apparatus devised by the lecturer, the Recording Crescograph, is
described in the Transactions of the Royal Society, and of the Bose
Institute. By a compound system of levers the magnification is raised to
10,000 but this is not without great technical difficulties, which cost
five years of efforts to overcome. Thus the levers require to be
extremely light; this was secured by the use of an alloy of aluminium
used in the construction of Zeppelins: this combines lightness with
rigidity. Another difficulty almost unsuperable arises from the friction
at the bearings of the fulcrum, the best watch jewels made of ruby were
employed, but the supply was cut off from Germany by the war. This
proved a blessing in disguise, for it forced the lecturer to devise a
new principle of suspension using local material. This was found in
practice to be far superior to jewel bearings, which became clogged by
invisible dust particles present in the air. With this Recording
Crescograph many phenomena of extreme interest have been discovered. The
plant itself not only recorded its normal rate of growth but the
slightest change induced in it by the action of different forces. So
delicate was the apparatus that it analysed growth into a series of
pulses, a sudden shooting out followed by a partial recoil. It showed
how the growth of the plant was retarded by a mere touch, and the time
it took the plant to recover from the effect of contact, and all these
in course of a few seconds. The effect of different food on growth, the
effect of different drugs, or living capacity these and many more became
revealed by the automatic record made by the plant. This has opened out
fresh and more exact method of medical inquiry, and of practical
agriculture.


THE MAGNETIC CRESCOGRAPH

Such unlooked for results called for yet higher magnification, and at
first it seemed that further multiplying lever might be added to the
previous system. But this failed on account of added mass and friction;
and some altogether new solution had therefore to be sought. Material
contact having proved unworkable the ideal weightless and frictionless
linking was obtained by introducing a new magnetic contrivance, and this
with the surprising potency of magnification from 5 to 100 million
times. The mind cannot grasp the meaning of this stupendous
magnification; how then could we translate it in terms which may be
understood? Let us take once more our slow-footed snail, a
magnification of ten million times would convert its speed to something
for which there is no parallel even in modern gunnery practice. The 15
inch cannon of the "Queen Elizabeth" has a muzzle velocity of 2360 ft.
per second or 8-1/2 million feet per hour. But the speed of the snail
when magnified ten million times would render it 200 million ft. per
hour or 24 times faster than the fastest cannon shot. We may next turn
to the cosmic movement for a parallel: A point in equator whirls round
at the rate of 1037 miles per hour. But a snail with the magnified speed
would beat the earth by going round 40 times during the period the earth
makes but one revolution!


LIFE IN STATE OF SUSPENSE AND ITS SUBSEQUENT RESOLUTION

With the experiments carried with the Magnetic Crescograph life becomes
subservient to the will of the experimenter. The rate of growth is
indicated by the speed with which a spot of indicating light moves
across the scale. The actual rate of growth is fifty thousandth part of
an inch per second; this under magnification is seen by the indicating
spot of light to move at the rate of 36 inches per second: this is the
normal rate. The plant is made to imbibe soda water and the growth
becomes suddenly exalted some ten times; but a puff of tobacco smoke
instantly retards the rate. To induce further retardation a depressing
drug is next applied. The growth gradually comes to a stop and the
quiescent of the spot of light shows life in a state of suspense. The
plant is now hovering in an unstable poise between life and death, a
slight tilt one way, and life gets interlocked in the rigidity of death.
But the antidote is applied just in time, the torpor and suspense is
over, and life renews her activity once more with the fullest vigour.

It is true that man is but poorly provided for his voyage of discovery
in seas unknown, he can hear little and see less. A single octave of
light circumscribes his vision; even of the visible the size of the
ripple of light imposes an impassable barrier. But he has not been
deterred by his limitations but has on the contrary been spurred on its
greater efforts in his explanation of the invisible. The mysterious
movements of life are not to remain for him inscrutable and
indecipherable for all times: but his untiring and single-minded pursuit
will someday reveal to him the secret that lies behind the
manifestations of life.

--_Amrita Bazar Patrika_, 13-1-1919.



THE NIGHT-WATCH OF NYMPHAEA


Sir J. C. Bose gave the following Discourse on the 'Night-Watch of
Nymphaea,' at the Bose Institute, on the 24th January, 1919.

[Sir J. C. Bose's discourse delivered at the Bose Institute, on the 24th
January, 1919, dealt with the mysterious phenomenon of recurrent opening
and closure of flowers. Some of them open in the morning and close in
the evening; others do exactly the opposite opening at night and closing
during the day. These various effects have been described as the
'waking' and 'sleep' movements of plants. The subject had attracted the
attention of plant physiologists for more than half a century. After
summarising the various results lost in his recent work says that no
satisfactory explanation of the sleep movements of plants has yet been
forthcoming and that the true theory can only be established after new
and exhaustive research. This investigation has been in progress at Sir
J. C. Bose's laboratory for the last five years; and special automatic
recorders have been invented by means of which numerous plants have been
recording their movements for every hour of the day and night and for
many days in succession.]

In course of his discourse the lecturer said "The poets have forestalled
the men of science. Why does the water-lily 'Kumud or Nymphaea' keep
awake all night long and close her petals during the day? Because the
water-lily is the lover of the Moon and like the human soul expanding at
the touch of the beloved, the lily opens out her heart at the touch of
the moon beam, and keeps watch all night long; she shrinks affrighted by
the rude touch of the Sun, and closes her petals during the day. The
outer floral leaves of the lily are green, and in the day time the
closed flowers are hardly distinguishable from the broad green leaves
which float on the water. The scene is transformed in the evening as if
by magic, and myriads of glistening white flowers cover the dark water.

"The recurrent daily phenomenon has not only been observed by the poets,
but an explanation offered for it. It is the moonlight then that causes
the opening of the lily, and the sunlight the movement of closure. Had
the poet taken out a lantern in a dark night; he would have noticed that
the lily opened at night in total absence of the moon; but a poet is not
expected to carry a lantern and peep out in the dark; that inordinate
curiosity is characteristic only of the man of science. Again the lily
does not close with the appearance of the sun; for the flower often
remains awake up to eleven in the forenoon. A French dictionary maker
saw Cuvier, the Zoologist about the definition of the crab as 'a little
red fish which walks backwards.' 'Admirable,' said Cuvier. 'But the crab
is not necessarily little, nor is it red till boiled; it is not a fish,
and it cannot walk backwards. But with these exceptions your definition
is perfect.' And so also with the poet's description of the movement of
the lily, which does not open to moonlight, nor yet close to the sun."


THE 'SLEEP' AND 'WAKING' OF JHINGA FLOWER

The waking and sleeping of the water lily is by no means an isolated
instance. My attention was first drawn to another remarkable floral
display by the folk song which begins with:

     "Our day of work is over
     Like life's span, but an hour!
     For now behold the gold-starred fields
     Of opening 'Jhinga' flowers!"

Since then I witness every afternoon a glorious transformation in my
experimental garden at Sijbaria on the Ganges. The gardener has planted
a large field with Jhinga (Luffa acutangula). The flowers when closed at
day time are very inconspicuous, the lowest whorl of the sepals being
dull green: in my afternoon walk I can hardly recognise the old familiar
field, which is now covered with masses of flower in their golden glory.
Here also the flowers remain open throughout the night; but they close
early in the morning and the fairy field of cloth of gold vanishes
suddenly.


COMPLEXITY OF THE PROBLEM

The revolutions made by the plant-scripts led to the discovery of
certain new and unsuspected reactions in the life of plants, notably the
influence of variation of temperature in modifying thegeotropic
curvature. There are at least ten variables, which by their joint
effects give rise to over a thousand variations in the resulting
movement of plants. The effect of each of these different factors has
been isolated and a new theory propounded which offers a complete
explanation of the so called sleep movements. The life reactions of
plants to the various stimuli of the environment was most strikingly
illustrated by means of supersensitive Magnetic Crescograph. The plant
was shown to perceive the shock of light, to which it made an answering
signal, so also to the action of warmth and cold. And it was explained
how the various combinations of effects induced by environmental change
found diverse expressions in the movement of plants.

The scientific explanations offered for the opening and closing of the
water lily is that the flower is closed under sunlight and that the
opening takes place under darkness. But Prof. Bose has been able to keep
the lily awake even in day time by placing it in a cool place.
Simultaneous record of the movement of the flower and the thermograph of
daily variation of temperature proved conclusively that a rapid fall of
temperature in the evening brought about the opening of the flower, at
first slowly then rapidly, and by 10 p.m. the flower was fully expanded.
About 6 a.m. in the morning there is a rise of temperature, and the
reverse movement of closure sets in. The flower continues to close very
rapidly the sleep movement of closure is complete by about 10 a.m.

It will be seen how different flowers through their sensitiveness to
heat and cold execute movements of "sleep" or of "waking." Some of them
have the healthy habit of normal humanity to sleep at night and keep
awake at day-time. Others turn night into day, and make up for their
long night watch by sleeping it off at the day-time.

--_Amrita Bazar Patrika_, 25-1-1919.



WOUNDED PLANTS


Sir J. C. Bose delivered the following lecture on the 'Wounded Plants'
at the Bose Institute, on the 7th February, 1919:--

It is a little over four years now that the Embodiment of World Tragedy
stalked over Western Europe. The fair field of France and the bright sky
was under a pall of battle-smoke. Our sight could not penetrate through
the dense gloom, and the mortal cry of the wounded and dying, drowned by
hoarse roar of a thousand did not reach our ear. But from the time the
Sikh and the Pathan, the Gurkha and the Bengali, the Mahratta and the
Rajput flung themselves in front of battle from that day our perception
has become intensified. The distant cry of those whose life-blood has
crimsoned the white field of snow, has found reverberating echo in our
heart. What is that subtle bond by which all distances are bridged over,
and by which an individual life becomes merged in larger life? Sympathy
is that bond by which we come to realise the unity of all life. Before
us are spread multitudinous plants, silent and seemingly impassive. They
too like us are actors in the Cosmic drama of life, like us the play
thing of destiny. In their checkered life, light and darkness, the
warmth of summer and frost of winter, drought and rain, the gentle
breeze and whirling tornadoes, life and death alternate. Various shocks
impinge on them, but no cry is raised in answer. I shall nevertheless
try to decipher some chapters of their life history.

When a man receives a blow or shock of any kind, his answering cry makes
us realise that he is hurt, but a mute makes no outcry. How do we
realise his sufferings? We know it by his agonised look by the
convulsive movement of his limbs, and through fellow-feeling realise his
pain. When a frog is struck it does not cry, but its limbs show
convulsive movement. But from this it does not follow that the frog is
not hurt, for some would urge that there is a great gap between us and
lower animals. One who feels for the humblest of His creatures alone
knows whether the frog is hurt or not. Human sympathy always aspires: it
is sometimes extended to equals, hardly ever to inferiors. And so it
happens that many would doubt, whether the lowly and the depressed
possess the fine sense of the exalted to feel the same joy and sorrow,
and to resent social tyranny. When human attitude is so finely
discriminative as regards different grades of his own species, it might
be extravagant to believe that the frog could have any consciousness of
pain. A concession might however be made that the frog perceives a
shock to which it responds by convulsive movements. It is as well that
we should be careful about the use of terms for an eminent biologist
insisted that animals never felt any pain: when an oyster is swallowed
alive, it did not, according to him, feel any pain but rather a
sensation of grateful warmth at contact with the alimentary tract. The
question will remain undecided for no one has as yet returned from the
gastric cavity of the tiger to expatiate on the exquisite sensation.


TEST OF LIVINGNESS

Responsive movements being a test of life, we shall try to construct a
scale with which the height of livingness may be measured. What is the
difference between the living and the dead? The living answers to a
shock from without; the most lively gives the most energetic, the torpid
or dying the feeblest, and the dead no answer at all. Thus life may be
tested by shocks from without, the size of the answer being the gauge of
vitality. The answer of the strong will be violent and almost explosive
in its intensity, while the weakling will barely protest. The responsive
movements may be recorded by suitable apparatus. The successive
responses to similar shocks will remain uniform, if the living tissue
remained always the same. But the living organism is always in a state
of change for environment is always building us anew, and we are
changing everyday of our life. We are thus subject to change, some day
we are in a state of high exuberance, and other time in a state of
lowest depression: we pass through numerous phases between the two
extremes. Not merely does the present modify, but there is also the
subtle impress of memory of the past. The sum total of all these
characterise one individual from another. How is the hidden to be made
manifest? To test the genuineness of a coin, we strike it and the sound
response betrays the true from the false. The genuine rings true and the
other gives a false note. In this way perhaps the inner history of
different lives may be revealed by shocks and the resulting response.


EFFECT OF WOUND

There are three separate investigations that have been carried out on
the effect of wound on plants: The first is the shock effect of wound on
growth: this generally speaking retards or arrests growth. In the second
series of investigations the change of spontaneous pulsation of the
leaflet of the Telegraph plant was recorded. Death begins to spread from
the cut end of the leaflet, and reaches the throbbing tissue which
becomes permanently stilled on cessation of life. Experiments are in
progress of arrest their march of death, and the cut leaflet which died
in 24 hours has now been kept alive for more than a week.


PARALYSIS OF SENSIBILITY

Another series of investigations were carried out on the paralysing
effect of severe wound. A leaf of Mimosa was cut off from the plant, and
the subsequent histories of the wounded plant and the detached leaf are
curiously different. The cutting of one of its leaves had caused a great
shock to the parent plant, and an intense excitation spreads over to the
distant organs. All the leaves remained depressed and irresponsive for
several hours. From this state of paralysed sensibility, the plant
gradually recovers and the leaves begin to show returning sensitiveness.
The detached leaf, when placed in a nourishing solution soon recovers,
and holds up its head with an attitude indicative of defiance, and the
responses it gives are energetic. This lasts for twenty four hours,
after which a curious change creeps in the vigour of its responses
begins rapidly to wane. The leaf hitherto erect, falls over; death had
at last asserted its mastery.

--_Amrita Bazar Patrika_, 10-2-1919.



LIFE AND SPEECHES OF EMINENT INDIANS


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