Department of Botany
In 2021, at the time of celebrating 100 years of the University of Dhaka, the Department of Botany stepped in its 68th birth anniversary. During this period, the department was devoted to produce significant number of students trained in various disciplines of modern botanical science. Man power, as scientists, researchers, teachers, government officials, administrators, bankers, etc. were contributed by the passed out students of this department in Bangladesh and various other countries of the world. Some of the botanists from this department has earned reputation abroad. Currently, the department is supported by a well trained group of young and senior teachers mostly holding foreign PhD’s with excellent capabilities of teaching and research skills. Students, used to learn structure, function, and role of plants such as microbes, algae, bryophytes, pteridophytes, fungi and pathogens, and angiosperms, gymnosperms, ethno-, paleo-, and economic botany. About the functional aspects and plant’s body mechanism, subjects like plant anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry are put routinely in the botanical curriculum of the department. Plant genetic resources application in developing crop varieties and solving disease problems are covered by the disciplines of cytology, cytogenetics, plant tissue culture and biotechnology. Interactions between plants and environment are taught by the subjects of ecology, limnology, and marine botany. Besides, research methodology, and advance knowledge on molecular genetics and proteomics and the science of horticulture have also been introduced into the botanical knowledge gathering streamline. The Department of Botany currently harbouring at least 10 laboratories furnished with moderate research equipment facilities. Researches at graduate and post-graduate levels are carried on with the help of those laboratories. For strengthening further research advance, a modern green-house has now been established in the botanical garden of the department. And it is hoped that using this green house facility, refinements in the plant versus climate research trend will be promoted. Since the enactment of the 1973 Dhaka University Ordinance, the department’s administration has been running by appointing a Chairman from the seniority list of the teachers. So, in between 1973 and 2021, so far 17 Chairman had run the department. On 31st July, 2021, Professor Dr. Shamim Shamsi, a well known and famous plant pathologist has been appointed as the 18th Chairman of the Department of Botany, University of Dhaka. COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 and its continuation until now has produced a severe thrust on the smooth running of the curricular and research activities of the University of Dhaka as well as the Department of Botany. However, the teachers, students and office staffs are determined to face this challenge under the new leadership by holding online meetings, seminars, classes, and examinations until a successful elimination of the pandemic is achieved.
During the last 68 years of tenure, promotion and dissemination of botanical knowledge were pioneered by the scholars of the Department of Botany at various times. It is worth to be mentioned here the names of a few: Dr AKM Nurul Islam, renowned Phycologist, Academician and National Professor of Bangladesh; Professor Dr. Ahmad Shamsul Islam, initiated Plant Tissue Culture and Biotechnological research in Bangladesh; and Dr. KM Sultanul Aziz, established the global use of rehydration therapy for diarrhoea. Leading figures of botanists who have earned scholastic-honour at international levels are: Professor Dr. Mohsin U Patwary, City University of New York, USA; Dr. Md. Sirajul Islam, Emeritus Scientists, Laboratory Sciences and Services Division, icddr, b, Dhaka; Dr. Munirul Alam, Senior Scientist, Infectious Diseases Division, icddr, b, Dhaka; Dr. Muhammad Morshed, Clinical Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Canada; Professor Dr. Kamaluddin Chowdhury, Claflin University, SC, USA; Dr. Azim Mallik, FLS, Professor and Chair, Department of Biology, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada; still there are many more famous names of botanists who have been representing the department in abroad. Some former students and scholars of this department had hold various key positions, such as Mr MA Baten, Education Minister, and Mrs Meher Afroze Chumki, Deputy Minister for Woman and Children Affairs, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; Md Sirajuddin, Chairman, Bangladesh School Text Book Board; Professor Dr. ZN Tahmida Begum, Chairman, Public Service Commission of Bangladesh; Professor Dr. Md. Abdul Aziz Khan, Vice Chancellor of Chittagong University; Professor Dr. Ashraf Ali Khan, Vice Chancellor of Bangladesh Agriculture University, Mymenshing; Professor Dr. Anisur Rahman, Vice Chancellor of Rajshahi University; and Professor Dr. M Imdadul Hoque, Vice Chancellor (recently appointed), Jagnnath University, Dhaka. Contribution of these dignified botanists has built the bright historical legacy of the Department of Botany, University of Dhaka. From now on, new scientific thoughts of botanical orientation must be added to the curricular and research activities of the department with the help of its most brilliant new generation teachers and students.