Dr. Harsha Kharkwal
Taking Concrete Steps to Become the Most Promising Scientist of India
I am a Scientist by profession. In the year 2000, when I was facing hurdles in my pursuit of doctorate studies, I became a member of BSG. I started writing and publishing articles in the field of polysaccharide / carbohydrate research and phytochemistry. My research articles were published in top international science journals, and I presented my work at international and national conferences, including the prestigious Indian Science Congress of 2001. I completed my PhD in 2004 and dedicated it to my mentor, SGI President Daisaku Ikeda. He encouraged me with the message, “to the most promising scientist of India”. At that moment, I made a determination to never give up and become the most outstanding scientist.
I moved to Mumbai as a senior research fellow in a prestigious university. Despite a lot of politics at my workplace, I could do ground-breaking research and received the coveted Lucid Research Award.
Studying President Ikeda’s annual peace proposals inspired me to consider working in the field of sustainable development. I started focusing on developing products that would be eco-friendly, affordable and would create livelihoods.
At the same time, I got an opportunity to move into a different department in my university, which turned out to be my first step towards work in the field of sustainable development. My proposal of building an independent center in my university for carbohydrate research came through. The center, one of its kind in Asia, was established in 2011. It was at this center that I started my work on biodegradable alternatives to plastics, which are the foremost cause of pollution in the world. One of my research works was selected for a prestigious international conference in the US and was highly appreciated by everyone present and eventually resulted in several joint projects.
Personally, I lost 4 family members, but undeterred I continued to create causes for the happiness of others basing myself on my mentor’s writings. As I focused on others’ happiness, my own life expanded and I could conduct more than 40 webinars with leading International and National scientist, government officials.
Today, I head the Institute of Phytomedicine and Phytochemistry in my university. I was able to invent more than 60 technologies that are eco-friendly and pro-human, and I could also get 16 granted patents.
Besides this, I have also been selected as an expert for the Europe Science Foundation. Recently, the Dean of Massachusetts Institute of Technology compared my work with the work being done in Harvard.
Not only this, but the prestigious world-famous Royal Society of Chemistry, United Kingdom, honored me as a Fellow for my efforts which have made an impact in the field of chemical sciences, making me one of the elite-few in India to have received this honor.
I have continued to teach because it has always brought me great joy. President Ikeda says, “I firmly believe that every young person has the power within him or her to change the world. It is the role of those who teach to believe in that power, to encourage and release it.” Basing myself on this guidance by my mentor, I encourage my students — postgraduate and doctoral — by giving them hope and encouragement. All my students love, cherish and treasure me; my achievements encourage them. Many are now leading scientists and scholars in universities both in India and abroad.
I am now considered one of the best scientists in my field internationally for my patents, technology transfers and novel innovations. I am also on many international and national panels and advisory boards. At present, I am also working on a dictionary of chemistry being developed by the Government of India. I am determined to be an educator who will help to empower students to uncover their mission despite all odds.