Not many know that Girish Sahni, who has made outstanding contributions to the process of understanding the formation of blood clot, had opted for science as a student just out of fear of mathematics. He has also devised ways to dissolve the clot using appropriate enzymatic machinery. HT highlights his journey from his joining IMTECH (Institute of Microbial Technology) in 1991 and becoming its director in 2005 till being appointed as director general of India’s largest research and development (R&D) organisation, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
How do you look back at your 24 years at IMTECH?
It was happening (laughs). I was able to do so many things as a scientist at this laboratory, from struggling with basic scientific questions to enjoying fruits of achievements. Then as a director of IMTECH, we brought many new things to the institute. But as a scientist you always wish to do so many things, which sometimes you remain unable to. Now I have reached a stage
where more than a scientist I look at my role to make the youth take up science research.
What will be your focus area?
We will work closely with the government’s new programmes, including Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and Digital India. The CSIR will help bring together different disciplines and help make inter-discipline collaborations realise the goal which these programmes have set. The new innovation by CSIR in this direction will be instrumental.
What will be your immediate task at CSIR?
To take some steps in direction to deliver what CSIR has promised with common people of this country. Though it will take some time for me to understand the entire system, I feel the immediate need is to focus on how to market our innovations. We were able to do that at IMTECH with cardiac clot busters.
What are the challenges before you?
The biggest challenge is how to transform scientific discoveries into public good. That is where the biggest opportunities also lie. Our innovation on cardiac clot busters is one such example.
When there is a lot debate going on in the country about mixing science with religion, how will you deal with such a situation?
There is no doubt that we have one of the richest heritages in the world. Mythology should not be dismissed as a farce. It represents truth. We should find whatever science is there is our heritage.
How do you look at your achievement?
More than an achievement, it is just another opportunity. It is just another stair to climb.