Dr. Shyam Sunder Lal Pradhan, a doyen among entomologists, during his professional career of 33 years brought Entomology and Plant Protection Science to the forefront of agricultural researchin India. His contributions to fundamental aspects of insect toxicology, insect physiology, neem research and periodicity of locusts are evident from his publications. Dr. Pradhan was the first to visualise the country’s need for integrated pest management instead of the conventional method of chemical control alone, which though successful at that time had started showing adverse effects. He considered crop protection as the umbrella under which all other branches of agriculture thrived.
He joined Indian (then Imperial) Agricultural Research Institute in 1940. He became the first Professor of Entomology in 1958 and very soon after the Head of Division in 1962 and continued till 5th of February 1973 when he left the mortal world a few months before his scheduled superannuation.
Dr. Pradhan was a gifted teacher anddrew up the curricula for M.Sc. and Ph.D. courses of the Institute. Many of his students, eminent entomologists themselves, remember the lucidity and clarity of his lectures. Dr. Pradhan guided the research work of 65 students (45 for diploma of Associate, IARI; 1 for M.Sc. and 19 for Ph.D. degrees) in the discipline of Entomology. His popularity as a teacher could be illustrated from the fact that besides his specialised lectures in fields of ecology, toxicology and pest management, the basic course of Introductory Entomology wherein he taught dominance of insects attracted students of not only Entomology but other disciplines as well.
His research papers numbering over 200 and his booksentitled“Insect Pests of Crops”,published by National Book Trust in 1969, and “Agricultural Entomology and Pest Control”,published by Indian Council of Agricultural Research in 1983, still remain valuable for agricultural scientists.His success story will continue to encourage Plant Protection Scientists of the country for generations to come.
To remember his contribution to Indian Entomology, a corpus fund was built with contributions from individual entomologists, his family and well-wishers. As part of Golden Jubilee year of Country's Independence, Division of Entomology started Dr. S. Pradhan Memorial Lecture series. Till now several eminent entomologists have delivered this prestigious lecture.