Agricultural Research Institute of Pusa-Bihar

IARI-The Imperial Agricultural Research Institute at Pusa in Bihar was founded on April 1, 1904. It was a Central Research Institute , where investigations were made into the higher problems dealing with soil fertility and kindred subjects, which were of general application to    the whole of India. It was founded in response to an insistent demand for the   prosecution of research in agriculture.                                                                                               
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The original building demolished in earthquake of 1934

The building of Imperial Agricultural Research Institute of PUSA-Photo taken in 1912
There was at Pusa the Phipps' Labora tory, a two-storied building, magnificently equipped with a laboratory for each branch of agricultural science ; and there was, in addition, a physical laboratory. The main building also included museums for the various sections herbaria and lecture-rooms. Bihar Earthquake in January,1934 was badly felt at Pusa and the worst victim was the massive Phipp's laboratory.

The Institutes at Pusa, started with a view to promote and improve the productive capacity of the country as inspired by the work done by the Rothamsted Experiment Station in England.

The post of the Inspector-General of
Agriculture in India was created in 1901, and its duties were, broadly speaking, defined as those of an " adviser in agricultural matters " both to the Government  of India and Local Governments. This central expert authority was appointed with a view to stimulate agricultural research and to guide and co-ordinate the efforts of those engaged in agricultural experiments in different parts of India. This was an essential step towards the more active prosecution of that policy of scientific and practical inquiry and experiment in agricultural matters on which so much stress had been laid by the Famine Commission of 1878, and the necessity for which was again emphasized by Dr. Voelcker, who was deputed in 1890 to advise on the best course to be adopted in order to effect improvements in Indian agriculture.

The Charity of Mr.Phipps

The provision of a fully equipped research laboratory, in which the agricultural experts could pursue their various inquiries, was under the consideration of the Government of India when Mr. Henry Phipps, an American gentleman, came forward with his munificent donation of £20,000 (subsequently raised to £30,000), to be devoted to whatever object of public utility ,if possible in the direction of scientific research,Lord Curzon, then Viceroy and Governor-General of India, might prefer.
Part of the donation was devoted to the construction of a " Pasteur Institute " at Coonoor, in Southern India and it was decided that the balance should be utilized in erecting a laboratory for agricultural research.

       The Government of India originally intended to locate the laboratory at Dehradun, where the Agricultural Chemist and Cryptographic Botanist were already stationed ; but at Dehradun it was found impossible to have a farm at hand where practical and scientific work could be carried out, and where the crops which were of most importance and require the closest investigation could be grown in the immediate neighborhood. Some other suitable locality was being sought when then Bengal Government submitted a scheme for the establishment of an agricultural station and experimental farm on the Government estate of Pusa, in then district of Darbhanga. This estate, first acquired by Government in the year 1796, was used as a stud farm until 1874, when for certain reasons horse-breeding   operations were abandoned and a part of the property was utilized as an experimental farm, special attention being paid to the growth and curing of tobacco. In 1877 it was leased to Messrs. Begg, Dunlop & Co., of Calcutta, as a tobacco estate and factory ; but they abandoned the enterprise in 1897, when the Bengal Government again took over the property.

It was then proposed by the Bengal
Government to start a cattle-breeding and dairy farm on this estate, and a scheme for this purpose was drawn up in 1899. Meanwhile, however, the question bf agricultural research in Bengal had come into prominence. Accordingly, proposals for establishing an Agricultural Research Station and College were added to the original scheme. 
The Government of India, on the receipt of these proposals, thought that such a station might be suitable for the Imperial Laboratory of Agricultural Research which they intended to establish.They therefore caused the relative merits of Pusa and Dehradun to be examined by a strongly 
constituted committee, and the opinion of that body was unanimously in favour of Pusa. With the full concurrence of then Government of Bengal, it was therefore decided to make Pusa the headquarters of the Imperial Agricultural Department, and to establish there the laboratories required by the experts, combining with there an 
experimental farm, an agricultural college, and a cattle farm for the improvement of the local breeds of cattle. The Institution was thus made an Imperial one, under the general supervision and control of the Inspector- General of Agriculture in India, who was also the Agricultural Adviser to the Government of India. 

The corner of the chemical Laboratory,A photograph of 1910       

Lord Curzon utilized the greater part of Mr. Phipps'  donation in the establishment of this Institute, and the main building, the foundation-stone of which was laid by the Viceroy on .April 1 1905, was called after its donor, the Phipps Laboratories at Pusa.

The idea of attaching to the Research Station an agricultural college grew out of the necessities of then Bengal. The Agricultural College at Sibpur was not successful, its situation being entirely unsuited to its purpose. There was no place in Bengal where a new college could be started with the advantage of an experimental farm in its neighborhood .

The Pusa Research Institute challenged comparison with any similar establishment in the East.
 It attracted annually increasing numbers of visitors. It had been well said that " no visitor to India who was interested in scientific agriculture should leave the country without seeing Pusa.". Pusa was situated in the heart of an intensive agricultural district. This was one of the reasons why Pusa was selected as the Central Research Station, and Mr. Coventry, an experienced indigo-planter and an extensive experimenter in agricultural problems, was selected as the first Director.

There was at Pusa the Phipps' Labora tory, a two-storied  building, magnificently  equipped with a laboratory for each branch of agricultural science ; and there was, in addition, a physical laboratory. The main building also included museums for the  various sections herb aria and lecture-rooms. Bihar Earthquake in January,1934. was badly felt at Pusa and the worst victim was the massive Phipp's   laboratory.                     
There was also a library, contain
ing the best and latest literature on all branches of agriculture and its allied science, numbering over 21,000 volumes, which were available for workers in the Provinces as well as at Pusa. Pot-culture houses and small outside laboratories had also been provided. There was an Insectary for rearing insects and studying their life history, together with a house for carrying out experiments in connection with the rearing of silkworms and the reeling of silk. The Institute was served with water power and has a gas and electric installation .
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