Shankar Puroshattam Agharkar obtained his PhD degree (1919) from the University of Berlin, Germany. His specialization was in Plant Morphology. He was Ghosh Professor of Botany (1920-47), University of Calcutta; and Founder Director (1946-60) of Maharashtra Association for the Cultivation of Science.
Academic and Research Achievements: A well-known morphologist, Agharkar made critical observations on teratologial phenomena in the plant kingdom. He recorded abnormalities in many flowers like Musa superba on the basis of an examination of over 2600 flowers. Initiating embryological studies on Carica papaya, he showed that the monoecious and dioecious forms of papaya have a similar development of embryo-sac. He also conducted cytological studies on the variation in chromosome numbers in Musaceae. His main contribution to Indian botany was to stop the transfer, ostensibly for safe keeping, of rare type specimens from Calcutta herbarium to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London. His name is commemorated in two flowering plants (Dicraea agharkarii and Musa agharkarii), one fungus (Mitrula agharkarii) and one centipede (Cryporrhyptops agharkarii).
Other Contributions: Agharkar served as Editor of Journal of the Indian Botanical Society and Editorial Advisor for Current Science and Science and Culture.
Awards and Honours: Agharkar was honoured with Professor Albert Seward Memorial Lectureship by Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeobotany (1955). He was a Member of Indian Botanical Society (President, 1923). President, Botany Section of Indian Science Congress (1924) and received Indian Science Congress Medal of Asiatic Society (1934). He was also a Member of Indian Society of Soil Science (Honorary Secretary, 1935-40); Botanical Society of Bengal (President, 1940-45); Indian Ecological Society (President 1940-45); Asiatic Society (Secretary, 1943-45; Vice-President, 1945-46); Brihan Maharashtra Parishad (President, 1943) and Maharashtra Sahitya Parishad, Pune. Agharkar was Secretary (1935-44) and Vice-President (1945, 1956-57) of INSA.