Daulat Singh Kothari: The Story of an Exceptional Educationist and Scientist

Daulat Singh Kothari was an eminent Indian scientist and great educator. He is highly regarded for his contributions to the entire spectrum of Indian education from primary to university level.

He has an important role in forming many organizations such as University Grants Commission (UGC)

Early life

Daulat Singh Kothari was born on July 6, 1906 in the city of Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. He was the son of a school teacher, Shri Fateh Lal Kothari. Daulat lost his father at the early age of 12. His father died in the plague epidemic of 1918 and was raised by his mother.


In 1922 DS Kothari completed his high school education from Maharana Shivajirao High SchoolIndore, MP

After completing his matriculation, he came back to Udaipur and joined an intermediate college. In 1924 he passed his intermediate exams and he stood first in the Rajputana Board. He also received distinctions in physics, chemistry and mathematics.

After his exceptional performance in his graduations, he was awarded a scholarship of Rs 50 per month for completing his studies from Maharaja of Mewar.

In 1926, he completed his bachelor's degree in physics from Allahabad University.

In 1928 he passed away Civil engineer in Physics from Allahabad University under the guidance of a distinguished physicist Meghnad Saha.

After working for two years as a protester, he went to England to get his doctorate. It became possible because the United Province State Government gave him an interest free loan of Rs 3500/- as he did not want to make his family suffer after his resignation.

In 1930 he sailed to England. He was also awarded a Ph.D University of Cambridge, England under the supervision of Ernest Rutherfordto which he was recommended by his mentor Meghnad Saha.


After obtaining his PhD from Cambridge University, England, Daulat Singh Kothari came back to India and joined Allahabad University as a protester.

In 1934, DS Kothari joined Delhi University as Reader and Head of the Physics Department.

At that time Delhi University used to function in a rented building. The university provided education only up to the bachelor's degree.

DS Kothari made necessary changes like upgrading the laboratories and the university shifted to Viceregal Lodge Estate. The university also decided to expand the education up to civil engineering level.

Kothari was appointed Professor of Physics in 1942 and took on the task of establishing the Physics Department.

Kothari's great work even caught the attention of Einstein, he advised Kothari: “Maintain good camaraderie and work with love and without preconceived ideas and you will be happy and successful in your work.”

Many prominent figures like PMS Blackett, Niels Bohr, PAM Dirac, P. Kapitza, MN Saha, KS Krishnan often visited the university and their visits added to the prestige of the university.

In 1936 he was unanimously elected secretary of the library committee, a position he held until 1943.

Kothari played a very important role in improving the university library. He realized how important a library is to young minds, without a library no research can be done.

He organized everything Library Conference of India at University of Delhi.

He also invited SR Ranganatha, who is considered the father of library science in our country. To suggest a better reorganization of the library.

He also appointed Dr. SR Das Gupta was the first university librarian and he was sent to Madras University to be trained for the job.

In 1948 DS Kothari was appointed scientific advisor to Ministry of Defence.

The Indian government also invited PMS Blacket to advise them in organizing defense science in India.

Blacket and Kothari have a history of working together in the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge under the direction of Ernest Rutherford.

During the Second World War, PMS Blacket had played a very important role in organizing Britain's defense science.

One of Kothari's colleagues, Nagaratam wrote this to appreciate him for his contribution to defense science in India.

“In giving direction and coherent shape to the Defense Science Organisation, Professor Kothari had no precedents to follow. It is a tribute to his clear thinking and visionary foresight that he unerringly identified thrust areas of relevance in the country's geopolitical (both then existing and expected future) context.
Furthermore, there were no ready-made specialists in any of these disciplines in the country. He carefully selected through personal contact, scientists (mainly from universities) who had the necessary interest, ability and competence.
He personally guided them to develop these disciplines on sound lines. He himself spared no effort to master all these areas (most of which were new to him). He organized weekly seminars on relevant topics and made it a point to actively participate in each of them, especially encouraging the younger researchers. He believed in humble beginnings and natural growth.

APJ Abdul Kalam in his latest book, Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power Within India. wrote: “Dr. DS Kothari, a professor at Delhi University, was an eminent physicist and astrophysicist.
He is well known for the ionization of matter by pressure in cold compact objects such as planets. This theory is complementary to the epoch-making theory of thermal ionization by his guru, Dr. Maghnad Saha.
Dr. DS Kothari created a scientific tradition in Indian defense tasks when he became Scientific Adviser to the Defense Minister in 1948. The first thing he did was to establish the Defense Science Center for research in electronic materials, nuclear medicine and ballistic science.

He is considered the architect of defense science in India. We are celebrating this great mind through a chair research at the Indian Institute of Science”.

1961, the The University Grants Commission appointed Kothari as its new chairman.

He introduced various activities in his colleges and universities for overall development of students. He believed that education is the future of this country.

Description of a university in Kothari's words

“A university is a community of teachers and students dedicated to the pursuit of learning. It is above all an abode of ideas and idealism. And the contribution that the universities and colleges of our country will or can make to meet the great challenge of our time will be in direct proportion to their being and becoming, in pursuit of their true ideals, places where there is freedom to question boldly and readiness to doubt boldly, where knowledge and understanding and true humility come together and grow more and more, and where the highest standards of science, integrity and conduct are expected, respected and cultivated.”

Kothari was the Chairman of the Indian Education Commission 1964–66, popularly known as Kothari Commissionwhich was the first ad hoc commission set up in India for the modernization and standardization of education in India

Kothari loved the students of this country and had immense faith in the youth of the country and he worked all his life to improve our education system.

National Science Talent Search Program and the subsequent National Talent Search Program started by National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) originates from Kothari's vision.

Kothari's Nuclear explosions and their effects, jointly written with Homi J. Bhabhaconsidered a major contribution in the field of nuclear power, That book has been translated into many languages ​​and appreciated all over the world.

Under Daulat Singh Kothari as Scientific Advisor to the Ministry of Defence, the following laboratories were established:

  1. Institute of Armament Studies (later renamed Institute of Armament Technology), Pune.
  2. Naval Dockyard Laboratory (later renamed Naval Chemical and Metallurgical Laboratory), Mumbai.
  3. Indian Naval Physical Laboratory, Kochi
  4. Center for Fire Research, Delhi
  5. Solid State Physics Laboratory, Delhi
  6. Defense Food Research Laboratory, Mysore
  7. Defense Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, Chennai
  8. Directorate of Psychological Research, New Delhi
  9. Defense Electronics and Research Laboratory, Hyderabad
  10. Scientific Evaluation Group, Delhi
  11. Technical Ballistic Research Laboratory, Chandigarh


DS Kothari died of natural causes February 4, 1993 at age 86 in Delhi, India.

Awards and recognitions

  • In 1963 DS Kothari was elected president of Indian Science Congress at its golden jubilee session.
  • He was elected president of Indian National Science Academy in 1973.
  • His research on statistical thermodynamics and his Theory of White Dwarf Stars gave him an international reputation.
  • Padma Bhushan was awarded to him in 1962.
  • He got too Padma Vibhushan in 1973.
  • He was also listed as one “Proud Past Alumni” of “Allahabad University Alumni Association.
  • In 2011, the Post Office issued a commemorative stamp in his honour.
  • He was assigned The Atmaram Award 1990 by the Central Directorate of Hindi, Ministry of Human Resource Development.
  • One of the research hostels of Delhi University (North Campus) bears his name.

So that was a brief biography of Daulat Singh Kothari.

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