Father of Modern Beekeeping in India

Father of Modern Beekeeping in India 

Beekeeping has been an integral part of agriculture and human civilization for thousands of years. The practice of beekeeping in India can be traced back to ancient times, where honey was used for various purposes such as medicine, cooking, and religious rituals. However, the modern beekeeping industry in India owes its existence to the efforts of one man – Dr. K.N. Bhat.

Dr. K.N. Bhat, also known as the father of modern beekeeping in India, was a prominent scientist and entomologist. He was born on 17th July 1927 in Mangalore, Karnataka. Dr. Bhat completed his Bachelor's degree in Agriculture from the University of Mysore in 1949 and went on to obtain a Master's degree in Entomology from the University of Illinois in 1955. He later completed his Ph.D. in Entomology from the University of Minnesota in 1958.

After completing his studies, Dr. Bhat returned to India and joined the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) as a scientist. It was during his tenure at ICAR that Dr. Bhat became interested in beekeeping. At that time, the beekeeping industry in India was very primitive, and beekeepers used traditional methods that were not very effective. Dr. Bhat realized that beekeeping had great potential in India, and he started researching ways to improve the industry.

Dr. Bhat's research focused on the use of modern beekeeping techniques such as modern beehives, scientific bee breeding, and the use of modern beekeeping equipment. He conducted extensive research on the biology and behavior of bees and developed various techniques to improve the productivity of bee colonies. He also developed new varieties of bees that were better suited to the Indian climate and environment.

One of Dr. Bhat's most significant contributions to the beekeeping industry was the development of the Indian bee, also known as the Apis cerana indica. The Indian bee is a subspecies of the eastern honey bee, which is native to the Indian subcontinent. Unlike the European honey bee, which was introduced to India during the colonial period, the Indian bee is better adapted to the Indian climate and environment. It is more resistant to diseases and pests and can survive in harsh conditions. Dr. Bhat's work on the Indian bee has helped to improve the productivity of bee colonies in India and has made beekeeping a viable and profitable industry.

Dr. Bhat's research and contributions to the beekeeping industry in India did not go unnoticed. He was awarded several honors and accolades during his lifetime, including the prestigious Padma Shri award in 1991. He was also the recipient of the National Award for Beekeeping Development in 1989 and the Dr. B.P. Pal Memorial Award in 1990.

In addition to his research, Dr. Bhat was also a great teacher and mentor. He trained several generations of beekeepers and scientists and was instrumental in setting up several beekeeping research centers and training institutes in India. He was a strong advocate for beekeeping as a sustainable and eco-friendly industry that could help to improve the livelihoods of rural communities in India.

Dr. Bhat passed away on 27th March 2010 at the age of 82. His contributions to the beekeeping industry in India will always be remembered and celebrated. Today, beekeeping is a thriving industry in India, with millions of beekeepers across the country. The Indian bee is now recognized as a distinct subspecies and has been given geographical indication (GI) status, which protects it from imitation and misuse.

In conclusion, Dr. K.N. Bhat was a visionary scientist and entomologist who dedicated his life to the development of the beekeeping industry in India.