My friend Mr Haldane

There have been few Indian scientists of the stature or calibre of J B S Haldane. We can indeed claim him as ours- he moved here in the 1950's and took up Indian citizenship... and what counts, participated in full measure and much as he did in Britain, as a fierce opponent of humbug, scientific and social! He had many admirable qualities- he was a brilliant scientist who worked right to the end, committed to the cause. As many have noted, among them Vigyan Prasar, there have been few popularizers of science of his calibre.

A pioneer biologist, biochemist and geneticist, Haldane helped provide the mathematical foundation for Darwin's theory of natural selection. A professed Marxist, and as chairman of the editorial board of the Daily Worker (the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of Great Britain) he wrote a large number of popular science articles, with a view of making it accessible to ordinary workers. Many of these essays were later collated into books, and these have now been reprinted. My friend Mr Leakey is, of course a children's classic, and whats even nicer, has many touches of India in it....

Both Everything Has A History and My friend Mr Leakey are available from Vigyan Prasar, as are a number of other classics (including Darwin's Autobiography). Its VP's mandate, of course, but by now they have over 100 titles. The Haldane titles cost Rs 45 and Rs 40... These, like almost anything from Vigyan Prasar, are amazingly good bargains.