Giridih, Dec. 1: The scientific world is waiting with bated breath for December 16 when President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam will prise open an iron chest belonging to Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose. The box has been lying closed for over 60 years.
For long, scientists have been debating over what could be hidden in the box, which is 3-foot long, 2-foot wide and 1.5-foot deep.
Time has taken its toll on the chest, whose surface has become frayed and rusty. The manufacturer’s name can hardly be read but one can make out it is a European company.
Bose, who had proved that plants responded to pain and suffering much like human beings, often visited Giridih, whose large Bengali community gave him a warm welcome everytime he came, and stayed there for a few weeks every year from 1930 to 1937. He died in the scenic mining town on November 23, 1937.
The “mystery box”, said to be an asset of the great scientist, is kept in a hall on the left side of Shanti Nivas, a century-old small building in Barganda where Bose stayed during his trips here.
The building also houses the office of the J.C. Bose Memorial Science Centre. Though the land registry department officials could not confirm it, elders of the town said the house may have belonged to Justice Anant Nath Mitra, a close relative of Sir Jagadish.
Since Bose carried out much of his research from the house in Giridih, scientists believe the chest could contain documents and papers which could shed light on aspects of his work. It was in Giridih that Bose invented the Crescograph, which can magnify the movement of plants by a factor of 10 million. The sketch made by him remains one of the prize possessions of the memorial centre here.
Some believe that the box could contain papers relating to his study on radio waves. Italian scientist Marconi is attributed with the discovery, but efforts are on within the scientific community to give Bose the credit for having pioneered the work.
So far, the chest lay in a remote corner of the hall, uncared for, a lone unarmed sentry its only protector. The deputy secretary of education, who is also in charge of the science centre, has acted only after the announcement of the President’s programme. The district administration has also taken the initiative to beef up the security of the building.
Besides taking the lid off the secret box, Kalam, himself a scientist, will pay tribute to Bose at the centre.
The students of B.N. Saha DAV Public School are more excited than anyone else because they are going to meet the country’s first citizen, who is know to adore children. Masoodul Hasan, a Class VII student, said: “We are very eager to meet him. We want to show him some of our best work of art. We have organised a cultural programme for him.”