Now an ivy league PhD dedicated to Sachin

New York, Dec 26 : He is a master blaster of 22 yards who went on to become the first Bharat Ratna as a sportsperson. The other is a bright young Indian researcher in an ivy league US university whose playing field has been the world of microbiology. But the magic of cricket woven by Sachin Tendulkar became a muse for an ardent admirer from the laboratory of science.

Well, about a month after his retirement from international cricket the twain- sports and science- met with a PhD thesis now dedicated to Sachin Tendulkar, the great Indian cricketing maestro, by India-born Arnab De at Columbia University.

A life-long admirer of Tendulkar, Arnab De is graduating with a PhD from Columbia where he worked with internationally reputed Indian-American immunologist Prof. Sankar Ghosh (Silverstein and Hutt Family Professor and Chair of Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the Columbia University Medical Center).

During his PhD, Arnab, who is a Bengali originally from Kolkata, was involved in two high-profile projects. In the first, he developed a transgenic animal-model that could be used to potentially study cancer. In another, he discovered a previously unknown biological pathway that is essential to fight off infections caused by bacteria and viruses.

He said that he could easily have dedicated this to his parents who he thanked for the "privilege of life", or his wife Rituparna Bose, also a US university PhD teaching in City University of New York, for the "honor of love". However, he chose to dedicate this to the inspiration that has been Sachin Tendulkar.

Was it difficult to explain this decision in a country impassioned with baseball? ?Absolutely not?, he replies, "Americans honor excellence in sports, indeed excellence in any field as much as any other people. Quite frankly, that is why me, and I believe Dr. Ghosh is here today?." he says.

"Sachin Tendulkar is the greatest batsman of the post war era, and holds every record that we can imagine. However I do realize, that as important as sports is, other professions might be more important. For example, someone like Prof. C.N.R. Rao, a scientist who received the highest civilian honor from the Government of India, has made contributions at least as important as the great man himself.

"Hence, his cricketing achievements are not necessarily the reason I dedicate this thesis to him?. I dedicate this thesis to Tendulkar for the way he has inspired the Indian youth for the past 25 years," says De.

He goes on to explain, "India became free at the stroke of one midnight in 1947 and took around four decades to see dawn. 1989 is a monumental year in world history for a number of reasons. Perhaps fittingly, Sachin Tendulkar also walked out to the cricket field in 1989 and a billion people awoke from slumber and opened their eyes. His relentless passion inspired for the next 25 years, and the sun continues to shine to this day," says De.

"Just look at the rapid strides India has made since the 90s, and the confidence with which the Indian youth presents himself today to the world. Every young man from India has a shade of Sachin in him and this inspiration is arguably the greatest gift of Sachin Tendulkar," says De.

"I can assure you that several others would be happy to dedicate their work in different fields to Sachin for many reasons. I am just incredibly lucky to have this opportunity," says De modestly.

--IBNS (Posted on 26-12-2013)

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