The Weatherman
MARWAR India|November - December 2020
Be it weather forecasting, or devising modern forecast methods, or dedicatedly serving the nation and mankind, eminent agrometeorologist and scientist Dr Laxman Singh Rathore has done it all with amazing mastery.
Joseph Rozario

For someone who started his life imbibing knowledge under a khejri tree in Rajasthan, Dr Laxman Singh Rathore has come a long way to earn renown and acclaim with his many contributions to both India and the world as a topnotch technocrat, agrometeorologist and scientist. Besides holding numerous prestigious positions, Dr Rathore’s contributions by way of application of weather and climatic information in various sectors, accurate forecasts of extreme weather events (like Phailin and Hudhud cyclones) and his role in devising a modern agrometeorological service continue to be reasons to celebrate his indomitable will to serve the nation and mankind at large.

Humble beginnings

Born in a farming family in Sukhwasi, Nagaur, Rajasthan, Laxman Singh Rathore’s early years were far from easy. His superior intellect and dedication, however, saw him overcome all impediments to carve both a name and status for himself in life. After passing out from Chopasani School in Jodhpur, he graduated from Bhupal Nobles College, Udaipur with first division and then acquired his master’s and doctoral degrees in Agriculture (Soil Science) from Rajasthan College of Agriculture, Udaipur, the latter with the help of a scholarship from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

While doing the final leg of his PhD, he appeared for the Civil Services Examination and got selected for Indian meteorological services, and with that began his lifelong association with meteorology in 1979. Looking back, Dr Rathore says, “We were a batch of 32 scientists, and I had topped the batch. I joined the India Meteorological Department as a meteorologist in 1980 and then joined the Ministry of Science and Technology in 1989 as Principal Scientific Officer. Subsequently, in 1994, I became ‘Director’ and headed the Application Division of the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting.”

Up the rungs of success

In 1983, Dr Rathore was chosen to head the meteorological team that was to be a part of the Third Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica. The primary objective of the expedition was to set up a permanent Indian station in Antarctica named ‘Dakshin Gangotri’. With the successful completion of the mission, Dr Rathore was glad that he had gained international exposure and valuable knowledge that gave a new dimension to his learning and understanding of weather and climatic conditions. Subsequently, he was trained at University of Pau, France and served as ‘Visiting Scientist’ at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA.

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