Dr Jiban Krishna Biswas is the Director General of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI). However, he is more renowned as a columnist who writes regularly about BRRI in different newspapers. Over the years he has written and published more than four hundred articles including scientific and popular ones in his credit related to rice research in addition to some books, which is a big accomplishment for a working scientist. Connecting BRRI with the mass media and wider audiences home and abroad is his mission as he is equally conversant in both Bangla and English.
Subjects of his writing usually evolve around the achievements of BRRI and human interest sides of its scientists and other staff members. Whenever editors ask for a readable item, he can produce it almost instantly in a single sitting. Dealing with enormous pressures inside-out, he can deliver well written matters even while staying in severe time constraints. Dedicating much of his waking hours to a lap top computer he is always ready to write about his personal world which is invariably rice centred.
"Dr Biswas is a very good scientist. In addition, he has a rare virtue of writing spontaneously about BRRI and it has provided him with a distinguished identity in the scientific arena of the National Agricultural Research System of the country", said Dr B A A Mustafi, former Director of BRRI.
"It will be difficult to find any other scientist who has such a large number of popular articles. Because of these write-ups Dr Biswas has become a well known campaigner of the institute", added Dr Mustafi.
Internationally renowned researcher Dr Moin-us-Salam, who is settled in Australia as a senior scientist, also holds such a view. "Undoubtedly Dr Biswas' credential as a physiologist is praise worthy. However, his writing endeavours to put forward BRRI is extraordinary in the sense that it is dedicated to a mission to attract attention of the world community to an institute that has had a great contribution in protecting public health as well as food security", pointed out Dr Salam.
Dr Biswas is also playing significant role in promoting rice science in Bangladesh. As the DG of a big research institute he has to deal with many problems regularly. But that could not be a barrier to his creative pursuit so far. He writes every day. Taking notes and turning them into articles for publication has become a good habit for him.
Dr Biswas says "I cannot stop writing, even though I have to be busy with other things. Dealing with different administrative problems, meeting people and searching for solutions sometimes give me extra edge and insights for writing".
He believes that BRRI has the achievements that deserve Nobel Prize or equivalent recognition. Even though the institute has got 16 national and international awards including Bangabandhu and the Independence Day awards, IRRI Plaque of Honour and the like, Dr Biswas is not complacent. Explaining the reason behind his continuous writing he said, "Protecting a nation of around one hundred and sixty million people from a famine like catastrophe is a big deal. BRRI has done it so gracefully over the last four decades. Now it is our duty to focus it in its full gamut to the world community."
Anyway Dr Biswas is not alone. Dan W Mozena, the US ambassador to Bangladesh also has the same praise-choked mood about BRRI. In mid-April 2013 in a visit to BRRI he remarked, "The spectre of famine in Bangladesh has gone ? and I believe never to return. In fact, Bangladesh confronts a different challenge today ? rice surplus". The godowns are overflowing with rice, and the farmers are complaining that the surplus is undercutting paddy prices. Bangladesh may need to export more rice. In an important sense, these are good problems to have. Certainly, Bangladesh was once widely described as an international basket case, but today's Bangladesh is different. How has the scenario changed so drastically in just four decades? How has the world's most densely populated country (except from a few city states and island nations) found itself on a path to food self-sufficiency, likely within the next decade? One must acknowledge BIRRI's contribution to answer these questions.r
The writer is Technical Editor and Head, Publications and Public Relations Division of Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI)