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Dr. Sanjoy Kumar Pal


IVRI Bareilly

IVRI Bareilly
Izzatnagar 1990

I had a keen interest to pursue my higher education and get a PhD. degree. However, I knew that it was not possible to do that from the place where I was doing my masters i.e., Barkatullah University, Bhopal. In our MSc. class we had 8 students and only one or two could be accommodated for PhD. in the department. Getting fellowship was another important factor. In March of 1987 there was an excursion trip to Pantnagar University from our department. Thanks to our senior Dr. Rajat Saxena who was doing his PhD. in Pantnagar made all the arrangement for this trip. On our way to Pantnagar we visited Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), and Central Avian Research Institute (CARI) in Izatnagar. Both the institutes were very beautiful and huge with many departments. We were informed that every year an entrance exam [written exam plus interview] was conducted by institute for the Masters and Doctoral program admission. As it was a veterinary institute for post graduation studies, hence, graduation in veterinary science was essential. However, there were certain subjects like biotechnology, animal genetics, biochemistry, economics, and biostatistics where non veterinarians were also considered. Moreover, there was fellowship for students who are admitted in the institute. I made up my mind that I will take the entrance exam. So when our MSc. results was declared and all my batch mates were trying for for PhD. admission in various universities I made up my mind that I will only try for IVRI. There is no point for all of us trying at one place. So I was the only person from our group to appear for the entrance exam of IVRI conducted in Izzatagar. There were about 35 peoples who took the entrance test, out of which 10 people were to be selected for ‘Animal Genetics & Breeding’ department [5 each for Animal Breeding and Animal Genetics]. There were some students who have done their MVSc or MSc from IVRI, for them exam was just a formality. I was competing in Animal Genetics, in which 3 seats was already occupied by IVRI students. However, I was lucky to be considered in last two seats. 

When I came to Izzatnagar for the entrance exam a person who later became my good friend Dr. Gyanendra Gaur helped me immensely. He gave first hand information about the exam and more importantly how to face the interview. As the director of the institute Dr. P N Bhat will be in the interview board himself. Getting through him was a tough job. As I was from non veterinary background so I was very nervous about the interview. Though I could not answer all the questions asked to me in the interview, anyway I could just manage. From our MSc batch I was the only person to get selected in a National Institute.

After taking admission in IVRI my life turned into a mess. First, I was not used to the trimester system that was followed here; we had exams almost every week. Next the cafeteria food of the hostel was very oily & spicy that made me sick. I was unable to adapt to the new system fast as a result my first trimester results was very bad. All my friends thought that I will not be able to cope up and complete my course work. For getting PhD in IVRI you have to completing one year course work then clear comprehensive exams in you major and minor subjects [in my case it was biochemistry and Livestock Production & Management] and then do research as partial fulfilment for your doctoral degree requirement. One of my batch mate Mr. Sandeep Srivastava who could not adjust to this life left and joined U.P. civil services. 
However, I decided not to quit, I started to cook my own food and started reading extensively on subject matter and related topics. Two of my batch mates Dr. Sanjeev Kumar and Dr. Vishesh Saxena helped me immensely to cope up with course work. They were both veterinarian and quite senior to me. However, we all were doing our PhD. together. After, about a year and half, I could complete all the requirements so that my research work could start. I was allotted to the head of my department Dr. R N Mishra, however, he was a person from animal breeding and was not having a proper lab. As I have to work on genetics, so I had to change my guide. I then opted for Dr. Harpreet Singh working at CARI as my guide. I was his first PhD student; he was having a small decent lab that was not in regular use for sometime. However, we gradually made the lab functional and started to work on biochemical polymorphism of guinea fowl. Next, Dr. Vishesh Saxena also joined the lab and we both started working together on guinea fowl. Dr. Vishesh was first to complete his research work. I took a little longer time as I had a limited experience of thesis writing. Anyway, after almost 3 years after starting research work I could finally submit my thesis. Prof. A K Banerjee of Pantnagar was my external examiner. He critically examined my thesis and asked me many questions. I could answer all of them confidently. There was no major correction in my thesis so it was accepted without any modification. Prof. Banerjee just returned from his foreign assignment from Ethiopia. He told us many interesting facts about Ethiopia and Haramaya University where he served for two years.  

Apart from studies two things that I enjoyed at IVRI was playing badminton and cricket. In fact I was the badminton champion of the institute consecutively for 4 years.  

Pictures of IVRI, Izzatnagar