Book Release


Chintan Book Release Invitation E

A Visit to Poladpur


Savitri River 1

Poladpur is a town situated at the foothills of the Sahyadri mountains, in Raigad district of Maharashtra state in India. The river Savitri originating from the hill station of Mahabaleshwar, comes down to Poladpur and then flows into the Arabian Sea at Bankot.  

On the banks of the Savitri is an old tombstone which has withstood the passage of time and the fury of floods. The inscription on the grave reads: “In memory of the Rev Donald Mitchell, first missionary of the Scottish Missionary Society in India. He left the Bombay Army of which he was a commissioned officer, to become a preacher of the gospel to the benighted inhabitants of this country, but he was removed from the chosen sphere of this work of faith within the first year of his ministerial service. He died at this village on the 20th November 1823.”

The death of Rev Donald Mitchell in Poladpur was not in vain. In 1895, my grandfather, Hari Govind Kelkar, following the commandment of Lord Jesus, set up an ashram there for leprosy patients who had been abandoned by society. Later, his work was taken over by the Leprosy Mission.

In 1954, a church was founded in Poladpur and it has just completed 60 years. On 2 November 2014, there was a special service to mark the occasion. I had the opportunity to visit Poladpur and join in the worship and also to lay flowers on Mitchell’s grave. Here are some pictures.  

The church at Poladpur:

Poladpur Church 1   Poladpur Church 2

Rev Daniel Raj conducting the worship service:

Poladpur Church 3   Poladpur Church 4

Rev Donald Mitchell’s grave:

Donald Mitchell Grave 1   Donald Mitchell Grave 2   Donald Mitchell Grave 3

Poinsettias in Panchgani

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Poinsettias are popular Christmas decorations in homes, churches, offices, and elsewhere. On 2 November 2014, I had the opportunity to worship at St Peter’s Church in Panchgani, a hill station in Maharashtra. The church compound was full of poinsettia flowers, signifying that the Christmas season was fast approaching and we should be focusing our thoughts on the birth of the Lord Jesus. Here are a few pictures I took there. Click to enlarge.

St Peter's Church, Panchgani     Panchgani Poinsettia 1     Panchgani Poinsettia 2

Panchgani Poinsettia 3     Panchgani Poinsettia 4     Panchgani Poinsettia 5

Who is Nilofar?

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“Who is Nilofar?” was a question raised in the Sindh Assembly on 28 October 2014. The interesting debate that followed can be watched on this YouTube video:


Where are you going, Nilofar?

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nilofar track

The Kalpana-1 image of 26 October 2014 (2345 UTC) shows Cyclone Nilofar over the Arabian Sea. The graphic shows the cyclone track of the US Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Centre, Hawaii, as of 26 October 2014 (2100 UTC). 

This is a reminder from nature that not all cyclones are like Phailin or Hudhud. Many cyclones do not follow well-drawn paths that can be predicted 4 days in advance.

Nilofar’s track shows twists and turns. It has been moving slowly, keeping safe distance from all coasts. No one knows for sure where it would eventually make landfall or whether it may dissipate over the sea itself. In the present situation, whom can you warn and what can be the warning?

Nilofar, it seems to me, is deciding its own destiny!


Marathi Article about Cyclone Hudhud

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A Marathi article on Cyclone Hudhud was published in the Manthan supplement of the newspaper Lokmat on 19 October 2014. To read the article in pdf format click on the link below.

Ranjan Kelkar Manthan Article Cyclone

Remembering Dr O. N. Dhar


O N Dhar

Eminent hydrometeorologist, Dr Omkar Nath Dhar, passed away on 7 October 2014 at his residence in Pune. He was 91.

Born on 22 February 1923 in Srinagar, he had his early education there. He did his M. Sc. in Physics with specialization in Electronics from Lucknow University in 1944 and received his Ph. D. degree in hydrometeorology from Jadavpur University, Kolkata, in 1976.

Dr Dhar initially worked as a lecturer in Physics at DAV College, Jalhandar, in 1944-45. He joined the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in March 1945 at Pune and was later posted at the Radiosonde Laboratory at IMD, New Delhi.

In March 1947, Dr. Dhar was deputed to the Central Water Commission (CWC), New Delhi. While at the CWC, he was sent to Nevada University, USA, to work with Dr. J. E. Church on snow surveying in the Himalayas.

Between 1947 and 1958, Dr. Dhar led as many as 12 expeditions to inaccessible regions of the Himalayas from Tehri Garhwal to Sikkim. This was for the purpose of snow surveying and installation of hydrometeorological observatories under the Flood Control and Flood Forecasting Scheme of the Government of India.

In 1965, Dr. Dhar joined the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune. The following year, he visited the US Weather Bureau under the UNDP Fellowship Program for training in hydrometeorology.

From 1982 to 1986, Dr. Dhar served as a Local Consultant to the World Bank at its Regional Office at New Delhi. In 1987, he worked as a member of the World Bank Review Team on Hydrometeorology and was also a member of the Dam Safety Panel for Karnataka State.

Although Dr. Dhar retired as Assistant Director, Climatology and Hydrometeorology Division, IITM, in 1983, he continued his scientific work there as an Honorary Emeritus Scientist almost to the end. During his long career he published as many as 300 scientific papers, of which 100 were written after his retirement.

In recognition of his pioneering contribution to the science and profession of meteorology, Dr Dhar was conferred with the Fellowship of the Indian Meteorological Society in 2001. In 2013, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of the CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute and Association of Hydrometeorologists of India.

(Based on inputs from Dr Sunil Peshin, IMD, New Delhi and Dr Gufran Beig, IITM, Pune.)

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