A Decade with efloraofindia
I am an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences in the G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology Pantnagar where the main stream is Agriculture. We are fortunate here to have a college of Basic Science & Humanities wherein the independent departments of basic sciences like Biological Sciences, Physics, Chemistry, Maths etc exist. We have a program of M.Sc. Botany and Ph.D. Botany in the department of Biological Sciences. Being a teacher, I have ample opportunities to teach and share whatever I know with good listening students. In fact I chose to be a teacher after serving as a state govt officer for about a decade.
My journey with ‘efloraofindia’ started suddenly when I received an email from Garg Ji inviting me to join the group in late 2012. I didn’t know what prompted him to invite me and how he located me? I was unaware of such groups on the net and had little knowledge of computers. Just following the inherent spirit of adventure, joined the group considering ‘see what happens’. Similar to my many trekking ventures in Uttarakhand this also proved worthy and memorable. I sent my first request for identification of a species of an uncommon Vicia species and got it identified. It encouraged me that I am at the right forum to discuss my identifications. Since then I have been posting my pics (though nowadays little active) with self determined identities, sometimes these are corrected by knowledgeable members/ experts. Despite practicing floristics since my M.Sc. days in 1987-89 I found many plants difficult to identify but these get identified easily in eFI. Association with the efloraofindia group has grown to about one decade long for me. This journey with eFI has been happy and satisfying- taking the help of others and sometimes helping others too. I was in fact surprised when I was asked to become moderator first and later as pillar. These are not simple responsibilities and I often shy away from such responsibilities considering the fact that the dedication required for such work is difficult to generate and the essential duties of a job allow limited time to invest in such volunteer work. This long association of learning with efloraofindia has made me its fan as well as its student. Now, when I go to any botanical tour it always lurks in the mind that what new I will find and share in the efloraofindia group. Collecting, photographing and sharing something rare or new has a pleasure of its own kind to me and probably all of us here.
I am now also a member of a few other plant related groups (mainly added by moderators) and understand that our group (efloraofindia group) is incomparable to these. Here we have members always seriously trying to reach the correct identity of a species as compared to other groups where people casually suggest the identities which many times are completely unrelated. Once in a group I tried to correct one id and received unwanted comments, consequently, I stopped commenting. Here in efloraofindia we suggest the ids and if these are wrong no one uses such comments and it gives a chance to learn. After all, no one is a perfect expert. The modesty seen here is amazing together with the apt interventions by the moderator.
I feel proud being a member, an ardent fan and student of efloraofindia group which is a ‘good teacher’ teaching Indian flora on the net. And who will not feel proud being a member of the largest pictorial database on Indian flora? I wish to see eFI as the complete database of flowering plants of India with all 21000 species (approximate number of flowering plants); a database of its own kind in the world where one can contribute, help others or ask for help, all free and amicably. To me eFI is the most successful Citizen Science endeavour in India.
I feel happy whenever a hard core taxonomist joins the group and enriches the pool of experts available in eFI. We need many more experts here to make it a high class referable repository by correcting all dubious identities.
To me eFI is such an indispensable resource that when I explain a flowering plant family in PG classes and share brief notes with students I never forget to share the link of the same family in eFI. This allows them to see a large number of species known in India.
The biggest benefit from efloraofindia group and eFI for me was the stimulus to start my own Google site eflorapantnagar where I have put a large number (though not all) of plants of Pantnagar for the benefit of my students and others interested in plants. It was not possible to start it without the support I got from Garg Ji and Dinesh Ji.
When eFI was a Google site I was trying to add information or do minor editing as was being done by many other members at that time but after its transfer to another server everything had to be managed by Garg Ji. I admire his zeal for this cause but somewhere in the corner of my heart I feel pain for not being able to share his work even for a minute task.
At the completion of 15 years of efloraofindia I congratulate the team eFI (esteemed outstanding contributors, the pillars, experts, moderators, major contributors and all the members) and bow my head to express awe to the ‘triveni’ of Garg Ji, ‘Saarthi ‘सारथि’ of eFloraofIndia’ and ‘Pitamah of eFloraofIndia’.
It is also the right time to reiterate my earlier words- hope we all, combined together by a thread of selfless service in eFI, reach to the remotest and last species of India and showcase it here!
Dharmendra Singh Rawat, Pantnagar
Thanks a lot, Rawat ji.
I remember long fruitful discussions we had (due to common interest in google sites) when Google asked us to migrate our site.
Reading your articles is sheer pleasure.
Very Well written narrative Rawat ji. Thanks for your contributions.
Posted it at the efloraofindia Facebook page.
Pl. give it wide publicity in Social media, by posting it in your profile/ groups/ Instagram etc.
You written a heart and mind touching account, Dr. Rawat ji
Very nice write-up sir.
Thank you … for going through these lines.