Thiru TR Baalu, Minister, Environment and Forests, presented the first Janaki Ammal National Award for Taxonomy to Prof M S Jairajpuri, Vice Chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad in a function held on 11th April, 2000 at New Delhi.
Taxonomy is the science of identification, classification and naming of organisms. Taxonomic work involves study of morphological characteristics and phylogenetic relationship of organisms which is essential for applied biological sciences including medicine, agriculture, forestry and fisheries. Current requirements of taxonomic work and available expertise and studies indicate a dire need to encourage excellence and motivate experts to do work in hitherto neglected groups of organisms e.g. microbes, lower groups of plants, animals etc.
In order to encourage work of excellence in taxonomy and also to encourage young students and scholars to work in this science, the Ministry has instituted a National Award in Taxonomy, named after the late Prof. E K Janaki Ammal, an eminent botanist of International repute.
Professor Mohammad Shamim Jairajpuri has made notable and very substantive contributions in the field of Nematology. Nematodes constitute a highly diversified group of invertebrate animals occurring in all biotopes. Commonly called roundworms, nematodes are parasitic or free-living worms. These are not only important from biodiversity point of view, but are also of immense economic importance from agricultural point of view. The monumental work of Prof. Jairajpuri has immensely contributed to the systematics, structural, behaviourial, developmental biology and the biological control of nematodes. He has discovered over 500 new species and about 100 new genera of nematodes. Prof. Jairajpuri has been a prolific researcher and author. His publications include five monographs, seven books and over 300 research papers published in reputed national and international journals. He is amongst the pioneer scientists in the country who have initiated studies on plant-parasitic nematodes. His work led to the understanding of biological control of the nematodes pests, thereby contributing to an increase in agricultural productivity.
Prof. Jairajpuri was presented a cash prize of Rs.50,000 and a citation.