Hem Singh Pruthi obtained PhD (1925) and ScD (h.c.) from the University of Cambridge, UK. He was Assistant Professor, Agriculture College, Lyallpur; Officer-in-Charge, Entomology Division, Indian Museum, Kolkata (1925-34); Imperial Entomologist, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), Bihar and New Delhi (1934 and 1936-43) and Director, IARI, New Delhi (1944-45); Plant Protection Adviser, Government of India (1945), Ex-officio Director, Plant Protection and Quarantine Organization (now the Directorate of Plant Protection), Director, Locust Control (1946-53); and Professor of Entomology, Panjab University, Hoshiarpur (1954-69).
Academic and Research Achievements: Pruthi’s researches encompassed: (i) economic entomology, (ii) biological control of insect pests, (iii) termite research and control, (iv) pests of wheat, (v) damage potential of insects in sugarcane, (vi) pests of fruits and fruit trees, (vii) pests of oilseeds (cotton), (viii) taxonomic studies on homopterous group of insects, (ix) storage pests, and (x) desert locust control. His studies pointed to thrust areas of the entomological problems of India and abroad. Dr Pruthi’s major contribution for Indian Agriculture and farmer s was his sincere fight against desert locust. He waged a relentless war against this migratory international pest whose damage potential surpass all the known insect pests. Even during his prime old age, he remained very vigorous on locusts and roamed the terrible and inhospitable desert in ecstasy. In 1950, he published The Desert Locust Cycle of 1940-46 in India, its Progress and Control. A monumental work which included several new information on locust ecology and swarm migration to India in relation to meteorology. He also authored the publication Textbook of Agricultural Entomology (ICAR).
Other Contributions: Pruthi was responsible for organizing several entomological establishments of the Government of India. He served as Member of the INSA Council (1945-56, 1953-54, 1956) and was Chief Editor of the Indian Journal of Entomology.
Awards and Honours: Professor Pruthi won the OBE (Order of the British Empire) Award. He was elected Fellow of the Entomological Society of India (President, 1940, 1948-50); Secretary INSA (1947-52); and President, Zoology Section, Indian Science Congress (1940).