Dr. Darashaw Nosherwan Wadia was known as the “father of Indian Geology”. He was born on October 25, 1883, in Surat, Gujrat. He was the son of Nosherwan and Cooverbai Wadia. His family was traditionally involved in shipbuilding. Wadia completed his primary schooling in Surat. As a child, drawing interested him. His family settled in Vadodara (Baroda) when he was 12 years old. He continued his schooling there and went on to complete his graduate and post-graduate studies from vadodara College. At graduate level his subjects included biology and geology.
It was a time when geology and geological survey had not yet developed in India. In India, geological survey was established in 1851. A post-graduation degree in geology was only offered at Kolkata and Chennai Universities. Through reading, Wadia had developed an interest in geology and through self-study and introspection, he moved forward in this direction. In 1906, when he was just 23, he joined Jammu’s Mahatma Gandhi College (Prince of Wales College) as professor of geology. During Vacations, in the snow-clad Himalayas, he carried out underground research on minerals, stones and fossils. Gradually, his interest, study and research in the subject increased. He wrote a book titled Geological Science for the benefit of students. When the book was published, his fame in this field spread all over the country. In 1921, he resigned as professor of this college and joined the geological survey department of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) at the age of 38 years. At the institute too, the Himalayan region remained the centre of his research.
In 1938, at the age of 55, Wadia resigned from the GSI department and went to Sri Lanka. It was a time when the British ruled on India and Sri Lanka. The British government had appointed Dr. Wadia as the head of the Sri Lankan geological survey department. There he completed the task assigned to him and after appropriately training his colleagues, he returned to India. On his return, he joined the central government as director of land survey department and later served as director of Bureau of Mines- Minerals and Ores. After India’s independence, Wadia set about the task of promoting science. In the Atomic Energy Commission set up under the leadership of Dr. Homi Bhabha, he was made director of the department handling minerals. He was instrumental in holding the 22nd conference of the International Geological Congress in New Delhi, the first ever in India. Wadia presided over the function.