KOHLI Commemorative EVENTS

Prem Nath Kohli, a truly Great man, who recognised the best in other religions including Christianity and Islam (rejecting the rabid anti-Islamic stance of some in his country). Scrupulously honest, never paying a bribe, setting an example for Indians to follow, even though this was to his disadvantage financially - always more of a Research Scholar than a businessman, he was dismayed by the levels of corruption he encountered; Chris Chadwell would like to feel the same applies to him and that any fair-minded person can see that the despicable BBC on-line article portraying him as a villain, really is just a 'pack of lies' by corrupt Nepalese journalist Navin Singh Khadka, spin-doctor and apologist for officials in Nepal who attempts to falsely blame foreigners (if he cannot squeeze in 'global warming') for all of that country's ills, which does great damage to his fellow countrymen, leading directly to their deaths - yes, he and the BBC have blood on their hands - though he is comfortably off, based abroad, so the troubles of Nepal's poor are of no concern of his, beyond pretending to care and showing off; it is long overdue that his antics were exposed ..... Chris can look himself in the mirror each morning.  Khadka and then Head of BBC World service who protected him when a formal complaint was made, Ms Unsworth, are contemptible and should be sacked - instead, the latter has been promoted and continues to be paid considerably more than the Prime Minister!  Our licence fee is certainly being used well!  Funny old world.  Watch this space as Chris is composing himself to expose the inexcusable extravagant endorsement of a fake plant conservation charity in India by a very, very, very famous person at the BBC, which has led to serious sums being donated to this farce - this person must be awfully gullible and ignorant...... Chris is not going to be popular when he reveals who this is.  The truth is we don't really like whistle-blowers in this country, so will be in for a rough ride.  We like to kid ourselves there is no wrong-doing or corruption in the UK.

2nd KOHLI COMMEMORATIVE EVENT (New Delhi, India, 2009)

First slide of Chris Chadwell's first ever digital presentation, as key-note speaker (he had been the speaker at the first Kohli Commemorative Event but using slides on that occasion); he was not using a digital camera at that time but scanned in digital images of his slides. Note were had (temporarily) expanded to become the 'Sino-Himalayan Plant Association'.

Display mounted by Chris Chadwell  ©  Vibha Dang

Namaste for old friends ©  Vibha Dang

Lighting ceremonial flame ©  Vibha Dang

Our society began as the 'Himalayan Plant Association', was expanded to become the 'Sino-Himalayan Plant Association' but none of the leading lights of plant exploration in the mountains of SW-China (which do not form part of the Himalaya) were interested in contributing; as Chris has never been to China, knows little about its flora and has hardly any reference books, he decided it made sense to return to its original name).

Biographical presentation about Kohli  ©  Vibha Dang

 Welcome address ©  Vibha Dang

Chris Chadwell, key-note speaker, Co-Founder and Editor, Himalayan Plant Association ©  Vibha Dang  - for an abridged version of his presentation see:

Chris delivering 'Flowers Fit for a Maharajah' lecture (his first ever digital presentation) ©  Vibha Dang

 Attentive audience - respected senior members of extended family at front  ©  Vibha Dang

Vote of thanks ©  Vibha Dang

Chris had brought copies of 'Wild Flowers of Kashmir' (Coventry, 1929), which were presented to each daughter of Kohli or their representatives
 ©  Vibha Dang


 I trust you will be informed by going through the images and some of the accompanying descriptions which explain a little about Prem Nath Kohli's contribution to the study, cultivation and conservation of Himalayan flora - he was genuine and raised concerns about conservation almost a century ago, decades before it became 'fashionable' to do so amongst governments, television presenters and royalty, who shed 'crocodile tears'.  Chris Chadwell cares deeply about the flora, environments and peoples of the Himalaya - as did Kohli.  The same cannot be said for journalists, institutions, governments and famous names...... Please read on to learn more and celebrate Kashmir's flora and its best ever plantsman, to whom the Himalayan Plant Association is dedicated, along with his daughter, Mrs Urvashi Suri. See: https://sites.google.com/a/shpa.org.uk/main/who-is-the-hpa-dedicated-to

First slide (prepared by Rajiv Suri, a grandson of P.N.Kohli)

Delightful meadow with Falconer's Aster

Snow-covered mountains in the NW Himalaya

Blue-Pine (Pinus wallichiana)

Cobra-lilies (Arisaema propinquum) photographed near Gulmarg where Kohli skied in the 1930s

'Deodar' or 'Indian Weeping Cedar' which has out-grown the UK garden it was planted in - this sacred tree is often planted in Kashmir

Curious Kashmiri girls viewing a visiting Britisher being paddled along in a shikara

Honouring Prem Nath Kohli

The true Gentiana kurroo photographed in the wild by Dr Ted Lankester

The precipitous habit of steep cliffs (at relatively modest elevation) which is home to Gentiana kurroo near Mussoorie

Kohli scrambling up cliffs in search of seeds, bulbs and roots of ornamental Kashmir plants for cultivating in the Royal Parks & Gardens in the UK during the 1920s and 1930s; he had been deputed to explore for the material on behalf of The Maharajah of Kashmir following a request by Colonel (then Lord) Wigram, Private Secretary to King George V

Chris Chadwell's freezing camp-site on Nichinai Pass, Kashmir in the mid-1980s

The Zoji La at 3300m - the lowest pass over the Great Himalaya range, which divides Kashmir and Ladakh, with 5 or 6 hairpin bends stacked one on top of each other, with near sheer drops of up to 700m in places down to the settlement of Baltal

The edge of the road on the Zoji La leaves something to be desired - not for the faint-hearted!

The tyres of the truck we had just gone over the pass in.....

Berries of the 'Turkestan Sea-Buckthorn' which are used to produce what was a popular juice in Delhi at one time - high in vitamin C

It was the Moghul Emperor Akhbar who once exclaimed, "If there is a Paradise on Earth, it is here, it is here, in Kashmir"

Wular Lake in Kashmir

The 'Sacred Lotus of India' - one of the specialities of the lakes in the Kashmir Valley

A bird photographed in Ladakh, the 'Tibetan' part of the Indian State of Jammu & Kashmir, by a member of the University of Southampton Ladakh Expedition of 1980 - Chris Chadwell's first visit to the region, where he was in charge of the botanical project, gathering three sets of pressed specimens found in the Suru Valley, for the herbaria of the University of Kashmir, Kew and University of Southampton (some of this set was subsequently returned to Ladakh to be used by amchi Tsewang Smanla to help teach plant identification to trainee doctors of traditional Tibetan medicine)

A Moghul garden in Kashmir

Suffering Moses Handicraft Emporium

Dr Ralph Stewart - the 'Father of Pakistan Botany' whom met Kohli during a visit to Kashmir in the 1930s; Chris Chadwell travelled to California to meet Stewart in 1983, who presented him with his final, personally annotated copy of 'An Annotated Catalogue of the Vascular Plants of Pakistan & Kashmir', which has proven invaluable in his studies on the flora of the NW Himalaya - a number of Kohli's collections of pressed specimens (which were sent to Kew) are mentioned in this 'flora'

Pressed specimen of 'Chinar' (believed to be one of the parents of the familiar flaky-barked 'London Plane') in the University of Kashmir Herbarium - plant identification has traditionally been based upon inspection of dried, pressed specimens, mounted and labelled for reference purposes

Kohli came across a yellow-flowered member of the Dead-nettle family which Stewart thought was probably new to science butMukerjee the Indian specialist in this family considered it just to be a variety of an existing species: Chelonopsis albiflora var. cashmerica; it turns out that Stewart was correct, subsequently Ian Hedge at Edinburgh Botanics named it as Chelonopsis cashmerica but perhaps, it should have been named after Kohli... Had it been a Britisher who collected it, no doubt it, they would have been honoured!

An expanse of Colchicum luteum - one of the earliest plants to flower in the Kashmir Valley

Kohli wrote many articles and was a freelance photo-journalist

Plants from the Kohli nursery land (in India known as a farm) in Kashmir provided tulip bulbs for the cytological studies of Dr Wafai (who went on to be Professor and head of the Botany Department)

List of Tree & Shrub Seed offered by P.Kohli & Co.

P.Kohli & Co.'s premises in Kashmir - which I visited in the 1980s.

Chris Chadwell, expedition leader with Dr Uppeandra Dhar, Survey of Medicinal Plants Unit, University of Kashmir

Prem Nath Kohli, original Proprietor of P.Kohli & Co. (named after his first wife) back in 1928 pictured
in his office, some months before he sadly passed away

A typical Indian-style nursery bed, requiring irrigation during the dry summer months

Image of what was thought to be Primula clarkei in cultivation - Kohli was the one to locate living specimens of the rarest of Kashmir's primulas; material was sent back to Thomas Hay at Hyde Park, Superintendent of the Royal Parks and gardens; I suspect that most of the plants which appear on show-benches, some 80 years later are probably hybrids (mixed with Primula rosea or perhaps a back-cross)

A pot of what was thought to be Primula clarkei won a prize on this Alpine Garden Society show-bench some 70 years after it was introduced into cultivation thanks to P.N.Kohli (Chand, his Forestry Department supervisor took the credit and subsequently a Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medal but it was Kohli who travelled around Kashmir undertaking the actual plant hunting in response to a request to the Maharajah of Kashmir to gather seeds, bulbs and roots of plants of ornamental merit for growing in the Royal Parks & Gardens)

Clematis connata growing in the grounds of the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, raised from seed supplied by P.Kohli & Co., for the Kashmir Botanical Expedition in 1983

The Late Geoff Hamilton filming in the Kohli Memorial Himalayan Garden - probably the world's smallest botanical garden, where plants supplied as seed and bulbs from P.Kohli & Co., grow

The exquisite 'Himalayan Peony' (Paeonia emodi) growing in the Kohli Memorial Himalayan Garden

Letter praising B.O.Coventry for the collection of material on behalf of The Maharajah of Kashmir, thinking it was him who undertook them, "the very skilful and scientific botanist...', when in fact it was P.N.Kohli!  It seems there is rather a history of others being credited for Kohli's efforts... Chris Chadwell is pleased to have the opportunity to set the record straight

Lord Wigram, who approached the Maharajah of Kashmir requesting material of ornamental Kashmir plants be sent for cultivation in the Royal Parks & Gardens became Lieutenant-Governor of Windsor Castle, establishing some of these in the Moat Garden

Chris Chadwell presenting a certificate to Mrs Urvashi Suri, one of P.N.Kohli's daughters, who became Proprietor of P.Kohli & Co., at the 1st Kohli Commemorative Event in Delhi in 2003

A copy of the certificate posthumously awarded to Narsim, who supplied P.Kohli & Co. with Himalayan seed over a period of 50 years.  Each Memorial Gold Medal honours P.N.Kohli - who was very much the 'giver' to other people. He took his duties, whether for the Kashmir Forest Department or as Proprietor of P.Kohli & Co.; he was hard-working a scrupulously honest, setting an example for all Indian firms.

Chris Chadwell presenting Mrs Urvashi Suri with a copy of 'Plants for the Connoisseur' by Thomas Hay, Superintendent of the Royal Parks and Gardens, which contains many examples of species introduced into cultivation in the UK which had been collected as seeds, bulbs and roots by P.N.Kohli, on behalf of the Maharajah of Kashmir, specifically to be grown in the Royal Parks, through the good offices of Clive (Lord) Wigram, Private Secretary to the King.

A Corydalis high in the Kashmir Himalaya

The wonderful 'Fragrant Columbine' (Aquilegia fragrans) beside a mountain lake in Kashmir

Chris Chadwell with the surviving daughters of P.N.Kohli

An article about Kohli entitled 'The Tulipman' appeared in 'The Statesman' November 1956 (2 years before Chris Chadwell was born) concentrating upon his export of bulbs (grown at his nursery in Kashmir, not dug up from the wild, setting an example to be followed in Turkey 50 years later) to Holland. He was in Delhi to attend a meeting of the Indian Council of Agriculture, Research Floriculture Committee.  The Staff reporter concluded that Mr Kohli's work was to make his countryman aware of his country's beauty and wealth in flowers and plants. 

Chris Chadwell was honoured to be doing his bit to draw attention to the exceptional efforts of Prem Nath Kohli. It is a sad reflection on the calibre of the reporters working for the BBC World Service these days that they suggested that P.Kohli & Co., either did not exist or conducted itself improperly, when nothing could be further from the truth. The firm had long held an export license for seed.  It is the officials of Indian Government Departments whose claims should be questioned, along with the competence of modern-day reporters, too lazy to bother to undertake background research...