In a poignant tribute to the indefatigable dedication and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has unveiled a unique lotus species named ‘Namoh 108’. This significant unveiling took center stage during a special ceremony held at the CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) in Lucknow. This exceptional lotus, adorned with an astounding 108 petals, hails from Manipur and has quietly graced the institute’s collection of flora under meticulous study.
What sets the ‘Namoh 108’ lotus variety apart is its remarkable feature of precisely 108 petals. This number, 108, carries deep religious resonance in Hinduism, thereby infusing an added layer of importance to this newfound floral marvel.
Discovered several years ago in Manipur, this lotus treasure remained unnoticed until a scientist unveiled its extraordinary petal count four years ago. Inspired by this revelation, CSIR-NBRI delved into a comprehensive study of the lotus, even sequencing its genome – a pioneering achievement for any lotus variety in India. Though seemingly unassuming at first glance, the lotus’ newfound distinction propelled it into the realm of extensive study.
Science Minister Jitendra Singh aptly described the introduction of ‘Namoh 108’ as a “grand gift” to Prime Minister Modi, encapsulating not just his unwavering dedication but also the inherent elegance embodied by the lotus. The nomenclature ‘Namoh’ draws inspiration from the Sanskrit phrase “Om Namaha Vasudeva,” reflecting a reverent salutation.
While the lotus may visually appear ordinary compared to its counterparts, its possession of precisely 108 petals renders it an extraordinary specimen among Indian lotus varieties. ‘Namoh 108’ stands as the solitary lotus variety in India with a sequenced genome, a remarkable distinction that sets it apart globally, with the only other sequenced counterpart hailing from China and manifesting distinct differences.
Through meticulous cloning and strategic modifications, ‘Namoh 108’ has been rendered cultivable beyond its native Manipur, ensuring its broader proliferation. Initiatives are underway to formally designate ‘Namoh 108’ as India’s official lotus variety, cementing its status as the national flower. This introduction has sparked the emergence of an entire industrial and entrepreneurial ecosystem centered around this exceptional lotus variety.
CSIR-NBRI is poised to launch a comprehensive ‘Lotus Mission’ as a key facet of a larger horticultural endeavor, aimed at fostering the proliferation of ‘Namoh 108’ lotus blossoms across diverse corners of India. The variety’s emblematic significance and embodiment of Indian values make it a befitting tribute to the nation’s heritage and culture.
Science Minister Jitendra Singh not only unveiled the ‘Namoh 108’ lotus variety but also showcased innovative products derived from it, including fabric made from its distinct fibers and a perfume christened ‘Frotus’. While ‘Namoh’ initially wasn’t explicitly linked to Prime Minister Modi, Science Minister Jitendra Singh’s steadfast dedication and acknowledgment organically established this connection, further elevating the honor.
The introduction of ‘Namoh 108’ stood as a centerpiece of CSIR’s ‘One Week One Lab’ initiative, a platform spotlighting each lab’s historical contributions and scientific accomplishments. Director General of CSIR, N. Kalaiselvi, joined Science Minister Jitendra Singh in commemorating this significant milestone at the CSIR-NBRI event.