A Brief History
From time immemorial, the myriad mysteries of the sea have captured the imagination of humankind. Its magnificence is hypnotic, its fury frightening and its bounty largely unexplored. As inhabitants of a continent overwhelmingly dominated by the sea, our dependence on its resources has soared over the centuries and is expected to escalate unabated for many years to come. In such a context, the very concept of Sea Explorers’ Institute is marked with dynamism and creativity. And nearly 4 decades of tumultuous years that this Institute has cruised since its inauguration in 1987 stand testimony to its brilliant success in a field that few dare to tread.
The original idea was mooted by distinguished scientist, explorer, voyager, swimmer and oarsman, Dr. Pinaki Ranjan Chatterjee, way back in the early 80s. However, while preparations to set up a full-fledged institute were still underway, Dr. Chatterjee died a tragic and untimely death just as he was getting ready to go on a voyage by sea from Calcutta to Indonesia under the banner of his dream-institute.
However, the tragedy could not affect the mission. A group of spirited men and women took up the reins. The then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, patronized the initiative. With Dr. Sheuli Chatterjee at the helm, the idea gradually took concrete shape. Counsel was sought from leading academics and intellectuals of the day like Prof. Manindra Mohan Chakraborty (who became the founder president of the Institute), then Vice Chancellor of Jadavpur University, Prof. Santosh Bhattacharya, then Vice Chancellor of Calcutta University), Dr. Debi Prasad Chattopadhyay, Prof. Anil Sarkar, journalist Gour Kishore Ghosh and others.
Funds were collected from public donations and charities to finance the infrastructure. The West Bengal government too came forward with its support. The Institute got its present shape, thanks to financial help from both the state and the central governments. Sea Explorers’ Institute was finally set up on a 468 square metre plot of land on the eastern bank of the Hooghly at Outram Ghat. On January 22, 1987, The Sea Explorers’ Institute was formally inaugurated.
Vision: To create a nation where people become keenly interested in marine and riverine resources and value them as a crucial part of our environment and living.
Mission: To explore, research and train youth on marine and riverine resources.
SEI was built by Late (Dr) Sheuli Chatterjee, the founder Secretary General and a galaxy of some of the finest academician and eminent visionaries, public figures and implementers who worked relentlessly and passionately to nurture and develop this unique organisation of repute.
Some prominent names who built SEI include the following :
Late Manindra Mohon Chakrabarti, Founder President SEI, Former Vice Chancellor, Jadavpur University
Late Debiprasad Chattopadhyay, Former Vice President, SEI, Former Union Minister and Governor
Late Santosh Kumar Bhattacharya, Former Vice President, Former Vice Chancellor, Calcutta University
Late Arabinda Nath Basu, Former Vice President, Former Vice Chancellor, Jadavpur University
Late Gour Kishore Ghosh, Former Vice President, Eminent Literateur and Journalist
Late Anil Kumar Sarkar, Former Treasurer, Former Professor of Business Management
Late Amiya Kumar Chakrabarty, Former Member, Former Professor of Chemistry, Jadavpur University
Late Tarun Datta, Founder Member, Former Chief Secretary, GoWB
Late Shakuntala Dasgupta, Former Joint Secretary, Former Professor of Physiology, Calcutta University
Late Kalyan Kumar Bandopadyay, Former Vice President, SEI, Former Hydraulic Engineer, Calcutta Port Trust
Late Ashish Kumar Ghosh, Former Vice President, SEI, Former Director General, Zoological Survey of India
Late Dilip Mukhopadhyay, Former Member of Governing Council, SEI, Former Registrar, Vishva Bharati
Late Anil Kumar Ghosh, Former Member of Governing Council, SEI, Professor of Geology
Today, we continue as an energetic team of very passionate sea and river explorers, divers, environmentalists and adventure lovers who strongly believe in giving back to society and in equipping the nation to overcome challenges faced with regard to marine and riverine resources that have exacerbated with climate change and ruthless use.