Prof. Mahadevan


Birth of Mahadevan and Family History

CaBiosketch1lamur Mahadevan was born on 6th May 1901 to Sri Subramanyam and Smt. Janaki Ammal  at Buchireddypalem in the Nellore district of the erstwhile Madras Presidency (now Andhra Pradesh).  He was the youngest among the six children of his parents. He was later married to Satyavati and had three children-two sons and a daughter, C. Subrahmanyam (known as Pedda Andy), C.R.Gopalakrishna (known as China Andy) and Kalyani (Kalyani Anandaraman) who after marriage and settled in USA with her  doctor husband and children). Pedda Andy recalls that he was permitted to see only one movie a fortnight which was followed without any compromise or concession. China Andy describes himself as a problem child among the three and had a rough and tough attitude. However, he admits that his attitude has changed when he went to Brazil along with his parents and sister, when Prof. Mahadevan went on a UNESCO assignment to work in the Amazon Valley. He mentioned that he learnt the value of human relations from his father in that trip. Kalyani recalls the advice of her late father (Prof. Mahadevan) before going to USA “Be yourself do not forget your country and your culture”.

Mahadevan used to get respect from his children. This is also true with his friends, colleagues and other relatives. According to his grandson, his grandfather (Prof. Mahadevan) was a geologist, scientist, nationalist, feminist, father, husband, friend and teacher. His grandson mentioned that Prof. Mahadevan educated his (Mahadevan`s) wife Satyavati (1919-1993) after their marriage and insisted that she go out and work with the less privileged. Smt. Satyavati Mahadevan was herself a writer and musician.


After the early education in his native place, Mahadevan joined Madras University and obtained B.A. (Hons.) and M.A. in Geology in 1925 and 1927 respectively. At the time of his joining Geology course, there were only six colleges in the entire country of India offering courses in Geology at graduate and Post-graduate level. He then joined the Indian Association for Cultivation of Science, in Calcutta (now Kolkata) to work for his doctorate degree under the able guidance of the renowned Indian Physicist, Dr. C. V. Raman who was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1924. Dr. Raman was later knighted in 1929, won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930, awarded the Franklin Medal in 1941, was the recipient of the Indian civilian award “Bharat Ratna” by the Government of India in 1954 and got the Lenin Peace Prize in 1954, to name a few.  Mahadevan had the privilege to work under such a stalwart of Indian science. He was awarded the D.Sc. degree by the Madras University for his work on the constitution of coal. He was in the company of a galaxy of scientists like Dr. K.S.Krishnan, Dr. S. Venkateswaran, Dr. A.S.Ganeshan, Dr. K.R.Ramanathan and Dr. S. Bhagavantam. Dr. Mahadevan developed an excellent rapport in the later years with such eminent persons like S.S.Bhatnagar, Birbal Sahni, M.S.Thacker and D.N.Wadia. Dr. M.S.Krishnan, the doyen of Indian Geology was his mentor and senior contemporary.

Mahadevan wrote the following about the days when he was a research scholar at the Association:

“The sight of Raman (C.V.) and Krishnan (K.S.) sitting side by side on the bench in the library, writing away papers of fundamental importance with no more discussion or talk than mere nasal sounds of agreement or difference used to be a marvel and practical demonstration of mutual thought reading faculties” ( as quoted by D.C.V.Mallik in his article on “The Raman Effect and Krishnan`s Diary” in : Notes Rec. R. Soc.London, 54(1), 2000, p. 71).


Dr. Mahadevan joined the erstwhile Hyderabad Geological survey (which was later merged with the state Directorate of Geology and Mining, Andhra Pradesh) as a Geologist in 1931. During his tenure with the organization, he made significant contributions to the development of groundwater resources in the Telangana districts of the then Hyderabad State (now Telangana State). In short, he did pioneering work as a groundwater geologist and aided to tap the groundwater potential in hard-rocks namely, the Peninsular Gneissic Complex. He also carried out groundwater investigations and identifying water potential zones in Raichur, Aurangabad, Parbhani, Osmanabad and Gulburga districts of the then Nizam State. He also did significant work in mineral investigations in the Nalgonda district. The limestone studies carried out by him and his team led to establishing several cement factories in the Nalgonda district. Dr. Mahadevan`s in-depth study of the “Pakhal Sediments” in Telangana districts is another feather in his cap. He was instrumental in raising the “Pakhal Controversy” which still continues to be the subject of spirited and lively discussions among geoscientists. The results of the studies have been well documented in his thought-provoking Presidential Address in the Geology and Geophysics section of the Indian Science Congress held at Allahabad in 1949. Dr. Mahadevan was also actively associated with dam-site investigations of Tungabhadra and Nandikonda (later named as Nagarjunasagar).


Dr. Mahadevan at the request of Sri C. R. Reddy, the Founder Vice Chancellor of Andhra University, moved to Waltair (now Visakhapatnam) and joined the Andhra University as Professor and Head of the Department of Geology in 1945. The department was initially housed at the Ersquine College of Natural Sciences building along with the departments of Botany and Zoology.  Later, thanks to his efforts, a separate building was constructed exclusively for the Geology Department and the department moved to its new premises in 1958. From his association with Sir. C.V.Raman and with his vast field knowledge and experience of over 13 years in the Nizam State, Prof. Mahadevan took the Geology Department of Andhra University to greater heights in leaps and bounds. With his extraordinary vision, he started other wings in Geology like Marine Geology, Nuclear Geology, Photo Geology, Geomorphology, Sedimentology and Petroleum Geology besides the basic subjects like Mineralogy, Petrology and Stratigraphy. He was instrumental in starting M.Sc. course in Ore Dressing in the Geology Department in 1954 which was the only university offering special course in mineral Processing and Ore Beneficiation in India. This branch was subsequently moved to the Department of Civil Engineering offering a one-year Post-graduation degree to students with chemical/mechanical engineering and Geology background.  Later, a two-year M.Sc.(Tech) degree in Mineral Processing is offered by the University.


Between 1952 and 1956, more than 50 oceanographic cruises were conducted mostly in the Bay of Bengal by the departments of Geology, Zoology and Botany in with the help of the Indian Navy, each lasting about 1 to 7 days. Dr. E.C. Lafond, visiting professor of oceanography at Andhra University  during 1952-1953 and 1955-1956. Marine geophysical studies dealing with variation in depth of Bay of

Bengal, especially in continental shelf and nature of the shelf sediments, river deltas and beaches were carried out under the direction of Prof. Mahadevan. The studies included topography of Bay of Bengal, characteristics of the Waltair continental shelf, sea-floor sediments, delta sediments, radioactivity,  beach erosion, etc.  the results on “Oceanographic studies in the Bay of Bengal” by Lafond (Proc. Indian Academy of Sciencss, V. XLVI, NO.1, Sec. B, 1957) were communicated to Sir C.V.Raman. All these studies were carried out at the Andhra university during the period mentioned above, much before the National Institute of Oceanography was started at Goa.

Besides these, the occurrence of monazite along with garnet, ilmenite, rutile and zircon was reported by the geologists working in on “Study of Beach Sands along the East Coast”, a project sponsored by the Department of Atomic Energy, under the supervision of Prof. Mahadevan.


Prof. Mahadevan organized several mineral investigations and training camps for students and obtained financial support from the Government of Andhra Pradesh. Mention should be made of iron, lead, zinc, graphite, copper and natural gas in this connection. These studies laid the foundation for similar investigations by other organizations. For example, the work on iron ore in Krishna district formed the basis for the first project of A.P. Mining Corporation between 1961-1965. Similarly, the work on natural gas in East Godavari district can be taken as the first systematic investigation for oil and natural gas in the Godavari delta. The results of these investigations were presented in 1959 in the Mineral Resources Series No.10 of the Economic Commission for Asia and Far East of the United Nations.

The Professor`s teaching methods were more practical and field-oriented. He has shown his penchant for field work by organizing field trips for B.Sc. and B.Sc. (Hons.) students every Saturday. He also conducted regular classes in survey, organized study tours to places of geological and mining importance both within and outside the state during short vacation and one month training camps during summer vacation. All these were made  part of the curriculum.

In those days, it was mandatory for students to carry out dissertation work for obtaining M.Sc. degree. Under this rule, each student should take-up a part of the 1 inch to I mile toposheet, map the area, collect rock samples, analyze them and present a thesis based on the  work. Over 100 students covered an area of about 16,500 sq. km.  in Andhra Pradesh in different terrains giving valuable information and data-base for future generation. Some out of  these, pursued their studies further and obtained doctoral degrees. He also encouraged teachers to take-up field oriented problems for re work. Over 100 students covered an area of about 16,500 sq. km. in  Andhra Pradesh in different terrains giving valuable information and data-base for future generation. Some out of these, pursued their studies further and obtained doctoral degrees. He also encouraged teachers to take-up field oriented problems for research. He relentlessly pursued with the authorities concerned to ensure a fair selection process for recruitment of geologists in Government departments. His efforts culminated in the introduction of the all- India geologists Examination, doing away with the system of selection through mere interviews.



Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India visited Andhra University in 1954 at the request of Prof. Mahadevan who was the Principal of the AU colleges and Head of the Geology department. Prof. Mahadevan showed Pandit Nehru a big sized beryl which is 25’ long  with a diameter of 5.6’ which was collected from near Vizianagaram by one of the geology students (The Hindu, Nov. 14, 2011).






Prof. Mahadevan was also a great human being apart from being  a visionary. He took the initiative and organized relief camps for the victims of the Godavari floods in 1953 by way of medical aid, distribution of food and clothes besides consoling the victims. He also helped students in their pursuits both academically and financially. He had a particular desire to help the disabled and financially needy students. He was keen that everyone should be well employed and should have job satisfaction.

When he was still planning to develop the Geology department of Andhra University further and increase the standard of teaching, research and obtain more funds from both state and central governments, he passed away suddenly and rather prematurely on his way back from Nagpur after attending a university meeting in April 1962 leaving behind a sea of mourners who could not imagine such end to the great professor. A bust  of this humane professor has been installed in the premises of the Andhra University Geology Department.


Prof. Mahadevan was a member of the Committee on Measurement of Geological Time in India constituted by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in 1947 which had Dr. D.N.Wadia  as Chairman to enable to organize, systematize and  finance schemes of research. In the report of the Committee, Prof. Mahadevan  stressed the need for investigations on the age of Madras Granites and south Indian rocks besides several others. On the recommendations of the Committee, the council approved a plan for initiating  investigations on uranium, thorium and radium of Madras granites, gneisses, etc. at the Geology department, Andhra University,besides the Indian institute of Sciences, Bangalore (Taken from “Committes and Commissions in India”, V. 1, 1947-1954).

In recognition of the life-long distinguished services of a few geoscientists to the cause of geological sciences and also as mark of the association`s homage to the departed soul, the South Asian Association of Economic Geologists and its regional chapters have instituted Prof. Mahadevan Memorial lectures. These lectures were organized from time to time . The following distinguished scientists have delivered these lectures in this regard:

Sri V.D.Manjrekar, Ex- G.M., Central coalfields Ltd., Ranchi on “ Clean Coal   Technology” at Ranchi on 26th April 2003.

Dr. Desh B. Sikha, Mining Geological Consultant, Canada on “Experiences of the past 50 years & Challenges for the Indian Geoscience Community” at Nagpur on 11th February 2005.

Prof. Mahadevan was a member of the First Governing Body of SKBR College, Amalapuram.


  • Mahadevan, C. and Poornachandra Rao, M. Study of Ocean floor sediments off the East Cost of India. Andhra Univ. Memoir  in Oceanography, V.1, 1-35.
  • Mahadecan, C. 1955. Some recent results on oceanographic research at Andhra University ( in press at that time).
  • Mahadevan, C. and Poornachadra Rao, M. 1956. Studies on the ocean floor bottom samples from the Bay of Bengal Indian ocean. Proc. of XX International Congress, Mexico city ( in press at that time).
  • Poornachadra Rao, M. and Mahadevan, 1955. The collections on the continental shelf off the Visakhapatnam area. A.1.0.P.  Proc. Verb. V.6, 292-293.
  • Mahadevan, C. and Aswathanarayana, U. 1954. Radioactivity of sea floor sediments off the east coast of India. Andhra Univ. Memoir  in Oceanography, V. 1, 36-50.
  • Mahadevan, C. 1946. X-ray studies of peaty lignites  and anthracitic coals. Proc of the Indian Academy of Sciences, Section  A, V. 24, Issue 2, pp. 216-228.
  • ( The above list of publications is taken from Proceedings of the Indian Academy of Sciences, V. XLVI, No. 1, Section B , 1954 and V. XLVI Pt. III, 1957)
  • Mahadevan, C. 1933. Indian Journal of Physics, V. 8, pp. 259-268.
  • Mahadevan, C. 1929. Indian Journal of Physics, V. 4, 96 & 98.
  • Mahadevan, C. 1929. Indian Journal of Physics, V. 4,  88,89 & 97.
  • Mahadevan, C. 1930. Indian journal of Physics, V. 4,  460-462.
  • Mahadevan, C. 1930. Indian Journal of Physics, V. 4, 533,534 & 539.
  • Mahadevan, C. 1930 Indian journal of Physics, V. 4, 82 & 95.
  • Mahadevan, C. 1941. K. S. Krishnan.  The Indian Review, 42,357-359.
  • Mahadevan, C. 1929. X-ray studies of Vitrian and Durian and of their constituents. Indian Assn. for the Cultivation of Science. V. IV, Part II.
  • Mahadevan, C. 1929. Further x-ray Studies of Carbonaceous and Bituminous Materials. Part VI.
  • Mahadevan, C. 1949. Presidential Address. Indian Science Congress, Geology Section.
  • Mahadevan, C. 1929. The Chromite-bearing Ultrabasic Deposits of Singhbhum. Economic Geology, 24, pp. 1995-2005.
  • Mahadevan, C. and Sathapathi, N. 1950. Petrological studies of rocks of Borabudur, Java. Proc. Indian Academy of Sciences, Section A, v. 31, Issue 6, pp. 400-416.
  • Mahadevan, C. 1940. An outline of the Mineral resources of Andhra Desa (Based on the Andhra university extension lectures delivered at the Maharajah`s College, Vizianagaram and P. R. College, Cocanada (now Kakinada) in Dec. 1936. Printed & published at Ananda Press, Madras.
  • His publications in the Journal of Hyderabad Geological Survey 1938-1942)
  • Mukherjee, S.K., Krishnamurthy, L.S., Mahadevan, C. and Krishnamurthy, H.S. Geology of the Eastern portion of the Raichur Doab with special reference to the granodioritic phases of the Dharwar series of rocks, V.III, No.1 Section A 1-82.
  • Mahadevan, C. A note on the bore-well logs in Aurangabad and Parbhani districts discussed in relation to the distribution of underground water in the Deccan traps, Section C, pp. 91-98.
  • Munn,L. and Mahadevan, C. Enquiry into the possibility of making Portland Cement (1) in the vicinity of the proposed dam site across river Kitna in Nalgonda district, Wazirabad Limestone area, (2) At Macherla, Guruzala taluk, Guntur district, Madras Presidency. Pp. 109-115.
  • Syed Kasim and Mahadevan, C. A note on the Marble deposits near Yellandu in Warangal district. pp. 114-122.
  • Mahadevan, C. Geology of the south and south-western parts of Surapur taluk of Gulburga district. V. IV, Part 1, pp. 102-161.
  • Mahadevan, C. 1929. Geology of Vizag Harbour area, Quart. Jour. Geol. Min. Metal. Soc. of India, V. 2, No.
  • Mahadevan, C. and Sriramadas, A. 1948. Monazite in the beach sands of Visakhapatnam district. Indian. Sci. Cong., V. 27, Sec. A, pp. 275-278.
  • Mahadevan, C. and Nateswara Rao,    1950. Black sand concentrates in Vizagpatnam coast.  Curr. Sci., V. 19, pp. 48-49.
  • Mahadevan, C. and Umamaheswara Rao, G.V. 1950. Overfolds of the uppermost Cuddapahs, south of Karempudi. Sci., p. 179.
  • Mahadevan, C. 1951. Structural Controls of ore deposition. Proc. 38th Indian Sci. Cong., Part III (Abstract).
  • Mahadevan, C. and Aswathanarayana, U.1953. Causes of the growth of the sand spit north of Godavari confluence, India. AU Oceanographic Memoir 2, pp. 69-74.
  • Mahadevan, C. and  Subba Rao, M.1955.  Marine sediments off Kalingapatnam on the East coast of India. Curr. Sci., V. 24, No. 12, pp. 412-413.
  • Mahadevan, C. and Krishna Rao, J.S.R. 1956. Genesis of Manganese ores of Visakhapatnam-Srikakulam districts (India). Symp. on Manganese, 20th International Geol. Congress, pp. 133-139.
  • Sastry, A.V.R. and Mahadevan, C. 1955.  Radioactivity of the sea-floor sediments of Visakhapatnam .  in : Bibliography of north American Geology, pp. 177-310.
  • Krishna Rao, J.S.R. and Mahadevan, C. 1955.  Banded Manganiferous Cherts from Srikakulam district.  Sci., V. 24, No. 5, pp. 154.
  • Mahadevan, C. and Sastry, A.V.R. 1957. Distribution of Radioactivity in the rocks of South India, Part IV, Fluorine-bearing granites of Podili-Kanigiri area and associated rocks. Proc. Indian Acad. of Sciences, 46, Sec. A, No. 5, pp. 333-342.
  • Mahadevan, C. and Prasada Rao, R. 1958. Andhra University Memoirs in Oceanography, V. 2, 69-74.
  • Mahadevan, C. and  Rao, P. R. 1958.  Evolution of Visakhapatnam beach.  Andhra University Memoirs in Oceanography, V. 2, pp. 33-47.
  • Kameswara Rao, K. and  Mahadevan, C. 1960.  Studies on Lead-Zinc Mineralization in Karempudi area, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.  Indian Academy of Sciences, Section  A,  V. 52 , No. 4, pp. 143-156.
  • Kameswara Rao, K. and Mahadevan, C.   Chalcocites of Garimanipenta area, Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh.  Proc. Planet Sciences, V. 55, No. 2, pp. 65-70.