Gobind Behari Lal

Gobind Behari Lal
Born (1889-10-09)October 9, 1889
Delhi, British India
Died April 1, 1982(1982-04-01) (aged 92)
Cause of death Cancer
Other names Gobind Bihari Lal
Citizenship Indian
Education B.Sc.
Alma mater Punjab University
University of California, Berkeley
Occupation Journalist
Employer Hearst Newspapers
Organization Ghadar Party
Title President of the National Association of Science Writers
Term 1940–41
Predecessor William L. Laurence
Successor John Joseph O'Neill
Movement Indian independence movement
Parent(s) Bishan Lal, Jagge Devi
Relatives Har Dayal
Awards Pulitzer Prize (1937)
Padma Bhushan (1969)

Gobind Behari Lal was an Indian-American journalist and independence activist. A relative and close associate of Lala Har Dayal, he joined the Ghadar Party and participated in the Indian independence movement. He arrived the United States on a scholarship to study at the University of California, Berkeley. Later, he worked as a science editor for the Hearst Newspapers. In 1937, he became the first Indian to win the Pulitzer Prize.[1]

Early life

Gobind Behari Lal was born to Bishan Lal, the Governor of the Bikaner princely state. His mother's name was Jagge Devi.[2] He obtained B.Sc. and M.A. degrees from the Punjab University at Lahore. He served as an assistant professor at the University from 1909 to 1912.

Lal was the cousin of the Indian nationalist Lala Har Dayal's wife, and participated in the Indian independence movement. Har Dayal set up the Guru Govind Singh Sahib Educational Scholarship to encourage Indian students to gain scientific education. Lal began attending the University of California, Berkeley in 1912 on this scholarship.[3] He completed his postgraduate education there.


Lal served as the Science Editor for The San Francisco Examiner from 1925 to 1930. He was the first journalist to use the term "Science Writer" in his byline.[2] He went on to work for other Hearst Newspapers concerns in San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.[4] Lal wrote on a variety of topics, and interviewed many notable figures, including Albert Einstein, Mohandas K. Gandhi, H. L. Mencken, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Enrico Fermi and Max Planck.[2]

Lal shared the 1937 Pulitzer Prize for Reporting with John J. O'Neill, William L. Laurence, Howard W. Blakeslee and David Dietz. The group won the award for their coverage of science at the tercentenary of the Harvard University.[5]

Lal was one of the founding members of the National Association of Science Writers, and served as the Association's President in 1940.[2]

Lal died of cancer in 1982 at the age of 92, a few weeks after writing his last article.[4]

Awards and recognitions

The Gobind Behari Lal Scholarship in Science Journalism awarded by the Center for South Asia Studies of UC Berkeley was named after him.[7]


  1. "Indians hit the highspots in American journalism". The Times of India. 2013-03-16. Retrieved 2013-03-16.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Elizabeth A. Brennan; Elizabeth C. Clarage (1999). Who's Who of Pulitzer Prize Winners. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 559. ISBN 978-1-57356-111-2. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  3. "Echoes of Freedom: Gobind Behari Lal". UC Berkeley. Retrieved 2013-03-16.
  4. 1 2 "Obituary: Gobind Behari Lal, reporter; shared Pulitzer Prize in 1937". New York Times. 1982-04-03. Retrieved 2013-03-16.
  5. "Pulitzer Prizes: Reporting". Retrieved 2013-03-16.
  6. "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved July 21, 2015.
  7. "Privately funded programs". Center for South Asia Studies, UC Berkeley. Retrieved 2013-03-16.
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