Chaman Lal Vohra, 92
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Chaman Lal Vohra, 92

Obituary

Chaman Lal Vohra, was born in 1911 in Lahore, and died at the age of 92 years on April 15th at Shady Grove hospital. Mr. Vohra lived for the last 20 years in Bethesda and Potomac.

Mr. Vohra spent the major part of his career as an engineer for All India Radio, rising to become Chief Engineer in 1963.

While head of AIR’s research department (1939-1948), he published a ground-breaking scientific paper on whistling meteors in 1941, thereby discovering a technique for tracking meteors on the radio and opening up a new field of meteor astronomy with countless applications.

Chaman Lal Vohra obtained his B.Sc. at Forman Christian College in Lahore. In 1933, while studying for his Masters degree in Physics at Government College, Lahore, Chaman operated the YMCA radio ham transmitter, the first transmitter in the state of Punjab, North India.

He joined All India Radio in 1935, and as one of the pioneering band of young, dedicated radio engineers, he helped to make AIR rank amongst the foremost broadcasting networks of the world. During his 30-year tenure there, he planned and installed the highest power transmitting stations, modern studios, radio receiving stations throughout India. He ushered television into the country and led Indian delegations to International Telecommunications Union meetings in Europe and USA.

In 1964 he was appointed Wireless Advisor to the Government of India (a position similar to Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in USA). In 1969, he became a consultant to the Indian Space Research Organization. Here he helped plan the world’s first direct satellite instructional television experimental program.

He was a Fellow of the Institution of Telecommunication and Electronic Engineers, India and received an award from them in 1961. In 1966 he received an award from the Inventions Promotion Board of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research in India.

In 1972 he joined the United Nations Development Program as a Telecommunications Advisor for the Caribbean, residing in Port of Spain, Trinidad for four years. He helped many Caribbean and South American countries improve their radio, television and telephone systems.

After eight years of retirement in New Delhi, he and his wife, Sarla, migrated to the Washington D.C. area in 1984 to be with their four children who had settled there.

During his career and after retirement, Chaman Lal Vohra conducted independent research on solar-terrestrial ionospheric phenomena, publishing papers in various Indian and international journals such as Journal of Atmospheric Solar-Terrestrial Physics and the Journal of Geophysical Research.

In the US, at the age of 75, he learned to use a desktop computer and used it to continue his research on F2 layer ionization and solar wind, publishing six scientific papers during his 80s.

Survivors include his wife of 62 years, Sarla Vohra; his son Arun Vohra of Bethesda and three daughters: Asha Anand of Bethesda, and Amita Sarin and Anuradha Wahi of Potomac; a sister, Sita Mehta; eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A celebration of his life is planned for May 17 in Potomac, Maryland.

Persons who knew Chaman may contact anuwahi@erols.com for further information.