Anna Mani Tale: A woman who dared to choose Encyclopedias over Diamonds

Anna Mani Tale: A woman who dared to choose Encyclopedias over Diamonds
Anna Mani Tale: A woman who dared to choose Encyclopedias over Diamonds

August 23, 2022

By Anirbaan Hritiq

James Bond fans are typically aware of singer Dame Shirley Bassey who sang theme songs for three installments of the 007 franchise, and one of those movies was named Diamonds Are Forever 1971, starring Late. Sr. Sean Connery is the protagonist flamboyant spy James Bond. But, what’s the connection of Anna Mani’s story with the James Bond movie ‘Diamonds Are Forever” we shall be discussing ahead, what made the theme song so special, you can know after reading a few stanzas from the song itself.

As the song goes opens glorifying the diamonds, it continues as “I don’t need love, for what good will love do me? Diamonds never lie to me. For when love’s gone, they’ll luster on. Diamonds are forever, forever, forever. The lyrics of the song are trying to portray women and their passion for diamonds. In fact, who isn’t crazy about diamonds, especially in an artistic country like ours where ornaments and decorative are given top priority, it is exceptional to find some who will choose dull books over diamonds but here we are talking about someone who dared to reject luster of diamonds for a dull lifeless bunch of papers. We are talking about non-other than the Weather of India, Anna Mani.

Who is Anna Mani?

Anna Mani famously known as the weather woman of India was born on 23rd August 1918 in Peermade, Kerala to a Syrian Christian family. Her father was a civil engineer by profession. Being the seventh child out of eight siblings, undoubtedly Anna enjoyed all perks of being one of the youngest children. But in the meantime, she had to go through the typical challenges of the upper-class professional families where boys were groomed for higher education and girls were pre-destined to marry after attaining a certain age. Anna was rebellious and had a great passion for reading books by the age of 8 she had almost finished reading all books written in Malayalam available at the Public Library and by age of 12, she had finished all books in English.

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Here, comes the ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ angle of the story, on the eve of Anna’s eighth birthday she was offered a set of diamond earrings as a part of family traditions which was declined by her asking for a set of Britannica encyclopedia instead. This out-of-the-box choice made by Anna Mani at the age of 8 became the turning point of her life due to which, Google is celebrating her 104th birth anniversary in the form of a specially designed doodle.

Anna Mani, who went to pursue her graduation in Physics sacrificing her interest in dance graduated in the year 1939 from the Pachaiyappa College in Chennai with a B.Sc Honours degree in Physics and Chemistry. Subsequently, bagging a scholarship in the year 1940 for research at the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

Where she worked with Nobel Prize-winning Scientist Prof. C.V Raman, researching the optical properties of Ruby and Diamond. In 1945, she went to Imperial College, London to pursue Post Graduate studies in Physics but ended up specializing in meteorological instruments. Despite publishing five research papers and her Ph.D. dissertation, she wasn’t awarded a Ph.D. because she didn’t have a post-graduation degree in Physics.

In 1948, she joined Meteorological Department, Pune where she published multiple papers on meteorological instrumentation as well as she played a crucial role in importing meteorological instruments from Britain. In 1953, Anna become the head of a division consisting of 121 men and worked on developing an apparatus to measure ozone levels. She was also a member of the International Ozone Association.

Later in her career, she was deputed to Delhi in 1969 as the Deputy Director General and in 1975 served as a WMO consultant in Egypt. She retired as the Deputy Director General of the Indian Meteorological Department in 1976.


Anna Mani never got married and dedicated her entire life to her passion for research and the development of meteorological instruments. In 1987, Mani was conferred with K. R. Ramanathan Medal by Indian National Science Academy (INSA). She left for heavenly adobe on 16 August 2001 in Thiruvananthapuram, a week before her 83rd birthday.

Anna was not only one of the greatest woman scientists of India but also a visionary who sacrificed her entire life for the development of the Indian Meteorological Department. Though we credit her as the Weather Woman of India today and recall her contribution just after seeing a doodle by the Google search engine, her success story was way ahead of her time.









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