Dr. L.M. Joshi (Lalit Mohan Joshi) was born on October 9, 1925 at Almora in Uttarakhand. He had his schooling in the Government Intermediate College, Almora. Thereafter, he obtained B.Sc. degree from the Allahabad University and M.Sc. degree in Botany from the Agra University under the able and inspiring guidance of the renowned plant pathologist, Prof. K.C. Mehta. Subsequently, he worked with eminent cereal rust pathologist, Dr. R. Prasada for his Ph.D. dissertation and was awarded the degree of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi in 1965. Dr. Joshi also proceeded to USA and spent a year as a Rockefeller Fellow at the University of Minnesota, St. Paul to get Post-doctorate training under Late Dr. Helen Hart. In 1972, he got an opportunity to work with Nobel Laureate, Dr. N.E. Borlaug and his team at International Wheat and Maize Research Center (CIMMYT), Mexico.
He started his professional career as a Research Assistant in 1947 in the scheme “Investigation on Cereal Rust” and was posted at Mehta’s Rust Laboratory, Shimla. After demise of Dr. Mehta, this scheme was taken over by IARI and Dr. Joshi was transferred to Delhi as Assistant Mycologist in 1953. From a small beginning as Research Assistant, he rose to the position of the Head of the Division of Mycology and Plant Pathology, IARI, New Delhi in 1985 through sheer dent of hard work and meritorious service.
Dr. Joshi was a keen promoter of science for the national development. At a time when India ushered into an era of Mexican dwarf wheat, he was assigned an additional responsibility of Principal Investigator (Wheat Pathology) of All India Coordinated Wheat Improvement Programme. He initiated a National Wheat Disease Survey and Surveillance Programme in 1967. This monitoring system rejuvenated the interest in the epidemiological studies of wheat rusts in India. He was instrumental in explaining the ‘Puccinia Path’ in the Indian sub-continent. He conceived a new idea, the gene deployment strategy over central India to contain stem rust and along the Indo-Gangetic plains to check leaf rust. His contributions are still significant to wheat breeding programme of the country.
Dr. Joshi was widely respected as an excellent teacher for his eloquent lectures and wide understanding. He devoted more than 30 years of his life in teaching. He supervised research work of 14 Ph.D. and 4 M.Sc. students. He had published over 200 scientific articles covering a wide range of wheat pathology.
His contributions had received world-wide acclaim. The Indian Council of Agricultural Research awarded him Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Memorial Award in 1980. He was the first recipient of Borlaug Award. He was honoured by a Silver Medal by Dr. Borlaug for his monumental contribution to Green Revolution in India. In 1998 during the “Indo-CIMMYT Day” he was presented a memento for his life time achievement. At national level, Dr. Joshi had been a member of several committees, expert panels, ICAR Quinquinneal Review Team etc. He was a Charter member of Indian Phytopathological Society and also served the Society as its Councilor, Vice President, President, Editor-in-Chief and Honorary Fellow of the Indian Phytopathological Society. He was also the President of Mycological Society of India.
Dr. Joshi passed away for his heavenly abode on October 14, 2010 after a brief illness at his residence in New Delhi.