Dr. R.L. Munjal (Ram Lal Munjal) born on June 15, 1920 at Dera Ghazi Khan (Punjab) now in Pakistan. He did his high school in 1936, B.Sc. (Ag.) in 1940, M.Sc. (Ag) Mycology and Plant Pathology in 1943 from Punjab University, Lahore and Ph.D. in Mycology and Plant Pathology in 1970 from Punjab University, Chandigarh on Studies on Karnal bunt of wheat. Dr. Munjal worked as Research Assistant, Punjab Agriculture Department (1944-45), Sr. Research Assistant, Baluchistan Agriculture Department, Fruit Research Station, Quetta (1945-47). He shifted in 1947 and joined as Research Assistant (1947-53) in Division of Mycology and Plant Pathology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, Assistant Plant Pathologists (1953-56), Assistant Systematic Mycologist (1956-57), Plant Pathologist (1957-60), Systematic Mycologist (Jan. 1961-Sept. 1972) and became as Professor and Head in September 1972 in the Department of Mycology and Plant Pathology, Himachal Agriculture University (HP) and continued till his superannuation in June 1980.
He guided several students for M.Sc. and Ph.D. program covering Karnal bunt of wheat, Anthracnose of beans, also made a number of monographic studies on “Black Moulds” and other genera like Cercospora, Anceptoria. He is one of the pioneers in the field of Mushroom Cultivation in India. He initiated the Mushroom Cultivation Unit at IARI, where he guided a number of P.G. students in this field. He developed first quality spawn production techniques in India. His leadership in this field encouraged many students to established mushroom cultivation and training units in all major Agricultural Universities in the country and also promotes its cultivation in the villages around these institutions. Later he was involved in establishment of National Research Centre for Mushroom at Solan (HP). Prof. Munjal was actively involved in establish the Mycology and Plant Pathology, Division of Plant Pathology, IARI, New Delhi on models of Rothamsted Institute, U.K.
Dr. Munjal had vast experience in various fields of Mycology and Plant Pathology. In HCIO, IARI, New Delhi his outstanding contribution was preparation of Excicatti sets, for distribution and exchange among international herbaria. His other contributions were publication of series of papers entitled “Notes on Miscellaneous Indian Fungi” documenting large number of fungi from India.
He was awarded Rockefeller Fellowship for advance studies in taxonomy of fungi at CMI, Kew (UK). There he acquired the working competence of mycological tools such as Lyophilization and freeze microtone etc. This knowledge proved beneficial to Indian students at that early stage.
He was also appointed as Consultant of International Centre for Agriculture Research for Dry Areas (ICARDA) in 1980. He studied disease situation in the number of crops in Egypt and recommended future research priorities. He was appointed FAO Consultant during September-October 1983, assigned to report on the prospects of increasing mushroom production in Laos. He held the position of President of the Indian Phytopathological Society in1981 and also Secretary of Indian Mushroom Growers Association. The Indian Phytopathological Society honoured him with Prof. A. P. Misra Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award for the year 2007-08.
Dr. R.L. Munjal passed away for his heavenly abode on August 16, 2008.