Indian Phytopathological Society 

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R. PRASADA

R. PRASADA

Dr. R. Prasada (Raghubir Prasada) was born at Chandausi in U.P., on December 11, 1907, He received his early education at S.M. School, Chandausi and B.Sc., M.Sc. degrees in 1928 and 1930 respectively from Agra University, Agra. At Agra College, he came under the influence of an eminent pathologist Prof. K.C. Mehta who initiated him to work on cereal rusts.

In 1930, Dr. Prasada moved to Shimla, for the establishment of a Cereal Rust Research Laboratory, which he did with utmost planning and foresight. He remained Incharge of the laboratory till 1946. Later he shifted to Indian Agricultural Research Institute at New Delhi. The laboratory became a nodal point for monitoring rust virulence beyond national boundaries. This station has the distinction of maintaining rust virulence on live rusts. Dr. Prasada did commendable work on epidemiology of cereal rusts in association with Dr. Mehta which was published in the form of scientific monographs of ICAR in 1940 and 1952. Apart from this, Dr. Prasada also contributed significantly on rusts of grasses, maize, millets, legumes, oilseeds and fibre crops, Alternaria blight of linseed and cucurbits, powdery mildews of wheat and pea and blight of pearl millet. His monumental work on linseed rust decorated him with D.Sc. degree from Agra University in 1943.

Since 1935, Dr. Prasada was associated with the breeding of rust resistant varieties of wheat. A similar project, on the improvement of linseed, with his collaboration has resulted in the wide cultivation of high yielding rust resistant varieties.

During a short visit to Australia in 1956, he found, for the first time in Tasmania, the natural occurrence of barberries infected with wheat stem rust. The finding has thrown considerable light on rust epidemiology and origin of new races in that country.

During 1960-­61, a very serious disease of wheat, exhibiting symptoms like that of leaf blight flared up. Dr. Prasada and his student took up the challenge sportingly and established the causal organism of the disease as Alternaria triticina Prasada and Prabhu. 

Being one of the founder members of IPS, Dr. Prasada shared responsibilities of Secretary-Treasurer for three terms from 1950 to 1958, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal in 1958 and again from 1962 to 1967. He was elected President of the Society in 1959 and Honorary Fellow in 1976. He was also president of the Agricultural Science section of 51st and 52nd sessions of the Indian Science Congress Association during 1964-65.

After his retirement from IARI in 1967, Dr. Prasada took over as Professor and Head of the Department of Plant Pathology at Udaipur University of Jobner Campus. He continued to hold this position until 1971 and thereafter he worked as Scientist Emeritus at Jobner till 1975. 

He visited CIMMYT, Mexico on the invitation of Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman E. Borlaug. Besides this, he also visited Nepal and Canada.

He guided a number of “Associates of IARI”, M.Sc. and Ph.D. Students. He published more than 150 research papers in various Indian and International journals.

Dr. Raghubir Prasada died at Delhi, on February 17, 1992.