Dr M.J. Narasimhan was born in 1891. He had his early education in the Presidency College, Madras. In 1913, he joined the department of Agriculture, Mysore, as Assistant Mycologist under late Dr. L.C. Coleman and later became the Mycologist and Director of Agriculture, Mysore State. He retired from service in 1946.
As mycologist, he organized the first, perhaps one of the largest spraying programmes for the control of Phytophthora areca covering over 24000 acres, and Hemileia vastatrix on coffee, both in the deep interior jungles of Western Ghats under heavy monsoon conditions. Climbing of arecanut trees with a knapsack sprayer to dizzy heights of 30 to 40 feet were daily schedules.
His investigations on the sexuality of Phytophthora arecae are still quoted in all references on Phytophthora. He monographed the Phalloideae of Mysore. His work on Pellicularia (Corticihum) koleroga, also deserve mention. During his service he visited most of the Plant Pathological and mycological laboratories in Europe and worked for long periods at Zurich with Dr. Gaumann, Dr. Quanjer in Wageningen and Dr. Wollenweber in Berlin.
As Director of Agriculture, he was also the head of the Department of Animal Husbandry, Chairman of Mysore Tobacco Company and one of the Directors of Mysore Sugar Company. After retirement he kept up his interest in mycology and plant pathology, particularly investigations on downy mildews of grasses and cereals, heteroecism in graminicolous rusts, entomogenous fungi and their utility in biological control of insect pests, etc. He passed away in September, 1970.