It was the afternoon of 28th February, 1947, when about 20 mycologists and plant pathologists from various parts of the country assembled at Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi. A meeting was conveyed by Dr. B.B. Mundkur under the chairmanship of Prof. S.R. Bose to discuss the possibilities of forming a society to bring together all persons interested in the study of fungi, in view of the fact that plant pathology had begun to assume increasingly greater importance in universities and colleges as well as in State Agriculture Departments. The same day unanimous decision was taken and the Indian Phytopathological Society (IPS) was established. A small sub-committee, consisting of Prof. J.F. Dastur (chairman), Dr. S.R. Bose, Dr. B.N. Uppal, Dr. A. Sattar and Dr. R.S. Vasudeva as members and Dr. B.B. Mundkur as convener was formed to take steps for starting a journal, framing constitution and bylaws of society. Dr. Mundkur was requested to act as Secretary-Treasurer for 1947 or until new office-bearers were elected. With the zeal and enthusiasm, characteristic of Dr. Mundkur, he devoted his full energy for the given task and invited all persons interested in the study of plant pathology in India and abroad to become members of the society. He enrolled a large number of mycologists and plant pathologists working in India and abroad as members of the Society. He even enrolled persons who had some interest in Plant Pathology. It is said that once he was travelling in a train and while talking to fellow passengers impressed upon them and enrolled them as member of the society. In this way he increased the number of members and much needed finance. Later, industrial concerns interested in the subject, were also approached to become patrons of the Society to protect its financial status. Now, over 2,000 members of the society are spread in India and approximately 50 other countries. It is the third largest society of plant pathologists in the world. They comprise scientists, teachers, technicians, students, extension workers, company professionals, private consultants, administrators, agricultural field representatives and pest management personnel. Their professions vary, but they have single common goal – to promote knowledge on plant diseases.

Steps for framing a constitution and bye-laws of the Society were taken and the final draft of constitutions was ratified at the first annual general body meeting of the Society held on January 2, 1948 at Patna, wherein 156 members (charter members) participated. Drafting the constitution was largely done by Dr. Mundkur and the fact remains that very little change has been made in the bylaws even after nearly 7 decades of its establishment and working. This shows that with what thoroughness and foresight the job was done by Dr. Mundkur and his team. The Society was registered on 3rd November 1949, under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860 with Registration No. S399 of 1949-50, with its headquarter in the Division of Mycology and Plant Pathology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi.

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The most important activity was to publish an official scientific journal of the society, which was started as “Indian Phytopathology” and the first issue was published during 1948. During those days, as Indian Science Congress was considered as an important event for the scientific community, it was laid down in the constitution that Annual General Body Meetings of the society would be held during the annual session of the Indian Science Congress Association. This practice continued for 20 years, except for one unavoidable lapse and another due to national emergency during 1964. At these meetings, the business of the society was transacted, the secretary and treasurer used to presents their reports, election results used to be announced and resolutions used to be passed. The outgoing presidents used to deliver their presidential addresses. It was later felt that during the ‘Science Congress Session’ there used to be several simultaneous meetings and crowded programme and hence, very little time was generally available for holding the society meetings and the attendance was usually thin. Later, the society used to arrange its meetings a few days before the commencement of the Indian Science Congress and this resulted in a bigger attendance and better scientific discussions. Now, in recent time the annual meeting of the society is totally delinked with Indian Science Congress and is held in a suitable place in any part of the country for which leaders of Plant Pathology offer their desire and executive committee approves it. The society organizes annually national conferences, symposia and seminars on major topics of Plant Pathology at different parts of the country, besides the zonal meetings/conferences/seminars etc. At frequent occasions society organizes international conferences. Till date, society has organized 6 international conferences which were generally very successful with good participation with national and international deligates.

A very significant step to make the Society stable was taken in the XI Annual General Body Meeting held in Delhi on 2ndJanuary 1959, when it was resolved that the Division of Mycology and Plant Pathology, Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi would be the permanent Headquarters of the Society.

After the sad demise of Dr. Mundkur and in recognition of his significant contributions for the society and for the cause of plant pathology, the society resolved to institute prestigious “Mundkur Memorial Lectures Award” to pay homage to the great visonary. It was resolved that every year a very senior and renowned plant pathologist will deliver the Mundkur Memorial Lectures for which the executive committee will finalize the name. The First lecture was delivered by Prof. J.F. Dastur in February 1963. Shri. M.J. Narasimhan and Dr. K.D. Bagchee and Professor R.K. Saksena have been the other initial speakers in the series and this is continued till date. These lectures are printed in the regular issues of Indian Phytopathology.

Subsequently, several other activities and awards were added time to time in the fold of Indian Phytopathological Society.

Indian Phytopathological Society: A Journey of Seven Decades

Progressive milestones

  • 28th February 1947- Formation of the Indian Phytopathological Society
  • First annual meeting of the society was held on 2-1-1948 at 3 P.M. at Patna.
  • The second para of the Art. 6 was amended after discussion:-The Council shall consist of the President, Vice-President, Secretary- Treasurer and six councillors. The six councillors shall represent six zones, one for each zone.
  • Six zones were recognised during 1948
    • Northern Zone: Punjab, Delhi, Sind, Baluchistan, North Western Frontier Province and adjoining states.
    • Mid-Eastern Zone: United Provinces of Agra and Avadh, Bihar and adjoining States.
    • Eastern Zone: Bengal, Assam, Orissa and adjoining States.
    • Central Zone: Central Provinces, Hyderabad, Gwalior, Indore and adjoining States.
    • Western Zone: Bombay, Baroda, Mysore and adjoining States.
    • Southern Zone: Madras, Travancore, Coorg and adjoining States.
  • Up to January 10, 1948, Charter Members of Society was, 156.
  • During 1948 total membership raised to 203.
  • The journal Indian Phytopathology begins publication during 1948.
  • During 1949, several Mycologists and Pathologists from U.K., U.S.A., Canada and even Norway enrolled as members.
  • During 1950, 82 libraries in India and abroad subscribed the journal.
  • During the 5th Annual General Body meeting of the Society held on 3rd Jan. 1952 at the Indian Science Congress, Calcutta “It was felt that the President of the Society should try to attend the Annual General Body meeting and deliver the Presidential Address”.
  • During 1953 it was resolved that the Editor-in-Chief should be an ex-officio member of the Council.
  • During the year 1962 four issues of Indian Phytopathology started.
  • During 1962 it was resolved that members of the Society having continued membership for ten years be elected as fellows and be called fellows of the Indian Phytopathological Society (FPS). A small fee of Rs. 20 was charged from such fellows as registration fee".
  • During 1962 the first 'Mundkur Memorial Lecture' was delivered by Professor J.F. Dastur.
  • Thirteen papers read in the symposium on 'Role of therapeutic treatments for control of plant diseases' in February 1963, were published in Bulletin No. 1 of the Society.
  • During 1964 society published Bulletin No. 2 “Host parasite relationships in plant diseases”
  • During 1966 published Bulletin No. 3 of the Society “Diseases of rice, maize, sorghum and millets”.
  • As part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of the Indian Phytopathological Society, Ist International Symposium on Plant Pathology was organised under the auspices of the Society in collaboration with the Indian Council of Agricultural Research from 27th December 1966 to January 1, 1967. Dr. S. P. Raychaudhuri, Head, Division of Mycology and Plant Pathology, IARI, organized the symposium with the assistance of Rockefeller Foundation, USAID, CSIR, UGC and the NISI to meet the expenses. More than 30 delegates from the USA, USSR, Japan. the Philippines, Korea, Thailand, Iran, France, West Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Czechoslavakia participated. More than 500 Indian delegates also participated in the symposium. The delegates from abroad included distinguished scientists such as James G. Horsfall, C.S. Holton. H.H. Flor, Karl Maramorosch, W.Q. Loegering, A.J. Ullstrup, Russel L. Steere Eugene H. Varney and T. H. King of USA; M.S, Dounine of USSR; George Morel of France; George Me1chers of West Germany; A.J. von Arx and Jeanne Dijkstra of Netherlands; Dr. S.H. Ou of the Philippines; Paul Neergaard of Denmark; J. Break of Czechoslavakia and Mizukami and S. Suzuki of Japan. The Symposium was inaugurated by Shri C. Subramaniam, Union Minister for Food, Agriculture, Cooperation and Community Development on the morning of 27th December, 1966. Dr. B.P. Pal, Director General, ICAR, Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, Director, IARI, Dr. S.P. Raychaudhuri, Head, Division of Mycology and Plant Pathology, IARI and Prof R.N. Tandon, President, Indian Phytopathological Society were distinguished participants. A plant pathological exhibition depicting current developments in plant pathology in the country as well as abroad was inaugurated by Prof. J.F. Dastur, an Honorary Fellow and First President of the Society.
  • During 1967, it was resolved that the treasurer, who will also be located at Delhi in Headquarters will deal with the financial subject separately. Hence, the total number of members in the Council increased from 12 to 13.
  • During 1968 published Bulletin No. 4 of the Society “Diseases of plantation crops, medicinal plants and forest trees, diseases during storage and transit and their control and microbiology of root region in relation to plant diseases”.
  • During 1969 society published Bulletin No. 5 of the Society “Current trends in the taxonomy of phytopathogenic fungi, chemical control on plant diseases and current plant pathological problems in new agricultural strategy”.
  • During 1969 classical paper was published by J.F. Dastur on Phytophthora parasitica nov. spec. - a new disease of the castor oil plant which attracted international attention.
  • The Book 'Plant Disease Problems' 1970, which embodies the proceedings of the 1st International Symposium on Plant Pathology, was published.
  • During 1970 society published in Bulletin No. 6 “Approaches to the control of important bacterial diseases of plants in India” and "The importance of nematode diseases in plant pathology".
  • During 1970 IPS decided to become an associate Society of the International Society for Plant Pathology, by paying Rs. 210/- as associateship fees.
  • On the occasion of Silver Jubilee of the Indian Phytopathological Society, second International Symposium on Plant Pathology was organized at IARI, New Delhi, from 27th January to 3rd February, 1971 under the joint auspices of the ICAR and Indian National Science Academy and International Society of Plant Pathology. The symposium was attended by more than 600 delegates representing 24 countries. The scientific papers were presented in 35 sessions and 7 group discussions; two of these sessions were held at Agra and two at Aligarh. Two special lectures by Sir Frederick Bawden and Dr. Karl Marmorosch were also organised.
  • On 3rd February, 1971, Dr. J. G. ten Houten, President of the Royal Dutch Agricultural Society and Secretary-General, ISPP, presented a scroll of honour to late Prof. J.F. Dastur, First President of the Indian Phytopathological Society.
  • The Indian National Science Academy sponsored a symposium on "Epidemiology, forecasting and control of plant diseases", which was convened by Dr. S.P. Raychaudhuri, Head, Division of Mycology and Plant Pathology, IARI, New Delhi and was held at Lucknow from 18th-20th January, 1971. The symposium was inaugurated by Dr. K. Ramiah former Vice-President of INSA and member, Rajya Sabha.
  • During 1971 total number of members on the Society's roll raised to 1032 and that of subscribers 390.
  • Dr. M. J. Thirumachalar proposed Prof. M.J. Narasimhan Academic Award Contest during general body meeting held at Bangalore on 1st January, 1971. The value of the award was Rs. 500/- in cash or kind. The terms of reference of the award were also finalized.
  • Prof. M.J. Narasimhan Academic Award Contest started from 1972.
  • Revision of constitution was made during 1972. Dr. P.N. Patel compiled it.
  • Due to national emergency during 1972, annual meeting of the society could not be hold.
  • During 1974 as per the revised constitution, a General Paper Reading Session was included for the first time as a part of our Annual General Body meeting programme. The abstracts were published in the journal.
  • Teaching aids through transparencies initiated during 1975.
  • Jeersanidhi Lecture Award was instituted during 1979. Dr. S.N. Dasgupta an Hon. FelIow of the Society delivered the first lecture.
  • Third International Conference on Plant Pathology was organized on December 14-18 at IARI, New Delhi. The major emphasis was given to ecology and epidemiology of plant diseases and forecasting, pesticide residue, reducing hazards to chemicals, integrated plant disease management, identification of virulence genes and molecular characterisation.
  • Prof. M. J. Narasimhan Best Paper Award was constituted during 1983. The best paper published in every volume of Indian Phytopathology starting from volume 37 (1984) were given this award.
  • From 1984, a brief report of the Chief Editor agreed to be published in the journal.
  • During 1985, Dr. M.J. Thirumalachar donated Rs. 10,000/- more to the Society towards Jeersannidhi Lecture Award fund to make Jeersannidhi Lecture an annual feature.
  • It was decided that Seven Zonal Chapters of the society should be formed.
  • 70th Birthday of Shri Girdhari Lal was arranged on 25th February 1986 for his efficient working of the society since 1955. Dr. R. Prasada, Dr. B.L. Chona, Dr. S.P. Raychaudhuri and many others spoke on the occasion.
  • It was decided that each Zonal Chapter will have one Zonal President and one Zonal Councillor. Both should be from one campus/city and should contest election as a team. They will be the members of the Executive Council and travel expenses will be provided by the society for attending meetings of the Executive Council.
  • The Society celebrated its Golden Jubilee from November 10-15, 1997 and organised an 4th International Conference on "Integrated Plant Disease Management for Sustainable Agriculture". Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, UNESCO Professor of Ecotechnology and Chairman, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai inaugrated the Conference. Nearly 700 delegates representing 32 countries participated in the Conference. Nineteen sysmposia sessions were organized.
  • The format of the journal be changed to the A4 size starting from Volume 51.
  • Out of the savings of the Golden Jubilee Conference, Rs. 5 lacs was put in long terms fixed deposit as "Golden Jubilee Conference Corpus fund". Interest of this fund marked to utilize it exclusive for the participation of the President of the Society or any other member of the Executive Council in the International Congress of Plant Pathology (lCPP), and providing partial support for the participation of other members of the Society, whose papers are accepted for presentation at the ICPPs, and have bursary award from the other sources.
  • It was decided that the endowment Award Lectures (Prof. S. N. Dasgupta Lecture, Prof. M.S. Pavgi Lecture and Jeersannidhi Lecture) to be organised once in 3 years by rotations to make them financially viable. The Mundkur Memorial Lecture, however, to remain an annual feature.
  • The Head, Division of Plant Pathology, IARI, New Delhi was designated to be an Ex-officio member of the E.C.
  • During 1999, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of 52nd Annual Meeting of IPS organized at Kamal, created an Endowment Fund valued Rs. 50,000/- to publish every year one review article in the Journal. It will be called as "K.C. Mehta and Manoranjan Mitra Memorial Review". The EC approved the proposal in principle.
  • IPS Travel Sponsorship: Award started with the endowment fund generated during the National Symposium held at Karnal in 2000.
  • During 1999, to institute an award in the memory of Late Prof. A.P. Misra with a fix deposite of Rs. One Lakh was discussed. It was agreed in principle to institute an award as "Prof A.P. Misra Life Time Achievement Award" to be awarded alternate years, provided the terms and conditions of the Society are acceptable to Dr. A.K. Misra. Cash award will be given from the interest earned.
  • The Society has been able to generate an "Endowment Fund' of Rs. 48,000.00 received as contribution from Dr. G.S. Shekhawat, Former Director, CPRI, Shimla and Ex President of the Society. The interest accrued out of this fund will be utilized solely for the purpose of enhancement of Mundkur Memorial Award Lecture money.
  • Dr. Sheoraj, former Zonal President (Western Zone) very kindly donated an amount of Rs. 17,473/- towards the enrichment of “Mundkur Memorial Endowment Fund” of the Society out of the savings generated of the Zonal Chapter Meeting during the year 2002.
  • Two new awards viz. Prof. M.K. Patel Memorial Young Scientist Award and Prof. J.F. Dastur Memorial Award instituted during 2007-08.
  • During 2008 the society agreed in principle for Prof. A.K. Sarbhoy and Prof. J.P. Verma Memorial Award.
  • The 5th International Conference on Plant Pathology was held on the topic “Plant Pathology in the Globalized Era” during November 10-13, 2009 at Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi, India.
  • Published “Indian Farming” and “Kheti” on the occasion of International Conference
  • Sharda C. Lele Memorial Award was approved by the EC to be instituted w.e.f. 2011-12, the endowment amount of Rs. 5 Lakhs has been kept in fixed deposit for the purpose.
  • Online submission process of manuscript started in 2011. It resulted in fast reviewing process, quick response of author’s query and increases online access Indian Phytopathology across the world.
  • Society published a vision document “Plant Pathology in India: Vision 2030” to develop a road map for the plant pathologists.
  • Society instituted Prof. S.P. Raychaudhuri Memorial Lecture Series in 2011. First lecture of the series was delivered by Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, Chairman, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai, T.N., India on “Plant Health Management in the Era of Climate Change” and second lecture was delivered by Dr. Paul Bridge, CABI, U.K on the topic “Pragmatic characterization of fungal plant pathogens: some practical examples”
  • During 2012, society published book entitled “Diseases of Fruit Crops” (ed. A.K. Misra, P. Chowdappa, Pratibha Sharma and R.K. Khetrapal) focuses primarily on diseases of important temperate and tropical fruit crops.
  • During 2012 established of “Crop Protection Federation” with the mission to serve the global cause of plant protection policy.
  • During the year 2012, the following compilations were done in DVD format. Presidential Lectures (1953 to 2011), Mundkur Memorial Award Lectures (1963 to 2011), M.S. Pavgi Lectures (1990 to 2011), Jeerasannidhi Award Lectures (1982 to 2011), K.C. Mehta and Manoranjan Mitra Award (2001-2011), On Phytophthora parasitica nov. spec. - a new disease of the castor oil plant: by J.F. Dastur, Plant Disease Problems: Proceedings of First IPS International Conference (1966-67), Digitized Volume of Indian Phytopathology (Vol. 1 to 65) - (1948-2012).
  • During 2014 the Society has published “Diseases of Vegetable Crops” edited by Dinesh Singh, P. Chowdappa and Pratibha Sharma; and Diseases of Plantation Crops edited by P. Chowdappa, Pratibha Sharma, M. Anandaraj and R.K. Khetarpal
  • During 2014, the Society organized 3 brain storming sessions viz., “Present status and future strategies on Rhizoctonia research in India” held at IARI, New Delhi on 06 March 2014; Plant Disease Clinic : Importance and Scope” held at IGKV, Raipur May 27, 2014 and Shifting patterns of major and minor rice diseases as function of climate change and road map to address the issue” at CRURRS, Hazaribag, Jharkhand on 14 October 2014.
  • The frequency of "Prof A.P. Misra Life Time Achievement Award" was agreed to increase every year (with additional fund given) from 2015.
  • The Indian Phytopathological Society in collaboration with all the ICAR institutes based in Delhi and adjoining areas, organized 6th International Conference on “Plant, Pathogens and People” with the theme “Challenges in Plant Pathology to benefit Humankind”, February 23-27, 2016 at NASC Complex, New Delhi, India. Total 750 delegates including 68 foreign delegates belonging to 36 countries participated in the conference.
  • In 2016, three books, namely “Diseases of Field Crops and their Management” edited by S.C. Dubey, Rashmi Aggarwal, T.S.S.K. Patro and Pratibha Sharma; and “Perspectives of Plant Pathology in Genomic Era” edited by P. Chowdappa, Pratibha Sharma, Dinesh Singh and A.K. Misra; and “Padap Rogoan Ki Chunautiya Evam Samadhan (in Hindi)” edited by A.K. Misra, Dinesh Singh and Pratibha Sharma were released during the International Conference.
  • IPS collaborated with Asian PGPR Society for Satellite workshop on “PGPRs for Sustainable Crop Productivity" during 6th International conference on 25th Feb. 2016, at NASC Complex, New Delhi
  • APS-IPS Collaborations memorandum of understanding between the American Phytopathological Society (APS) and the Indian Phytopathological Society (IPS) was signed during 6th International Conference to facilitate mutually beneficial interactions through scientific exchanges and increased sharing of science by joint memberships and professional interactions.
  • APS Travel grant to IPS student members for participation in APS Meeting in USA : American Phytopathological Society (APS) offered the Travel grant to IPS student members for participation in APS Meeting in USA to present their research work. Interested students can take part in MJN Academic Award Contest at zonal level and get nominated for their candidature. The student may be encouraged to become IPS member to avail eligibility for travel grant facility. “One travel grant to attend the APS meetings annually is being offered to a student member of IPS selected through competition in conjunction with the competition for MJN Award by APS. Travel Fund is being established by Plant Pathologists of Indian Origin with the APS. This travel award would cover airfare to the meeting venue, accommodation, and incidentals. Meeting registration may have to be borne by the selected”.
  • Institution of new award in the name of “S. Sinha Memorial Award”: The EC felt that the Society has too many annual lecture awards. Hence, it was suggest that the “S. Sinha Memorial Lecture Award” will be held biennial and the detailed guidelines will be sent to donors for mutual consent.
  • One Day Workshop on the theme of ‘Technological Advancements in Plant Pathology’ Dr. Y.S. Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, Solan, Himachal Pradesh May 4, 2016
  • 14th International Workshop on Trichoderma and Gliocladium (TG2016) on "Principles to Practice" was organized during 27-30th November 2016 jointly by College of Agriculture, Nagpur; Association of Plant Pathologist (Central India), Akola, Maharashtra; and Indian Phytopathological Society, New Delhi.