Professor C.V. Subramanian, former Director, Centre for Advanced Studies in Botany, University of Madras, Chennai, India, Founder of Mycological Society of India and Former President of International Mycological Association passed away in Bangkok, Thailand at the age of 92. He is survived by his wife and 2 sons.
Prof. Subramanian ( CVS as he was affectionately called ) earned his Ph.D in 1948 and D.Sc in 1957 from the University of Madras. He did his post doctoral research at the Botany School, Cambridge, UK and the Commonwealth Mycological Institute, Kew, UK in 1950.
He was appointed to the first ever chair in Plant Pathology in the country at IARI ( Indian Agricultural Research Institute ) at New Delhi in 1957. He was later invited to organise the Botany Department of the University of Rajasthan at Jodhpur and Jaipur before moving to the University of Madras where he joined the Centre of Advanced Study in Botany as Professor and served as its Director from 1973 until his retirement in 1985.
After retiring, he was invited as a Visiting Professor to the National University of Singapore, The University of Western Australia and The National University of Taiwan.
Several awards and recognitions came his way. In 1965 he was awarded the Shanthi Swarup Bhatnagar Award ( the highest award for Science in India ). The Rafi Ahmad Kidwai Award of the ICAR, the Janaki Ammal Award etc. He was also the recipient of the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Fellowship ( 1976 - !978 ).
He served as Member of the University Grants Commission ( UGC ) 1977 - 1982. He has been a member of several national and international scientific academies and organisations and committees constituted by the UGC, DST, ICAR and CSIR.
At the very young age of 32, he was chosen by Sir CV Raman as a Member of the Indian Academy of Sciences. Later, my father served 9 years as the Vice President of this Academy. He was also a Member of the Indian National Science Academy, Honorary Member of the American Mycological Society and the British Mycological Society, Corresponding Member of the Belgian Royal Academy of Foreign Sciences, Member of the International Union of Biological Sciences etc.
He started the use of Sanskrit names for the new genera that he discovered. Several of the new fungi that he described now carries Sanskrit names.
In recognition of his contributions in Mycology, he was elected the President of the International Mycological Association in 1977 at Tampa, Florida, USA. He was President of the International Mycological Congress, Tokyo, Japan, 1983.
He founded the Mycological Society of India in 1973 and launched the journal Kavaka of which he was the Editor from its inception till 1998. “ Kavaka ” is the Sanskrit word for Fungi.
His monograph “ Hyphomycetes ” published in 1971 and the book “ Hyphomycetes : Taxonomy & Biology ” published by Academic Press, London in 1983 are widely referred to by researchers all over the world even today.
He was a great believer and follower of Swami Vivekanada and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He was closely connected with The Ramakrishna Mission and delivered lectures on Vedanta in centres in India and abroad.
His para professional interests were literature, philosophy and music. He was really passionate about music and was a good singer.