Father of India’s Green Revolution, Agriculture Scientist MS Swaminathan passes away

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  • MS Swaminathan, the global leader of the green revolution passed away in Chennai at the age of 98. 
  • Swaminathan, who was an agronomist, agricultural scientist, plant geneticist, administrator and humanitarian, had introduced and further developed the high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice. 
  • Eminent agricultural scientist MS Swaminathan, hailed as the “Father of the Green Revolution” in the country. 
  • Professor Swaminathan was acclaimed by TIME magazine as one of the twenty most influential Asians of the 20th century. 
  • MS Swaminathan was the recipient of several prestigious awards including Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan,  Padma Shri, Ramon Magsaysay Award and World Food Prize among others. 

Eminent agricultural scientist and Padma Vibhushan awardee MS Swaminathan, hailed as the “Father of the Green Revolution” in the country and by the United Nations Environment Programme as the “Father of Economic Ideology”, died in Chennai this morning at the age of 98.

Professor Swaminathan was a renowned agronomist and plant geneticist whose contributions to and leadership of the country’s agricultural renaissance are globally acknowledged. Credited with introducing high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice, and further developing these strains, his work with American scientist Norman Borlaug is seen as having saved India from famine in the 1960s.

His advocacy of sustainable agriculture also made him a world leader in the field of food security, and he is also credited with pioneering roles in the empowerment of women farmers.

Professor Swaminathan has received numerous awards, including the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1971 and the Albert Einstein World Award for Science in 1986. In 1987 was awarded the first World Food Prize, which is widely seen as the highest honour in the field of agriculture.

He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1967, the Padma Bhushan in 1972 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1989. In addition, he has been awarded the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development, UNESCO’s Mahatma Gandhi Prize, and the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award.

In 2013 Professor Swaminathan was honoured by then President Pranab Mukherjee as one of NDTV’s 25 Global Indian Legends. He said then, “The future belongs to nations with grains, not guns. Reaching a level of food security and enabling legal right to food for Indians has not been easy.”

He was acclaimed by TIME magazine as one of the twenty most influential Asians of the 20th century; he was one of only three from India, alongside Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.

He is survived by daughters Soumya Swaminathan, who was the Chief Scientist for the World Health Organization, Madhura Swaminathan (an economist), and Nitya Swaminathan (a gender and rural development professional). His wife, Mina Swaminathan, an educationist, died in March last year.

(With inputs from agencies)

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