MS Swaminathan, father of India's Green Revolution, dies at 98text_fields
Chennai: Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan aka MS Swaminathan, world-renowned agronomist and father of the Green Revolution in India, passed away on Thursday morning at 11.20 am here. He was 98.
“He breathed his last at 11.15 a.m. today. He had not been keeping well for the last 15 days,” Dr Swaminathan’s nephew, Rajeev said.
Swaminathan is survived by his wife Mina and their three daughters- Soumya, Madhura, and Nitya.
An agricultural scientist and plant geneticist, Dr Swaminathan brought a social revolution through his policies such as introducing and further developing high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice, playing a crucial role in averting famine-like conditions in India during the 1960s.
He was awarded the first World Food Prize in 1987 following which he set up the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai.
Swaminathan was acclaimed by TIME magazine as one of the twenty most influential Asians of the 20th century and one of the only three from India, the other two being Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.
"At a very critical period in our nation's history, his groundbreaking work in agriculture transformed the lives of millions and ensured food security for our nation," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a post on X (formerly Twitter), condoling the demise of the ace scientist.
"Beyond his revolutionary contributions to agriculture, Dr. Swaminathan was a powerhouse of innovation and a nurturing mentor to many. His unwavering commitment to research and mentorship has left an indelible mark on countless scientists and innovators," the prime minister added.
The PM further said that he would always cherish his conversations with Swaminathan and added that his passion to see India progress was exemplary. "His life and work will inspire generations to come. Condolences to his family and admirers", he wrote.
The United Nations Environment Programme described him as “the Father of Economic Ecology” for his leadership of the ever-green revolution movement in agriculture and by Javier Perez de Cuellar, Secretary General of the United Nations, as “a living legend who will go into the annals of history as a world scientist of rare distinction”.
Swaminathan served as the Director of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (1961-72), Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (1972-79), Principal Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture (1979-80), Acting Deputy Chairman and later Member (Science and Agriculture), Planning Commission (1980-82) and Director General, International Rice Research Institute, the Philippines (1982-88).