Iconic agricultural scientist Dr Monkomb Sambasivan Swaminathan hailed as the 'Father of the Green Revolution', passed away on September 28 at the age of 98. He played a crucial role in revolutionizing Indian agriculture in the 1960s and '70s, ensuring the country's food security.
Though MS Swaminathan cleared the civil services examination, his passion for agriculture redirected his career towards agricultural research.
Throughout his life, he held influential positions, including the Independent Chairman of the Food and Agricultural Organisation Council, President of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, President of the World Wide Fund for Nature (India), and Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
Swaminathan delved into agriculture research in genetics and breeding from the Agriculture College at Coimbatore after witnessing the Quit India Movement and the Bengal famine in 1942-1943 which caused the deaths of between 2 million and 3 million people and was the result of the British policies that compelled farmers to provide grains to its soldiers.
M S Swaminathan | M S Swaminathan Research Foundation
His significant contributions began at the Central Rice Research Institute in Cuttack in 1954, where he worked on developing high-yielding rice varieties that responded well to soil fertility and water management.
Collaborating with American scientist Norman Borlaug, Swaminathan initiated a dwarf wheat breeding program in 1963, leading to the 'Wheat Revolution' within five years. The Green Revolution lead to farmers in Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh with high-yielding seeds, irrigation facilities, and fertilizers. As a result, wheat production in India soared from 6 million tonnes a year in 1947 to 17 million tonnes between 1964 and 1968 and even during challenging years like the drought of 1966, 10 million tonnes of PL480 wheat was imported.
PM Modi released a two-part book series on Dr MS Swaminathan, M.S. Swaminathan: The Quest For A World Without Hunger in 2017 |
A two-part book series on Dr MS Swaminathan, M.S. Swaminathan: The Quest For A World Without Hunger in 2017- 1) 50 Years Of Green Revolution & 2) MS Swaminathan- Legend in Science and Beyond |
Swaminathan's groundbreaking work earned him the first World Food Prize Laureate in 1987 for his dedication to developing high-yielding wheat and rice varieties in the face of potential famine which has left an indelible mark on India's agricultural landscape.
With proceeds that he received from the First World Food Prize, Professor M S Swaminathan established M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in 1988 to accelerate the use of modern science and technology for agricultural and rural development to improve lives and livelihoods of communities.
PM Modi released a two-part book series on Dr MS Swaminathan, M.S. Swaminathan: The Quest For A World Without Hunger in 2017- 1) 50 Years Of Green Revolution & 2) MS Swaminathan- Legend in Science and Beyond.